Barbary Pirates

Barbary pirates were a group of people who attacked U.S. ships by the coast of North Africa. These pirates were Muslim. These pirates started in the North Africa region then moved on toward the Mediterranean Sea. Then they moved into Europe. The Americans were getting plundered because they were trying to get slaves out of North Africa.

Before the Americans Were Plundered

Pirates had been going on for many years. It started in the 14th century and was still going on in the 19th century. Many Muslims emigrated to the coast of Africa and became pirates in the late 15 and early 16th centuries. However the barbary pirates became most frequent and powerful in the 17th century. The Europeans stopped them in the mid 1800s. Then eventually they started up again and hurt the American ships and people and get their goods.

The Barbary Pirates

The Barbary pirates along the coast of north Africa and the Mediterranean charged an annual fee and wanted it to be paid in gold, jewels, arms, and supplies. They charged this fee and said each country who paid it wouldn't get attacked by pirates. England was paying this fee. France was too. Other countries were all paying the fee so they would not get attacked by the Barbary pirates.

The Americans and the Pirates
The Fighting Begins
The Fighting Begins

The Americans were abruptly notified of the pirates when one of their ships was taken and the crew members were put in jail for nonpayment of the fee called tribute. The pirates were not in a hurry to make the Americans pay the tribute. They would have rathered plundered the Americans to get all the goods they had. The pirates could also take the crew members too. This was a lot more valuable than the tribute. The American military was also weak so they didn't think that would be a problem. By 1784 the pirates had raided 11 of the U.S. ships.

The U.S. Fighting the Pirates
The Fighting Continues
The Fighting Continues

The U.S. knew this was wrong. They tried to be peaceful with the pirates. They had little agreement on making a deal. In 1985 Jefferson knew the only way to do this was to go to war. War meant getting a military and most of all, a lot of money! He tried to get help from European powers to fight against the pirates. They didn't and continued to pay the tribute to the pirates. The Americans fought the pirates. They blockaded the coast of Africa and sent a convoy of American ships in. Th Americans destroyed the pirate ships. The Americans had no casualties. The Americans stopped the pirates through this war.

After the Fighting

The fighting went on for many more years. After the fighting the pirates lost. They stopped stealing from America. They also were forced to stop plundering and stealing from the other countries.


Garraty, John A. The Story of America. Austin, TX: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1994.

Kjeilen, Tore. "Barbary Pirates". 1996-2009. December 16 2008
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Nussbaum, Greg. "Barbary Pirates". 2005-2009. January 29 2009 < barbarypirates.htm
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