Who Was Hayreddin Barbarossa?

Who Was Hayreddin Barbarossa?

Hayreddin Barbarossa also known as Hayreddin PashaHızır Hayrettin Pasha, and simply Hızır Reis (c. 1466/1483[1] – 4 July 1546), was an Ottoman corsair and later admiral of the Ottoman Navy. Barbarossa’s naval victories secured Ottoman dominance over the Mediterranean during the mid-16th century.

In 1533, Barbarossa was appointed Kapudan Pasha (grand admiral) of the Ottoman Navy by Suleiman the Magnificent. He led an embassy to France in the same year, conquered Tunis in 1534, achieved a decisive victory over the Holy League at Preveza in 1538, and conducted joint campaigns with the French in the 1540s. Barbarossa retired to Constantinople in 1545 and died the following year.

Born on Lesbos, Khizr began his naval career as a corsair under his elder brother Oruç Reis. In 1516, the brothers captured Algiers from Spain, with Oruç declaring himself Sultan. Following Oruç’s death in 1518, Khizr inherited his brother’s nickname, “Barbarossa” (“Redbeard” in Italian). He also received the honorary name Hayreddin (from Arabic Khayr ad-Din, “goodness of the faith” or “best of the faith”). In 1529, Barbarossa took the Peñón of Algiers from the Spaniards.

History Of Hayreddin Barbarossa:

Khizr was born sometime between 1466 and 1483 in Palaiokipos on the island of Midilli (Lesbos), a son of an Ottoman sipahi father, Yakup Ağa of Turkish or Albanian origin from Giannitsa (now Greece), and an Orthodox Christian mother of Greek origin, Katerina, from Mytilene (also Lesbos). His mother was a widow of a Greek Orthodox priest. The couple married and had two daughters and four sons: Ishak, Oruç, Khizr and Ilyas. Yakup took part in the Ottoman conquest of Lesbos in 1462 from the GenoeseGattilusio dynasty.

As a reward, was granted the fief of the village of Bonova on the island. He became an established potter and purchased a boat to trade his products with. The four sons helped their father with his business, but not much is known about the daughters. At first Oruç helped with the boat, while Khizr helped with the pottery.

In 1503, Oruç managed to seize three more ships and made the island of Djerba his new base, thus moving his operations to the Western Mediterranean. Khizr joined Oruç at Djerba. In 1504, the brothers contacted Abu Abdallah Muhammad IV al-Mutawakkil, ruler of Tunis, and asked permission to use the strategically located port of La Goulette for their operations.

Later that same year, the brothers raided the coasts of Andalusia, capturing a galliot of the Lomellini family of Genoa, which owned Tabarca island. They subsequently landed at Menorca and captured a coastal castle and then headed towards Liguria, where they captured four Genoese galleys near Genoa. The Genoese sent a fleet to liberate their ships, but the brothers captured their flagship as well. After capturing a total of 23 ships in less than a month, the brothers sailed back to La Goulette, where they built three more galliots and a gunpowder production facility.

In 1515, they captured several galleons, a galley and three barques at Majorca. Still in 1515, Oruç sent precious gifts to the Ottoman Sultan Selim I, who, in return, sent him two galleys and two swords encrusted with diamonds. In 1516, joined by Kurtoğlu (Curtogoli), the brothers besieged the Castle of Elba, before heading once more towards Liguria, where they captured 12 ships and damaged 28 others.

In 1536, Barbarossa was called back to Constantinople to take command of 200 ships in a naval attack on the Habsburg Kingdom of Naples. In July 1537, he landed at Otranto and captured the city, as well as the Fortress of Castro and the city of Ugento in Apulia.

In August 1537, Lütfi Pasha and Barbarossa led a huge Ottoman force that captured the Aegean and Ionian islands belonging to the Republic of Venice, namely Syros, Aegina, Ios, Paros, Tinos, Karpathos, Kasos, Kythira, and Naxos. In the same year, Barbarossa raided Corfu and obliterated the agricultural cultivations of the island while enslaving nearly all the population of the countryside. 

However, the Old Fortress of Corfu was well defended by a 4,000-strong Venetian garrison with 700 guns, and when several assaults failed to capture the fortifications, the Turks reluctantly re-embarked and once again raided Calabria. These losses prompted Venice to ask Pope Paul III to organize a “Holy League” against the Ottomans.

Death Of Hayreddin Barbarossa:

Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha died in 1546 in his seaside palace in the Büyükdere neighbourhood of Istanbul, on the northwestern shores of the Bosphorus. He is buried in the tall mausoleum (türbe) near the ferry port of the district of Beşiktaş on the European side of Istanbul, which was built in 1541 by the famous architect Mimar Sinan, at the site where his fleet used to assemble. His memorial was built in 1944, next to his mausoleum.

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