The Story of the Barbary Corsairs
by Stanley Lane-Poole
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The Story of the Nations








Entered at Stationers' Hall, London BY T. FISHER UNWIN

Press of G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS New York





For prospectus of the series see end of this volume.






Centuries of piracy, 3—The Moslems take to the sea, 4—African fleets, 7—Effects of the expulsion of the Moors from Spain, 8—The delights of piracy, 9—Retaliation of the Moors, 10—Don Pedro Navarro, 12—The building of the Penon de Alger, 13.



The Barbary Peninsula, 14—Command of the narrow seas, 15—Barbary ports and havens, 16—Character of the country, 20—North-African dynasties, 21—Relations between the rulers of Barbary and the Christian States, 22—Piracy discountenanced, 24—Christian Corsairs, 25—Growth of sea-roving, 26—The coming of the Turks, 27.




Urūj Barbarossa. 1504-1515 31-44

Lesbos, 31—Birth of Urūj and Kheyr-ed-dīn Barbarossa, 31—Arrival of Urūj at Tunis, 32—Capture of Papal galleys, 35—The epithet Barba-rossa, 36—Galley slaves, 39—Jerba, 40—Unsuccessful siege of Bujēya, 40—Doria besieges the Goletta of Tunis, 43—Second attack on Bujēya, 44—Urūj becomes king of Jījil, 44.


THE TAKING OF ALGIERS. 1516-1518 45-52

Death of Ferdinand, 45—Algerines appeal to Urūj to deliver them from the Spaniards, 46—His doings at Algiers, 49—Defeat of a Spanish armada, 50—Victory over the prince of Tinnis, 50—Great authority of Urūj, 51—Expedition of the Marquis de Comares, 51—Death of Urūj Barbarossa, 52.


Kheyr-ed-dīn Barbarossa. 1518-1530 53-60

Departure of the Spanish troops, 53—Character of Kheyr-ed-dīn, 53—Policy towards the Sultan, 54—Is made Beglerbeg of Algiers, 54—Disaster to Don Hugo de Moncada, 55—Kheyr-ed-dīn's cruises and his captains, 56—"Drub-Devil" at Majorca, 57—Defeat of Portundo, 58—Storming of the Penon de Alger, 59—Kheyr-ed-dīn's fleet, 59.


THE OTTOMAN NAVY. 1470-1522 61-75

Rise of the Turkish navy, 61—Rivalry of Genoa and Venice, 62—The fleet of Mohammed II., 65—The Knights Hospitallers, 66—Ship building at Constantinople, 66—The Battle of Zonchio, 68—Fall of Lepanto, 71—Decline of Venice, 71—Siege of Rhodes, 73—Kheyr-ed-dīn summoned to the Porte, 75.



Andrea Doria, 76—Change of sides, 77—The two rivals, 78—Doria's conquest of Coron, 78—Relief of Coron, 81—Kheyr-ed-dīn sails to Constantinople, 82—Is made Admiral, 83—Building galleys, 83.


TUNIS TAKEN AND LOST. 1534-1535 84-93

Kheyr-ed-dīn ravages the coasts of Italy, 84—Giulia Gonzaga, 84—The Benī Hafs of Tunis, 85—Conquest of Tunis by Kheyr-ed-dīn, 86—Charles V. goes to Tunis, 86—Defeat of Kheyr-ed-dīn, 89—Brutality of the Imperial troops, 90—Joy throughout Christendom, 91—Kheyr-ed-dīn's expedition to Minorca, 93.



Kheyr-ed-dīn and Venice, 94—Venetian provocations, 95—Doria off Paxos, 95—Kheyr-ed-dīn lays waste the Apulian coast, 96—Siege of Corfu by the Turks, 96—Abandoned, 97—A raid among the isles of Greece, 97—Rich prizes, 97—Kheyr-ed-dīn sails to combat Doria, 98—Battle off Prevesa, 101—Doria's galleasses, 102—Hesitation of the Christians, 103—Doria's seamanship and Kheyr-ed-dīn's audacity, 104.


BARBAROSSA IN FRANCE. 1539-1546 105-111

Kheyr-ed-dīn retakes Castelnuovo, 105—Is invited by Francis I. to come to Marseilles, 106—Attacks Nice, 109—Winters at Toulon, 109—Ransoms Dragut, 110—Returns to Constantinople, and dies, 111—His tomb at Beshiktash, 111.


CHARLES AT ALGIERS. 1541 112-123

Barbarossa's successors at Algiers, 112—Charles V. resolves to destroy piracy, 113—The expedition to Algiers, 113—Stormy voyage, 114—The Christian fleet, 114—Landing at Algiers, 117—Effects of the rains, 118—Repulse of the besiegers, 118—Panic in the camp allayed by the Emperor, 119—The Storm, 119—Charles orders a retreat, 120—The remnant of the army sails away, 121—Another tempest, 122—Total failure of the expedition, 123.


