When was the Consular Service established?

The first Act of Congress providing for U.S. consuls abroad was passed on April 14, 1792. Except for the consuls appointed to the Barbary States of North Africa (who enjoyed quasi-diplomatic status when Muslim countries did not maintain permanent missions abroad), U.S. consuls received no salary and were expected to earn their livings from private trade or from fees charged for official services. It was not uncommon for consuls to have been merchants with business connections in the cities to which they had been appointed. They did not have to be U.S. citizens.