Monday, September 12, 2011

First Barbary War

While reading the comments to an article on Digg today I ran across this comment which caused me to look into a piece of our history I was admittedly not familiar with. Interesting reading indeed...

 You've probably heard the hymn of the US Marines which includes the words "to the shores of Tripoli".

 No oil involved, they just assumed the US were too weak to defend themselves. Oh boy, did the Barbary Arabs get a rude awakening. Pirate ships and crews from the North Africa's Berber states of Morocco, Tripoli, Tunis, and Algiers (the Barbary Coast), although nominally governed by the Ottoman Empire, were the scourge of the Mediterranean. Capturing merchant ships and enslaving or ransoming their crews provided the Muslim rulers of these nations with wealth and naval power. In fact, the Roman Catholic Trinitarian Order or Order of "Mathurins" had operated from France for centuries with the special mission of collecting and disbursing funds for the relief and ransom of prisoners of Mediterranean pirates. The war stemmed from the Barbary pirates’ attacks upon American merchant shipping in an attempt to extort ransom for the lives of captured sailors, and ultimately tribute from the United States to avoid further attacks, much like their standard operating procedure with the various European states...READ MORE

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