James Biddle - Education and Early Career

Education and Early Career

He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he attended the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating, he entered service in the United States Navy as a midshipman in 1800.

Retained in the navy reduction of 1801, Biddle served in the war against the Barbary pirates. The ship he was in, USS Philadelphia, struck rocks off Tripoli, and along with his Commodore, William Bainbridge, he was kept imprisoned by the pirates for 19 months.

During the War of 1812, Biddle was first lieutenant in USS Wasp. After this, he was in command of the sloop USS Hornet when she defeated HMS Penguin. Later, in 1817, he was sent to the Columbia River to formally take over the Oregon Country for the United States, which was completed in 1818.

After the war, Biddle performed various duties in the Gulf of Mexico, the South Atlantic and the Mediterranean. In 1830, Biddle and US consul David Offly negotiated and concluded a treaty with the Sublime Porte. The treaty was later used by US diplomats to claim extraterritorial privileges for US citizens in the Ottoman Empire.

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