Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Aaarrrgh! The Barbary Pirates and American Independence in the Atlantic, Talk April 12

Chestertown, MD, April 4, 2006 — Washington College's C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and Sultana Projects, Inc. present, as part of the 2006 Maritime Lecture Series, "The Barbary Wars: American Independence in the Atlantic World," a lecture by historian Frank Lambert, Purdue University, Wednesday, April 12, at 7:30 p.m. in the Hynson Lounge.

While Europe's privateers and brigands such as Blackbeard, Henry Morgan, and Jean Lafitte garnered more name recognition, the state-sponsored Barbary pirates of Algiers, Tunis, Morocco, and Tripoli proved a real threat to the United States in the early 19th century. For the petty states of North Africa, piracy was all about business, and Lambert will discuss how America's earliest conflict with the Arabic world was always a struggle for economic advantage and free trade in competition with European powers rather than any clash of cultures or religions.

"Pirates who were hired by many countries, especially in times of war, were businessmen and capitalists of every background searching for a profit in the Atlantic Ocean," Lambert notes. "Governments armed pirates' ships and directed the pirates to attack ships of other warring countries. America even hired its own pirates to disrupt British trade ships during the War of Independence."

Lambert specializes in American Colonial and Revolutionary Era history and is the author of numerous books, including The Barbary Wars: American Independence in the Atlantic World(Hill & Wang, 2005), James Habersham: Loyalty, Politics, and Commerce in Colonial Georgia (Georgia, 2005), The Founding Fathers and The Place of Religion in America (Princeton, 2003), Inventing the "Great Awakening" (Princeton, 1999), and 'Pedlar in Divinity': George Whitefield and the Transatlantic Revivals, 1737-1770 (Princeton, 1994).

The talk is sponsored by Washington College's C. V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and Chestertown's Sultana Projects, Inc., which operates the reproduction 1768 Schooner Sultana and conducts educational cruises and outreach programs to promote a greater appreciation for the Chesapeake Bay's history and environment. The C. V. Starr Center opened in 2001 as an innovative forum for new scholarship about American history. Drawing on the special historical strengths of Washington College and Chestertown, the Center is dedicated to exploring the early republic, the rise of democracy, and the manifold ways in which the founding era continues to shape American culture.

Visit the C. V. Starr Center online at http://starrcenter.washcoll.edu.

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