With support from the University of Richmond

History News Network

History News Network puts current events into historical perspective. Subscribe to our newsletter for new perspectives on the ways history continues to resonate in the present. Explore our archive of thousands of original op-eds and curated stories from around the web. Join us to learn more about the past, now.

Are the Somali Pirates Like the Barbary Pirates?

At a recent press confrence, Secretary of State Clinton pointed out that piracy in Africa is not a new problem for the United States.  In a similar vein, the New York Times noted that the recent capture of the  Maersk-Alabama off the coast of Somalia was the first time an American ship had been captured by pirates in 200 years.  While the math was slightly inaccurate, the connection between the turn-of-the-19th century Barbary Piracy crisis and this turn-of-the-21st century crisis bears examination.