Anglo-Dutch Bombardment of Algiers 1816

[ 1816 ]
In 1816 a British naval squadron under Admiral Sir Edward Pellew, Baron Exmouth, was fitted out and sent to Algiers where they arrived on 27 August 1816. They were accompanied by the small Dutch squadron of Vice-Admiral van Capellen, which had requested to join them at Gibraltar. Exmouth sought the release of the British Consul, who had been detained, and over 1000 Christian slaves, many being seamen taken by the Algerines. When they received no reply the fleet bombarded Algiers in the most spectacular of several similar punitive actions of this period that finally broke the power of the "Barbary pirates," who plagued European commerce in the Mediterranean for centuries. The British and Dutch naval bombardment of Algiers destroyed 33 ships in the harbor. In nine hours, the allied squadrons fired more than fifty thousand round shot. The casualties were in proportion. In the English ships, 818 men were wounded or killed; some 16 per cent of those engaged.

As a result of the bombardment, negotiations for a treaty, signed on Sept. 24, 1816, reaffirmed the conditions imposed by American Commodore Stephen Decatur in the treaty of 1815. In addition, the Dey agreed to end the practice of enslaving Christians. All Exmouth's aims in the action were achieved: 1083 Christian slaves and the British Consul were liberated, massive restitution paid and peace made between Algiers and the Dutch. Exmouth was created viscount for his role.

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