Pirates (The Barbary Corsairs)
It is said that Mogador was a haven
for the pirates.
Ideally situated with regard
to the trade winds of the North Atlantic, Mogador prospered in
the triangular trade between Europe,
Africa and the Americas 17th - 19th century.Goods
and slaves from the sub-saharan Africa through
the caravan trade passed through and Mogador
had its own export of sugar and molasses from the middle ages
to the 17th century. European cloth, Chinese tea was brought by
The Barbary corsairs
The Barbary pirates
or Ottoman corsairs, were pirates who operated under the cover
of privateer operations authorized by the Barbary states. The
Barbary pirates operated from western portion of the north Africa
from Tripoli west to Moroccan ports. This became known as the
Barbary coast. The Muslim Barbary pirates preyed
on Christian and other non-Islamic shipping in the western Mediterranean
Sea beginning with the Crusades, but more importantly inthe 16th
century after the fall of Granada to the Christians (1492). The
attacks continued into the early 19th century.
"The majority of corsair
attacks targeted shipping, both mercantile and fishing
vessels, the corsairs often gulling their victims by flying false
colours before revealing their true identity only when it was
too late for the unfortunate target to flee or defend itself.
The violent theft of cargoes and crews, and the concomitant sale
of captives into slavery, was a common peril faced by those at
sea, and was certainly not confined to attacks on British
shipping by Muslims and renegades: many of England’s
finest made fortunes by attacking foreign shipping, whether legally,
under official Letter of Marque (announcing the proceeds and splitting
the value with the Admiralty in much the same way the Barbary
corsairs regulated their own trade) or as pirates, for
purely private profit.
However, the Barbary corsairs proved bolder than most, raiding
as far and wide as Newfoundland, Iceland, Ireland and southern
England as well as Spain, Portugal and the
Historical Notes of Jane
Johnson Author of The Sultans Wife
Isaac de Razilly (1587 – 1635)
As Richelieu and Père Joseph were attempting to
establish a colonial policy, Razilly suggested
them to occupy Mogador in Morocco in 1626. The objective was to
create a base against the Sultan of Marrakesh, and asphyxiate
the harbour of Safi. He departed for Salé on 20 July 1629
with a fleet composed of the ships Licorne, Saint-Louis, Griffon,
Catherine, Hambourg, Sainte-Anne, Saint-Jean. He bombarded the
city the Salé and destroyed 3 corsair ships, and then sent
the Griffon under [Treilleboi] to Mogador.
The men of Razilly saw the fortress of Castelo Real
in Mogador, and landed 100 men with wood and supplies on Mogador
island, with the agreement of Richelieu. After a few days however,
the Griffon reimbarked the colonists, and departed to rejoin the
fleet in Salé.
Barbary slave trade
Slavery in North Africa –
the Famous Story of Captain James Riley
Captain Riley’s story is
pretty well summed up by the original title of his book.
An Authentic Narrative of
the Loss of the American Brig “Commerce,” Wrecked
on the Western Coast of Africa , in the Month of August, 1815,
with an Account of the Sufferings of the Surviving Officers and
Crew, who were Enslaved by the Wandering Arabs of the Great African
Desert or Zahahrah.
While sailing from Gibraltar
to the Cape Verde Islands, Riley’s
mid-sized merchant ship got lost in the fog and wrecked on the
west Moroccan coast. Trapped on shore and having run out of both
food and water, Riley and the surviving crew threw themselves
on the mercy of some passing Berber tribesmen,
who promptly enslaved and carried them off into the desert. Abused,
underfed, and overworked, the captives were nearly dead when their
masters sold them to an Arab trader, who bought
the Americans on Riley’s promise of ransom if they returned
to the coast. The rest of An Authentic Narrative recounts
the survivors’ slightly less brutal journey over desert
and mountains to the port city of Mogador and
their eventual freedom. by Adam
1784 - 1794
Protected from the Barbary pirates of Algiers during the American Revolution, thanks to its alliances with Morocco and France, American shipping loses that protection from 1784 and the end of the Treaty of Alliance. Subsequently, US merchant shipping continually falls foul of successive pirate raids in the Mediterranean, launched from Morocco and Algiers. Despite diplomatic efforts, large payments of tribute are demanded for the release of captured American crews, and the US regularly pays up to a million dollars a year to ensure the safe passage of its ships.
1801 - 1805
Having recommissioned its navy in 1794, the USA is becoming increasingly reluctant to pay tribute to ensure the safe passage of its merchant ships in the Mediterranean. The pasha of Tripoli demands fresh tribute of the new government of Thomas Jefferson which is refused, so Tripoli declares war on the USA. Morocco and Algiers do not join Tripoli in the conflict. The small but highly modern American navy defeats Tripoli's vessels in a number of naval skirmishes during the First Barbary War, until Tripoli agrees peace terms and the US buys back its captured seamen.
