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The Barbary Wars (or Tripolitan Wars) were two wars between the United States of America and the Barbary States of North Africa in the early 19th century. At issue was the Barbary pirates' demand of tribute from American merchant vessels in the Mediterranean Sea. American naval power attacked the pirate cities and extracted concessions of fair passage from their rulers. The Barbary Wars are sometimes called "America's Forgotten War", although they share that name with several other conflicts. The wars largely passed out of popular memory within a generation.

The punitive actions against the Barbary States were launched by the administrations of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. When they proved successful, partisans of the Democratic-Republicans contrasted their administrations' refusal to buy off the pirates with the failure of the preceding federalist administration to live up to the rhetorical flight, "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute," attributed to Charles C. Pinckney in the course of the XYZ Affair, though actually said by Sen. Robert Goodloe Harper.

The Marines Hymn contains a reference to this conflict in the opening line: "From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli..."

See also

Further reading

  • London, Joshua E. Victory in Tripoli: How America's War with the Barbary Pirates Established the U.S. Navy and Shaped a Nation. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005. ISBN 0-471-44415-4
  • Oren, Michael.[1] "Early American Encounters in the Middle East." Power, Faith, and Fantasy. New York: Norton, 2007.
  • Boot, Max. The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power. New York: Basic Books, 2002. ISBN 0-465-00720-1
  • Lambert, Frank. "The Barbary Wars" New York: Hill and Wang, 2005

External links



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