Walking in the footsteps of pirating “Turks” Skip to content

Walking in the footsteps of pirating “Turks”

An information post about Tyrkjaránið, the infamous slave taking of 1627 will be unveiled in Grindavík, in southwest Iceland, today.

Afterwards, visitors can take a guided historical tour around the area and walk in the footsteps of the pirating “Turks,” who actually came from North Africa, Morgunbladid reports.

In the summer of 1627 a band of pirates sailed to Iceland and raided the settlements on the southwest coast of Iceland and in the Westman Islands.

The pirates abducted around 400 people and sold them on slave markets. Many died of diseases during the first few months, others converted to Islam and 40 slaves were set free.

The most famous slave is Gudrídur Símonardóttir, better known as Tyrkja-Gudda, who returned to Iceland after a decade of slavery in Algeria.

After her return, Tyrkja-Gudda was sent to Denmark to relearn her native tongue and the Christian way of life. She spent the winter of 1636-1637 in Copenhagen.

One of her teachers was Hallgrímur Pétursson, an Icelandic theology student. They fell in love, got married and moved back to Iceland.

Later, Pétursson became a priest and one of Iceland’s most treasured poets. Hallgrímskirkja, the main church in Reykjavík, is named after him.

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