1815 - 1816
The Second Barbary War is fought by the USA in response to renewed pirate raids while it has been preoccupied with the War of 1812. A squadron of US ships captures several Algerian vessels and, after negotiations, the dey of Algiers agrees to return American captives and vessels in return for a large one-off final payment. Although this concludes the war, it does not conclude the piracy threat, so the following year, Britain sends a 'diplomatic mission' that is eventually forced to bombard Algiers for nine hours on 27 August 1816. The Dey loses many of his corsairs and shore defences, and the threat of organised Barbary piracy is ended once and for all.
One of the stereotypical features of a pirate in popular culture,
the eye patch, dates back to the Arab corsair Rahmah
ibn Jabir al-Jalahimah, who wore it after losing an eye in
battle in the 18th century.
The Jolly Roger is any of various flags flown
to identify a ship's crew as pirates. The flag most commonly identified
as the Jolly Roger today is the skull and crossbones, a flag consisting
of a human skull above two long bones set in an x-mark arrangement
on a black field. This design was used by several pirates, including
Captains Edward England and John Taylor
The inhabitants of Diabat
lived close to the sea and the Mogador bay and was used by the Sultan
to fight the pirates. For this task they were supplied with goods
and military services.
Until the American Declaration of Independence
in 1776 British treaties with the North African states protected
American ships from the Barbary corsairs. Morocco,
which in 1777 was the first independent nation to publicly recognize
the United States, became in 1784 the first Barbary power to seize
an American vessel after independence. The Barbary threat
led directly to the creation of the United States Navy in March
1794. While the United States managed to secure peace treaties,
these obliged it to pay tribute for protection from attack. Payments
in ransom and tribute to the Barbary states amounted to 20% of United
States government annual expenditures in 1800.
In contrast to the dispute with Algiers, U.S. negotiations with Morocco went well. Moroccan Sultan Sidi Muhammad had seized a U.S. merchant ship in 1784 after the United States had ignored diplomatic overtures. However, Muhammad ultimately followed a policy of peaceful trade, and the United States successfully concluded a treaty with Morocco in 1786. However, Congress was still unable to raise enough funds to satisfy the Dey of Algiers."
Barbary Wars 1801-1805,1815-1816 Office of the historian.
A major figure was Moulay Ismail
(1634? or 1645? – 22 March 1727) in Morocco.
He was not a a pirate himself, but encouraged their operations and
benefited from their operations, especially the slaves they captured
His Christian slaves were often
used as bargaining counters with the European powers, selling them
back their captured subjects for inflated sums or for rich gifts.
Most of his slaves were obtained by Barbary pirates in raids on
Over 150,000 men from sub-Saharan Africa served in his
elite Black Guard. By the time of Ismail's death,
the guard had grown tenfold, the largest in Moroccan history.
Moulay Ismail reigned 1672–1727.
Most of his slaves were obtained by
Barbary pirates in raids on Western Europe.
Dey (Arabic: داي, from Turkish day)
was the title given to the rulers of the Regency of Algiers (Algeria) and Tripoli under the Ottoman Empire from 1671 onwards. Twenty-nine deys held office from the establishment of the deylicate in Algeria until the French conquest in 1830.
Barbary pirate, any of the Muslim pirates operating from the coast of North Africa, at their most powerful during the 17th century but still active until the 19th century. Captains, who formed a class in Algiers and Tunis, commanded cruisers outfitted by wealthy backers, who then received 10 percent of the value of the prizes. The pirates used galleys until the 17th century, when Simon Danser, a Flemish, taught them the advantage of using sailing ships.
North African piracy had very ancient origins. It gained a political significance during the 16th century, mainly through Barbarossa (Khayr ad-Dīn), who united Algeria and Tunisia as military states under the Ottoman sultanate and maintained his revenues by piracy. With the arrival of powerful Moorish bands in Rabat and Tétouan (1609), Morocco became a new centre for the pirates and for the ʿAlawī sultans, who quickly gained control of the two republics and encouraged piracy as a valuable source of revenue. During the 17th century, the Algerian and Tunisian pirates joined forces, and by 1650 more than 30,000 of their captives were imprisoned in Algiers alone. Piratical practices were the cause of several wars between Tripolitania and the United States in the 19th century. The British made two attempts to suppress Algerian piracy after 1815, and it was finally ended by the French in 1830.
The Islamic Pirate Queen
The Sayyida al-Hurra and her family fled Spain for Morocco, where, after marrying and burying her first husband, she succeeded him as the governor of Tétouan before remarrying — this time into royalty. When Sayyida wed Ahmed al-Wattasi, the sultan of Morocco and ruler of Fes, she became queen of Morocco. Holding a grudge, and feeling a great deal of shame over her fallen childhood homeland and its takeover by Ferdinand and Isabella, Sayyida became hell-bent on revenge. She reached out to the famed Barbarossa, an Ottoman admiral and among the most successful corsairs, to ally with the pirates in seizing control of the nearby seas. Sayyida and her privateers would eventually take over the Western Mediterranean during the corsairs’ and Ottomans’ reign in the early 16th century.