DRAGUT REIS. 1543-1560 124-140

Dragut or Torghūd the Rover, 124—His captivity, 127—His lair at Jerba, 128—The city of "Africa," 128—Early siege of "Africa" by the Duke of Bourbon, 131—Retreat, 133—"Africa" (Mahdīya) taken by Dragut, 133—Retaken by Doria and Garcia de Toledo, 134—Dragut's escape from Jerba, 135—He joins the Ottoman navy, 136—Attack on Malta, 136—Siege and conquest of Tripoli, 137—Christian fleets assemble for recapture of Tripoli, 138—Disaster at Jerba, 139-140.


THE KNIGHTS OF MALTA. 1565 141-159

Activity of Maltese galleys, 141—Fortifications of Malta, 142—Description of Malta, in 1565, 143—The Turkish forces, 144—Jean de la Valette, 145—Arrival of Dragut, 146—Siege of Fort St. Elmo, 147—Fall of St. Elmo, 149—Death of Dragut, 149—Siege of Fort St. Michael, 150—Ten assaults, 155—A false alarm, 157—Last assault, 158—Arrival of relieving army, 158—The survivors of the siege, 159.


LEPANTO. 1571 160-178

Results of the siege of Malta, 160—Ochiali, 161—The Turks lay siege to Cyprus, 162—Jealousies among the Christian admirals, 163—Cyprus occupied by the Turks, 164—Efforts of Pope Pius V., 164—Don John of Austria, 167—Muster of the Christian fleets, 167—The Turkish armada, 173—Meeting of the hostile fleets, 173—Giovanni Doria's tactics, 175—Marshalling of the Turkish array, 175—Beginning of the battle, 176—The victory, 177—Cervantes, 177—Subsequent career and death of Don John, 178.




THE GENERAL OF THE GALLEYS. 16th-18th Centuries 181-199

The last of the great Corsairs, 181—Ochiali, 182—Pashas of Algiers, 185—Renegades succeeded by Turks, 185—Beys of Tunis, 186—Blackmail levied on the Christian Powers, 186—Deys of Algiers, 187—Violent deaths, 187—Morocco, 188—Salē rovers, 188—Delgarno, 188—Chevalier Acton, 191—Murād Reis, 192—'Ali Pichinin, 194—Defeated by Venetians, 194—His slaves, 195—His theology, 199.


GALLEYS AND GALLEY SLAVES. 16th Century 200-225

The Renegade Corsairs, 200—Their cruises, 201—Description of different classes of galleys, 205—Furttenbach's account, 206—Rig and armament, 213—Galley-oars, 214—Sufferings of the slaves, 215—The boatswains, 216—Christian galleys, 217—Ship's company, 218—Barbary galleot, 218—Building, 219—Strength of Algerine fleet, 219—Captains, 220—Launching a galley, 220—The rowers and owners, 221—Soldiers, 221—Food, 222—Auguration, 222—Time of cruising, speed, and manoeuvre, 222-223—Ports of refuge, 223-4—Mode of attack, 224—Division of spoils, 224—Return to port with a prize, 225.


THE TRIUMPH OF SAILS. 17th Century 226-234

European ship-builders in Barbary, 226—The galley superseded by the galleon or ship, 229—Depredations of the Algerine sailing-ships, 229—Fighting a Turkish caramuzel, 231—Raids on Madeira, Denmark, Iceland, and Ireland, 232—Losses of the French, 234.


THE REDEMPTION OF CAPTIVES. 17th and 18th Centuries 235-255

Slaves on shore, 235—Dan's account, 236—Cruelty the exception, 241—Government slaves, 242—Sale of captives, 243—Pitiful history of four Knights of Malta, 244—Cervantes in captivity, 246—Attempts to escape, 247—The Order of the Redemption, 251—Father Dan and the mission of Sanson le Page, 252—Arrival of the new Pasha at Algiers, 253—The Bastion de France, 254—Father Comelin, 255.


THE ABASEMENT OF EUROPE. 16th to 18th Centuries 256-273

Arrogance of the Barbary States, 256—Humiliations imposed upon foreign envoys, 257—Extortion of blackmail from European Powers, 259—Treatment of consuls, 260—Piracy on the high sea, 265—Mr. Spratt's captivity, 266—Ransoms by English government, 267—Adventures of captives, 267—Admiral Blake at Porto Farina, 269—False passes, 270—Failure of all remonstrances, 271-3.



Piracy on American ships, 274—Threats of the Pirates, 275—Squadrons sent to refuse tribute, 276—Commodore Preble, 276—Tangiers brought to reason, 277—The loss of the Philadelphia, 279—Decatur succeeds in burning her, 287—Attack on Tripoli, 289—Treaty signed, 290.



Proceedings of the Mediterranean fleet, 292—American treaty with Algiers, 293—Lord Exmouth's expedition, 293—His success at Tunis, 294—Princess Caroline, 295—Bombardment of Algiers, 297—Treaty ineffectual, 299.


THE FRENCH IN AFRICA. 1830-1881 301-310

French quarrel with Algiers, 301—Duperre's expedition, 302—Surrender of Algiers and departure of the last Dey, 302—Cruelties in French occupation of Algiers, 303—'Abd-el-Kādir leads the Arabs, 305—His victories and reverses, 306—His submission and exile, 306—Subsequent French policy in Algiers, 307—The invasion of Tunis, 307—Perfidy of the French Government, 308—A reign of terror, 309.

