2-16-17 12:07 PM EST: The Muslim Pirates of North Africa had been terrorizing the Mediterranean Sea and European shipping for hundreds of years. I've read where they took approximatewly a million slaves during that time.
At first our commercial shipping had some protection from England. That ceased during our Revolutionary War for Independence, and for a while our shipping had some protection from France who were helping us fight the British.
After winning our war against the British, France also discontinued helping protect our shipping in th Mediterranean and we sent some American Ambassadors to find out why these people were capturing our ships and enslaving our people captured with those ships. I believe it was John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson who we sent.
These men asked the Barbary Pirates what gave them the right to capture our ships and goods and enslave our people. They were told the Koran (or Quran) ordered them to do it. Our country was paying them ransom, tribute, or blackmail money, whatever term you prefer. At one point those payments equalled 20% of our nation's revenue. It was time to build and maintain a serious U.S. Navy.
"From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli"? The Barbary Wars is where that "shores of Tripoli" came from.
But on this day in 1804, Lieutenant Stephen Decatur engaged in what Admiral Horatio Nelson called "The most daring act of the age". The following is quoted from History.com...
"During the First Barbary War, U.S. Lieutenant Stephen Decatur leads a military mission that famed British Admiral Horatio Nelson calls the “most daring act of the age.”
In June 1801, President Thomas Jefferson ordered U.S. Navy vessels to the Mediterranean Sea in protest of continuing raids against U.S. ships by pirates from the Barbary states–Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, and Tripolitania. American sailors were often abducted along with the captured booty and ransomed back to the United States at an exorbitant price. After two years of minor confrontations, sustained action began in June 1803 when a small U.S. expeditionary force attacked Tripoli harbor in present-day Libya.
In October 1803, the U.S. frigate Philadelphia ran aground near Tripoli and was captured by Tripolitan gunboats. The Americans feared that the well-constructed warship would be both a formidable addition to the Tripolitan navy and an innovative model for building future Tripolitan frigates. Hoping to prevent the Barbary pirates from gaining this military advantage, Lieutenant Stephen Decatur led a daring expedition into Tripoli harbor to destroy the captured American vessel on February 16, 1804.
After disguising himself and his men as Maltese sailors, Decatur’s force of 74 men, which included nine U.S. Marines, sailed into Tripoli harbor on a small two-mast ship. The Americans approached the USS Philadelphia without drawing fire from the Tripoli shore guns, boarded the ship, and attacked its Tripolitan crew, capturing or killing all but two. After setting fire to the frigate, Decatur and his men escaped without the loss of a single American. The Philadelphia subsequently exploded when its gunpowder reserve was lit by the spreading fire.
Six months later, Decatur returned to Tripoli Harbor as part of a larger American offensive and emerged as a hero again during the so-called “Battle of the Gunboats,” a naval battle that saw hand-to-hand combat between the Americans and the Tripolitans." History.com
Two videos. If you can't stand Glenn Beck, skip the second one. What I like about that one is David Barton...