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Topics in Chronicling America - The Perdicaris Affair

Ion Perdicaris, an American businessman, is kidnapped on May 18, 1904 in Tangier, Morocco and held for ransom. President Theodore Roosevelt demands that the Moroccan government obtain Perdicaris' release and orders Navy ships to Morocco. Perdicaris is eventually released unharmed, and the incident is now often remembered for the statement made by US Secretary of State John Hay, "Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead." Read more about it!

The information and sample article links below provide access to a sampling of articles from historic newspapers that can be found in the Chronicling America: American Historic Newspapers digital collection ( Use the Suggested Search Terms and Dates to explore this topic further in Chronicling America.

The Perdicaris Affair

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Important Dates:

  • May 18, 1904: Ion Perdicaris, a Greek-American citizen, and his stepson are kidnapped by a Moroccan brigand, Ahmed ibn-Muhammed Raisuli, in Tangier, Morocco. Raisuli demands ransom payments and political influence in exchange for Perdicaris’ safe return.
  • May 19, 1904: President Roosevelt orders a naval squadron to Morocco.
  • May 31, 1904: France offers her assistance in resolving the affair.
  • June 22, 1904: U.S. Secretary of State John Hay dispatches an ultimatum to the Moroccan sultan demanding “Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead.”
  • June 24, 1904: Raisuli’s demands are met, and Perdicaris is released.

Suggested Search Strategies:

  • [Try the following terms in combination, proximity, or as phrases using Search Pages in Chronicling America.] .] Perdicaris, Raisuli, bandit, kidnapped, Morocco, Roosevelt.
  • Because newspapers used alternate spellings for the name of the Moroccan brigand who captured Perdicaris try the following in combination with other search terms: Fraissouli, Raissouli, Raisulis, Raisouli, Raisuli.

Sample Articles from Chronicling America:

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  February 13, 2013
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