Barbarossa Brothers, the Pirates
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Barbarossa Brothers, the Pirates

The Barbarossa Brothers were pirates that were feared by many.

The Barbarossa Brothers were feared pirates during the sixteenth century.  They were known as "Corsairs" which described pirates who sailed the Mediterranean Sea taking land for their own government.  They would plunder towns and ships for the riches they wanted.

Arouj and Kheir-ed-din Barbarossa were loyal Muslims who were loyal to the Turkish government at the time.  Their headquarters were located on the island of Jerba, between the port cities of Turis and Tripole on the North African Coast.  Their last name "Barbarossa" means red beard in Italian.

The first brother, Arouj was the first to be successful of the two.  In 1504, he stopped at the port city of Turis and struck up a deal with the King.  If the King would let him use the harbor and agreed to protect Arouj from enemies, then Arouj would share some of the riches he got from plundering.  Arouj had defeated many local chieftains and freed many ports from Spanish Christian rule. He captured man ships, riches, and slaves.  He took over Algiers in North African.  Arouj died in a land fight in 1518.

The other brother, Kheir-ed-din became a great naval commander as he was an educated man who spoke six different languages.  He wanted to work for Sultan Selimi of the Ottoman Empire because the Sultan was a powerful Muslim presence in the Mediterranean.  Kheir-ed-din sent many riches to the Sultan in hopes that he would be accepted for a visit.

In 1533, a new Sultan came into rule whose name was Sultan Suleiman.  He agreed to see Kheir-ed-din.  The new Sultan wanted to make sure that the Christian navy ships stayed away from his land.  He hoped that Kheir-ed-din could help in that area.  The Sultan needed help from Kheir-ed-din to organizing a navy before the Christians became a threat.  He appointed Kheir-ed-din "Kapudan Pasha", meaning admiral in chief.

Kheir-ed-din took his time getting to the Ottoman Empire and when he finally arrived in Turkey, he had forty vessels filled with gifts for the Sultan

Kheir-ed-din's ship was called a galley and each ship had about 90 galley slaves to row it.  The slaves would sit on long, wooden benches and their feet were chained to the benches.  There were four men to an oar and the slaves had to row for hours without a break.  Galleries were heavily armed with cannons,  guns, and spears.

In 1534, Kheir-ed-din planned to capture the city of Tunis and when the ruler heard about Kheir-ed-din's plan, he ran from the city in fear.  Kheir-ed-din captured Tunis after the ruler left.

In 1535, Emperor Charles V of Spain planned to get back the city of Tunis and he sent a large fleet to attack.  Kheir-ed-din heard of the plan and was ready to attack the fleet.  He had his best galleys waiting in Bone, a port city between Tunis and Algiers.  Kheir-ed-din was waiting for Emperor Charles V's land army. 

Instead, thousands of Christian slaves broke loose and found a supply of weapons.  The slaves attacked the Muslims.  The Christian navy entered the city and took over.

In 1546, Kheir-ed-din died of  a fever in his palace. When the people of Istanbul heard, they cried out "The Chief of the Sea is dead!"

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