Struggles in late 18th century Mediterranean

ERHAN AFYONCU
ISTANBUL
Published
Struggles in late 18th century Mediterranean

The U.S., currently the most powerful country in the world, paid tribute to the Ottoman regency of Algiers in the late 18th century to carry out commercial tracks in the Mediterranean

The Ottoman Empire dominated North Africa in the early 16th century thanks to the Barbaros brothers, as Algiers became an Ottoman regency definitely in 1525, followed by Tripoli in 1551 and Tunis in 1574.

Ottoman Algeria, Tunis and Tripoli were called the "Garp Ocakları" (Western Colonies). The Ottomans controlled the region with very little force. The Ottomans in the Aegean region provided the human power for the Garp Ocakları led by Algiers. The administration of these territories was different from other territories.

The regencies were governed by appointed governors and did not have a timar system in which the projected revenue of a conquered territory was distributed in the form of temporary land grants among the military class. Over time, the governors were replaced by military rulers that were called "dayılar" (uncles). The most important income in the Garp Ocakları came from piracy. They hoisted their flags and sailed in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean. They created great terror, raiding everywhere from the American shores to Iceland. Europeans have many songs and folk tales written about Ottoman sailors in many places.

Americans in the Mediterranean

Even though the Ottoman Empire had lost its former power by the end of the 18th century, it was one of the most important empires in the world. In the meantime, a new state emerged. The United States was active in oceans and seas after declaring independence in 1783.

Americans signed a treaty with Morocco in Arabic in 1786. They got permission from the king for American ships to use Moroccan ports.

Algerian pirates did not stop plundering the American vessels they had encountered since 1785. In July 1785, a U.S. ship caught off Cadiz's shores was brought to the port of Algiers.

In the following years, dozens of U.S. ships were taken over by Algerian pirates. In 1794, the U.S. Congress allocated nearly $700,000 to fight against the Barbary pirates and took action to build strong vessels. In 1795, the U.S. sent a delegation headed by Joseph Donaldson to Algiers to save their vessels.

During the reign of Sultan Selim III, Algerian leaders signed a treaty with the United States in Ottoman on Sept. 5, 1795.

At the end of the 23-page document, there was the seal and signature of Algiers Governor Hasan Pasha.

The introduction to the treaty begins with the following clauses: "A Treaty of Peace and Amity Concluded this Present Day Jima artasi, the twenty first of the Luna Safer, year of the Hegira 1210, Corresponding with Saturday the fifth of September, One thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety five, between Hassan Bashaw, Dey of Algiers, his Divan and Subjects and George Washington, President of the United States of America, and the Citizens of the United States

"From the date of the Present Treaty there shall subsist and firm and Sincere Peace and Amity between the President and Citizens of the United States of North America and Hassan Bashaw Dey of Algiers his Divan and Subjects and Vessels and Subjects of both Natios reciprocally treating each other with Civility Honor and Respect."

According to this treaty, the U.S. would give $642,500 as tribute to Hasan Pasha to free the prisoners in Algiers and pay the tax amounting to $21,600 (12,000 Algerine sequins) annually.

Congress approved the agreement on March 7, 1796. America paid this tax for more than 20 years until the first quarter of the 19th century.

Later, the country stopped paying tribute because of its strong navy and military power.

America's appearance on the stage of history

In 1492, after the discovery of America, the Spanish and the Portuguese colonized South and Central America.

The Spanish also dominated the regions of Mexico and some of the current U.S. states. Gold and silver from the continent were moved to Europe.

The Spanish kept the British away from America for a long time. However, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in the late 16th century, the English began colonizing America. The doors opened for them when they defeated the Spanish navy in 1588.

Whoever lost the power struggle in Britain - Puritans or Catholics - they took their chance by going to America, the New World, where colonization had just begun.

Britain became stronger over time and dominated the colonies of France and Spain in America.

The American colonies were ruled autonomously as long as they paid taxes to and obeyed the English king. However, in the second half of the 18th century, taxes issued one after another by the British and their pedantic attitude led to the solidarity of the colonies.

The Tea Act issued in the American colonies in 1773 was an important step toward the American Revolutionary War. In 1774 and 1775, the colonies organized two congresses in Philadelphia. While the northern colonies took a stand on independence, the middle Atlantic colonies supported John Dickinson, who pushed for one last try at reconciliation with Britain.

Congress, which was under Dickinson's influence, declared that they did not want independence that year. However, the tough stance of the British and efforts made by people like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Paine to raise public awareness led to the birth of the ambition for independence in the American colonies.

On July 2, 1776, Congress voted for independence. When the text of the Declaration of Independence was accepted by Congress, the U.S. officially declared its independence on July 4, 1776. According to Britain, this was a rebellion against the empire.

The French supported the Americans, who were fighting under the leadership of General George Washington, a former officer in the British army, by declaring war against the British in 1778. France's support was greatly influenced by the fact that the army formed by 13 American colonies defeated the British in Saratoga in 1777. Americans defeated the British in Yorktown in 1781, ending the war with a definite victory.

With the Treaty of Paris signed on Sept. 3, 1783, as a result of the long negotiations between the United States and Canada, which was under British rule, to specify the border between the two countries, Britain recognized the independence of the United States of America.

After the U.S. declared its independence, how to manage the country became a big problem. The powers of the federal government in Washington were very limited, while local administrations were strong with the tradition of the colonial period. Moreover, because the state was not fully settled, there was a struggle for power within the country, as well. In the early years of the foundation of the country, northerners were in favor of expanding the powers of local authorities while the southerners wanted the continuation of the English tradition to increase the powers of the federal government. As a result of long discussions, a compromise was finally reached, and the Constitution was approved in 1787 and entered into force in 1790. This new constitution gave the U.S. a state appearance.

Accordingly, the states would be free in their internal affairs, while the federal government would conduct foreign policy.

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