Pandemics, Pirates, and Prose: The Barbary Wars and the U.S.
At the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, corsairs from Barbary States seized merchant ships, cargo, and enslaved crews off the North African coast and demanded high payment for safe passage across the Mediterranean. In addition to this crisis, U.S. sailors battled the deadly enemy of yellow fever that swept over ships and ports in the Mediterranean and the U.S. Those who lived to tell the tale wrote about the experience in narratives of Barbary captivity, influencing well-known American sea authors, including Richard Henry Dana Jr. and Herman Melville. Join our virtual peek into an often-overlooked span of U.S. historythe Barbary Warsand its impact on American culture.
Panelists include: Hester Blum, PhD, professor of English at the Pennsylvania State University; Edward C. Papenfuse, PhD, Maryland State Archivist-Retired; and Lawrence Peskin, PhD, professor of history at Morgan State University. Moderated by Martina Kado, PhD, MCHCs Director of Publications.