Treaty of Peace and Friendship Signed at Tunis (August 28, 1797)

The United States signed a treaty with Tunis in order to end the costly attacks of the Barbary pirates on American commercial shipping in the Mediterranean Sea and along the costs of Spain and Portugal.  In order to ensure the safety of its vessels and seamen, America agreed to an even higher tribute than that promised in the treaty with Tripoli.  This pact would not be ratified until January 10, 1800.

The failure of the various North African states of the “Barbary Coast” to curb piracy led to the first U.S. military actions overseas in the First and Second Barbary Wars of the early 1800s.  These actions are the source of the opening line in the U.S. Marine Corps hymn, “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.”  Nonetheless, generally positive relations between the United States and Tunisia continue from the middle 1800s to the present day.

The original text of the treaty was in Turkish.  The English text and notes are made available through Yale University’s Avalon Project.