(extracts from Wikipaedia edited)
Early 19th century Barbary corsairs and crews from the North African Ottoman provinces were the scourge of Mediterranean shipping. Capturing merchant ships and enslaving or ransoming their crews provided the Muslim rulers of these nations with wealth and naval power.
Barbary corsairs led attacks upon American merchant shipping in an attempt to extort ransom for the lives of captured sailors, and ultimately tribute from the United States to avoid further attacks, as they did with the various European states.
During the First Barbary War President Jefferson sent the USS Philadelphia to protect the shipping of the new American state. The Philadelphia was cruising off Tripoli in October 31, 1803. According to Arab sources it was deliberately lured away. While giving chase and firing upon a pirate ship she ran aground on an uncharted reef two miles off Tripoli Harbour. The Captain, William Bainbridge, tried to refloat her but this failed. He surrendered.
Her officers and the crew of the USS Philadelphia were captured. The officers were ransomed off, the sailors were made slaves of the Pasha. Sold. Worked. Heavy building work. Slaving in the quarries. In the heat. To the captors they were infidels. Lowest scum.
This has long seemed to be a story that tempted a treatment a la rendsz’ world …….