From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli

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USS Philadelphia in the Harbor of Tripoli

American Minute from William J. Federer

“The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco,” stated President Obama in Cairo, Egypt, June 4, 2009.

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Explaining this, Governor William Bradford wrote that in 1625, a Pilgrim ship was returning to England with dried fish and 800 lbs of beaver skins to trade for supplies:

“They…were well within the England channel, almost in sight of Plymouth. But…there she was unhapply taken by a Turkish man-of-war and carried off to Morocco where the captain and crew were made slaves.”

Muslim pirates of Morocco raided European coasts and carried away over a million to the North African slavemarkets, where also they sold tens of millions of Africans into slavery.

In 1627, Algerian Muslim pirates, led by Murat Reis the Younger, raided Iceland, and carried 400 into slavery.

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One captured girl, who had been made a slave concubine in Algeria, was rescued back by King Christian IV of Denmark.

On June 20, 1631, the entire village of Baltimore, Ireland, “The Stolen Village,” was captured by Muslim pirates.

Only two ever returned. Thomas Osborne Davis wrote in his poem, “The Sack of Baltimore” (1895):

“The yell of ‘Allah!’ breaks above the shriek and roar;
O’blessed God! the Algerine is lord of Baltimore.”

Kidnapped Englishman Francis Knight wrote:

“I arrived in Algiers, that city fatal to all Christians and the butchery of mankind.”

Moroccan Sultan Moulay Ismail had 500 wives and forced 25,000 white slaves to build his palace at Meknes. He was witnessed to have killed an African slave just to try out a new hatchet he was given.

The Catholic Order “Trinitarians” collected alms to ransom slaves.

In 1785, Morocco recognized the new country of the United States by capturing two American ships and demanding tribute.

Jefferson met Tripoli’s envoy in France and reported to Congress:

“The Ambassador answered us that it was…written in their Qur’an, that all nations who should not have acknowledged Islam’s authority were sinners, that it was their…duty to make war upon them…and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners.”

Despite paying nearly 20 percent of the U.S. Federal budget as extortion payments, the Muslims continued their piracy.

Jefferson finally sent the U.S. Marines to stop Morocco’s Barbary pirates.

The U.S. frigate “Philadelphia” ran aground on Morocco’s shallow coast and was captured.

On FEBRUARY 16, 1804, in what Admiral Horatio Nelson called the “most bold and daring act of the age,” Lieut. Stephen Decatur sailed his ship, the Intrepid, into the pirate harbor of Tripoli, burned the captured U.S. frigate “Philadelphia” and escaped amidst enemy fire.

The Marines later captured Tripoli and forced the Pasha to make peace on U.S. terms.

Frederick Leiner wrote in The End of the Barbary Terror-America’s 1815 War Against the Pirates of North Africa (Oxford University Press):

“Commodore Stephen Decatur and diplomat William Shaler withdrew to consult in private…

The Algerians were believed to be masters of duplicity, willing to make agreements and break them as they found convenient.”

John Quincy Adams, America’s 6th President, wrote:

”Our gallant Commodore Stephen Decatur had chastised the pirate of Algiers…The Dey (Omar Bashaw)…disdained to conceal his intentions;

‘My power,’ said he, ‘has been wrested from my hands; draw ye the treaty at your pleasure, and I will sign it; but beware of the moment, when I shall recover my power, for with that moment, your treaty shall be waste paper.’”

America’s war with the Muslim Barbary Pirates was the country’s first war after the Revolution, giving rise to the Marine Anthem:

“From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.”

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William J. Federer is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and president of Amerisearch, Inc, which is dedicated to researching our American heritage. The American Minute radio feature looks back at events in American history on the dates they occurred, is broadcast daily across the country and read by thousands on the internet.
William J. Federer
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  • Stace Nelson

    For all those fine Soldiers of the Sea that have been first in the fight since America gave birth to the finest fighting force ever known to man at the apporiate birth place of Tun Tavern:

    The Marines’ HymnFrom the Halls of Montezuma,To the shores of Tripoli;We fight our country’s battlesIn the air, on land, and sea;First to fight for right and freedomAnd to keep our honor clean:We are proud to claim the titleOf United States Marine.
    Our flag’s unfurled to every breezeFrom dawn to setting sun;We have fought in every clime and placeWhere we could take a gun;In the snow of far-off Northern landsAnd in sunny tropic scenes;You will find us always on the jobThe United States Marines.
    Here’s health to you and to our CorpsWhich we are proud to serve;In many a strife we’ve fought for lifeAnd never lost our nerve;If the Army and the NavyEver look on Heaven’s scenes;They will find the streets are guardedBy The United States Marines.