Danish–Algerian War

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Danish-Norwegian Expedition to Algiers
Alger-régence.jpg
Photo showing Algiers from Ottoman period
Date14 September 1769 - 16 May 1772
LocationNear Algiers, Eyalet of Algiers
Result Algerian victory
Belligerents
 Denmark-Norway Eyalet of Algiers
Commanders and leaders
Denmark–Norway Christian VII
Denmark–Norway Frederik Christian Kaas
Baba Mohammed ben-Osman
Strength
2 Frigates
2 Bomb Galiots
4 Ship of the line
Unknown
Casualties and losses
500 killed (mostly from disease) Unknown

The Danish–Algerian War was a conflict lasting from 1769 to 1772 between Denmark-Norway and Eyalet of Algiers which was a province of the Ottoman Empire. It is also known as the Algerian Expedition, or "The War Against Algeria".

Background and Beginning of Conflict[edit]

Danish-Norwegian trade in the Mediterranean greatly expanded in the mid 1700s. In order to protect their lucrative business against piracy, Denmark-Norway had secured a peace deal with the states of Barbary Coast, involving the payment an annual tribute to the individual rulers of those states and additionally to the United States.

In 1766 Baba Mohammed ben-Osman became Dey of Algiers. He demanded that the annual payment made by Denmark-Norway should be increased, and he should receive new gifts. Denmark-Norway refused the demands. Shortly after, Algerian pirates hijacked three Danish-Norwegian ships and sold the crew into slavery.

Response[edit]

Warships loaded with gunpowder and bullets sailed from Copenhagen in 16 May 1770. They threatened to bomb the Algerian capital if the Algerians did not agree to a new peace deal on Danish terms. Algiers was not intimidated, and the Danish-Norwegian bombardment ended in failure, as a large part of the crew fell seriously ill due to an outbreak of Typhoid. The ships could not withstand heavy mortar counter-strikes from the Algerians, which damaged their hulls. The Danish-Norwegian contingent unloaded approximately 75 bombs against the city of Algiers before the attack had to be abandoned. The contingent then resorted to a blockade of the city.[1]

Aftermath[edit]

In 1772, a delegation was sent to Algiers, and after five days of negotiations a new peace was concluded in which Algiers was well paid. In addition, Denmark-Norway had to pay for the return of each slave who had been captured during the war. Danish and Norwegian slaves who were sold to private slave owners had to individually negotiate the prices of their freedom.[2]

Today the war is mostly forgotten in Denmark and Norway, because it has not played a big role in Danish and Norwegian history.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Torbjørn Ødegaard; Oppgjøret med røverstaten Algier 1769-72, published by Marinemuseet, Horten 2010 (in Norwegian)
  2. ^ "Krigen mod Algier". natmus.dk (in Danish). National Museum of Denmark. 
  3. ^ Struwe, Lars. "Danmark bombede Algier – og glemte alt om det" (in Danish). videnskab.dk.