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My Comments on Caldwell - Pirates

The 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.

Yaqub 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.

The 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.

Corsair 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 headquarters.

The 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

Christian 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.

By 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.

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