Thursday, February 16, 2012


While pirates have been in the news a lot lately we know from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies that they have been around for quite a while.  But at one time, piracy was a huge problem for a young United States.

In 1784, Moroccan pirates captured the brigantine Betsey.  The Spanish government aided in negotiating a release of the vessel but in 1875 Algeria began piracy against the U.S. with the capture of the schooners Maria and the Dauphin. These two ships were held for 10 years, with more ships being captured by the Barbary Coast states (which used piracy as their livelihood) Algiers, Tunis, Morocco, and Tripoli.  In 1795 the US government paid Algeria a sum of $1M for the release of 115 sailors.  Keep in mind that in 1795 that sum was about one-sixth of the total US budget.

In 1798 the US Department of the Navy was established in part to secure American shipping and prevent piracy.  However, in October 1803, the frigate USS Philadelphia ran aground in Tripoli harbor and was unable to free herself.   Under fire from ships and guns in the harbor, the Philadelphia was eventually boarded and crew were taken ashore and held as hostages. The Philadelphia was then used against the Americans as an anchored gun battery.  Now comes the battle…

(Per Wiki)
On the night of February 16, 1804, Lieutenant Stephen Decatur led a small contingent of the U.S.'s first Marines in the captured Tripolitan ketch rechristened USS Intrepid, to deceive the guards on board Philadelphia and float close enough to board the captured ship. Decatur's men stormed the vessel and overpowered the Tripolitan sailors standing guard. With support from American ships, the Marines set fire to Philadelphia, denying her use to the enemy. The British Admiral Horatio Nelson, himself known as a man of action and bravery, is said to have called this "the most bold and daring act of the age.[17]"

This was the first of the Barbary wars, there would be another before US shipping would be safe in that area of the world.

     The Historical Inebriant:  Barbary Coast


  • 1/2 oz. Light Cream
  • 1/2 oz. Rum
  • 1/2 oz. White Creme de Cacao
  • 1/2 oz. Gin
  • 1/2 oz. Scotch
Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, and serve.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Comment: