Bainbridge, William,1774–1833, American naval officer, b. Princeton, N.J. An experienced sea captain, he joined (1798) the navy when war with France threatened. His ship, the Retaliation, was captured by two French frigates, and he and his crew were imprisoned on Guadeloupe. Released, he returned to America and in 1800, as commander of the George Washington, he carried U.S. tribute money to the dey of Algiers (see Tripolitan WarTripolitan War
, 1800–1815, conflict between the United States and the Barbary States. Piracy had become a normal source of income in the N African Barbary States long before the United States came into existence.
..... Click the link for more information. ). The dey forced him to proceed under the Ottoman flag to Constantinople—an insult that contributed to the American decision to declare war against the Barbary StatesBarbary States,
term used for the North African states of Tripolitania, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. From the 16th cent. Tripolitania, Tunisia, and Algeria were autonomous provinces of the Turkish Empire. Morocco pursued its own independent development.
..... Click the link for more information. . In 1803, assigned to the troubled Mediterranean area, Bainbridge's ship, the Philadelphia, ran aground in the harbor of Tripoli and was captured. He was freed at the end of the Tripolitan War. In the war of 1812, as commander of the ConstitutionConstitution,
U.S. 44-gun frigate, nicknamed Old Ironsides. It is perhaps the most famous vessel in the history of the U.S. navy. Authorized by Congress in 1794, the ship was launched in 1797 and was commissioned and put to sea in 1798 in the undeclared naval war with the
..... Click the link for more information. , Bainbridge captured the British frigate Java off the Brazilian coast in Dec., 1812. In 1815, a commodore, he went out in the Independence to aid Stephen Decatur in the operations against Algiers, but he arrived after the fighting was over.
See his biography written in 1816 by H. A. S. Dearborn (ed. by J. Barnes, 1931).