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8 real pirate havens worth a visit

Aug. 5, 2014, 10:08 a.m.
Rocky Atlantic coastline

Photo: Anina Abdesalam/Flickr

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Sale, Morocco

This ancient city on Morocco’s Atlantic coastline can trace its history back to the days of the Phoenicians (well before the Carthaginian and Roman empires). In the 1600s, Salé became a haven for a band of Barbary pirates, many of whom were Muslim Spaniards who had been expelled from Spain. Though less talked-about than their peers in the West Indies, the Barbary pirates were arguably more fearsome. They raided ships and coastal areas in the Mediterranean and Europe, reaching as far north as Iceland and Ireland. They were known for taking prisoners and then selling them as slaves in North African markets.

The Salé pirates, dubbed the Salé Rovers (mentioned in Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe"), formed an independent republic in Salé at the height of their success. Many buildings in Salé and neighboring Rabat were originally constructed in the 16th and 17th centuries, when the Rovers were in control.