Article and Video about the Barbary Wars when the US smashed the Muslim Pirates of the Mediterranean

| June 3, 2012 | Comments (2)

1.The native peoples of what is now Morocco,Tunisia and Algeria are the Berbers.whose language is not Arabic.Thus the region is called the Barbary coast.

2.For 300 years (1500-1800) Muslim pirates from the ports of Tunis(Tunisia), Tripoli(Lybia) and Algiers(Algeria) had captured 1 million Europeans to sell as slaves or hold for ransom.That is the conclusion of Robert Davis.His scholarly book on the theme is “Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500-1800 “(2004). It was the done by the Muslim Moroccans,Tunisians and Algerians.

About 90% of those enslaved were men, and the women were destined to be sex slaves in a harem.Only 5% of them, like Miguel de Cervantes,author of “Don Quixote” and St. Vincent de Paul, were ransomed or escaped.It is estimated that 600,000 Europeans were slaves in Algiers.

Their predation extended throughout the Mediterranean and into the North Atlantic as far north as Iceland In addition to seizing ships, they engaged in razzias, raids on European coastal towns and villages, mainly in Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal, but also in England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Ireland, and as far away as Iceland.

Here are articles about Davis’ book:

A war to end never-ending tribute by the US to Muslims

In 1777, Morocco’s Sultan Mohammed III declared that the American merchant ships would be under the protection of the sultanate and have passage into the Mediterranean. That is called the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship and in 1787 Morocco had been one of the first nations to recognize the United States.

For years and years the US was paying Muslim rulers of the pirate cities money so its citizens would not be enslaved in the Mediterranean but it did not help much.The Barbary pirates continued to demand tribute from American merchant vessels in the Mediterranean Sea. If ships failed to pay, pirates would attack the ships and take their goods, and hold Americans for ransom.

The reason was the US had no navy.From 1785-1800 the US paid the pirates $1 million per year for the safe passage of American ships or the return of American hostages.That was 20 percent of United States government annual revenues.The United States navy attacked the fortified pirate cities. Jefferson led the first war, from 1801 to 1805, against pirates’ cities in what are today Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria. Madison directed the second war in 1815.

The First Barbary War (1801–1805)

It is also known as the Tripolitan War or the Barbary Coast War, was the first of two wars fought between the United States and Tripoli and Algiers, which were quasi-independent entities nominally belonging to the Ottoman Empire.

The War that made Stephen Decatur(1779-1820) a Hero

In 1803 the USS Philadelphia was captured in Tripoli and its crew was captured and in 1804 Decatur and a small group invaded the harbor of Tripoli and burned the Philadelphia,denying her use to the enemy. Lord Horatio Nelson(1758-1805),one of the greatest naval commanders,who won and died in the battle of Trafalgar (1805) against the French and Spanish fleets, said it was “the most bold and daring act of the Age.”Nelson is famous for having said to his men,before the battle of Trafalgar:“England expects every man to do his duty.”

The turning point in the war came with the Battle of Derne.The a small group of American soldiers and hundreds of Greek and Arab mercenaries won the first foreign land battle of the US.They did a remarkably daring overland attack on the Tripolitan city of Derna and won.

The Second Barbary War (1815)

1.It was the second war between the United States and the Barbary states.

2.The war brought an end to the American practice of paying tribute and was the beginning of the end of piracy in that region. Within decades, European powers built ever more sophisticated ships which the Barbary pirates could not match in numbers or technology.

Video about the Barbary War


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