Maria ter Meetelen, The Curious and Amazing
Adventures of Maria ter Meetelen; Twelve Years
a Slave (1731- 43), Trans. by Caroline Stone
and Karen Johnson, Hardinge Simpole, 2010.
"From the age of thirteen I wandered abroad and at twenty-one I decided to take a little trip across France dressed as a man....." Maria ter Meetelen tells the story of her capture by Barbary pirates and twelve years as a slave at Meknès in Morocco. Straightforward and with no literary pretensions, her voice comes down the centuries, robust, clear, personal and often surprising: "I do not complain at having been so far across the world, nor of my twelve years of slavery, nor of the suffering the Turks caused me, I can rise above that. But the spitefulness and derision that my husband and I suffered from our fellow-countrymen cannot be forgotten, and is impossible for me to set it down here in writing."
Meetelen was a child from the slum. She enlisted in the Spanish army disguised as a man in 1725. After this, she lived in Spain as a nun until she married.
The couple was on a ship destined for the Netherlands in 1731, when it was captured by pirates and all the passengers sold as slaves in Morocco. Her spouse died, and to avoid being taken to the harem of the sultan, Abdallah of Morocco, she refused to convert to Islam and married the spokesperson of the sultan's slaves, Pieter Janszn Iede, the couple provided the non-Muslim slaves with alcohol and lived quite well at the court.
In 1743, the Dutch slaves where bought free by the Dutch state and returned to the Netherlands. She emigrated to South Africa in 1751, where the traces of her disappear. - wikipedia