pirate brothers Barbarossa were Aruj Barbarossa who died in 1518,
and Khayrad'din Barbarossa who died 1546. Both were born on the
island of Lesbos to a Janisary soldier Yaqub, who had been granted
land on the island, and the widow of a Christian priest.
had four sons of whom Aruj was the eldest and Khizr the youngest,
and two daughters. The father became an established potter and
had a boat of his own to trade his products. Aruj helped with
the boat while Khizr helped with pottery.
Greek born Barbarossa ('redbeard') brothers founded the power
of the Barbary corsairs in the 1500's, attacking Christian shipping
and coastal towns around the Mediterranean. It was Aruj the elder
who had the red beard, which became their nickname and not the
younger Khizr, who became better known as Khayrad'din and carried
a brown or an auburn beard.
pirates were both Muslim and Christian who operated in the Mediterranean
Sea between the 15th and 18th-centuries. Muslim corsairs, such
as the Barbarossa brothers, had bases along the Barbary coast
of north Africa. They built several strong fortresses to defend
the Barbary ports of Algiers, Tripoli and Tunis, and paid the
sultan of Tunisia one fifth of their booty to use Tunis as pirate
Muslim pirates operated from bases in North Africa. During the
Crusades (1095 -1295), Muslim pirates plundered the ships carrying
the Crusaders and pilgrims and sold many Christians into slavery.
For hundreds of years, the Muslim pirates collected "tribute"
as protection against attack from the European powers. Usually,
Christian Europe found it easiest just to pay the tribute
corsairs were based on the island of Malta. Muslim and Christian
corsairs alike swooped down on their targets in swift oar-powered
boats called galleys to carry off sailors and passengers. Unless
these unfortunates were rich enough to pay a ransom, they were
sold as slaves or put to work as oarsmen on the corsair galleys.
Christian corsairs carried razor-sharp rapiers into battle and
often wore metal helmets and breastplates.
the 16th century the corsairs had established a pirate empire,
the Barbary States, in the countries of northern Africa. The pirate
governments were supported by selling Christians into slavery
and by taking heavy tribute as protection money from other countries.
By 1510, Aruj was one of the richest men in the Mediterranean
and he with his brother Khizr; the masters of eight well built
galleots and owning vast property and slaves.