This book describes how European publics were captivated by tales of Christians held prisoner by religious and political adversaries. Imperial expansion, spearheaded by Portugal and Spain in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, increased the geographical range in which subjects could fall into enemy hands as well as the forms that narratives of captivity could take. Imperial administrators heard survivors' oral reports. Pirates and privateers interrogated captured enemy pilots, who, in turn, presented accounts to their own sovereigns upon their release. Inquisition officials evaluated depositions attesting to ransomed captives' religious integrity. This study explores the role of captivity in the production of knowledge, identity, and authority in the early modern imperial world by examining texts written by and about European and Euro-American captives in a variety of languages and genres.
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