The Barbary Pirates: Islamic Terrorism and America’s First Military Victory

Many Americans erroneously trace the roots of Islamic terrorism to September 11, 2001. In reality, the United States’ first conflict with Muslim terrorists was also its very first war which it won 213 years ago, on June 10, 1805. Centuries before that, the Barbary States of Muslim North Africa — specifically Tripoli, Algiers, Tunis — had been thriving on the slave trade of Europeans abducted from virtually every corner of coastal Europe, including Britain, Ireland, Denmark, and Iceland. These raids were so successful, “between 1530 and 1780 there were almost certainly a million and quite possibly as many as a million and a quarter white, European Christians enslaved by the Muslims of the Barbary Coast,” to quote American historian Robert Davis.
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