INDEX. 311



ALGIERS, 1700 Frontispiece







JĪJIL, 1664 41






TUNIS, 1566 87






SIEGE OF "AFRICA," 1390 129







TUNIS IN 1573 183

SALĒ IN 1637 189












[*.*] These illustrations are chiefly reproduced from La Sphere des deux Mondes, composee en Francois, par Darinel pasteur des Amadis, Anvers, 1555; Furttenbach's Architectura Navalis, 1629; Dan's Histoire de Barbarie, 1637; Ogilby's Africa, 1670; Adm. Jurien de la Graviere's Derniers Jours de la Marine a Rames; and the maps [63842. (3.)—S. 9. 9. (39).—S. 10. 2.—64162. (2.)—64043. (1.)] in the British Museum.


Batūta, Ibn-: Voyages. Ed. Defremery. 4 vols. Paris. 1874-9.

Braithwaite, J.: History of the Revolutions in the Empire of Morocco upon the death of the late Emperor Muley Ishmael. 1729.

Brantome, P. de Bourdeille, Seign. De.: Hommes illustres, [OE]uvres. Vols. 1 and 2. Paris. 1822.

Broadley, A. M.: Tunis, Past and Present. 2 vols. 1882.

Celesia, E.: Conspiracy of Fieschi. E. T. 1866.

Cervantes: Don Quixote. Trans. H. E. Watts. 5 vols. 1888-9.

Chenier, L. S.: Present State of the Empire of Morocco. E. T. 1788. Cruelties of the Algerine Pirates. 1816.

Dan, Pere F.: Histoire de Barbarie et de ses Corsaires. 2nd ed. Paris. 1649.

Eurīsī, El-: Description de l'Afrique et de l'Espagne. Ed. Dozy and De Goeje. Leyden. 1866.

Froissart, J.: Chronicles. Trans. T. Johnes. 2 vols. 1844.

Furttenbach, J.: Architectura Navalis: das ist, Von dem Schiff-Gebaw, auf dem Meer und Seekusten zu Gebrauchen. Ulm. 1629.

Graviere, Adm. Jurien de la: Les Derniers Jours de la Marine a Rames. Paris. 1885. " : Doria et Barberousse. 1886. " : Les Corsaires Barbaresques. 1887. " : Les Chevaliers de Malte. 2 vols. 1887. " : La Guerre de Chypre. 2 vols. 1888.

Grammont, H.: Histoire d'Alger. 1887.

Haedo, Diego de: Topographia e Historia General de Argel. Valladolid. 1612.

Hājji Khalīfa: History of the Maritime Wars of the Turks.

Hammer, J. von.: Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches. 2nd ed. 4 vols. Pesth. 1834-6.

Journal Asiatique: Ser. II., iv., xii.; III., xi., xii., xiii.; IV., iii., v., vii., x., xviii.; V., ii., v., vi., xii., xiii.; VI., xviii.; VII., vii.

Marmol, Luys del Caravajal: Descripcion de Africa. Granada. 1573.

Mas-Latrie, Comte de: Relations et commerce de l'Afrique Septentrionale (ou Magreb) avec les nations chretiennes au moyen age. Paris. 1886.

Morgan, J.: A complete History of Algiers. 1731.

Playfair, Sir R. L.: The Scourge of Christendom. 1884.

Reclus, Elisee: Nouvelle Geographie Universelle. XI. Paris.

Registre des Prises. Algiers. 1872.

Rousseau, Baron A.: Annales Tunisiennes. Algiers. 1864. " : History of the Conquest of Tunis by the Ottomans. 1883.

Shaw, T.: Travels in Barbary and the Levant. 3rd ed. Edinb. 1808.

Windus, J.: Journey to Mequinez. 1725.





For more than three centuries the trading nations of Europe were suffered to pursue their commerce or forced to abandon their gains at the bidding of pirates. From the days when Barbarossa defied the whole strength of the Emperor Charles V., to the early part of the present century, when prizes were taken by Algerine rovers under the guns, so to say, of all the fleets of Europe, the Corsairs were masters of the narrow seas, and dictated their own terms to all comers. Nothing but the creation of the large standing navies of the present age crippled them; nothing less than the conquest of their too convenient coasts could have thoroughly suppressed them. During those three centuries they levied blackmail upon all who had any trading interest in the Mediterranean. The Venetians, Genoese, Pisans in older days; the English, French, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, and American Governments in modern times, purchased security by the payment of a regular tribute, or by the periodical presentation of costly gifts. The penalty of resistance was too well known to need exemplification; thousands of Christian slaves in the bagnios at Algiers bore witness to the consequences of an independent policy. So long as the nations of Europe continued to quarrel among themselves, instead of presenting a united line of battle to the enemy, such humiliations had to be endured; so long as a Corsair raid upon Spain suited the policy of France; so long as the Dutch, in their jealousy of other states, could declare that Algiers was necessary to them; there was no chance of the plague subsiding; and it was not till the close of the great Napoleonic wars that the Powers agreed, at the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818, to act together, and do away with the scourge of Christendom. And even then little was accomplished till France combined territorial aggrandizement with the role of a civilizing influence.

