Have you ever heard of the Barbary Wars? It’s a little slice of American history that the average person doesn’t know about. It took place from 1800 to 1805 in the area of the Mediterranean where merchant ships came to buy and sell their wares. Pirates from the countries of Tripoli, Tunis, Algiers, and Morocco – also known as the Barbary Coast area – attacked and raided any ship going by. The pirates were brutal, stealing the contents of the ships and enslaving their sailors. Many countries paid enormous annual tributes for the pirates to leave them alone.
In 1785 the American ship Dauphin was taken over by Algerian pirates, and the entire crew made into slaves for over a decade, while Algiers tried to get the United States to pay an enormous ransom. This was only the beginning of the conflict. Thomas Jefferson, as Secretary Of State under President George Washington, tried reasoning with the pirate nations, to no avail. In 1901 Jefferson became the president. He knew that the only thing the Barbary nations would understand was a show of force. That was the beginning of the U.S. Navy. Their first attempts failed, but they kept trying, and eventually gained freedom for all the enslaved crew-members, as well as an agreement of non-aggression from the Barbary nations. The young United States Of America had stood up for itself, and in doing so let the world know that it would not kneel to bullies.
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