Barbary States

The Barbary States, or the Barbary, refers to the northwest region of Africa. Presently, this region is most commonly referred to as the Maghreb. It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Sahara Desert to the south, Egypt to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. It is home to present day Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. The term Barbary is derived from the word Berber, which refers to the first ethnic group known to live in the region.

Some scholars believe that piracy was introduced in the Barbary States because it was allowed by the Islam, which was practiced by most people living in the region.1 Most pirates had chosen to crew a ship rather than work as laborers in mines or quarriers. However, it was the elite and ruling class that benefited most from piracy.2

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