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Barbary Wars and Pirates

Thomas Jefferson

Barbary Wars and Pirates: Thomas Jefferson was the 3rd American President who served in office from March 4, 1801 to March 4, 1809. One of the problematic events during his presidency, and that of James Madison, were the Barbary Wars and Pirates.

Definition and Summary of the Barbary Wars and Pirates
Summary and definition:
The Barbary Wars (also known as the Tripolitan War and the Algerine War) were fought between 1801 - 1815 along the coast of North Africa by African Pirates of the Barbary States against the United States of America.

The first of the Barbary Wars was fought 1801 - 1805 during the presidency of Jefferson and the Second of the Barbary Wars was fought in 1815 during the presidency of James Madison.

Barbary Wars and Pirates - What were the Barbary States?
The Barbary States were Morocco, Tunis, Tripoli and Algiers.

Barbary Wars and Pirates for kids - Who were the Barbary Pirates?
The Barbary pirates were once called Mohammedans (meaning Islamic; Muslim) and whose rules were called 'Deys' or 'Pachas' of the Ottoman empire. The Barbary pirates came from North Africa Pirates. Their lands stretched along the northern shores of Africa from Egypt towards the west and the Atlantic Ocean. The Barbary pirates were Muslims whose leaders had found it extremely profitable to attack and capture ships, particularly those belonging to Christian countries. The Barbary pirates first emerged after the Spanish drove the Moors out of Granada in 1492. They were first organized by Barbarossa, a famous Barbary pirate who became an Ottoman Admiral.

Barbary Wars and Pirates for kids - Who were the Barbary Pirates?
The Barbary pirates sold the cargoes and consignments of the captured ships for good prices and had grown rich on the proceeds. Barbary Pirates sailed swift pirate ships called Corsairs. The Corsairs of the North African Pirates were dreaded enemies of the Europeans as the Barbary Pirates were also immersed in the slave trade. Any sailors or passengers they captures were also sold at good prices, as slaves to the Arab slave markets.

Barbary Wars and Pirates for kids - The Barbary Pirates and the Europeans
The Barbary Pirates had been feared for many years throughout the Christian nations of Europe. Their Corsairs traveled across the oceans searching for goods and slaves. They traveled across the Mediterranean Sea into the Atlantic Ocean, north to Iceland and west to South America. The North African Pirates had no fear and even launched raids on the coastal towns of Europe, either to take captives as slaves or demand ransoms.

Barbary Wars and Pirates for kids - The United States and the Barbary Pirates
The leading powers of Europe, instead of fighting the Barbary pirates, found it easier to pay them tributes to let their ships alone. The Barbary Pirates had started attacking US vessels during the American Revolution. President Washington and President Adams had followed the European suit and also paid tributes to the Barbary pirates to allow American ships to sail unharmed.

Barbary Wars and Pirates for kids - President Jefferson and the Barbary Pirates
Although the US were paying tributes to the Barbary pirates, they were never satisfied with what was paid them and started to demand even more, just so they would leave the US ships unmolested. American ships were eventually seized by the Barbary pirates and US captives were taken. President Jefferson decided to put an end to paying tributes to the Barbary Pirates. He ordered a US naval fleet to attack the pirates.

Barbary Wars and Pirates for kids - The Barbary War of 1801-1805 begins (The Tripolitan War)
The Fleet was sent on May 13, 1801, at the beginning of the Barbary War under the command of Commodore Richard Dale (1756-1826). Commander Dale was ordered to the Mediterranean to engage the pirates. In 1803 a naval blockade of Tripoli commenced under the command of Commodore Preble.

The United States gained victory at Tripoli when they captured the town of Derna - it was the first US battle ever fought on foreign soil. William Eaton was the heroic American marine who had led the US force of 500 across the Libyan desert to take the town of Derma. Richard Somers was a noted officer who was killed at Tripoli. Stephen Decatur was another hero noted for his exploits during the war Barbary War - he would later fight again in the War of 1812 and the Barbary War of 1815 (The Algerine War).

Barbary Wars and Pirates - The War of 1801-1805 Ends
By 1805 the Barbary Pirates had had enough. Eager to end the war and release their harbors the pirates agreed to release their American prisoners and stop attacking and capturing American ships.

Barbary Wars and Pirates - James Madison and the Barbary War of 1815 (The Algerine War)
The agreement made by the Barbary Pirates did not last for long. The Napoleonic Wars (18031815) and the outbreak of the War of 1812 (June 18, 1812 February 18, 1815) had diverted the attention of the Europeans and the Americans away from the activities of the Barbary pirates. However, at the conclusion of these two wars the Barbary War of 1815 (The Algerine War) began.  Algiers declared war on the United States in 1815 during the presidency of James Madison, with James Monroe as Secretary of State. In response President Madison sent Stephen Decatur (1779-1820) to Algiers at the head of a fleet of 10 US ships. The Second Barbary War of 1815 (The Algerine War) ended in victory for the Americans.

Barbary Wars and Pirates - The End of the Barbary War of 1815 (The Algerine War)
Stephen Decatur sailed into the harbor of Algiers and on June 30, 1815 forced the Dey of Algiers to sign a treaty that renounced the practice of U.S. tribute and agreed to release all U.S. prisoners without ransom. Stephen Decatur then demanded similar assurances from the Barbary pirates based in Tunisia on July 26, 1815 and in Tripoli on August 5 1815. These guarantees ended the series of conflist known as the Barbary Wars.

US American History
1801-1828: Evolution Era

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