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Guðríður Símonardóttir (1598 – December 18, 1682) was one of 242 people abducted from the Westman Islands, Iceland in 1627.[1] The attacks by Barbary corsairs came to be known as the Turkish abductions and Guðríður became known as Tyrkja-Gudda.


Guðríður was the wife of a fisherman and a mother. After her abduction, she was sold by the pirates as a slave and concubine in Algeria. She was among the very few who were bought back by King Christian IV of Denmark, returning to Iceland almost a decade later.

She was then sent to Denmark along with some other former slaves to relearn her religion and native tongue. There, she was taught by Hallgrímur Pétursson, who was then a theology student. After getting pregnant by him, and finding out that her husband had died, she married Hallgrímur. The other Icelanders looked down on Guðríður and saw her as a whore and heathen. She was twice as old as Hallgrímur, which was considered a disgrace.

In art

Jakob Jónsson wrote an epic play about Tyrkja-Gudda in 1952.[2]

In 2001, Steinunn Johannesdottir wrote a book on her exploits called Reisubók Guðríðar Símonardóttur (Gudridur's Journey). The book was on the bestseller list in Iceland for months.




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