There had been pirates in the Mediterranean long before the Turks took up the trade; indeed, ever since boats were built their capabilities for plunder must have been realized. The filibustering expedition of Jason and the loot of the Golden Fleece is an early instance, and the Greeks at all times have distinguished themselves by acting up to Jason's example by sea and land. The Moslems, however, were some time in accustoming themselves to the perils of the deep. At first they marvelled greatly at "those that go down to the sea in ships, and have their business in great waters," but they did not hasten to follow them. In the early days of the conquest of Egypt the Khalif 'Omar wrote to his general and asked him what the sea was like, to which 'Amr made answer: "The Sea is a huge beast which silly folk ride like worms on logs;" whereupon, much distressed, the prudent Khalif gave orders that no Moslem should voyage on so unruly an element without his leave. But it soon became clear that if the Moslems were to hold their own with their neighbours (still more if they meant to hold their neighbours' own) they must learn how to navigate; and accordingly, in the first century of the Hijra, we find the Khalif 'Abd-el-Melik instructing his lieutenant in Africa to use Tunis as an arsenal and dockyard, and there to collect a fleet. From that time forward the Mohammedan rulers of the Barbary coast were never long without ships of some sort. The Aghlabī princes sailed forth from Tunis, and took Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica. The Fātimī Khalifs waged war with the navies of 'Abd-er-Rahmān, the Great Khalif of Cordova, at a strength of two hundred vessels a side. The Almohades possessed a large and capacious fleet, in which they transported their armies to Spain, and their successors in North Africa, though less powerful, were generally able to keep up a number of vessels for offensive as well as commercial purposes.

During the later Middle Ages the relations between the rulers of the Barbary coast—the kings of Tunis, Tilimsān, Fez, &c.—and the trading nations of Christendom were amicable and just. Treaties show that both parties agreed in denouncing and (so far as they could) suppressing piracy and encouraging mutual commerce. It was not till the beginning of the sixteenth century that a change came over these peaceful conditions, and the way it happened was this.

When the united wisdom of Ferdinand and Isabella resolved on the expatriation of the Spanish Moors, they forgot the risk of an exile's vengeance.[1] No sooner was Granada fallen than thousands of desperate Moors left the land which for seven hundred years had been their home, and, disdaining to live under a Spanish yoke, crossed the strait to Africa, where they established themselves at various strong points, such as Shershēl, Oran, and notably at Algiers, which till then had hardly been heard of. No sooner were the banished Moors fairly settled in their new seats than they did what anybody in their place would have done: they carried the war into their oppressors' country. To meet the Spaniards in the open field was impossible in their reduced numbers, but at sea their fleetness and knowledge of the coasts gave them the opportunity of reprisal for which they longed.

Science, tradition, and observation inform us that primitive man had certain affinities to the beast of prey. By superior strength or ingenuity he slew or snared the means of subsistence. Civilized man leaves the coarsest forms of slaughter to a professional class, and, if he kills at all, elevates his pastime to the rank of sport by the refining element of skill and the excitement of uncertainty and personal risk. But civilized man is still only too prone to prey upon his fellows, though hardly in the brutal manner of his ancestors. He preys upon inferior intelligence, upon weakness of character, upon the greed and upon the gambling instinct of mankind. In the grandest scale he is called a financier; in the meanest, a pickpocket. This predatory spirit is at once so ancient and so general, that the reader, who is, of course, wholly innocent of such reprehensible tendencies, must nevertheless make an effort to understand the delights of robbery considered as a fine art. Some cynics there are who will tell us that the only reason we are not all thieves is because we have not pluck enough; and there must certainly be some fascination, apart from natural depravity or original sin, to make a man prefer to run countless risks in an unlawful pursuit sooner than do an honest day's work. And in this sentence we have the answer: It is precisely the risk, the uncertainty, the danger, the sense of superior skill and ingenuity, that attract the adventurous spirit, the passion for sport, which is implanted in the vast majority of mankind.

Our Moorish robbers had all this, and more, to attract them. Brave and daring men they had shown themselves often before in their tussles with the Spaniards, or in their wild sea courses and harryings of Christian shores, in Sardinia, perhaps, or Provence; but now they pursued a quest alluring beyond any that had gone before, a righteous vengeance upon those who had banished them from house and home, and cast them adrift to find what new anchorage they might in the world—a Holy War against the slaughterers of their kith and kin, and the blasphemers of their sacred Faith. What joy more fierce and jubilant than to run the light brigantine down the beach of Algiers and man her for a cruise in Spanish waters? The little ship will hold but ten oars a side, each pulled by a man who knows how to fight as well as to row—as indeed he must, for there is no room for mere landsmen on board a firkata. But if there be a fair wind off the land, there will be little rowing; the big lateen sail on her one mast will span the narrow waters between the African coast and the Balearic Isles, where a convenient look-out may be kept for Spanish galleons or perhaps an Italian polacca. Drawing little water, a small squadron of brigantines could be pushed up almost any creek, or lie hidden behind a rock, till the enemy hove in sight. Then oars out, and a quick stroke for a few minutes, and they are alongside their unsuspecting prey, and pouring in their first volley. Then a scramble on board, a hand-to-hand scuffle, a last desperate resistance on the poop, under the captain's canopy, and the prize is taken, the prisoners ironed, a jury crew sent on board, and all return in triumph to Algiers, where they are received with acclamations.

