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Barbary pirates

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Sea Fight with Barbary Corsairs by Laureys a Castro, c. 1681
A Sea Fight with Barbary Corsairs by Laureys a Castro, c. 1681
British sailors boarding an Algerine pirate ship
British sailors boarding an Algerine pirate ship
A man from the Barbary states
A man from the Barbary states
A Barbary pirate, Pier Francesco Mola 1650
A Barbary pirate, Pier Francesco Mola 1650

The Barbary pirates, sometimes called Barbary corsairs or Ottoman corsairs, were Ottoman and Maghrebi pirates and privateers who operated from North Africa, based primarily in the ports of Salé, Rabat, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli. This area was known in Europe as the Barbary Coast, a term derived from the name of its ethnically Berber inhabitants. Their predation extended throughout the Mediterranean, south along West Africa's Atlantic seaboard and into the North Atlantic as far north as Iceland, but they primarily operated in the western Mediterranean. In addition to seizing merchant ships, they engaged in Razzias, raids on European coastal towns and villages, mainly in Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal, but also in the British Isles,[1] the Netherlands, and as far away as Iceland.[2] The main purpose of their attacks was to capture Christian slaves for the Ottoman slave trade as well as the general Arab slavery market in North Africa and the Middle East.[1]

While such raids had occurred since soon after the Muslim conquest of Iberia, the terms "Barbary pirates" and "Barbary corsairs" are normally applied to the raiders active from the 16th century onwards, when the frequency and range of the slavers' attacks increased. In that period Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli came under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire, either as directly administered provinces or as autonomous dependencies known as the Barbary States. Similar raids were undertaken from Salé and other ports in Morocco.

Barbary corsairs captured thousands of merchant ships and repeatedly raided coastal towns. As a result, residents abandoned their former villages of long stretches of coast in Spain and Italy. Between 100,000 and 250,000 Iberians were enslaved by these raids.[3]

The raids were such a problem coastal settlements were seldom undertaken until the 19th century. Between 1580 and 1680 corsairs were said to have captured about 850,000 people as slaves and from 1530 to 1780 as many as 1,250,000 people were enslaved.[1] However, these numbers have been questioned by the historian David Earle.[4] Some of these corsairs were European outcasts and converts (renegade) such as John Ward and Zymen Danseker.[2] Hayreddin Barbarossa and Oruç Reis, Turkish Barbarossa Brothers, who took control of Algiers on behalf of the Ottomans in the early 16th century, were also notorious corsairs. The European pirates brought advanced sailing and shipbuilding techniques to the Barbary Coast around 1600, which enabled the corsairs to extend their activities into the Atlantic Ocean.[2][unreliable source?] The effects of the Barbary raids peaked in the early to mid-17th century.

Long after Europeans had abandoned oar-driven vessels in favor of sailing ships carrying tons of powerful cannon, many Barbary warships were galleys carrying a hundred or more fighting men armed with cutlasses and small arms. The Barbary navies were not battle fleets. When they sighted a European frigate, they fled.[5]

The scope of corsair activity began to diminish in the latter part of the 17th century,[6] as the more powerful European navies started to compel the Barbary States to make peace and cease attacking their shipping. However, the ships and coasts of Christian states without such effective protection continued to suffer until the early 19th century. Following the Napoleonic Wars and the Congress of Vienna in 1814–15, European powers agreed upon the need to suppress the Barbary corsairs entirely and the threat was largely subdued. Occasional incidents occurred, including two Barbary wars between the United States and the Barbary States, until finally terminated by the French conquest of Algiers in 1830.

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  • ✪ In Search Of History - Pirates Of The Barbary Coast (History Channel Documentary)
  • ✪ The White Slaves of Barbary North Africa and the Ottoman Empire
  • ✪ Barbary Wars: America's First Fight Against Terrorism
  • ✪ The Story of the Barbary Corsairs (FULL Audiobook)
  • ✪ The Forgotten "Turkish Raids"!


