Corsair was the term usually used to describe the piratical vessels of the coast of northern Africa, manned by Berbers (hence the name Barbary). Unlike real pirates, these were sponsored by small countries in that area. Many countries bribed these Algerian states to leave their merchant vessels alone. The Barbary Corsairs or Barbary pirates were known for their ferocity and skill. Piracy off the Barbary Coast took place in the 17th,18th, and early 19th centuries. Protecting American merchant vessels from them was a major impetus for the creation of the United States Navy and led to the first Barbary War from 1801 to 1805. They were finally eliminated after the French conquest of Algiers in 1830.