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Treaty of 1815


Agreement between the United States and the ruler of Algiers that ended U.S. annual tribute payments.

In 1815, after the dey (ruler) of Algiers had declared war on the United States and began to tolerate corsair attacks on American shipping in the Mediterranean Sea, Washington dispatched to the area a ten-ship squadron under the command of naval hero Stephen Decatur (17791820). Decatur's objective was to punish Algiers and to assert freedom of the seas for trade. Decatur defeated the Algiers fleet and threatened to bombard the city unless the dey signed a new treaty promising to protect American ships and seamen from corsairs. The treaty signed on 30 June 1815 abolished U.S. indemnity payments, freed all U.S. prisoners without any ransom, and granted U.S. ships trading privileges in ports that recognized the suzerainty of Algiers.

see also corsairs.


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

eric hooglund

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