Or it might be a descent on the shores of their own beloved Andalusia. Then the little vessels are run into the crevices between the rocks, or even buried in the sand, and the pirates steal inland to one of the villages they know so well, and the loss of which they will never cease to mourn. They have still friends a-many in Spain, who are willing enough to help them against the oppressor and to hide them when surprised. The sleeping Spaniards are roused and then grimly silenced by the points of swords; their wives and daughters are borne away on the shoulders of the invaders; everything valuable is cleared; and the rovers are soon sailing merrily into the roads at Algiers, laden with spoil and captives, and often with some of the persecuted remnant of their race, who thankfully rejoin their kinsmen in the new country. To wreak such vengeance on the Spaniard added a real zest to life.

With all their skill and speed, their knowledge of the coasts, and the help of their compatriots ashore, there was still the risk of capture. Sometimes their brigantines "caught a Tartar" when they expected an easy victim, and then the Moors found the tables turned, and had to grace their captors' triumph, and for years, perhaps for ever, to sit on the banks of a Venetian or Genoese galley, heavily chained, pulling the infidel's oar even in the chase of the true believers, and gazing to satiety upon the weals which the lash kept raw on the bare back of the man in front. But the risk added a zest to the Corsair's life, and the captive could often look forward to the hope of recapture, or sometimes of ransom by his friends. The career of the pirate, with all its chances, was a prosperous one. The adventurers grew rich, and their strong places on the Barbary coast became populous and well garrisoned; and, by the time the Spaniards began to awake to the danger of letting such troublesome neighbours alone, the evil was past a cure. For twenty years the exiled Moors had enjoyed immunity, while the big Spanish galleys were obstinately held in port, contemptuous of so small a foe. At last Don Pedro Navarro was despatched by Cardinal Ximenes to bring the pirates to book. He had little difficulty in taking possession of Oran and Bujēya; and Algiers was so imperfectly fortified, that he imposed his own terms. He made the Algerines vow to renounce piracy; and, to see that they kept their word, he built and garrisoned a strong fort, the "Penon de Alger,"[2] to stop their boats from sallying forth. But the Moors had still more than one strong post on the rocky promontories of Barbary, and having tasted the delights of chasing Spaniards, they were not likely to reform, especially as the choice lay between piracy and starvation. Dig they would not, and they preferred to beg by force, like the "gentlemen of the road." So they bided their time, till Ferdinand the Catholic passed away to his account, and then, in defiance of the Penon, and reckless of all the pains and penalties of Spanish retribution, they threw up their allegiance, and looked about for allies.

Help was not far off, though in this case it meant mastery. The day of the Moorish pirates was over; henceforth they might, and did, triumphantly assault and batter Spanish and Venetian ships, but they would do this under the captaincy of the allies they had called in, under the leadership of the Turkish Corsairs. The Moors had shown the way, and the Corsairs needed little bidding to follow it.


[1] See S. Lane-Poole, The Story of the Moors in Spain, 232-280.

[2] Algiers is in Arabic, Al-Gezair ("the Islands"), said to be so called from that in its bay; or, more probably, Al-Gezair is a grammarian's explanation of the name Tzeyr or Tzier, by which the Algerians commonly called their city, and which is, I suspect, a corruption of the Roman city Caesarea (Augusta), which occupied almost the same site. It should be remarked that the Algerians pronounce the gīm hard: not Al-Jezaīr. Europeans spelt the name in all sorts of ways: Arger, Argel, Argeir, Algel, &c., down to the French Alger and our Algiers.



It is time to ask how it was that a spacious land seemed to lie vacant for the Corsairs to occupy, and a land too that offered almost every feature that a pirate could desire for the safe and successful prosecution of his trade. Geographers tell us that in climate and formation the island of Barbary, for such it is geologically, is really part of Europe, towards which, in history, it has played so unfriendly a part. Once the countries, which we now know as Tunis, Algiers, and Morocco, stood up abruptly as an island, with a comparatively small lake washing its northern shore, and a huge ocean on the south (see the map). That ocean is now the Sahra or Sahara, which engineers dream of again flooding with salt water, and so forming an inland African sea. The lake is now the Mediterranean, or rather its western basin, for we know that the Barbary island was once nearly a peninsula, joined at its two ends to Spain and Sicily, and that its Atlas ranges formed the connection between the Sierra Nevada and Mt. Aetna. By degrees the Isthmus between Cape Bona and Sicily sank out of sight, and the ocean flowed between Spain and Africa, while the great sea to the south dried up into the immense stony waste which is known preeminently as the Sahra, the Desert, "a tract of land, bare as the back of a beast, without trees or mountains."

Through one or both of these narrow straits, Gibraltar and Malta, all vessels from the outer ocean bound for the ports of France and Italy and the Levant, were obliged to pass; and it must be remembered that just about the time when the Corsairs made their appearance in Barbary, the riches of the new-found Western world were beginning to pour through the straits to meet those of the East, which were brought to France and Spain, England and Holland, from Alexandria and Smyrna. An immense proportion of the trade of Europe had to cross the western basin of the Mediterranean, of which Barbary formed the southern boundary. Any bold man who could hold Tunis at the eastern corner, or Algiers in the middle, or Ceuta or Tangiers at the western point, might reckon upon numerous opportunities of stopping argosies of untold wealth as they passed by his lair. The situation seemed purposely contrived for Corsairs.

