Bombardment of Algiers - Fighting Slavery
Updated: Aug 30
Unit/ Formation: Royal Marines
Period/ Conflict: Slave Wars
Date/s: Sunday 27th August 1816
The bombardment of Algiers by Lord Exmouth.
The Bombardment of Algiers was an attempt by Britain and the Netherlands to end the slavery practices of Omar Agha, the Dey of Algiers.
An Anglo-Dutch fleet under the command of Admiral Lord Exmouth bombarded ships and the harbour defences of Algiers. There was a continuing campaign by various European navies and the American navy to suppress the piracy against Europeans by the North African Barbary states. The specific aim of this expedition, however, was to free Christian slaves and to stop the practice of enslaving Europeans.
To this end, it was partially successful, as the Dey of Algiers freed around 3,000 slaves following the bombardment and signed a treaty against the slavery of Europeans. However, this practice did not end completely until the French conquest of Algeria.
The following is taken from the MS. Journal of General F.W. Whinyates R.E. published in the R.E. Journal of 1th February 1881;
”On the 9th August, arrived at Gibraltar after 13 days passage. Whilst at Gibraltar the Marines of the fleet, about 100, were formed into two Battalion, to be commanded by Majors Vallack and Collins of the Royal Marines.
It was intended that the company of Royal Sappers and Marines should land with them at Algiers, and each Sapper and Miner was to carry two hand Grenades and a piece of slow match in his haver sack, besides his musket and ammunition. The allied squadron had fired over 50,000 round shot using 118 tons of gunpowder, and the bomb vessels had fired 960 explosive mortar shells.
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