by Alv Vatzdal
What led up to the first US foreign war. The First and Second Barbary wars.
|About three hundred years ago, President Thomas Jefferson along with John Adams went to London to talk to Sidi Haji Abdrahaman, the ambassador to Tripoli. The ambassadors from the newly independent colonies on the far west side of the Atlantic, protested the piracy originating in the Barbary Coast, and the taking of American slaves, take any booty and killed those at sea that try to defend their cargo. The Barbary Pirates were the scourge of the Mediterranean Sea, and their slaveships went as far north as Iceland to obtain slaves, booty and ships.
According to modern estimates between 1 and 1.25 million Europeans were captured by the Barbary pirates alone and sold as slaves between the 16th and 19th centuries, along with the African slave-trade that they took part in just like in USA, and countless ones since the conquests of the Islamic Empire began, firstly and mostly against the Christian nations from the time of the East-Roman ("Byzantine") Empire, then also the whole of Persia and spreading as far east as China, the word of the Quran cried from minarets after gaining access to new land by the sword.
The protest by Jefferson and Adams was based on "concerning the ground of the pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury", with other words, that the Muslims didn’t follow the ordinary rules of war, didn’t even declare war, and did things of injury to innocents from the Christian and Republican, US and European powers of the time. The ambassadors probably had a translator knowing Arabic, and the answer was probably not what they had hoped for, because, the report they brought back to Washington said that:
"It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise. "
He [the ambassador of Tripoli] said, also, that “the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy's ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once”.
The now hypocrisy is obvious with one slave-holding state accusing another one of the very same thing, but the desperate letters from the captives that had managed to flee was real enough, and at one point a sum of 1 million (1/6 of the U.S. budget) was demanded as tribute by the Barbary States to prevent further piracy, a tribute that continued while the Americans started to build up a large fleet of warships.
In the meantime, the Christian Kingdom of Sicily (that included south-Italy), captured by the Normans (The old Norwegian royalty) - after taking a pope for ransom - was a formidable power in the Mediterranean, but also these were attacked from the Tripolitanians and Moroccans, and certainly would not look at it as a disadvantage at seeing them defeated and thus making themselves control much of the Inland Sea, making the Muslim Moors pull even further away from a gradually strengthening Europe - something that had been shown in the Crusades, The Reconcista of Spain and the colonization of the New World and an increasing number of new inventions and discoveries (among them:increasingly powerful weapons with gunpowder), making Hispania Christian again for the first time since the Christian Goths ruled Spain after conqering Rome, and the once Vendel-held with Carthage restored as a Christian city, became the land the Barbary States occupied. There started such an extreme ethnic cleansing, that became extreme enough to start the shameful Spanish Inquisition, controlled by the royalty itself - where anyone who refused baptizement was offered banishment to Morocco, among them the Jews, instead and the ones that stayed would not unlikely have their newfound faith in Christ heavily scrutinized, to the point of torture and beyond, but the cause was clear. To totally rid the grip of Islam over Christendom.
The Barbary Powers of Africa Algiers, Morocco, Tripoli and Tunis whom preyed upon the commerce of all Christian nations of Europe who traded in the Mediterranean and September 5, five Tunisian ships with 1000 men invaded the island of St. Pietro, Sardinia; where the majority the men were off fighting the French. The pirates taking advantage of this lack of manpower captured 700 women and children, and 200 old men into slavery. The ransom the dey [ruler] of Tunis demanded was $640,000 - a sum the King of Sardinia was unable to raise, so he appealed to the American Consul for help.
The whole of Europe was in outrage of this cowardly act by the mussulmen. Also King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden, that had united again the House of Bernadotte was affected by the increasing tension, and King Gustav had three brand new frigates, heavy, double hulled ships with two floors with cannon. The Kingdom of Sicilly was in union, chronologically, with The Holy Roman Empire, Kingdom of Jerusalem, Crown of Aragon, Kingdom of Spain, Dutchy of Savoy, The Habsburg Dynasty and lastly the Kingdom of Naples - that would be of good use soon.
Jefferson had argued for long on the senate floor, to a cessation of the tribute, with support from George Washington. The last humiliation, however, for USA came early in 1800 when the US sent her tribute money (the Quranic term “jizia” to be demanded from Jews and Christians under their yoke - polytheists was simply slain) in the ship US George Washington, to the docks of the dey of Algiers Pasha Yusuf, where pirates enslaved the crew and took anything of value from the ship, as well as the tribute money.
Sweden had already been at war with them for a year
This started the first Barbary War and continued in the Second Barbary War, before the Islamic Empire lost it’s grip on the Mediterranean Ocean, but all that is history now - repeating itself.