More than this, the coast was just what a pirate wants. The map shows a series of natural harbours, often backed by lagunes which offer every facility for the escape of the rover from his pursuers; and while in the sixteenth century there were no deep ports for vessels of heavy draught, there were endless creeks, shallow harbours, and lagunes where the Corsairs' galleys (which never drew more than six feet of water) could take refuge. Behind Jerba, the fabled island of the Lotus-Eaters, was an immense inland sea, commanded in the Middle Ages by castles, and affording a refuge for which the rovers had often had cause to be grateful. Merchant vessels were shy of sailing in the dangerous Gulf of the Greater Syrtes with its heavy tides and spreading sandbanks, and even the war-galleys of Venice and Spain were at a disadvantage when manoeuvring in its treacherous eddies against the Corsair who knew every inch of the coast. Passing westward, a famous medieval fortress, with the remains of a harbour, is seen at Mahdīya, the "Africa" of the chroniclers. Next, Tunis presents the finest harbour on all the Barbary coast; within its Goletta (or "Throat") a vessel is safe from all the winds that blow, and if a canal were cut to join it with the inland lake of Bizerta, a deep harbour would be formed big enough to hold all the shipping of the Mediterranean. The ancient ports of Carthage and Porto Farina offered more protection in the Corsairs' time than now when the sand has choked the coast; and in the autumn months a vessel needed all the shelter she could get when the Cyprian wind was blowing off Cape Bona. Close to the present Algerine frontier is Tabarka, which the Lomellini family of Genoa found a thriving situation for their trading establishments. Lacalle, once a famous nest of pirates, had then a fine harbour, as the merchants of Marseilles discovered when they superintended the coral fisheries from the neighbouring Bastion de France. Bona, just beyond, has its roads, and formerly possessed a deep harbour. Jījil, an impregnable post, held successively by Phoenicians, Normans, Romans, Pisans, and Genoese, till Barbarossa got possession of it and made it a fortress of refuge for his Corsairs, stands on a rocky peninsula joined by a sandy isthmus to the mainland, with a port well sheltered by a natural breakwater. Further on were Bujēya (Bougie), its harbour well protected from the worst winds; Algiers, not then a port, but soon to become one; Shershēl, with a harbour to be shunned in a heavy swell from the north, but otherwise a valuable nook for sea rovers; Tinnis, not always accessible, but safe when you were inside; and Oran, with the important harbour of Mars El-Kebīr the "Portus Divinus" of the Romans; while beyond, the Jamia-el-Ghazawāt or Pirates' Mosque, shows where a favourite creek offered an asylum between the Brothers Rocks for distressed Corsairs. Passing Tangiers and Ceuta (Septa), and turning beyond the Straits, various shelters are found, and amongst others the celebrated ports of Salē, which, in spite of its bar of sand, managed to send out many mischievous craft to harass the argosies on their return from the New World.

Not only were there ports in abundance for the shelter of galleys, but the land behind was all that could be desired. River indeed there was none capable of navigation, but the very shortness of the watershed which precluded the possibility of great streams brought with it a counterbalancing advantage; for the mountains rise so steep and high near the coast that the Corsairs' look-out could sight the vessels to be attacked a long way out to sea, and thus give notice of a prize or warning of an enemy. Moreover the land produced all that was needed to content the heart of man. Below the mountains where the Berbers dwelt and the steppes where Arab shepherds roamed, fertile valleys spread to the seashore. Jerba was a perfect garden of corn and fruit, vines, olives, almonds, apricots, and figs; Tunis stood in the midst of green fields, and deserved the title of "the White, the Odoriferous, the Flowery Bride of the West,"—though, indeed, the second epithet, according to its inhabitants, was derived from the odour of the lake which received the drainage of the city, to which they ascribed its peculiar salubrity.

What more could be required in a land which was, now to become a nest of pirates? Yet, as though this were not sufficient, one more virtue was added. The coast was visited by terrible gales, which, while avoidable by those who had experience and knew where to run, were fatal to the unwary, and foiled many an attack of the avenging enemy.

It remains to explain how it was that the Corsairs were able to possess themselves of this convenient territory, which was neither devoid of inhabitants nor without settled governments.

North Africa—the only Africa known to the ancients—had seen many rulers come and go since the Arabs under Okba first overran its plains and valleys. Dynasty had succeeded dynasty; the Arab governors under the Khalifs of Damascus and Baghdād had made room for the Houses of Idrīs (A.D. 788) and Aghlab (800); these in turn had given way to the Fātimī Khalifs (909); and when these schismatics removed their seat of power from their newly founded capital of Mahdīya to their final metropolis of Cairo (968), their western empire speedily split up into the several princedoms of the Zeyrīs of Tunis, the Benī Hammād of Tilimsān, and other minor governments. At the close of the eleventh century, the Murābits or Almoravides, a Berber dynasty, imposed their authority over the greater part of North Africa and Spain, but gave place in the middle of the twelfth to the Muwahhids or Almohades, whose rule extended from the Atlantic to Tunis, and endured for over a hundred years. On the ruins of their vast empire three separate and long-lived dynasties sprang up: the Benī Hafs in Tunis (1228-1534), the Benī Ziyān in Central Maghrib (1235-1400), and the Benī Merin in Morocco (1200-1550). To complete the chronology it may be added that these were succeeded in the sixteenth century by the Corsair Pashas (afterwards Deys) of Algiers, the Turkish Pashas or Beys of Tunis, and the Sherīfs or Emperors of Morocco. The last still continue to reign; but the Deys of Algiers have given place to the French, and the Bey of Tunis is under French tutelage.

