Treaties are a big thing. Leaders from different countries go on lengthy discussions about the terms of these essential steps in reaching peace among nations in conflict. While most of these agreements were reasonable, well planned, logical, and well thought of, there were some that involved unlikely and unusual objects that would make you scratch your head. What was more surprising was how others involved were not weirded out by the context of these treaties. To be fair, they were sensible too, but just with a dash of weirdness and uniqueness. Check them out and decide for yourself.

The Barbary Treaties that paid Pirates not to be Pirates

To be able to protect the interests of the US shipping in the region and secure the safe release of prisoners captured by these countries’ privateers, the United States signed a total of seven different treaties with Algeria, Morocco, Tripoli, and Tunis between 1795 and 1836. These treaties were collectively called the Barbary Treaties, which basically legalized and codified the use of blackmail by North-African city-states. If that was not enough, the actions were to be incentivized by the United States by paying the pirates to release US merchants and sailors that they captured trying to do US shipping matters in the area.

This reprint was sanctioned by Congress on March 2, 1831, and printed the following year by Gales & Seaton. It is a part of the American State Papers publication. (Joel Barlow, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

For instance, Article Number 16 of the Treaty with Morocco states,

In case of a War between the Parties, the Prisoners are not to be made Slaves, but to be exchanged one for another, Captain for Captain, Officer for Officer and one private Man for another; and if there shall prove a deficiency on either side, it shall be made up by the payment of one hundred Mexican Dollars for each Person wanting; And it is agreed that all Prisoners shall be exchanged in twelve Months from the Time of their being taken, and that this exchange may be effected by a Merchant or any other Person authorized by either of the Parties.