1876 Was a Good Time

Topics: First Barbary War, Stephen Decatur, Thomas Jefferson Pages: 2 (521 words) Published: May 2, 2013
1625: Earliest documented attack by Barbary pirates on American merchant ships. 1678: Algerian pirates seize 14 ships from American colonies. September 1783: Algerian pirates attack American ships on their way back from peace talks with Britain. Americans assume that Britain is paying the Pirates to attack them. October 1784: The Betsy, a 300-ton ship from Boston, is attacked 100 miles from Africa's western coast, in the Atlantic. The ship's sailors are captured, chained and carted off to slave markets in Morocco. American independence was secured from Britain on September 3, 1783. Within a year, the American merchant ship Betsey was captured by Sallee Rovers, state-sponsored pirates operating out of the ports of Morocco. Algerian pirates quickly seized two more American ships: the boats were confiscated, their crews held captive, and ransom demanded of the fledging American government. January 1785: The Dauphin and the Maria are captured by Algerians, their 21 crewmen chained and paraded before jeering crowds on their way to the Algerian leader, or dey, who reportedly spits on them and says, "Now I have got you, you Christian dogs, you shall eat stones." December 1790: Thomas Jefferson, as George Washington's Secretary of State, recommends that Congress declare war on the pirates. The Senate rejects the call, earmarking $140,000 instead for ransom payments. March 27, 1794: President George Washington signs a bill authorizing $688,888.82 to build six frigates "adequate for the protection of the commerce of the United States against Algerian corsairs." The Barrbary pirates, in other words, had led to the birth of the U.S. Navy. Oct. 31, 1803: The 307 sailors aboard the warship Philadelphia, captained by William Bainbridge, is forced to surrender after the ship founders on a reef close to Tripoli. The ship becomes part of Tripoli's navy as The Gift of Allah. Feb. 16, 1804: Stephen Decatur and 67 volunteers aboard the USS Intrepid daringly attack the former...
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