Except during the temporary excitement of a change of dynasty, the rule of these African princes was generally mild and enlightened. They came, for the most part, of the indigenous Berber population, and were not naturally disposed to intolerance or unneighbourliness. The Christians kept their churches, and were suffered to worship unmolested. We read of a Bishop of Fez as late as the thirteenth century, and the Kings of Morocco and Tunis were usually on friendly terms with the Pope. Christians were largely enrolled in the African armies, and were even appointed to civil employments. The relations of the rulers of Barbary with the European States throughout the greater part of this period—from the eleventh century, when the fighting Fātimīs left Tunis and went eastward to Egypt, to the sixteenth, when the fighting Turks came westward to molest the peace of the Mediterranean—were eminently wise and statesmanlike. The Africans wanted many of the industries of Europe; Europe required the skins and raw products of Africa: and a series of treaties involving a principle of reciprocity was the result. No doubt the naval inferiority of the African States to the trading Republics of the Mediterranean was a potent factor in bringing about this satisfactory arrangement; but it is only right to admit the remarkable fairness, moderation, and probity of the African princes in the settlement and maintenance of these treaties. As a general rule, Sicily and the commercial Republics were allied to the rulers of Tunis and Tilimsān and Fez by bonds of amity and mutual advantage. One after the other, Pisa, Genoa, Provence, Aragon, and Venice, concluded commercial treaties with the African sovereigns, and renewed them from time to time. Some of these States had special quarters reserved for them at Tunis, Ceuta, and other towns; and all had their consuls in the thirteenth century, who were protected in a manner that the English agent at Algiers would have envied seventy years ago. The African trade was especially valuable to the Pisans and Genoese, and there was a regular African company trading at the Ports of Tripoli, Tunis, Bujēya, Ceuta, and Salē. Indeed, the Genoese went so far as to defend Ceuta against Christian crusaders, so much did commerce avail against religion; and, on the other hand, the Christian residents at Tunis, the western metropolis of Islam, had their own place of worship, where they were free to pray undisturbed, as late as 1530. This tolerance was largely due to the mild and judicious government of the Benī Hafs, whose three centuries' sway at Tunis was an unmixed benefit to their subjects, and to all who had relations with them.

Not that the years passed by without war and retaliation, or that treaties made piracy impossible. In the early and more pugnacious days of the Saracen domination conflicts were frequent. The Fātimī Khalifs conquered and held all the larger islands of the Western Mediterranean, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, and the Balearic Isles. In 1002 the Saracens pillaged Pisa, and the Pisans retaliated by burning an African fleet. Three years later El-Mujāhid ("Muget"), the lord of Majorca, and conqueror of Sardinia, burnt part of Pisa; and another incursion is recorded in 1011. From his stronghold at Luni in Etruria this terrible scourge ravaged the country round, until the Pope drove him out of Italy, and the Pisans and others turned him out of Sardinia (1017). We read of African fleets cruising with hostile intent off the Calabrian coast, and of the Pisans taking Bona, which was then a nest of Corsairs (1034). Mahdīya was burnt in 1087, and Sicily conquered by the Normans about the same time (1072). But these were in the early days, and even then were the exceptions; in succeeding centuries, under more settled governments, war became very rare, and mutual amity was the prevailing policy.[3]

Piracy was always distinctly prohibited in the commercial treaties of the African States; nevertheless piracy went on, and most pertinaciously on the part of the Christians. The Greeks, Sardinians, Maltese, and Genoese were by far the worse members of the fraternity of rovers, as the treaties themselves prove: the increase of commerce under the stimulus of the Crusades tempted the adventurous, and the absence of any organized State navies gave them immunity; and there was generally a war afoot between some nation or other, Christian or Moslem, and piracy (in the then state of international law) at once became legitimate privateering. Our buccaneers of the Spanish main had the same apology to offer. But it is important to observe that all this was private piracy: the African and the Italian governments distinctly repudiated the practice, and bound themselves to execute any Corsair of their own country whom they might arrest, and to deliver all his goods over to the state which he had robbed.[4] These early Corsairs were private freebooters, totally distinct from the authorized pirates of later days. In 1200, in time of peace, two Pisan vessels attacked three Mohammedan ships in Tunis roads, captured the crews, outraged the women, and made off, vainly pursued by the Tunisian fleet: but they received no countenance from Pisa, the merchants of which might have suffered severely had the Tunisians exacted reprisals. Sicily was full of Corsairs, and the King of Tunis paid a sort of tribute to the Normans, partly to induce them to restrain these excesses. Aragonese and Genoese preyed upon each other and upon the Moslems; but their doings were entirely private and unsupported by the state.

