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Barbarossa


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The name by which the sons and grandson of Yakub of Mitylene, a coasting captain and trader, were generally known by Christians during the 16th century. Of his four sons, Arouj, Khizr, Elias, and Isaak, the first two took to piracy and soon became feared throughout the Mediterranean for the ferocity of their attacks on both Christian shipping and the native African princes. Both were heavily bearded with red hair, which probably accounts for their name, but Khizr was also known as Khair-ed-Din. This was a name which struck even greater terror in many Christian hearts though earning for him a reputation as a great hero throughout Islam.

From 1510 to 1545–6, the two brothers engaged in almost continuous warfare, alternating their attacks on African states with descents on the Spanish or Italian coasts and the harrying of shipping in the Mediterranean. Arouj was eventually killed by Spanish troops, but Khair-ed-Din lived until 1547, his last exploit being a plundering expedition to the coast of Italy in 1544. With the vast riches he had gained, he built a large palace at Constantinople, and it was there that he died. His son Hassan, also known as Barbarossa, confined his operations mostly to the Levant and was not so terrifying a figure in Christian eyes, though his reputation as his father's son was often enough to suppress disorders along the North African coast as and when required.

See also barbary pirates.

See also barbary pirates.

Barbarossa

Subjects: Maritime History.


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