Today in North African history: the Battle of Kasserine Pass ends (1943)

The Battle of Kasserine Pass, on February 19-25, 1943, was the second part of the Battle of Sidi Bouzid earlier that month. Or more to the point, Sidi Bouzid—along with a smaller battle between German and Allied forces at Tunisia’s Faïd Pass in late January—served as the opening act of this much larger engagement. Both Sidi Bouzid … Continue reading Today in North African history: the Battle of Kasserine Pass ends (1943)

Today in North African history: the burning of the USS Philadelphia (1804)

Stephen Decatur (d. 1820) is one of the US Navy’s first famous heroes, alongside Revolutionary War captain John Paul Jones, and among the earliest American war heroes in general. Technically we should call him Stephen Decatur Junior, so as not to confuse him with his father, who was also an important early American naval officer. But … Continue reading Today in North African history: the burning of the USS Philadelphia (1804)

Today in North African history: the Battle of Sidi Bouzid begins (1943)

The central Tunisian city of Sidi Bouzid is best known today as the birthplace of the Arab Spring. It was in Sidi Bouzid where a fish seller named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in December 2010, to protest what he believed was unfair treatment at the hands of Tunisia's corrupt government. The repercussions of … Continue reading Today in North African history: the Battle of Sidi Bouzid begins (1943)

Today in North African history: the Green March begins (1975)

When I think of the Spanish Empire, I think of the vast swathes of the Americas that were Spanish colonies until the independence movement of the early 19th century. But it survived beyond that period, albeit substantially reduced in size. A few other places (Cuba, the Philippines) lingered under Spanish control, but were gradually peeled … Continue reading Today in North African history: the Green March begins (1975)

Today in North African history: the Eighth Crusade ends (1270)

King Louis IX of France (d. 1270, which is a bit of a spoiler), who would later be known as Saint Louis, would probably go somewhere on a list of the 10 greatest Crusaders of all time. He'd be right up there alongside men like Godfrey of Bouillon, the first Christian ruler of Jerusalem, and Richard the … Continue reading Today in North African history: the Eighth Crusade ends (1270)

Today in North African history: the 1969 Libyan coup

The Arab world experienced quite a number of coups in the 1950s and 1960s. Syria went through three coups in 1949 alone—yes, OK, that isn’t the 1950s, but it’s close enough—and another in 1951. Egypt had a major one in 1952—perhaps you’ve heard about that one. Then Syria had another in 1954, Iraq had one … Continue reading Today in North African history: the 1969 Libyan coup

Happy Presidents Day: Teddy Roosevelt and the Perdicaris Affair (1904)

Hey, I've moved! If you enjoy this post you can find more of my writing at Foreign Exchanges, a Substack newsletter covering a variety of topics in history and foreign affairs. Check it out today and become a subscriber! President's Day here in the US brings with it a number of anecdotes about the bygone … Continue reading Happy Presidents Day: Teddy Roosevelt and the Perdicaris Affair (1904)