Moonday’s Heroic Hunk in History: Stephen Decatur

Pirates aside for the moment.  Sizzler Sister Arabella Stokes’ historical romance, PROOF OF LOVE was released by Champagne Books today. If you love history, bow to the altar of romance goddesses Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer (like Arabella and I do), and gotta have a HEA, this is an awesome read. Arabella knows and writes the period with a flair.

Check out the blurb below then click on over to and hit that  Add to Cart button.  You won’t regret it. Rita Bay

Lady Susan no longer believes in love. Finding her fiancé in the arms of another man does make a lady lose faith in happy-ever-afters.

The  Duke of Danesleigh never did. As a renowned scientist, he puts no stock in anything that cannot be weighed, measured and defined. Danesleigh selects a mother for his heirs with the same scientific detachment he uses to manage his stables and kennels. Lady Susan’s heritage and breeding meet his requirements.

But the attraction between them refuses to be ruled by logic, and their relationship blossoms. Can they put dark family secrets behind them and prove the existence of the love they have always denied?


Now for the pirates.

Stephen Decatur

Stephen Decatur is our Heroic Hunk in History this Moonday.  After the famous Revolutionary War Navy hero John Paul Jones, he was most responsible for the establishment of the US Navy but today it’s his leadership of the attacks on the Muslim pirates of North Africa that makes him a hero. 

For more than three centuries Muslim pirates from North Africa raided European territory and shipping to capture and enslave tens if not hundreds of thousands of European (and later American) men, women and children. Those who were wealthy might be ransomed but most of the captives were doomed to short lives of forced labor or the worse fate as galley slaves who rowed the pirates’ ships until they died.  Captured women were sold as sex slaves into the harems and brothels of  North Africa and beyond. The horrors suffered by the slaves were chronicled by ransomed slaves in hostage narratives. The pirate raids ranged from Iceland to Ireland and along the Mediterranean.  Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of captives were enslaved from a single town. One Muslim wrote that there was such a glut that a  Christian slave could be bought for the price of an onion.

USS Philadelphia

European nations bought off the North African leaders to prevent attacks. When the Americans were captured and enslaved, the American government attacked the pirate stronghold twice. Stephen Decatur became  famous for leading these assaults. The pirates learned the hard way not to attack Americans.  He attacked twice over a period of several years. During the first incident,  the Americans attacked one of their own ships, the  USS Philadelphia, which had been captured by the pirates. (Today features the full description of the famous battle in an excerpt from an amazing book of G-rated stories for American children about exceptional American heroes that was written in 1898. New stories are featured each day while I’m doing NaNoWriMo which I’m barely surviving.) The second incident had the bey (?dey) suing for peace.

Unfortunately, Decatur was known for participating in duels.  At the age of 41, he lost a duel and his life.

Next Moonday, a President as you’ve never seen (or imagined) him.  Rita Bay

BTW, I extensively researched the Muslim pirates of North Africa and slavery in general for one of  my novels. The history of the disgusting institution of slavery will be my February theme at RB


4 Responses

  1. I never knew about Americans being enslaved. I live in the south so I’ve only heard of the south enslavement of blacks. Either way, the thought makes my stomach churn.

    • Sadly, true. The slave trade that operated out of North Africa was in the mega-millions. In comparison, the American slave trade was MUCH lower. One is too many.) Whole communities along the Mediteranean were wiped out and more than 150 British ships were taken by the Barbary pirates. Many other ships and boats simply disappeared. Since the Muslim religion condones the institution, slavery continues to exist in Muslim areas, especially in Africa. More next February. RB

  2. Slavery is horrible in any day and age (and still exists). But I always ask a question of people when they talk about slavery in the South.

    Which state first legalized slavery? Don’t think, just answer quickly. Hint: it has four sylables, and starts with an ‘M’.

    Yes, MASSACHUSETTS. People ever ignore the fact that Boston was the busiest port of slave trade in the U.S., and to openly market slaves there it had to be a legal, government sanctioned endeavor. Slave labor built a large number of government buildings, schools and churches in the North, to the point the church issued an apology to the ancestors of those who built those Northern towns.

    Rita, another interesting post and your wisdom amazes me, as usual!

    • So true, Runere. Boston was one of the three legs of the Triangle. Thank you for all your kind comments. It’s nice to know that someone is out there reading my posts. Hope you and your family are well. Rita Bay

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