Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Josef Korbel School of International Studies

First Advisor

Karen A. Feste, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Paul Viotti

Third Advisor

Brian Kiteley


Barbary, Corsairs, Piracy, Somalia, U.S. Navy


Maritime piracy off the Horn of Africa, although not a new security threat, has grown at an alarming rate in the twenty-first century. This study compares modern Somali piracy with the Barbary Corsairs problem of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to understand what policy responses might be most effective. The comparison focused on pirate characteristics and motives; targeted ships; attack frequency; hostage treatment; counter measures to combat piracy; and outcomes.

Financial motivation, level of organization, and viciousness of attacks are all characteristics the Somali pirates and Barbary Corsairs share. They differ in that the Corsairs operated as part of a religious war and were culturally and politically different from current pirates, targeted different types of vessels, and had fleets that consisted of larger, traditional ships. The lessons learned from Barbary as well as these similarities and differences all contribute to formulating the most viable response to the threat of modern piracy. The failure of tribute payments and the diplomatic treaties that stipulated for these tribute payments to the Barbary leaders, the success of best safety practices, and the necessity for military action to counter piracy are all important lessons from the Barbary era that can be applied to the current problem of maritime crime. Military intervention on the high seas is the most viable solution because of the capabilities of the United States Navy that can directly address the threat of piracy.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Lauren M. Halton


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

133 p.


International relations