be gentle now on the History Channel stories from the pages of time stories of triumph and tragedy adventure and achievement as we go in search of history in the late 1700s the fledgling nation of America awoke to a startling reality US trade ships in the Mediterranean were being overrun by pirates who terrorized American crews held them for ransom even sold them into slavery these outrages would lead to a little-known war as we go in search of history for pirates of the Barbary Coast northern Africa's sun-baked barbary coast of Morocco Algeria Tunisia and Tripoli now known as Libya has been a pirates haven for centuries for the Barbary Coast Buccaneers most of them Muslim the lucrative spoils of piracy were a mainstay of their nations economies by the 1600s it had evolved into virtually a business it was a major source of income and support for the rulers of these four states basically what they did was made a national policy of always been at war with somebody then you sold a piece sometimes sold it for a flat rate sometimes for annual tribute sometimes a combination of the two the Barbary pirates patrolled the waters of the Mediterranean demanding tribute or ransom for safe passage the hefty tributes help to maintain local economies and prop up the regime's of leaders called Pasha's or days for centuries in the area the Mediterranean world these vassal states along the north coast of Africa facing the Mediterranean had it as their business to control the waters nearby their Shores they were in a way sort of early exponents of the 200-mile limit they believed that if you sailed within their waters which they defined as being pretty far out you had to pay tribute trade vessels from around the world were compelled to submit to these conditions in order to sail the Mediterranean waters without interference from pirates in most instances the European nations England France Sweden Spain Portugal had over the years worked out a rather an arrangement with the Barbary Corsairs by which annual tribute was paid and by that payment they were buying an insurance policy that then allowed their vessels to sail through those waters unmolested the richer countries of the world didn't mind paying in order to keep the peace Great Britain even hoped to bankrupt other nations by driving up the going price of tribute England and France could afford to pay off Algiers and then turn the Algerians on to their enemies this was a way of keeping down their commercial competition so there was a saying in England and in France and in Holland that if there were no Algiers we would have to build one because louis xiv is supposed to have said this because it benefited france to have algiers capturing france's rivals the British commercial men were supposed to have said this because it benefited England and Dutch merchants also were supposed to have said this these countries could afford to pay a large tribute because they did so much business in the Mediterranean but by the late 1700s there was a new presence on the international scene the United States of America the young and hungry Federation of States was eager to trade with the nations of the world but the upstart country was in for a rude awakening when its merchant ships arrived on the Barbary Coast as long as the American colonies were part of the British Empire we were protected by the Royal Navy and we were covered under that umbrella insurance policy after independence though after 1783 we were no longer part of the British Empire and now as an independent nation we the United States of America had to deal with the Barbary States the problem during the 1780s is the government doesn't have the enough money to either bribe them or to build a navy and fight them the Barbary Buccaneers had an uncomplicated strategy for their business of piracy they often simply waited for ships to enter the Mediterranean Sea then sailed alongside them and what the Barbary Corsairs did is they set up a toll gate and you paid at the toll gate if you paid and went through the toll gate then everything would be just fine if you didn't pay at the toll gate then they would attack and capture you and hold you for ransom hold you up make you force you to pay tribute the consequences of being taken prisoner were far worse for some seafarers than others the Pirates instituted a class system for their hostages how you treated these captives depended on who they were if they were a captain or a passenger or officer you would often give them basically the freedom of the city now if you weren't someone like this who you were in rags and but generally they kept you chained together sometimes they chained two three four people together sometimes they chained you individually to a heavy weight the American prisoners were put to work building fortifications for algerian cities with their fate contingent on whether ransom would be paid some died from disease or malnutrition while waiting for american intervention ships from the embattled United States soon became known as easy prey for the Barbary Coast pirates the United States was born into a very hostile world no one wished us well certainly the English didn't wish us well they weren't good losers the French had been our allies during the revolution but now they were our rivals and certainly the Barbary Corsairs did not wish us well either we had virtually no defense for our trade we had no Navy a number of Americans were already enslaved at hard labor in algerian prisons its reputation and expansion threatened the young america faced a dilemma would it follow in the tradition of other world powers and pay tribute to the Barbary Coast pirates buying freedom for those captured or would its political leaders challenged the stranglehold of the Mediterranean Corsairs by 1785 more than 20 American sailors were captives in algerian prisons President George Washington sent emissaries to the Mediterranean to discuss ransom arrangements but America couldn't leave behind any fighting ships to ensure continuing peace Washington was more concerned about the outbreak of war between the French and the British which he saw as a greater danger to US interests President Washington had a lot of other problems other than the two dozen American sailors in Algiers he appointed Jefferson to be Secretary of State and one of the first things Jefferson did was to draw up a report on Mediterranean trade and Jefferson said there are essentially three things the United States can do in to secure peace and trade in the Mediterranean one a tribute to Algiers Tripoli in Tunis to leave the Mediterranean altogether or three and build a navy to subdue the Algerians the trepal items and the Tunisians Jefferson's findings received a decidedly mixed reaction from government leaders in Washington nobody was eager to engage in a war on the other side of the world simply to ensure trouble-free training the ultimate goal is free and safe passage through their waters we need to be able to sail through those waters in order to do business and that is fundamental we need to be trading in the Mediterranean and the Barbary Corsairs are an obstacle to trade this is not an issue of imperialism this is not an issue of conquering territory this is a matter of business commerce and trade still the Barbary States plundered and pillaged and will this enraged Jefferson who took a much harder line than Washington though he was opposed to funding a large Navy Jefferson recognized the threat the Barbary Corsairs posed to America's tenuous standing as an emerging world power in his opinion something had to be done but still America's political leaders hesitated and it wasn't until finally in 1794 when it grew so wearisome when the problem could no longer be ignored that President Washington managed to persuade the Congress to authorize the construction of six frigates six large sailing warships it didn't seem like much at the time but the new legislation marked the birth of the United States Navy the landmark legislation passed over the objections of Jefferson and other Republicans who saw it as a violation of states rights but a compromise was found to placate Jefferson and other southern politicians if peace was achieved with Algiers only three ships would be built just one year later Algiers signed a treaty and hostilities were suspended as a result the US Navy began very humbly with just three vessels they became the first vessels in the new American Navy the most famous is USS Constitution she was launched in Boston in October of 1797 commissioned in Boston still afloat oldest commissioned warship in the world the following year John Adams defeated Thomas Jefferson in the race to become the second president of the United States Jefferson was named vice president but the two men clashed over the issue of whether to pay ransom to the Barbary Corsairs you've got Adam saying you know it's a matter of trade it's a matter of doing business pay the money and let's get on with business you got Jefferson saying it's a matter of Honor the American people want justice and if we demand justice and respect for the United States we'll gain stature in Europe sighs piracy again plagued American merchant ships in the Mediterranean and the Barbary pirates seemed emboldened by America's failure to respond by the time Thomas Jefferson won the presidency in 1800 he realized that bribes to Barbary States totaled over two million dollars more than one-fifth the total income of the US government to that date yet the president who had advocated the use of force while holding lower offices seemed to turn gun-shy back in the 1780s Jefferson had said we need to fight them but when Jefferson comes into office Jefferson is more interested in balancing the budget reducing the national debt and he makes a drastic cuts in the Navy and he tries to negotiate with these Corsairs and he is willing to pay them off at this point but the price is simply too high Yussef the cunning and mercurial Pasha of Tripoli soon forced Jefferson's hand in the spring of 1801 the greedy Yousef demanded outrageous tributes from the US when America declined payment he chopped down the flag in front of the American consulate things really began to heat up with Tripoli in 1801 and they really began to torment us and annoy us in ways and to a degree of seriousness that hadn't been achieved before cutting down the American flag was a declaration of war and America reacted accordingly Jefferson ordered a squadron of four ships already in the Mediterranean to attempt a military blockade the fleet was too small and the effort was a dismal failure to make matters worse America's best fighting ship the Philadelphia ran aground and was captured by Barbary pirates on October 31st 1803 over 300 American sailors were herded into Tripoli tunisians Philadelphia represented maybe a third of American naval power in terms of guns in the Mediterranean at this time so when the Tripoli Tain's take it in are they refloated and they were working to rearm it and remastered and so forth the balance of power would fundamentally shift to their favor in the Mediterranean if that ship can be put back into commission by them though it was undeclared the United States was now truly at war with Tripoli and already at a disadvantage president Jefferson took swift and decisive action he sent his new Commodore of the Navy to the Barbary Coast to remedy the situation command of the American squadron was given to Commodore Edward treble Preble was from Maine he was a had officer a very hot and difficult and an extremely competent officer Preble sailed into Tripoli Harbor only to find that the pride of America's fledgling Navy was now in the hands of Barbary pirates with his tiny fleet could Preble hope to win this undeclared war and negotiate a lasting and favorable peace with one of the fleet's best fighting ships now controlled by the Barbary pirates commander Edward Preble faced a critical decision should he try to retake the Philadelphia or destroy her Preble settled on destruction and asked for volunteers to lead the dangerous mission a courageous 25 year old Navy lieutenant named Stephen Decatur was the first to raise his hand Stephen Decatur had a way of commanding people from an early age he never backed away from a fight he frequently took on people much bigger as a child so he exhibited a lot of leadership qualities early on he was a devoted patriot and at that time in American history that's what was needed everyone knew that he was a very emotional individual everyone knew that he had a very fine sense of honour everyone knew that he was fearless Decatur had already distinguished himself as a young Navy officer but clearly he had aspirations beyond his immediate station the world of the sailing warship was a world that we in the late 20th century would have great difficulty comprehending a tight world a dirty world a confining world a world that was constantly filled with tension and it was in that world that Stephen Decatur this lieutenant functioned a man of great bravery boldness and absolutely impetuous and filled with ambition he wanted nothing more than to be famous the events that followed would help ensure Decatur's place in history on the night of February 15th 1804 Decatur stashed his crew below decks on a boat called the Intrepid and launched his assault on the Philadelphia still held by Barbary pirates he sailed the Intrepid into the harbor at Tripoli and he came up with a daring plan which was to disguise it as a merchant ship but he had the pilot speaking a fluent Italian to the people who were on the Philadelphia so as not to arouse any suspicion Decatur's boat tied up next to the unwitting Philadelphia and the brave young lieutenant led the attack to defend America's honor once they've tied up very quickly someone aboard the Philadelphia discovered who they were screams Americanos but by then it's too late the Americans swarmed over them almost immediately Decatur in the sixty Americans and others came aboard the Tripolitan ship and overwhelmed the Tripolitan crew driving them off of the ship a lot of them dove into the water and quite a number were killed in this action and then Decatur and his men went below deck and started fires at every possible point where they could came off the ship back on to the Intrepid and sailed out of the harbor with the Pasha's cannons