Barbary Coast

Bar·ba·ry Coast

geographical name \ˈbär-b(ə-)rē\

Definition of BARBARY COAST

region N Africa extending from Egypt to the Atlantic & including the former Barbary States (Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, & Tripoli) —a chiefly former name
section of San Francisco formerly noted as a center of gambling, prostitution, and riotous nightlife —an informal name

Barbary Coast

   (Concise Encyclopedia)

Mediterranean coastal region, North Africa. It extends from Egypt to the Atlantic Ocean. Once part of Roman Africa, the region was overrun by Vandals in the 5th century AD. Reconquered by the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire) c. AD 533, it was overcome by Arabs during the 7th century and was eventually broken up into the independent Muslim polities known collectively as the Barbary states (Morocco, Algeria [Algiers], Tunisia [Tunis], and Libya [Tripoli]). For centuries the coast was notorious as a haven for pirates, who ravaged shipping and collected tribute from European states. After the U.S. war with Tripoli (see Tripolitan War), the U.S. expedition to Algiers (1815), and the bombardment of Algiers by the British (1816), the pirates ceased exacting tribute.


Next Word in the Dictionary: Barbers Point
Previous Word in the Dictionary: Barbados

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up Barbary Coast? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).