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The Barbary Pirates

 Related Terms

• Marines
Thomas Jefferson


Definition: Group of fighters who attacked American ships along the Barbary Coast of northern Africa at in the first few years of the 19th Century. They were members of a handful of African states who at first signed treaties with the United States in which they promised to stop attacking American ships. However, they broke those treaties. The U.S. fought back with force. Both the Navy and the Marines won big victories, including one at Tripoli in 1805.

Related Resources:
Colonial America
The backdrop to the story.

Elsewhere on the Web:
More on the Barbary Pirates
See which African states were involved.

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