Due to a special Joint Meeting of Congress taking place in the Capitol on Wednesday, April 29, the U.S. Capitol will be closed to tours until approximately 12:30 p.m. on that day. The Capitol Visitor Center will remain open throughout the day, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and guided tours of the Capitol Visitor Center will be available while the Capitol is closed.
Barbary pirates preyed on ships off Africa's western and Mediterranean coasts for centuries. After U.S. independence, Britain withdrew protections for American ships formerly stipulated in treaties with the Barbary States. In the 1780s and 1790s, pirates captured and enslaved many American sailors, demanding exorbitant ransom payments. After diplomatic means failed, Congress authorized the creation of the U.S. Navy to prevent further raids on American commerce.