You’ve often heard of the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, but don’t you get bored of hearing of those all the time? I do! Wouldn’t it be nice also to tell your family and friends about a war that they probably have never even heard of? Here are some of the least-known American wars:
The Quasi-War, 1800:
This was technically not a war, because war was not declared! Instead, it involved the U.S. and France’s navies. It all started as a result of Impressment, and how America responded to it. Impressment was when British soldiers forced American sailors to serve in their navy. Their excuse was that these sailors were deserters. However, some Americans were taken who had not even done that crime! In other words, the British took innocent Americans! The U.S. responded by embargoing not only Britain, but all of Europe! This was a big mistake. I will talk more about Impressment and the Embargo later. The French then started themselves seizing American ships, which resulted in the U.S. arming Merchant vessels and dispatching their small navy to deal with the French. Even though there were only a few engagements, the U.S, even with a smaller and inexperienced navy, defeated the French in all of them! A treaty was signed, and France stopped the practice of Impressment of the Americans.
The Barbary Wars, 1801-1805 and 1815:
The Barbary wars was linked to the Quasi-War in a way. America at first paid tribute to the Barbary States, which were Pirates controlling Morocco, Tripoli, and Algeria, because of their weak navy. America needed to go past the Barbary States and into the Mediterranean sea to trade. However, after more demands for tribute from Tripoli, America saw its chance to end the tribute. When America refused to pay, Tripoli declared war. At first, things went wrong for the Americans. Their flagship, the Philadelphia, was captured by the Pirates, and they were held up in Spain. However, in 1804, the Americans set fire to the Philadelphia and captured Derna, a vital port in Tripoli, officially ending the war. Although Tripoli stopped demanding tribute, Algiers and Tunis continued, and were defeated in the Second Barbary War in 1815.
Aroostook War, 1838-1839:
This war started as a result of the Disputed Maine Border with Britain, and numerous arrests were made for crossing the border. American and Britain officially called up troops in preparation for a war to settle the crisis, but a treaty was adopted instead and the border was defined in 1842.
Even though these wars may not look important, they actually played a part in American and World history! The Quasi-War helped end France’s impressment of American Sailors, and showed that a smaller navy could defeat one of greatest navies in the world. The Barbary Wars ended America’s need to pay tribute to foreign powers due to its weaknesses. And the Aroostook War, being the last America vs. Britain conflict, settled the Border in Maine and led to the establishment of the U.S-Canadian border! Remember, no war is too small to make a difference.