blazing and the flames from the Philadelphia lighting up the night sky Decatur and his men returned to the safety of the American squadron the unprecedented raid had been successful perhaps even beyond Decatur zone wildly ambitious dreaming news the Philadelphia was completely destroyed and Decatur and his men had left Tripoli Harbor without losing a single man in this operation Lord Nelson the British Admiral said "This was the most bold and daring naval act of the age" and Nelson was someone who knew about bold and daring naval acts Back home the news of Decatur's victorious attack thrilled an American public starved for good news about their country's fighting efforts this was a new symbol that American sailors like Decatur could perform acts like this acts of courage and skill in destroying this ship so it had an immediate impact in the United States and Jefferson recognized its importance as soon as he heard of this he proposed promoting Decatur to captain and Congress voted to give Decatur a sword he was the youngest commissioned captain in the Navy at the age of 25 a record that has not been broken yet Decatur's uncommon bravery had not been exhausted by the attack on the Philadelphia his brother James also a Navy sailor had himself been fighting Barbary pirates in ongoing gun battles when James boarded a Tripolitan ship that had surrendered the pirate captain suddenly pulled a gun and shot him dead the news soon reached Stephen Decatur on his nearby gunboat when Decatur hears this he's incensed and he immediately turns back now Decatur has aboard his gunboat less than a dozen men he turns around Wade's back into the fight where his brother had been and in virtually a fit of rage attacks him Decatur avenged his brother's death by killing in hand-to-hand combat the Barbary captain who had taken James's life the exploit added even more luster to his growing legend with momentum suddenly on his side after the burning of the Philadelphia in July Commander Preble laid siege to Tripoli which was defended by 25,000 troops 24 warships and 155 cannons Preble flotilla of just seven American vessels bombed the city for four days in August of 1804 but the Tripolitans showed few signs of backing down the Americans were outnumbered and to the dismay of the many brave young officers who served under him Preble's tour of duty was ending basically Preble has laid the groundwork for victory by the time he leaves but then he's superseded in command he returns to the United States and his successors and it's Samuel Baron is less pugnacious his successor is interested in negotiating a peace when commander Samuel baron arrived on the Barbary Coast two months later to replace Preble he sailed with the largest u.s. squadron ever assembled more than 20 fighting ships he also brought with him a man who unwittingly would forge a place for himself in the lore of America's fighting forces his name was William Eaton and he had long been critical of America's actions toward the Barbary States he was a military officer he had been a colonel in the American army in the 1790s after trying to pursue a number of different careers he had taught school for a while he had engaged in business and then he had been appointed to the army and in 1798 he was appointed American Consul to Tunis Eaton had been in the United States and had tried to convince the United States that it should invade this area that it should send an army he of course got no support the idea of sending American troops across the Atlantic was simply beyond consideration by a government at that time by the spring of 1805 and had hatched an audacious scheme to end the four year old war with the Barbary States the plan didn't generate much support from commander Maron who granted even the only a tiny fighting unit of one midshipman and eight US Marines which Eaton managed to augment with a few hundred Arab, Greek and Albanian mercenaries yet the exploits of Eden's ragtag fighting force would make history and would help inspire the Marine Hymn still sung proudly to this day when American adventurer William Eaton arrived in the Mediterranean in the spring of 1805 Tripoli still held more than 300 American prisoners in his hellish prisons the conventional wisdom was that the only way to subdue Tripoli and the other Barbary States was by dominating the seas the audacious Eton had other plans to overthrow Yusuf the Pasha of Tripoli and replace him with Yusuf's brother Achmed. Yusuf had seized power from Achmed in 1795 and Achmed even though he was the older brother was not a very charismatic figure and was not a very good ruler Eaton conceived really an ingenious idea that if the United States have could set up met up and Darrin the true Politan people would rally to his support because Yousef was a great tyrant. Eaton was granted a small Expeditionary Force consisting of one midshipman and eight Marines to implement his plan his next challenge was to find Achmed who had been driven into exile by Yusuf Eaton was taken to Egypt because by this time Achmed had disappeared again he kept wandering around the Mediterranean eaten finally tracked him down in Egypt and they signed an agreement that Achmed would make eaten a general in this expeditionary force and Eaton would raise an army of Arabs Albanians various mercenaries along with some American marines even led his ragtag army of Marines and mercenaries across six hundred miles of treacherous North African desert and the plan is to march across the desert where they'll rendezvous with three ships from the u.s. mediterranean squadron and then they'll jointly attack the city of Derna which is the second largest city in tripoli and as they march across the desert the brother the Pretender is able to recruit more and more soldiers by the time they get there he's got about a band of about 600 that arrive outside the city of Derna just surviving the hostile desert had been miraculous now the army of eatin and off met was gathered outside the walls of Derna preparing to attack there they meet up with the three US Navy ships and with the ship's firing on the fork from one side they attack it from the land side and capture they move from there to occupy in the city and once they occupy the city they of course announce that this is that the free Libya with a legitimate ruler so on behalf of the United States and up met Cara Manley the American flag is planted over the city of Darrin the first time it will fly over a captured foreign city but then two things happen which really stunned William Eaton first the people of Tripoli failed to rally to Achmed cause the people seemed to like use of Kara manly much more than they like his brother so there isn't a popular rebellion second off the coast of Darrin appears an American ship and Eaton believes at first its bringing reinforcements to supply them on their march to Tripoli but instead it brings news that the United States and Yusuf have signed a peace treaty under which the United States and Tripoli agree to an exchange of prisoners stunned by what he perceived as a betrayal by the US government Eaton had precious few options he fled Derna along with Achmed insisting all along that Yousef could have been toppled had he been allowed to march on Tripoli Eaton goes back to the United States and he's furious with the Jefferson administration Eden's bitter disappointment over the incident in Tripoli led to a downward spiral that finally culminated in a lonely death in 1811 still his brave but misguided coup was forever etched in the annals of US history I suppose we're meetin is best remembered because of the Marines him from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli and to the shores of Tripoli are the Marines who join with William Eaton and Hammond Cara Manley on this assault against the Tripoli Tain's the treaty with Tripoli was soon followed by another with Tunis and for the next five years the United States enjoyed peace along the Barbary Coast America's attention was soon redirected to the war of 1812 the war heroes like Stephen Decatur continued to distinguish themselves in that struggle the fighting took its toll on American trained during the conflict the British blockaded the Mediterranean the US Navy couldn't enter Mediterranean waters so unprotected American merchant ships once again began to fall victim to the Barbary pirates the old troubles began anew by then James Madison had been elected president of the United States long a proponent of Jefferson's aggressive policy toward the Barbary problem Madison wasted no time in making the unofficial war a matter of public record he declared war on Algiers on March 2nd 1815 it's immediately at the end of the war of 1812 that our government decides it has to do something about this President Madison immediately dispatched to u.s. naval squadrons to the Mediterranean one sailing under the steady hand of Stephen Decatur renowned as the fearless officer who had torched the Philadelphia and captured the imagination of the American public the first hero of the Barbary Wars now commanding a ten vessel American squadron was Stephen Decatur the man to end the barbering Wars eleven years after sailing into Tripoli Harbor aboard the tiny intrepid Stephen Decatur returned to the Barbary States in 1815 with orders from President Madison and an impressive squadron of American fighting ships under his command Decatur got there and outside of the Straits of Gibraltar for the flagship the Algerian Navy captured that and then sailed into port and as he said dictated peace terms at the mouth of a cannon and after doing this he toured the other three states and closed treaties on them arriving in Tripoli Decatur was treated as a hero by the very men against whom he'd fought a decade earlier his forceful demeanor and swiftly negotiated peace treaties restored American honour and secured the Seas for American ships within days of Decatur's arrival America's long-running Barbary wars were over but Stephen Decatur the first hero of the new American Navy would one day find that his fame would earn him mortal enemies in 1808 Decatur was called upon to act as a judge at the court-martial of Captain James Barron the brother of Samuel Baron who had once replaced Edward Preble as commander of the Mediterranean fleet Barun was on trial for cowardly actions against a British warship and Decatur was among those who voted against him in doing so Decatur created an enemy for life in 1819 Decatur finally acquiesced to Berens repeated challenges to duels the date for the blood match was set for March 22nd 1820 Decatur and Aaron met at Bladensburg Maryland and Decatur I believe said will buy at eight paces and Decatur and also said he would aim low so as not to mortally wound his opponent the two men fired at precisely the same instant and both were wounded the bullet that struck Decatur ricocheted off his hip and tore through his abdomen but he fell almost instantly and Baron fell as well and there within 10 feet of each other and they both think they're going to die so Baron says he forgives decatur from the bottom of his heart and decatur accepts this Barun recovered from his injuries but Decatur expired a few days later in his last words Decatur lamented that he had not died in the service of his country Decatur's funeral was a great state funeral every public official in Washington came out to mourn Stephen Decatur who had been the bravest of the American sailors of the war against Tripoli and one of the heroes of the war of 1812 I think Stephen Decatur's legacy is one of patriotism and love of country and that was an important thing at the beginning of the 19th century when the Navy was forming by the time of Decatur's death piracy along the Barbary Coast had reached its end the British perhaps inspired by America's hardline stance adopted a more confrontational strategy that proved effective but the British sent a fleet to Algiers which bombards Algiers and Algiers in the wake of the British attack agrees to suspend all capturing of Christian ships this really pretty much puts an end to capturing of ships by Barbary powers in 1830 the French invaded jeers and colonize it with that the tranquil waters of the Mediterranean once the domain of the feared Barbary pirates were safely open to the ships of the world and America's memory of the Barbary Wars seemed to fade into the background Americans don't like to remember that we were so weak that our trade our ships can be pushed around by these tiny little North African states we also don't like to remember the fact that we paid tribute to them for over 20 years of one sort or another and lastly we don't like to remember that after the capture of Derna in our peace treaty with Tripoli we abandoned this man who was our ally though overshadowed by larger conflicts like the Civil War and the world wars of the 20th century the Barbary wars were critical to America's development the United States Navy was created for the specific purpose of safeguarding American merchants from Barbary pirates and the Marine Corps established itself as an overseas fighting force for the first time in the assault on Tripoli the wars also led to the end of sanctioned piracy in tribute and a long-standing American presence in the Mediterranean Sea a presence that continues to this day historians see still other effects of the war with the Barbary States the United States accepted the fact that if you're going to defend American rights American interests American trade around the world you're going to have to have a naval presence Americans become very interested in the idea of honor and how we're going to be treated and perceived overseas and we follow a policy almost of retribution any time we find American men mistreated an American ship captured or something we go out and punish the people who did it and so in a way the Babri courses were convenient for us it allowed us to engage in a war that we could and that we did win the Barbary wars were also important because they were a training ground for American naval offices the men who had come to lead the American Navy learned their trade in the Barbary Wars despite being fought nearly 200 years ago the Barbary wars brought about changes that continue to reverberate in the modern world a reminder that even little-known conflicts echo for generations as we go in search of history



