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Yusuf (ibn Ali) Karamanli, Caramanli or Qaramanli or al-Qaramanli (most commonly Yusuf Karamanli), (1766 – 1838) was the best-known Pasha (reigned 1795-1832) of the Karamanli dynasty (1711–1835) of Tripolitania (in present-day Libya).

Yusuf Karamanli
Pasha of Tripoli
Reign11 June 1795 - 20 August 1832[1]
PredecessorAli II Burghul Pasha Cezayrli (usuper)
SuccessorAli II
Tripoli, Ottoman Tripolitania
Died1838 (aged 72)
DynastyKaramanli Dynasty
FatherAli I

Assumption of the throneEdit

Born in Tripoli in 1766, Karamanli, a member of the Karamanli dynasty (named after the Karamanids in Turkey), was originally of Turkish origin.[2] His brother, Hamet Karamanli, was deposed in 1793 by Ottoman Empire officer Ali Benghul; Benghul proceeded to restore Ottoman rule over Tripoli. In 1795 Yusuf returned to Tripoli, and with the aid of Hammuda Pacha (ruler) of neighboring Barbary state of Tunis, seized the throne, exiling Hamet to Alexandria, Egypt and restoring Karamanli rule.

Barbary WarsEdit

A scan of the original Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States of America and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli of Barbary, known popularly as the Treaty of Tripoli, written in Arabic, signed 4 November 1796.[3]

In 1796, Yusuf drafted and signed the Treaty of Tripoli.[4]

In 1801, Yusuf demanded a tribute of $225,000 from third American President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826, served 1801-1809), Jefferson, confident in the ability of the new United States Navy (revived 1794, with the building of six heavy frigates beginning in 1797) to protect American shipping, refused the Pasha's demands, leading the Pasha to unofficially declare war in May 1801 by chopping down the flagpole with the American flag before the U.S. consulate.

The U.S. Navy attempted to blockade Tripoli's harbors with a squadron sent by President Jefferson in 1803. After some initial military successes, most notably the capture of the grounded American frigate USS Philadelphia in October 1803, the pasha soon found himself threatened after the daring raid led by Lt. Stephen Decatur, USN, (1779-1820), to burn and scuttle the Philadelphia in Tripoli harbor, the following February 1804, then with facing invasion by American Marines and mercenary ground forces following the Battle of Derna in April 1805 to the east and the reinstatement of his deposed brother, Hamet Karamanli, recruited by the American army officer and diplomatic consul William Eaton (1764-1811). He signed a treaty with American emissary Tobias Lear (1762-1816), from the U.S. Department of State ending the war on June 10, 1805.

Decline of the Karamanli (Caramanli) dynastyEdit

By 1819, the various treaties of the Napoleonic Wars had forced the Barbary states to give up corsair activity almost entirely, and Tripoli's economy began to crumble. [1] Yusuf attempted to compensate for lost revenue by encouraging the trans-Saharan trade, but with abolitionist sentiment on the rise in Europe and to a lesser degree the United States, this failed to salvage Tripoli's economy. As Yusuf weakened, factions sprung up around his three sons; though Yusuf abdicated in 1832 in favor of his son Ali II, civil war soon resulted. Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II in Istanbul sent in troops ostensibly to restore order, but instead deposed and exiled Ali II, marking the end of both the Karamanli dynasty and an independent Tripoli. [2]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Fredriksen 2001, 265.
  3. ^ Treaties and other international acts of the United States of America /. Washington, D.C. :. 1931–1948.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  4. ^ "Avalon Project - The Barbary Treaties 1786-1816 - Treaty of Peace and Friendship, Signed at Tripoli November 4, 1796". Retrieved 2018-11-08.



  • Fredriksen, John C. (2001), "Karamanli, Yusuf", America’s Military Adversaries: From Colonial Times to the Present, ABC-CLIO, ISBN 1-57607-603-2.


  • Folayan, Kola Tripoli during the reign of Yusuf Pasha Qaramanli. Ife, Nigeria: University of Ife Press, 1979.
  • Hume, L. J. "Preparations for Civil War in Tripoli in the 1820s: Ali Karamanli, Hassuna D'Ghies and Jeremy Bentham." The Journal of African History 21.3 (1980): 311-322.
  • London, Joshua E. Victory in Tripoli: How America's War with the Barbary Pirates Established the U.S. Navy and Shaped a Nation. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005. ISBN 0-471-44415-4
  • McLachlan, K. S. "Tripoli and Tripolitania: Conflict and Cohesion during the Period of the Barbary Corsairs (1551-1850)." Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series 3.3 (1978): 285-294.


External linksEdit

Preceded by
Ahmad II Pasha
Pasha of Tripoli
Succeeded by