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The Barbary Coast Wars

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  • Ogden Hoffman, US Congress (1794 - 1856)
    Ogden Hoffman (October 13, 1794 – May 1, 1856) was an American lawyer and politician. Hoffman was born on October 13, 1794, the son of New York Attorney General Josiah Ogden Hoffman (1766 ...
  • Lieutenant James Gibbon (b. - 1811)
    On Christmas night of 1811, Lieutenant Gibbon went to sleep, and he had a bad dream. When he awoke the next morning, he found himself depressed and restless. His sister, wondering what was botherin...
  • William Shaler, U.S. Consul (1773 - 1833)
    William Shaler (1773 – March 29, 1833) was an American government official who served as a diplomat and confidential agent in several foreign locations, including Algiers, Mexico and Cuba. F...
  • Richard O'Brien, US Consul-General to Algiers (1758 - 1824)
    Richard O'Brien was a privateer during the American Revolution and was later appointed US Consul-General to the Barbary state of Algiers. He had previously spent 10 years as a slave in Algiers after hi...
  • Captain Charles Gordon (1778 - 1816)
    1. Date of Commission in U.S. Navy: March, 1813 2. On July 21, 1807 the U.S. Frigate Chesapeake pulled out of Norfolk naval yard for duty in the Mediterranean. She was under the command of Gordon, a ...

This project will focus on two wars the young United States fought off the coast of North Africa. Though little known, these wars cemented the country's position in the world as a naval power.

What? You've never heard of the Barbary Coast Wars? Are you familiar with the US Marine Corp Hymn? "From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli. . ." Tripoli was a major port in North Africa.


The First Barbary War (1801–1805), also known as the Tripolitan War or the Barbary Coast War, was the first of two wars fought between the United States and the Northwest African Berber Muslim states known collectively as the Barbary States. These were Tripoli and Algiers, which were quasi-independent entities nominally belonging to the Ottoman Empire, and the independent Sultanate of Morocco.

The Second Barbary War (1815), also known as the Algerine or Algerian War, was the second of two wars fought between the United States and the Ottoman Empire's North African regencies of Tripoli, Tunis, and Algeria known collectively as the Barbary states. The war between the Barbary States and the U.S. ended in 1815; the international dispute would effectively be ended the following year by Great Britain and the Netherlands. The war brought an end to the American practice of paying tribute to the pirate states and helped mark the beginning of the end of piracy in that region, which had been rampant in the days of Ottoman domination (16th–18th centuries). Within decades, European powers built ever more sophisticated and expensive ships which the Barbary pirates could not match in numbers or technology.