Piracy by Muslim populations had been known in the Mediterranean since at least the 9th century and the short-lived Emirate of Crete. Provence was plagued by Saracen slave raids in the Carolingian era; in 869, archbishop Rotlandus of Arles was captured, and died before he could be released after the payment of a ransom in weapons, treasure and slaves.

In 1198 the problem of Berber piracy and slave-taking was so great that a religious order, the Trinitarians, were founded to collect ransoms and even to exchange themselves as ransom for those captured and pressed into slavery in North Africa. In the 14th century Tunisian corsairs became enough of a threat to provoke a Franco-Genoese attack on Mahdia in 1390, also known as the "Barbary Crusade". Morisco exiles of the Reconquista and Maghreb pirates added to the numbers, but it was not until the expansion of the Ottoman Empire and the arrival of the privateer and admiral Kemal Reis in 1487 that the Barbary corsairs became a true menace to shipping from European Christian nations.[7]

British captain witnessing the miseries of Christian slaves in Algiers, 1815
British captain witnessing the miseries of Christian slaves in Algiers, 1815

The Barbary pirates had long attacked English and other European shipping along the North Coast of Africa. They had been attacking English merchant and passengers ships since the 1600s. Regular fundraising for ransoms was undertaken generally by families and local church groups, who generally raised the ransoms for individuals. The government did not ransom ordinary persons. The English became familiar with captivity narratives written by Barbary pirates' prisoners and ransomed captives, as so many people were taken. After English colonists began to go to North America and be taken captive by Native Americans, both the colonists and people in England had some basis for considering the meaning of captivity for a Christian in an alien society.[8]

During the American Revolution the pirates attacked American merchant vessels in the Mediterranean. But, on December 20, 1777, Sultan Mohammed III of Morocco issued a declaration recognizing America as an independent country, and that American merchant ships could enjoy safe passage into the Mediterranean and along the coast.[9][10] The relations were formalized with the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship signed in 1786, which stands as the U.S.'s oldest non-broken friendship treaty[11][12] with a foreign power.

As late as 1798, an islet near Sardinia was attacked by the Tunisians, and more than 900 inhabitants were taken away as slaves.[13] Throughout history, geography was on the pirates' side on the Northern coast of Africa. The coast was ideal for their wants and needs. With natural harbours often backed by lagoons, it provided a haven for guerrilla warfare, such as attacks on shipping vessels venturing through their territory. On the coast, mountainous areas provided ample reconnaissance for the corsairs as well. Ships were spotted from afar; the pirates had time to prepare their attacks and surprise the ships.

16th century

Moors and Turkish adventurers from the Levant, of whom the most successful were Hızır and Oruç, natives of Mitylene, increased the number of raids around the turn of the 15th century. In response, Spain began to conquer the coastal towns of Oran, Algiers and Tunis. But after Oruç was killed in battle with the Spanish in 1518, his brother Hızır appealed to Selim I, the Ottoman sultan, who sent him troops. In 1529, Hızır drove the Spaniards from the rocky, fortified island in front of Algiers, and founded the Ottoman power in the region. From about 1518 till the death of Uluç Ali in 1587, Algiers was the main seat of government of the beylerbeys of northern Africa, who ruled over Tripoli, Tunisia and Algeria. From 1587 to 1659, they were ruled by Ottoman pashas, sent from Constantinople to govern for three years; but in the latter year a military revolt in Algiers reduced the pashas to nonentities.

