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Barbary Wars Timeline


September 3rd —  Signing of the Treaty of Paris ends the American war for independence; American ships are no longer protected under British treaties


October — The Boston merchant ship Betsy is captured off the coast of Africa and its crew are sold into slavery in Morocco




Summer — United States signs a peace treaty with Morocco



Congress raises one million dollars to purchase peace with the Barbary States and begins to construct a small naval force



September 5th — United States signs a treaty with Algiers



November 4th — United States signs a treaty with Tripoli, effective in June 1797



July — William Eaton is appointed American consul to Tunis

August 28th — United States signs a treaty with Tunis



December — United States agrees to pay Tripoli $18,000 per year to secure safety for American trade ships in the Mediterranean; similar agreements with the other Barbary powers are also settled



February 17th — Thomas Jefferson becomes President of the United States

March — Tripoli declares war on the United States and seizes numerous American merchant ships

May 15th — Jefferson sends a naval squadron, commanded by Captain Richard Dale to Tripoli to blockade the port; the blockade lasts from July 24-September 3

August 1st — Andrew Sterett and the USS Enterprise capture Admiral Rais Mahomet Rous’ ship Tripoli after a bloody battle; the event is considered the first U.S. naval victory of the Barbary Wars



February 6th — Congress passes the Act for Protection of Commerce and Seamen of the United States Against the Tripolitian Corsairs, essentially a declaration of war

June 17th — The Emperor of Morocco declares war against the United States but negotiates a peace settlement in August



January 17th — Commodore Edward Preble leads an American squadron to the Mediterranean; subordinate officers include Stephen Decatur, John Rodgers, Isaac Chauncey, Oliver Hazard Perry, and David Porter

March 4th — Commodore Charles Morris and Captain John Rogers are arrested by the Bey of Tunis and are forced to pay Eaton’s debts

May 12th — Captain Rodgers and the John Adams capture the Tripolitan frigate Meshouda

June 10th — Tobias Lear is appointed consul general to the Barbary States

October 31st — William Bainbridge and his warship the Philadelphia surrender to Tripoli after running aground in Tripoli harbor



February 16th — Stephen Decatur on the Intrepid set the captured Philadelphia on fire as it is anchored in Tripoli harbor


August 3rd — Commodore Preble launches an attack on Tripoli that lasts until September 11



April 27th — After a two month march across the Libyan desert, William Eaton, former Tripoli Pasha Hamet Karamanli, and a group of mercenaries attack Derna by land, meanwhile three US warships under Captain Isaac Hull strike Derna by sea; together they take the fort

May 15th — Rodgers takes over command of the American fleet from Samuel Barron

June 4th — The Pasha agrees to a treaty with Lear and takes over Derna; America no longer needs to pay yearly tributes to Tripoli

June 10th — Treaty of Tripoli is officially signed

November — Tobias Lear is stationed at Algiers as U.S. consul



The Mediterranean Squadron is withdrawn and Barbary powers resume capturing American trading ships



March 5th — James Madison becomes president



July 25th — The Dey of Algiers refuses the annual American tribute and expels Tobias Lear and his colleagues from Algiers

July 25th — Algerian corsairs capture the brig Edwin

Fall — At the outset of the War of 1812, the British blockade the Atlantic seaboard of the United States, thus halting much Mediterranean commerce



April 9th — Tobias Lear arrives in New York City



December 24th — United States and Great Britain sign the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812



March 3rd — Congress, with Madison’s support, declares war on Algiers

May 15th — Commanding the American fleet, Stephen Decatur leaves New York for Algiers

July 3rd — Stephen Decatur destroys several Algerian ships before suing for peace with Algiers.  William Shaler negotiates treaty that ends the practice of paying tribute, frees American and European slaves from Algiers, and secures full American shipping rights in the Mediterranean

November 12th — Stephen Decatur and the Guerriere return to New York City to a hero’s welcome

December 5th — The Algiers Treaty is taken before Congress

December 15th — Madison declares the Barbary War over; American squadrons still patrol the Mediterranean



January 5th — Oliver Hazard Perry is sent as captain of the Java to patrol the Mediterranean

June — Isaac Chauncey replaces Stephen Decatur as commander of the Mediterranean Squadron, which enforces the Algiers Treaty



Andrew Jackson appoints David Porter consul general to Algiers