For centuries, all along the North African coast, state-sponsored privateers - Barbary pirates - had preyed on European merchant ships, seizing their cargoes and enslaving their sailors. Seeking relief, the Europeans often paid an annual tribute to the rulers of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli.The NYT does not seem to care for the book's style, but the history is compelling...
The fledgling United States, with no navy to speak of, meekly fell in line, to no avail. Yussef Karamanli, the bashaw of Tripoli (a territory encompassing modern-day Libya), deemed the steady stream of gifts from the United States to be insufficient and in 1801 declared war. The United States responded by sending a few warships, one of which, the frigate Philadelphia, ran aground in Tripoli harbor. Suddenly, the United States was looking at a ransom demand of nearly $1.7 million, more than its entire military budget...
"We must be ready to dare all for our country. For history does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid. We must acquire proficiency in defense and display stamina in purpose." - President Eisenhower, First Inaugural Address
Friday, July 08, 2005
Revisiting the Barbary Pirates
This book review gives a lot of details about theearly US Navy and Marine Corps:
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