From 1659, these African cities, although nominally part of the Ottoman Empire, were in fact military republics that chose their own rulers and lived by war booty captured from the Spanish and Portuguese. There are several cases of Sephardic Jews, including Sinan Reis and Samuel Pallache, who upon fleeing Iberia turned to attacking the Spanish Empire's shipping under the Ottoman flag, a profitable strategy of revenge for the Inquisition's religious persecution.[14][15]

During the first period (1518–1587), the beylerbeys were admirals of the sultan, commanding great fleets and conducting war operations for political ends. They were slave-hunters and their methods were ferocious. After 1587, the sole object of their successors became plunder, on land and sea. The maritime operations were conducted by the captains, or reises, who formed a class or even a corporation. Cruisers were fitted out by investors and commanded by the reises. Ten percent of the value of the prizes was paid to the pasha or his successors, who bore the titles of agha or dey or bey.[16]

The Barbary pirates frequently attacked Corsica, resulting in many Genoese towers being erected.
The Barbary pirates frequently attacked Corsica, resulting in many Genoese towers being erected.

In 1544 Hayreddin captured the island of Ischia, taking 4,000 prisoners, and enslaved some 2,000–7,000 inhabitants of Lipari.[17][18] In 1551 Turgut Reis enslaved the entire population of the Maltese island of Gozo, between 5,000 and 6,000, sending them to Ottoman Tripolitania. In 1554 corsairs under Turgut Reis sacked Vieste, beheaded 5,000 of its inhabitants, and abducted another 6,000.[19] In 1555 Turgut Reis sacked Bastia, Corsica, taking 6,000 prisoners. In 1558, Barbary corsairs captured the town of Ciutadella (Minorca), destroyed it, murdered many inhabitants, and took 3,000 to Constantinople as slaves.[20] In 1563 Turgut Reis landed on the shores of the province of Granada, Spain, and captured coastal settlements in the area, such as Almuñécar, along with 4,000 prisoners. Barbary corsairs often attacked the Balearic Islands, and in response many coastal watchtowers and fortified churches were erected. The threat was so severe that residents abandoned the island of Formentera.

Even at this early stage, the European states fought back: Livorno's monument Quattro Mori celebrates 16th-century victories against the Barbary corsairs won by the Knights of Malta and the Order of Saint Stephen, of which the Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinando I de' Medici was Grand Master. Another response was the construction of the original frigates; light, fast and maneuverable galleys, designed to run down Barbary corsairs trying to get away with their loot and slaves. Other measures included coastal lookouts to give warning for people to withdraw into fortified places and rally local forces to fight the corsairs. This latter goal was especially difficult to achieve as the corsairs had the advantage of surprise; the vulnerable European Mediterranean coasts were very long and easily accessible from the north African Barbary bases, and the corsairs were careful in planning their raids.

17th century

A French Ship and Barbary Pirates by Aert Anthonisz, c. 1615
A French Ship and Barbary Pirates by Aert Anthonisz, c. 1615

During the first half of the 17th century, Barbary raiding was at its peak. This was due largely to the contribution of Dutch corsairs, notably Zymen Danseker (Simon de Danser), who used the Barbary ports as bases for attacking Spanish shipping during the Dutch Revolt. They cooperated with local raiders and introduced them to the latest Dutch sailing rigs, enabling them to brave Atlantic waters.[21] Some of these Dutch corsairs converted to Islam and settled permanently in North Africa. Two examples are Süleyman Reis, "De Veenboer", who became admiral of the Algerian corsair fleet in 1617, and his quartermaster Murat Reis, born Jan Janszoon. Both worked for the notorious Dutch corsair Zymen Danseker.

A notable counter action occurred in 1607, when the Knights of Saint Stephen (under Jacopo Inghirami) sacked Bona in Algeria, killing 470 and taking 1,464 captives.[22] This victory is commemorated by a series of frescoes painted by Bernardino Poccetti in the "Sala di Bona" of Palazzo Pitti, Florence.[23][24] In 1611 Spanish galleys from Naples, accompanied by the galleys of the Knights of Malta, raided the Kerkennah Islands off the coast of Tunisia and took away almost 500 Muslim captives.[25] Between 1568 and 1634 the Knights of Saint Stephen may have captured about 14,000 Muslims, with perhaps one-third taken in land raids and two-thirds taken on captured ships.[25]

Battle of a French ship of the line and two galleys of the Barbary corsairs
Battle of a French ship of the line and two galleys of the Barbary corsairs
The work of the Mercedarians was in ransoming Christian slaves held in Muslim hands, Histoire de Barbarie et de ses Corsaires, 1637
The work of the Mercedarians was in ransoming Christian slaves held in Muslim hands, Histoire de Barbarie et de ses Corsaires, 1637

Barbary corsair attacks were common in southern Portugal, south and east Spain, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Sardinia, Corsica, Elba, the Italian Peninsula (especially the Tyrrhenian coast), Sicily and Malta. They also occurred on the Atlantic northwest coast of the Iberian Peninsula as in 1617, when the North African corsairs launched their major attack in the region. They destroyed and sacked Bouzas, Cangas do Morrazo and the churches of Moaña and Darbo.

Occasionally coastal raids reached farther afield. Iceland was subject to raids in 1627. Jan Janszoon (Murat Reis the Younger) is said to have taken 400 prisoners; 242 of the captives later were sold into slavery on the Barbary Coast. The corsairs took only young people and those in good physical condition. All those offering resistance were killed, and the old people were gathered into a church which was set on fire. Among those captured was Ólafur Egilsson, who was ransomed the next year. Upon returning to Iceland, he wrote an account about his experience. Such captivity narratives by Europeans who had been held in Muslim states eventually constituted a literary genre.

Ireland was subject to a similar attack. In June 1631 Murat Reis, with corsairs from Algiers and armed troops of the Ottoman Empire, stormed ashore at the little harbor village of Baltimore, County Cork. They captured almost all the villagers and took them away to a life of slavery in North Africa.[16] The prisoners were destined for a variety of fates – some lived out their days chained to the oars as galley slaves, while women spent long years as concubines in harems or within the walls of the sultan's palace. Only two of these captives ever returned to Ireland.[26][page needed]

More than 20,000 captives were said to be imprisoned in Algiers alone. The rich were often able to secure release through ransom, but the poor were condemned to slavery. Their masters would on occasion allow them to secure freedom by professing Islam. A long list might be given of people of good social position, not only Italians or Spaniards, but German or English travelers in the south, who were captives for a time.[16] While the chief victims were the inhabitants of the coasts of Sicily, Naples and Spain, all traders of nations which did not pay tribute for immunity or force the Barbary States to leave them alone were liable to be taken at sea. Religious orders – the Redemptorists and Lazarists – worked for the redemption of captives, and in many countries the wealthy left legacies to support such redemptions.

