Hayraddin Barbarossa, pirate, admiral and balerbey

Year of issue: 1941

A country: Turkey

Hayraddin became a pirate, one might say, by inheritance. Robber flotilla and possession in Algeria got him from his older brother. A few dozen ships and a small pirate state to a forty-year-old ambitious was not enough. Having recognized the formal power of the Ottoman sultan (Selim I was very happy with this unexpected gift), Hayraddin decided to conquer all of Algeria to begin with. There were large forces of the Spaniards. The sea route to the capital was covered by a fortress on the island of Peñón. Barbarossa began a protracted siege. He was in no hurry. While his troops besieged the fortress for ten years, he plundered the cities of Italy, France and Spain. Having captured Penon in 1529, Hyraddin changed not only political, but also physical geography. Thousands of Christian slaves poured an isthmus, turning Penon into a peninsula. After Algeria completely surrendered to the pirate, it was the turn of Tunis.

The Spanish king Charles V, who lost his African possessions, gathered a European coalition against the invader. A strong fleet met with a pirate squadron in the Prevez Strait. Suddenly there was complete calm and the ships froze. Then the wind blew in the back of the Turks, depriving Europeans of the opportunity to maneuver. Their fleet was completely crushed.

Capturing Tunisia, Hayraddin received from the Sultan the title of Beyrlebey, that is, the ruler of the whole of northern Africa. Charles V again gathered strength against his enemy. The Europeans landed in Algeria in 1541, the capital of which was ready to surrender, but the weather intervened again. A strong hurricane tore off the Spanish ships from anchors, dispersed their camp, overflowed the banks of the river and almost drowned the entire landing force. Europeans retreated.

By this time, Hayraddin was already old. He retired. He built himself in Istanbul a magnificent palace, a mosque and a mausoleum, where he rested in 1546. For a couple of centuries, Turkish ships, leaving the Golden Horn Bay, saluted the mausoleum of the one who is still considered to be a great naval commander in Turkey.


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