10.05.

1801: Yusuf Pasha Karamanli Declares War on the United States

1801: Yusuf Pasha Karamanli Declares War on the United States
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/ USS Enterprise fighting the Tripolitan polacca Tripoli

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 10 May 1801
  • President Thomas Jefferson refused to pay tribute to Yusuf Karamanli, and the Pasha declared war on the United States. “USS Enterprise“ had a significant role in that war (later, the same name was given to the famous American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier).

On this day in 1801, the Berbers from the area of present-day Libya declared war on the United States.

At the time, the country was relatively young (about twenty years earlier, it had gained independence from the British). The war occurred because the Pasha of the Karamanli dynasty of Tripolitania wanted President Thomas Jefferson and the U.S. government to pay $225,000 in tribute. Namely, the Americans had paid the tribute in order to prevent the attacks of the Berbers.

President Thomas Jefferson refused to pay tribute to Yusuf Karamanli, and the Pasha declared war on the United States.

The Pasha symbolically cut the spear of the American flag in front of the consulate in Tripoli (today`s Libya). His Eyalet of Tripolitania had a considerable autonomy, and his pirates attacked ships in the Mediterranean Sea.

The war which broke out is known as the First Barbary War (in the historiography of the United States). It lasted for about four years, and “USS Enterprise“ had a significant role in that war (later, the same name was given to the famous American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier).

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