An action between an English ship and vessels of the Barbary Corsairs
An action between an English ship and vessels of the Barbary Corsairs
Lieve Pietersz Verschuier, Dutch ships bomb Tripoli in a punitive expedition against the Barbary pirates, c. 1670
Lieve Pietersz Verschuier, Dutch ships bomb Tripoli in a punitive expedition against the Barbary pirates, c. 1670

Barbary piracy thrived on the competition among European powers. France encouraged the corsairs against Spain, and later Britain and Holland supported them against France. By the second half of the 17th century, the greater European naval powers were able to strike back effectively enough to intimidate the Barbary States into making peace with them. However, those countries' commercial interests benefited by the pirates continuing attacks on their competitors. As a result, they did not cooperate to impose a more general cessation of corsair activity.

England was the most successful of the Christian states in dealing with the corsair threat.[citation needed] From the 1630s onwards England had signed peace treaties with the Barbary States on various occasions, but invariably breaches of these agreements led to renewed wars. A particular bone of contention was the tendency of foreign ships to pose as English to avoid attack. However, growing English naval power and increasingly persistent operations against the corsairs proved increasingly costly for the Barbary States. During the reign of Charles II a series of English expeditions won victories over raiding Barbary squadrons and mounted attacks on their home ports; these actions permanently ended the Barbary threat to English shipping.[citation needed] In 1675 a Royal Navy squadron led by Sir John Narborough negotiated a lasting peace with Tunis and, after bombarding the city to induce compliance, with Tripoli.[27] Peace with Salé followed in 1676.

Algiers, returned to war the following year, breaking a treaty made in 1671. After suffering defeats at the hands of an English squadron under Arthur Herbert, Algiers made peace again in 1682, in a treaty that lasted until 1816. France, which had recently emerged as a leading naval power, achieved comparable success soon afterwards. It bombarded Algiers in 1682, 1683 and 1688 to secure a lasting peace, and forced Tripoli to sue for peace by bombardment in 1686. A 2016 study found that Barbary corsairs were less militarily powerful after 1675 than they were at the start of the seventeenth century.

18th–19th centuries

Captain William Bainbridge paying tribute to the Dey of Algiers, circa 1800
Captain William Bainbridge paying tribute to the Dey of Algiers, circa 1800

Piracy was enough of a problem that some states entered into the redemption business. In Denmark, "At the beginning of the 18th century money was collected systematically in all churches, and a so called 'slave fund' (slavekasse) was established by the state in 1715. Funds were brought in through a compulsory insurance sum for seafarers. 165 slaves were ransomed by this institution between 1716 and 1736."[28] "Between 1716 and 1754 19 ships from Denmark-Norway were captured with 208 men; piracy was thus a serious problem for the Danish merchant fleet."[28]

In the late 18th century piracy began to arise again. In 1783 and 1784 the Spanish bombarded Algiers to end piracy. The second time Admiral Barceló damaged the city so severely that the Algerian Dey asked Spain to negotiate a peace treaty. From then on Spanish vessels and coasts were safe for several years. Separately, the Danish attacked Tripoli in 1797.

Until the American Declaration of Independence in 1776, British treaties with the North African states protected American ships from the Barbary corsairs. Morocco, which in 1777 was the first independent nation to publicly recognize the United States, in 1784 became the first Barbary power to seize an American vessel after the nation achieved independence[citation needed]. The Barbary threat led directly to the United States founding the United States Navy in March 1794. While the United States did secure peace treaties with the Barbary states, it was obliged to pay tribute for protection from attack. The burden was substantial: in 1800 payments in ransom and tribute to the Barbary states amounted to 20% of United States federal government's annual expenditures.[29] The United States conducted the First Barbary War in 1801 and the Second Barbary War in 1815 to gain more favorable peace terms; it ended the payment of tribute. But, Algiers broke the 1805 peace treaty after two years, and refused to implement the 1815 treaty until compelled to do so by Britain in 1816.

The Congress of Vienna (1814–15), which ended the Napoleonic Wars, led to increased European consensus on the need to end Barbary raiding. The sacking of Palma on the island of Sardinia by a Tunisian squadron, which carried off 158 inhabitants, roused widespread indignation. Britain had by this time banned the slave trade and was seeking to induce other countries to do likewise. States that were more vulnerable to the corsairs complained that Britain cared more for ending the trade in African slaves than stopping the enslavement of Europeans and Americans by the Barbary States.

Bombardment of Algiers by Lord Exmouth in August 1816, Thomas Luny
Bombardment of Algiers by Lord Exmouth in August 1816, Thomas Luny

In order to neutralise this objection and further the anti-slavery campaign, in 1816 Britain sent Lord Exmouth to secure new concessions from Tripoli, Tunis, and Algiers, including a pledge to treat Christian captives in any future conflict as prisoners of war rather than slaves. He imposed peace between Algiers and the kingdoms of Sardinia and Sicily. On his first visit, Lord Exmouth negotiated satisfactory treaties and sailed for home. While he was negotiating, a number of Sardinian fishermen who had settled at Bona on the Tunisian coast were brutally treated without his knowledge. As Sardinians they were technically under British protection, the government sent Exmouth back to secure reparation. On August 17, in combination with a Dutch squadron under Admiral Van de Capellen, Exmouth bombarded Algiers. Both Algiers and Tunis made fresh concessions as a result.

The Barbary states had difficulty securing uniform compliance with a total prohibition of slave-raiding, as this had been traditionally of central importance to the North African economy. Slavers continued to take captives by preying on less well-protected peoples. Algiers subsequently renewed its slave-raiding, though on a smaller scale. Europeans at the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818 discussed possible retaliation. In 1820 a British fleet under Admiral Sir Harry Neal bombarded Algiers. Corsair activity based in Algiers did not entirely cease until France conquered the state in 1830.[16]


Barbary slaves

According to Robert Davis, between 1 million and 1.25 million Europeans were captured by Barbary pirates and sold as slaves in North Africa and Ottoman Empire between the 16th and 19th centuries.[30][31] However, to extrapolate his numbers, Davis assumes the number of European slaves captured by Barbary pirates were constant for a 250-year period, stating:

There are no records of how many men, women and children were enslaved, but it is possible to calculate roughly the number of fresh captives that would have been needed to keep populations steady and replace those slaves who died, escaped, were ransomed, or converted to Islam. On this basis it is thought that around 8,500 new slaves were needed annually to replenish numbers – about 850,000 captives over the century from 1580 to 1680. By extension, for the 250 years between 1530 and 1780, the figure could easily have been as high as 1,250,000.[4]

Slave market in Algiers, 1684
Slave market in Algiers, 1684

Davis' numbers have been question by the historian David Earle, who said of Davis' numbers "His figures sound a bit dodgy and I think he may be exaggerating" and cautioned that the true picture of European slaves is clouded by the fact that the corsairs also seized non-Christian whites from eastern Europe and black people from west Africa.[4]

In addition, the number of slaves traded was hyperactive, with exaggerated estimates relying on peak years to calculate averages for entire centuries, or millennia. Hence, there were wide fluctuations year-to-year, particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries, given slave imports, and given the fact that, prior to the 1840s, there are no consistent records. Middle East expert, John Wright, cautions that modern estimates are based on back-calculations from human observation.[32]

Such observations, across the late 1500s and early 1600s observers, account for around 35,000 European Christian slaves held throughout this period on the Barbary Coast, across Tripoli, Tunis, but mostly in Algiers. The majority were sailors (particularly those who were English), taken with their ships, but others were fishermen and poor coastal villagers. However, most of these captives were people from lands close to Africa, particularly Spain and Italy.[33]

