Here's Christopher Hitchens on Slavery and the Barbary Wars of the very young United States. It's a charming little exercise in contemporarizing history.
Quite unrelatedly, the word "Barbary" mystified me as a teenager, when during one of my first forays into the Internet (back when I was active in FidoNet), looking for role-playing game resources, I had run across the now-defunct Barbary Cthulhu, a Call of Cthulhu online multi-player interactive environment, based on the MUSH game server technology.
That game's name referred to its spatial and temporal setting, The Barbary Coast, a shady neighborhood in 19th-century San Francisco, not to northern Africa and its enslaving pirates, but I did not know that at the time, and wondered how barbarians or barbarism is related to the game's theme.
Regrettably, I ran out of time while familiarizing myself with the game, and then promptly forgot all about it until today. Now I'm nostalgic and have a hankering for some Cthulhu intrigue. I think I'll lie down till it passes.
P.S. Later in the album I'm listening to, Stevens has a track titled Decatur, after the Illinois town by the same name, itself named for Stephen Decatur, hero of the Barbary Wars.