There's a restaurant in my neighbor city called Barbary Fig. I enjoyed the Mediterranean cuisine, but never understood the name. Until now...

I'm reading a book called Six Frigates: the epic history of the founding of the American Navy (Why? Because book clubs are over and now and I can read anything I want! And, after touring the US Brig Niagara, I'm fascinated by the historical context of the naval ships. Okay? Okay.) and I got to the part where the British and other European nations would simply pay the Barbary pirates for protection and in order to trade with the Barbary states along the North African coast -- states such as Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya...

And what is the cuisine at Barbary Fig? North African.

Aahhhh, the world is making a little bit more sense.

And in case you started to wonder, as I did, whether the words "barbary" and "barbarian" were connected, they aren't really. From the Online Etymology Dictionary: "The actual relations (if any) of the Arabic and Gr[eek] words cannot be settled; but in European langs. barbaria, Barbarie, Barbary, have from the first been treated as identical with L. barbaria, Byzantine Gr[eek] barbaria land of barbarians" [OED].

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