From bases on the Barbary coast, North Africa, the Barbary pirates raided ships traveling through the Mediterranean and along the northern and western coasts of Africa, plundering their cargo and enslaving the people they captured. From at least 1500, the pirates also conducted raids along seaside towns of Italy, Spain, France, England, the Netherlands and as far away as Iceland, capturing men, women and children. On some occasions, settlements such as Baltimore, Ireland were abandoned following the raid, only being resettled many years later. Between 1609 and 1616, England alone had 466 merchant ships lost to Barbary pirates.[34]

Christian slaves in Algiers, early 19th century
Christian slaves in Algiers, early 19th century

While Barbary corsairs looted the cargo of ships they captured, their primary goal was to capture people for sale as slaves or for ransom. Those who had family or friends who might ransom them were held captive, but not obliged to work; the most famous of these was the author Miguel de Cervantes, who was held for almost five years. Others were sold into various types of servitude. Attractive women or boys could be used as sex slaves. Captives who converted to Islam were generally freed, since enslavement of Muslims was prohibited; but this meant that they could never return to their native countries.[35][36]

Captives often suffered from privation on voyages to North Africa if taken at a distance. Those who survived the journeys were often forced to walk through town as they were taken to slave auctions. The slaves typically had to stand from eight in the morning until two in the afternoon while buyers viewed them. Next came the auction, where the townspeople would bid on the captives they wanted to purchase and once that was over, the governor of Algiers (the Dey) had the chance to purchase any slave he wanted for the price they were sold at the auction. During the auctions the slaves would be forced to run and jump around to show their strength and stamina. After purchase, the captives would either be held for ransom, or be put to work. Slaves were used for a wide variety of jobs, from hard manual labor to housework (the job assigned to most women slaves). At night the slaves were put into prisons called 'bagnios' (derived from the Italian word "bagno" for public bath, inspired by the Turks' use of Roman baths at Constantinople as prisons),[37] which were often hot and overcrowded. However, these bagnios began improving by the 18th century. Some bagnios had chapels, hospitals, shops, and bars run by captives, though such amenities remained uncommon.

Galley slaves

Conquest of Tunis by Charles V and liberation of Christian galley slaves in 1535
Conquest of Tunis by Charles V and liberation of Christian galley slaves in 1535

Although the conditions in bagnios were harsh, they were better than those endured by galley slaves. Most Barbary galleys were at sea for around eighty to a hundred days a year, but when the slaves assigned to them were on land, they were forced to do hard manual labor. There were exceptions: "galley slaves of the Ottoman Sultan in Constantinople would be permanently confined to their galleys, and often served extremely long terms, averaging around nineteen years in the late seventeenth-century and early eighteenth-century periods. These slaves rarely got off the galley but lived there for years."[38] During this time, rowers were shackled and chained where they sat, and never allowed to leave. Sleeping (which was limited), eating, defecation and urination took place at the seat to which they were shackled. There were usually five or six rowers on each oar. Overseers would walk back and forth and whip slaves considered not to be working hard enough.

French bombardment of Algiers by Admiral Dupperé, 13 June 1830
French bombardment of Algiers by Admiral Dupperé, 13 June 1830
Almuñécar's coat of arms, which shows the turbaned heads of three Barbary pirates floating in the sea, was granted to the town by King Charles V in 1526
Almuñécar's coat of arms, which shows the turbaned heads of three Barbary pirates floating in the sea, was granted to the town by King Charles V in 1526

Famous Barbary corsairs

According to historian Adrian Tinniswood, the most notorious corsairs were English and European renegades who had learned their trade as privateers, and who moved to the Barbary Coast during peacetime to pursue their trade. These outcasts brought up-to-date naval expertise to the piracy business, and enabled the corsairs to make long-distance slave-catching raids as far away as Iceland and Newfoundland.[2] The English corsair Henry Mainwaring later returned to England after gaining a royal pardon. He was knighted, elected to Parliament, and appointed a vice admiral of the Royal Navy.[2]

Barbarossa brothers

Oruç Barbarossa

The most famous of the corsairs in North Africa were brothers Oruç and Hızır Hayreddin. They, and two less well-known brothers, all became Barbary corsairs; they were called the Barbarossas (Italian for Redbeards) after the red beard of Oruç, the eldest. Oruç captured the island of Djerba for the Ottoman Empire in 1502 or 1503. He often attacked Spanish territories on the coast of North Africa; during one failed attempt in 1512 he lost his left arm to a cannonball. The eldest Barbarossa also went on a rampage through Algiers in 1516, and captured the town with the help of the Ottoman Empire. He executed the ruler of Algiers and everybody he suspected would oppose him, including local rulers. He was finally captured and killed by the Spanish in 1518, and put on display.

Hızır Hayreddin Barbarossa

Ottoman admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa
Ottoman admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa

Oruç, based mainly on land, was not the best-known of the Barbarossas. His youngest brother Hızır (later called Hayreddin or Kheir ed-Din) was a more traditional corsair. He was a capable engineer and spoke at least six languages. He dyed the hair of his head and beard with henna to redden it like Oruç's. After capturing many crucial coastal areas, Hayreddin was appointed admiral-in-chief of the Ottoman sultan's fleet. Under his command the Ottoman Empire was able to gain and keep control of the eastern Mediterranean for over thirty years. Barbaros Hızır Hayreddin Pasha died in 1546 of a fever, possibly the plague.

Captain Jack Ward

English corsair Jack, or John, Ward was once called "beyond doubt the greatest scoundrel that ever sailed from England" by the English ambassador to Venice. Ward was a privateer for Queen Elizabeth during her war with Spain; after the end of the war, he became a corsair. With some associates he captured a ship in about 1603 and sailed it to Tunis; he and his crew converted to Islam. He was successful and became rich. He introduced heavily armed square-rigged ships, used instead of galleys, to the North African area, a major reason for the Barbary's future dominance of the Mediterranean. He died of plague in 1622.

Sayyida al-Hurra

Sayyida al-Hurra was a female Muslim cleric, merchant, governor of Tétouan, and later the wife of the sultan of Morocco.[39][40] She was born around 1485 in the Emirate of Granada, but was forced to flee to Morocco when she was very young to escape the Reconquista. In Morocco, she gathered a crew largely of exiled Moors, and launched pirate expeditions against Spain and Portugal to avenge the Reconquista, protect Morocco from Christian pirates, and seek riches and glory. She co-founded the Barbary Corsairs with her allies the Barbarossa brothers, who divided the Mediterranean between them—the Barbarossas and their Ottoman fleet operating in the east, and Sayyida al-Hurra and her Moorish and North-African pirates operating in the west. Sayyida al-Hurra became wealthy and renowned enough for the Sultan of Morocco, Ahmad al-Wattasi to make her his queen. Notably, however, she refused to marry in his capital of Fez, and would not get married but in Tétouan, of which she was governor. This was the first and only time in history that a Moroccan monarch had married away from his capital.

Other famous Barbary corsairs

Mulai Ahmed er Raisuni, the last of the Barbary Pirates.
Mulai Ahmed er Raisuni, the last of the Barbary Pirates.

