The Barbary Wars! The First Wars on terror?

By Nick Buda

Some Backstory:

Who are the Barbary States?

  • The Barbary States are the north African states of Morocco,Algeria,Tunisia and Tripolitania.
  • The Term "Barbary" derives from which the land was historically inhabited by, the Berbers.
  • These States with the exception of Morocco, were semi-independent entities within the Ottoman Empire (An awful Empire)

What was the Issue?

  • The issue was the Barbary Pirates who captured people in exchange for ransom.If ransom was not paid,the captives would become slaves for the Arab slave trade.
  • The slaves captured off the Barbary coast where mostly Christian Europeans.
  • The Barbary Pirates would raid areas along throughout the Mediterranean, west Africa, south america and as far as Iceland. Most of their raids were in the Mediterranean though.

America's Part

  • American Ships were protected by British Ships along the Barbary Coast until the American Revolution started.
  • American Ships were then attacked by the pirates... :(
  • On July 18th 1787, the Sultan of Morocco with cooperation of Washington's Administration signed the "Treaty of Peace & Friendship" between the Two Nations.
  • This Treaty Gave the U.S. Ships protection through the Straits of Gibraltar and Moroccan Ports.
  • The American Government paid $80,000 to the Barbary states in tribute to prevent the attacks.... that did not last.
  • With the Election of Thomas Jefferson as President, he refused to pay tribute.
  • The Yusef Karamanli ,pasha of Tripoli, was frustrated with the delays of their annual tribute and Jefferson's Refusal to pay and he declared war on the U.S. He chopped down the U.S. Flag in the American embassy in Tripoli as declaration of war.

The First Barbary War

  • With the Tripolitans' declaration of war, Thomas Jefferson authorized the dispatch of 4 Ships to the Mediterranean. 3 frigates and a schooner. The American ships sailed under the command of commodore Richard dale.
  • The American ship, USS Philadelphia ran ground to the Tripolitans. With great courage, Lieutenant Stephen Decatur led a small group of marines to set the Philadelphia on fire; not wanting the pirates to use on of their ships.
  • The Americans tried to capture Tripoli but the USS Intrepid was destroyed subsequently in the bombardment
  • The Americans then changed tactics. William Eaton ("General") led a group of 8 U.S. Marines and 500 mercenaries consisting of Greeks, Berbers and Arabs in Alexandria Egypt to march to the Tripolitan City of Derne (Capital of the Provence of Cyrenaica).He learned that Yusef deposed his brother,Hamet from the throne (Triplitan Civil War.
  • Eaton had to deal with two mutinies and of which where both crushed. The Mutinies were fueled by distrust between from the Cretan Greeks and Arab Mercenaries.
  • On the 27th of April, The battle began with naval support from the coast. The group was split into two forces with Hamet leading a force to the southwestern part of the city to severe the road to Tripoli and attack the western side of the city. Eaton and his forces pushed the defenders out of the city.
  • Lieutenant O'Bannon raised the American Flag over the city.
  • This would mark the first time The U.S. Flag was hoisted in a foreign battlefield.
  • With the Threat of an Invasion of the city of Tripoli, Karamanli sued for peace.
  • O'bannon was awarded a Mameluke sword by Hamet for bringing him back to the throne of Tripoli.
Battle of Derne
Mameluke Sword
Fifteen Star and Stripe flag (In use from 1795-1818)

The Second Barbary War

  • With Tensions rising between the United States and Great Britain, the Barbary States then attacked the American merchant and Naval ships.
  • The United States then signed the treaty of Ghent with the U.K. to end the War of 1812 and could then focus on the Pirates (Mainly the Algerians)
  • After Winning the battle off Cape Gata, the dey of Algiers surrendered and relinquished control of the American Captives and several European captives and only had to pay $10,000 in compensation.

Effects on the United States

  • The Democratic-Republican Party became the dominant political party as the Federalists answer was to continue to pay tribute to the pirates coupled with their opposition to the war of 1812.
  • This political dominance would lead into the "Era of Good Feelings" with James Monroe (Democratic-Republican) getting elected.
  • The Victory at the Battle of Derne is immortalized in the Marine Hymn, "To the Shores of Tripoli!"

What happened to the Barbary States?

  • In the The Aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, the Treaty of Vienna was signed which the Europeans agreed to suppress the Pirates.
  • The Barbary States would continue to raid the Mediterranean until the French invaded Algiers and later Annexed it.
  • The Ottomans would loose control over the Barbary States over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with the French invasion of Tunis, the Italio-Turkish War (Over Modern Day Libya) and the Moroccan Crisis.

"third Barbary War"

  • "The Third Barbary War" was the Military Intervention in Libya, 2011.
  • This Intervention was led by N.A.T.O countries,Sweden and several Muslim Nations
  • The Initial Goal was to impose: a ceasefire to the conflict, No-Fly Zone, A means of protecting civilians and the civilian areas (Without Foreign Occupation Forces.) and several other measures of Political and Diplomatic Isolation.
  • The Intervention led the Death of the Former Libyan Dictator, Muammer Gaddafi and the end of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
  • The Government then Collapsed and Many Islamist Groups have gained a Foothold within the "Nation" like ISIS.
  • The Aftermath brought with it many refugees that sailed on rafts into Italy. This would be another stepping stone in the Massive Problem of Immigration into Europe.
  • The Obama administration had backed the rebels which in turn, led to the Benghazi Scandal (It was blamed on a video by Hillary and Obama for 11 days before they announced what really happened) which resulted in 4 Americans dead.
Map of Libya with the Libyan Flag overlapped over it. (Yes that was their old flag from 1977-2011)

Were the Barbary Wars a series of wars on terror?

The definition of Terrorism is:The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.

  • By this definition, piracy could be considered a form of terrorism because it uses violence and intimidation.


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