burning of the Frigate USS Philadelphia in
Barbary Wars were a series of
(largely) naval conflicts between the
young United States of America and
several of the Muslim nations on the
coast of North Africa in the early
1800's. To the 'Western' point of view,
these North African countries on the
"Barbary" coast engaged in piracy on
the open seas against merchant
shipping. The piracy against American
shipping continued until the U.S.
gained the military and naval strength
to protect American-flagged ships. It
is significant to note that this was
the first conflict in which America
fought a war in the "Old World" rather
than in her "New World"
First Barbary War, also known as
the Tripolitanian War, lasted from 1801
to 1805, and is considered by many to
be America's first "foreign war." This
conflict also featured America's first
attempt at "regime change" as the
Marines attempted to place an ally on
the throne in Tripoli.
Second Barbary War, also known as
the Algerine War, was a short
conflict in 1815 against the Barbary
State of Algiers.
the advent of modern piracy off the
coast of another African Muslim
country, Somalia, comparisons are being
made between the Barbary pirates of the
1700s and 1800s on the one hand, and
of the early 21st century. See also the
page on the attack
on the U.S. ship Maersk
Boarding the Tripolitan Gunboat"
painting by Dennis Malone Carter