Today: April 27, 1805 US Marines Squash Islamic Terrorists in Tripoli

In February, 2015, 20 Coptic Christians (People of the Cross) were beheaded on a beach near Tripoli, the capital city of Libya. The Egyptian government responded with at least eight airstrikes in Derna.

The video of their murder went viral. Obama went golfing. Nearly every non-Muslim was clueless about the significance of where they were beheaded: Tripoli.

But U.S. Marines weren’t. Their nickname, “leathernecks,” came from the very reality that they first wore leather strips around their necks to protect themselves from being beheaded by Islamists when America was a fledgling nation. 

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Although Bush and Obama have said America is not at war with “radical Islam” after September 11, 2001, America’s war with Islam began well before 2001. It didn’t start during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. America’s self defense from Islam began in 1801, with its first major victory on April 27, 1805.

At the time of the Revolutionary War, four Islamic countries, known as the Barbary Powers, attacked countries throughout the entire Mediterranean region, along trade routes, and against any nation it deemed “Christian.”


Once America won its independence, American merchant ships became immediate targets and were completely defenseless. The Continental Congress disbanded the military after the war, but in 1784, without a central government, Congress gave John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin negotiating power to ensure safe American passage.

Jefferson and Adams questioned the Ambassador of Tripoli over the motivations behind the unprovoked attacks, which Jefferson expressed in a 1786 letter to John Jay:

“The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman [Muslim] who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

Peace negotiations continued after George Washington became president. The signed treaties included the U.S. government paying yearly “tributes” of hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Barbary Powers.

By the end of Washington’s tenure, 16 percent of the federal budget was earmarked for this Muslim extortion.

As a result, America went into debt, had to obtain a loan from Holland just to pay Islamic terrorists, not unlike Obama’s Iran “deal.”  Washington was so dismayed by these payments, he lamented,

“Would to heaven we had a Navy able to reform those enemies of mankind (Muslims), or crush them into non-existence.”

Even after the years of “tributes,” Islamic terrorists captured several American sailors, and tortured and enslaved them in Tripoli.


Immediately upon taking office, President Jefferson stopped paying the Barbary bribes. His presidency was only 2 months old when “Algerian Dey Muhammad declared war on the United States, creating a catalyst for two separate wars America fought against Tripoli (1801-1805) and Algiers (1815-1816).”

Jefferson had opposed expansive military funding. After just taking the oath to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution,” he had no choice but to fund the Navy and Marines, which Congress first commissioned on October 13, 1775 (Navy) and November 10, 1775 (Marines). Jefferson sent every available Navy ship to defend Americans from the Barbary Pirates.

It became evident Navy firepower needed land support. William Eaton, a U.S. Navy Agent, devised a plan to attack Tripoli’s radical leader Yusuf Karamanli who had dethroned and exiled his brother, Hamet Karamanli, to Egypt. Eaton solicited the help of Hamet, an American ally, for a land expedition.

A similar coup occurred in Libya, in August, 2011, when Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood quickly seized power. The difference is this political switch was supported and orchestrated by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Obama, and funded by Congress. A dictator cooperative with America, thanks to Ronald Reagan, was removed, in support of a movement focused implementing Shari’a Law and exterminating infidels everywhere.

When Gaddafi bombed a nightclub frequented by American military in West Berlin on April 5, 1986, Reagan did not make excuses for this terrorist act. He sent American airmen to bomb Libya and severely damage its terrorism infrastructure. While Gaddafi escaped death, and still supported terrorism, he quickly learned to tread lightly with Reagan. 

Starting with eight Marines and two Navy midshipmen under the command of First Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon, Eaton built a force of 400 men consisting of Greek and Arab mercenaries, Turks, Arab cavalry, and Hamet’s own troops.

Leaving Egypt on March 8, 1805, they began a 500-mile journey– on foot and by camel– through the desert– towards the port city of Derne, the capital of Tripoli, in modern-day Libya. After 50 days in the desert, Eaton immediately sent word to the governor requesting his surrender.

The governor simply responded, “My head or yours.” The fight was on.

Eaton gathered the Americans, Greeks, and Turks to attack the harbor munitions. Karamanli led the Arab mercenaries to the western side, to deflect reinforcements and attack the city.

While American ships bombed the shore, the Marines and midshipman spearheaded the attack on the fortress. Eaton was wounded but after an hour of fighting O’Bannon led his Marines over the city wall, causing the Barbary gunners to flee from their loaded cannons.

After O’Bannon raised the American flag for the first time over a foreign battlefield, they turned the abandoned cannons on the city. As the Tripolitans tried to escape, they ran straight into Karamanli’s men. There was no option but to surrender.

Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon at Derna.
Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon at Derna.

Following two hours of intense fighting, only two Marines were killed, and three were wounded. The Tripolitans suffered an estimated 800 casualties with roughly 1,200 wounded.

This is how ISIS should be handled, not hand-tying the military with “political correctness.”

Yusuf quickly began negotiations for a peace treaty, ending the war in June, 1805. Known as the First Barbary War, this conflict was over, but the battle still continues today.

The Marines’ overwhelming success and flag raising inspired the lyrics, “…to the shores of Tripoli…” in the Marine Corps Hymn. Hamet was so impressed with O’Bannon’s heroic actions that he presented O’Bannon with an elaborate Mamaluke sword after the war. It served as the template for the Marine officer’s sword worn with his dress uniform.


The attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, should have been Obama’s “Jefferson moment.” Instead, he and Clinton sided with the Barbary Pirates, insisting an American video was responsible.

Jefferson stepped up to the president’s oath. Obama rolled over and neglect it. After playing golf.

Many try to portray Jefferson as a Muslim sympathizer because he owned a Qur’an. He was anything but. He wanted every American to read it to understand America’s enemy. Obama, on the other hand, quotes it as an example of a beautiful religion while condemning the Bible.

History is repeating itself. It was no coincidence the Egyptian Christians were beheaded on the shores near Tripoli at Derma.

Obama is still paying “tributes” to Islamists as Washington did, without a military. As we have learned from history, you don’t win, without a show of military force. You win with U.S. Marines who cross a desert on foot covering 500 miles in 50 days and still destroy the enemy. Hoorah!

But that’s just my 2 cents.


Pamela Adams

Pamela J. Adams maintains which includes her blog Liberating Letters. She is a stay-at-home mom who began researching history, science, religion, and current events to prepare for home schooling. She started Liberating Letters as short lessons for her daughter and publishes them for everyone’s benefit. Pamela has a Degree in Mathematics and was in the workforce for 20 years as a teacher, Marketing Director, Manager and Administrative Assistant. She has been researching her personal family history for over 24 years, publishing 3 books on her family’s genealogy. Follow her @PJA1791 & You can find her books Here.

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