In fiction

The Quattro Mori ("Four Moors") by Pietro Tacca; Livorno, Italy
The Quattro Mori ("Four Moors") by Pietro Tacca; Livorno, Italy

Barbary corsairs are protagonists in Le pantere di Algeri (the panthers of Algiers) by Emilio Salgari. They were featured in a number of other noted novels, including Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, père, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, The Sea Hawk and the Sword of Islam by Rafael Sabatini, The Algerine Captive by Royall Tyler, Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian, the Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson, The Walking Drum by Louis Lamour, Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting, Corsair by Clive Cussler and Angélique in Barbary by Anne Golon. Miguel de Cervantes, the Spanish author, was captive for five years as a slave in the bagnio of Algiers, and reflected his experience in some of his fictional (but not directly autobiographical) writings, including the Captive's tale in Don Quixote, his two plays set in Algiers, El Trato de Argel (The Treaty of Algiers) and Los Baños de Argel (The Baths of Algiers), and episodes in a number of other works. In Mozart's opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail (a Singspiel), two European ladies are discovered in a Turkish harem, presumably captured by Barbary corsairs. Rossini's opera L'Italiana in Algeri is based on the capture of several slaves by Barbary corsairs led by the bey of Algiers.

One of the stereotypical features of a pirate as portrayed in popular culture, the eye patch, may have been partially derived from the Arab corsair Rahmah ibn Jabir al-Jalahimah, who wore a patch after losing an eye in battle in the 18th century.[41]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Robert Davis (2011-02-17). "British Slaves on the Barbary Coast". Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e Review of Pirates of Barbary by Ian W. Toll, New York Times, 12 Dec. 2010
  3. ^ Thornton, Richard. Fort Caroline, the Search for America's Lost Heritage. ISBN 9781312344433.
  4. ^ a b c Carroll, Rory; correspondent, Africa (2004-03-11). "New book reopens old arguments about slave raids on Europe". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  5. ^ Conlin, Joseph R. The American Past: A Survey of American History, Volume I: To 1877. p. 206.
  6. ^ Chaney, Eric (2015-10-01). "Measuring the military decline of the Western Islamic World: Evidence from Barbary ransoms". Explorations in Economic History. 58: 107–124. doi:10.1016/j.eeh.2015.03.002.
  7. ^ Pryor (1988), p. 192
  8. ^ Linda Colley (2004) Captives: Britain, Empire, and the World, 1600–1850, Anchor Books Edition, New York ISBN 978-0-385-72146-2
  9. ^ Tucker, Spencer C. (2014-06-11). The Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Early American Republic, 1783–1812: A Political, Social, and Military History [3 volumes]: A Political, Social, and Military History. ISBN 9781598841572.
  10. ^ Tucker, Spencer C. (2014-06-11). The Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Early American Republic, 1783–1812: A Political, Social, and Military History [3 volumes]: A Political, Social, and Military History. ISBN 9781598841572.
  11. ^ Roberts, Priscilla H. and Richard S. Roberts, Thomas Barclay (1728–1793: Consul in France, Diplomat in Barbary, Lehigh University Press, 2008, pp. 206–223.
  12. ^ "Milestones of American Diplomacy, Interesting Historical Notes, and Department of State History". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 2007-12-17.
  13. ^ Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500–1800. Robert Davis (2004). p.45. ISBN 1-4039-4551-9.
  14. ^ Kritzler, Edward (November 3, 2009). Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean. Anchor. pp. 59–60. ISBN 978-0-7679-1952-4. Retrieved 2010-05-02.
  15. ^ Plaut, Steven (October 15, 2008). "Putting the Oy Back into 'Ahoy'". Retrieved 2010-04-27. [1][2][3]
  16. ^ a b c d Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Barbary Pirates" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  17. ^ Syed, Muzaffar Husain; Akhtar, Syed Saud; Usmani, B. D. (2011-09-14). Concise History of Islam. Vij Books India Pvt Ltd. ISBN 9789382573470.
  18. ^ Her Majesty's Commission, State Papers (1849). King Henry the Eighth Volume 10 Part V Foreign Correspondence 1544-45. London.
  19. ^ Mercati, Angelo (1982). Saggi di storia e letteratura, vol. II. Rome.
  20. ^ "History of Menorca". Archived from the original on 2009-02-07.
  21. ^ Alfred S. Bradford (2007), Flying the Black Flag, p. 132.
  22. ^ John B. Hattendorf and Richard W. Unger (2003). War at Sea in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Boydell Press.
  23. ^ "Curator's comments on a draft study by Bernardino Poccetti". The British Museum.
  24. ^ "Palazzo Pitti".
  25. ^ a b Jamieson, Alan (2012). Lords of the Sea: A History of the Barbary Corsairs. London.
  26. ^ Ekin, Des (2006). The Stolen Village – Baltimore and the Barbary Pirates. OBrien. ISBN 978-0-86278-955-8.
  27. ^ "Articles of peace & commerce between ... Charles II ... and the ... Lords the Bashaw, Dey, Aga, Divan, and governours of the ... kingdom of Tripoli concluded by Sir John Narbrough ... the first day of May, 1676". University of Michigan.
  28. ^ a b Peter Madsen, "Danish slaves in Barbary", Islam in European Literature Conference, Denmark Archived November 10, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
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  • Clissold, Stephen. 1976. "Christian Renegades and Barbary Corsairs." History Today 26, no. 8: 508–515. Historical Abstracts.
  • Davis, Robert C., Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, The Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500–1800. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. 2003. ISBN 0-333-71966-2
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  • World Navies
  • To the Shores of Tripoli: The Birth of the U.S. Navy and Marines.—Annapolis, MD : Naval Institute Press, 1991, 2001.

Further reading

  • Adrian Tinniswood, Pirates of Barbary: Corsairs, Conquests and Captivity in the Seventeenth-Century Mediterranean, 343 pp. Riverhead Books, 2010. ISBN 978-1-59448-774-3. NY Times review
  • Piracy and Law in the Ottoman Mediterranean by Joshua M. White (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2017). ISBN 978-1-50360-252-6.
  • White Gold: The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and North Africa's One Million European Slaves by Giles Milton (Sceptre, 2005)
  • London, Joshua E. Victory in Tripoli: How America's War with the Barbary Pirates Established the U.S. Navy and Shaped a Nation. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005. ISBN 978-0-471-44415-2
  • The pirate coast : Thomas Jefferson, the first marines and the secret mission of 1805 by Richard Zacks. Hyperion, 2005. ISBN 1-4013-0849-X
  • Christian slaves, Muslim masters : white slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500–1800 by Robert C. Davis. New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. ISBN 978-0-333-71966-4
  • Piracy, Slavery and Redemption: Barbary Captivity Narratives from Early Modern England by D. J. Vikus (Columbia University Press, 2001)
  • The Stolen Village: Baltimore and the Barbary Pirates by Des Ekin ISBN 978-0-86278-955-8
  • Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival by Dean King, ISBN 0-316-15935-2
  • Oren, Michael. "Early American Encounters in the Middle East", in Power, Faith, and Fantasy. New York: Norton, 2007.
  • Boot, Max (2002). The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-00720-2.
  • Lambert, Frank. The Barbary Wars. New York: Hill and Wang, 2005.
  • Whipple, A. B. C. To the Shores of Tripoli: The Birth of the U.S. Navy and Marines. Bluejacket Books, 1991. ISBN 1-55750-966-2

External links

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