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Barbary Wars

BARBARY WARS

BARBARY WARS, a series of mostly naval conflicts between the United States and the Barbary states (Morocco, Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis), along the coast of North Africa. The Barbary nations had long plagued American and European shipping in the Mediterranean Sea through acts of piracy, taking advantage of the United States's lack of naval vessels. The war broke out with Tripoli and, later, Algiers only after the United States realized the need for a navy and began to acquire the ships and ports to support this enterprise.

The Tripolitan War occurred between 1801 and 1805. After the American Revolution, the United States, following the example of European nations, made annual payments to the Barbary states for unmolested passage along North Africa's Barbary Coast. Constant difficulties ensued in spite of this arrangement. In 1801 Tripoli declared war and seized several Americans and their vessels. The largely naval war that followed was feebly executed until Commodore Edward Preble arrived in 1803 with the USS Constitution, the USS Philadelphia, and several brigs and schooners. His arrival galvanized the entire force into vigorous action. In a naval demonstration before Tangiers, Preble set up a blockade of Tripoli. On 31 October 1803 the Philadelphia ran aground on a reef just outside the harbor and was captured by the Tripolitans, who later floated it and anchored it under the guns of the citadel. On 16 February 1804 Lieutenant Stephen Decatur and eighty officers and men recaptured and burned the Philadelphia in a daring night attack. During August and September 1804, Preble, in addition to blockading, harassed the Tripolitan shipping and fortifications with frequent attacks. Small gunboats fearlessly entered the harbor, enabling the crews to board and capture piratical craft while the larger ships kept up a protective fire on batteries. Such activity backfired on 4 September, when the USS Intrepid, with a cargo of gunpowder and explosive shells, maneuvered into the harbor at night. An explosion occurred prematurely, killing all the participants but doing little damage to Tripolitan shipping.

Preble was relieved by Commodore Samuel Barron, and Barron was relieved the following spring by Commodore John Rodgers. At this point, the bey (ruler) of Tripoli was ready to conclude peace, compelled partly by the success of the Derna land expedition, in which U.S. marines had captured the coastal city and were threatening to march on Tripoli. The treaty, hastily concluded on 4 June 1805, abolished all annual payments but provided for $60,000 ransom to be paid to Tripoli for the release of the officers and crew of the Philadelphia.

Although annual payments were maintained to the other Barbary states, Algiers continued to seize American merchantmen such as the Mary Ann, for which $18,000 was paid, and to threaten others such as the Allegheny, for which increased payments were demanded and secured. As a result, the United States declared war on Algiers in 1815. Immediately afterward, Decatur (promoted to commodore) and William Bainbridge were ordered to the Mediterranean with an overwhelming force. Within forty days after his June 1815 departure from New York, Decatur achieved his immediate mission. He captured the Algerian flagship Mashuda in a running fight. Appearing off the coast of Algiers, he demanded and secured a treaty humiliating to the once proud piratical state. His demands required no future payments, restoration of all American property, the emancipation of all Christian slaves escaping to U.S. men-of-war ships, civilized treatment of prisoners of war, and $10,000 for a merchantman recently seized. Tunis and Tripoli were forced to equally hard terms, and a U.S. squadron remained in the Mediterranean, ensuring the safety of American commerce.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Chidsey, Donald Barr. The Wars in Barbary: Arab Piracy and the Birth of the United States Navy. New York: Crown, 1971.

Kitzen, Michael L. S. Tripoli and the United States at War: A History of American Relations with the Barbary States: 1785–1805. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1993.

Nash, Howard Pervear. The Forgotten Wars: The Role of the U.S. Navy in the Quasi War with France and the Barbary Wars 1798–1805. South Brunswick, N.J.: A. S. Barnes, 1968.

Tucker, Glenn. Dawn Like Thunder: The Barbary Wars and the Birth of the U.S. Navy. Indianapolis, Ind.: Bobbs-Merrill, 1963.

Walter B.Norris/h. s.

See alsoConstitution ; Decatur's Cruise to Algiers ; Piracy .

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Barbary Wars

BARBARY WARS

Naval battles from the sixteenth century until 1821 between European powers and corsairs of North Africa who were attacking merchant shipping in the Mediterranean.

With the Christian reconquest of Spain from the Moors in the west and the rise of the Ottoman Empire in the east, the Mediterranean basin became the stage for a major, long-running confrontation between Christianity and Islam. Naval warriors (called the Barbary pirates, but more correctly corsairs) based in the North African port cities of Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, and Rabat-Salé in Morocco were among the most important frontline participants in the conflict. They began in the sixteenth century and lasted until the Treaty of Aix-laChapelle (1821) outlawed their activity.

The corsairs seized the ships of the Christian states whose rulers did not have treaties with their political overlords, took their goods, and sold their passengers and crews into slavery. As a result, a series of wars was fought throughout the period between the Europeans (after 1800 the newly independent United States of America also became involved) and their North African corsair adversaries. Because the corsairs served the interests of some of the Europeans, and their depredations against commercial shipping served the interests of the mercantilist policies of the time, the Christian nations never formed a common front against them.

It was only with the rise of free trade as the dominant theory in international trade that the powers banded together to quash the corsairs following Napoléon Bonaparte's defeat in 1815. The final stand of the corsairs came in 1818, with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1821 putting an end to the era by banning piracy, privateering, and corsairing.

see also corsairs.

Jerome Bookin-Wiener

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"Barbary Wars." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Eaton, William

William Eaton, 1764–1811, U.S. army officer, celebrated for his exploit in the Tripolitan War, b. Woodstock, Conn. Captain Eaton was sent to Tunis as consul in 1798 and learned much about the Barbary States. When he returned to the United States in 1804, he had a scheme to win the war against Tripoli by supporting the claimant to the rule of Tripoli, Hamet Karamanli. Somewhat reluctantly, Congress appointed him "navy agent to the Barbary States" and allowed him to try his plan. In Egypt, Eaton persuaded the claimant to undertake the venture and gathered a mixed army of 400 men, including Greeks, Italians, Arabs, and others. With this small band he set off on the long march overland to take Tripoli from the rear, took the seaport of Derna, and might have taken Tripoli if the Tripolitan War had not ended with a truce (1805) before he arrived.

See biographies by F. R. Rodd (1932) and N. B. Gerson (1968); L. B. Wright and J. H. Macleod, The First Americans in North Africa (1945, repr. 1969); R. Zacks, The Pirate Coast (2005).

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Porden, William

Porden, William (c.1755–1822). English architect, he trained under James Wyatt. He was employed by the Prince of Wales (later King George IV (1820–30) ), for whom he designed the stables, riding-house, tennis-court, and other buildings at the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, Sussex (1804–8), where he introduced the Hindoo style (he is said to have worked with S. P. Cockerell). He had a reputation as an architect of Gothic buildings, and he built the competent Eaton Hall, Ches. (1804–12—demolished in the 1870s).

Bibliography

Colvin (1995);
Conner (1979);
H. Roberts (1939)

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