Today, 220 years ago, Congress passed the Naval Act of 1794 which authorized the creation of 6 ships to constitute a Naval fleet for the protection of US interests.  In particular they were to protect against the Barbary “pirates” who were harassing merchant shipping in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic oceans.   The Barbary Pirates actually were state sponsored privateers who would attack and capture ships of almost any nation, selling off the cargo, and often selling the captured men into slavery.

While the Act provides that if peace is reached with Algiers (one of the city-states on the Barbary Coast) that all funding for the ships would stop, in the end it did not.  Indeed, conflict with the Barbary coast states would go on and eventually result in war. Did you know that the first declared war by the United States of America was against a bunch of Muslims in North Africa?  A little something the text books leave out now of days.

These six ships; the Chesapeake, Constitution, President, United States, Congress and Constellation, would go to form the backbone of what would become a permanent naval fleet for the United States of America. They would all see action from a quasi-war with France, to the First (and Second) Barbary Wars, to the war of 1812.

While my current historical studies have taken me elsewhere, my love for Naval History always will be strong. On this the anniversary of a the creation of a permanent navy, I remember the heroes of centuries past, who would establish the grand tradition that is the United States Navy.

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