Up to the fourteenth century the Christians were the chief pirates of the Mediterranean, and dealt largely in stolen goods and slaves. Then the growth of large commercial fleets discouraged the profession, and very soon we begin to hear much less of European brigandage, and much more of Moorish Corsairs. The inhabitants of the coast about the Gulf of Gabes had always shown a bent towards piracy, and the port of Mahdīya, or "Africa," now became a regular resort of sea rovers. El-Bekrī, in the twelfth century, had noticed the practice of sending galleys on the cruise for prey (perhaps during war) from the harbours of Bona; and Ibn-Khaldūn, in the fourteenth, describes an organized company of pirates at Bujēya, who made a handsome profit from goods and the ransom of captives. The evil grew with the increase of the Turkish power in the Levant, and received a violent impetus upon the fall of Constantinople; while on the west, the gradual expulsion of the Moors from Spain which followed upon the Christian advance filled Africa with disaffected, ruined, and vengeful Moriscos, whose one dominant passion was to wipe out their old scores with the Spaniards.

Against such influences the mild governors of North Africa were powerless. They had so long enjoyed peace and friendship with the Mediterranean States, that they were in no condition to enforce order with the strong hand. Their armies and fleets were insignificant, and their coasts were long to protect, and abounded with almost impregnable strongholds which they could not afford to garrison. Hence, when the Moors flocked over from Spain, the shores of Africa offered them a sure and accessible refuge, and the hospitable character of the Moslem's religion forbade all thought of repelling the refugees. Still more, when the armed galleots of the Levant came crowding to Barbary, fired with the hope of rich gain, the ports were open, and the creeks afforded them shelter. A foothold once gained, the rest was easy.

It was to this land, lying ready to his use, that Captain Urūj Barbarossa came in the beginning of the sixteenth century.


[3] Le Comte de Mas-Latrie, Relations et commerce de l'Afrique Septentrionale avec les nations chretiennes au moyen age, 1886.

[4] Le Comte de Mas-Latrie, Relations et commerce de l'Afrique Septentrionale avec les nations chretiennes au moyen age, pp. 175-9.






The island of Lesbos has given many gifts to the world—Lesbian wine and Lesbian verse, the seven-stringed lyre, and the poems of Sappho; but of all its products the latest was assuredly the most questionable, for the last great Lesbians were the brothers Barbarossa.

When Sultan Mohammed II. conquered the island in 1462, he left there a certain Sipāhi soldier, named Ya'kūb—so say the Turkish annalists, but the Spanish writers claim him as a native Christian—who became the father of Urūj Barbarossa and his brother Kheyr-ed-dīn. Various stories are told of their early career, and the causes which led to their taking to the sea; but as Lesbos had long been famous for its buccaneers, whether indigenous or importations from Catalonia and Aragon, there was nothing unusual in the brothers adopting a profession which was alike congenial to bold hearts and sanctioned by time-honoured precedent.[5] Urūj, the elder, soon became the reis, or captain, of a galleot, and finding his operations hampered in the Archipelago by the predominance of the Sultan's fleet, he determined to seek a wider and less interrupted field for his depredations. Rumours had reached the Levant of the successes of the Moorish pirates; prodigious tales were abroad as to great argosies, laden with the treasures of the New World, passing and repassing the narrow seas between Europe and Africa, and seeming to invite capture; and it was not long (1504) before Captain Urūj found himself cruising with two galleots off the Barbary coast, and spying out the land in search of a good harbour and a safe refuge from pursuit.

The port of Tunis offered all that a Corsair could wish. The Goletta in those days was but slightly fortified, and the principal building, besides the castle, was the custom-house, where the wealth of many nations was taxed by the Sultan of the House of Hafs. The very sight of such an institution was stimulating to a pirate. Urūj paid his court to the King of Tunis, and speedily came to an understanding with him on the subject of royalties on stolen goods. The ports of Tunis were made free to the Corsair, and the king would protect him from pursuit, for the consideration of a fixed share—a fifth—of the booty. The policy of the enlightened rulers of Tunis evidently no longer suited their latest representative.

The base of operations thus secured, Urūj did not keep his new ally long waiting for a proof of his prowess. One day he lay off the island of Elba, when two galleys-royal, belonging to his Holiness Pope Julius II., richly laden with goods from Genoa, and bound for Civita Vecchia, hove in sight. They were rowing in an easy, leisurely manner, little dreaming of Turkish Corsairs, for none such had ever been seen in those waters, nor anything bigger than a Moorish brigantine, of which the Papal marines were prepared to give a good account. So the two galleys paddled on, some ten leagues asunder, and Urūj Reis marked his prey down. It was no light adventure for a galleot of eighteen banks of oars to board a royal galley of perhaps twice her size, and with no one could tell how many armed men inside her. The Turkish crew remonstrated at such foolhardiness, and begged their captain to look for a foe of their own size: but for reply Urūj only cast most of the oars overboard, and thus made escape impossible. Then he lay to and awaited the foremost galley She came on, proudly, unconscious of danger. Suddenly her look-out spied Turkish turbans—a strange sight on the Italian coast—and in a panic of confusion her company beat to arms. The vessels were now alongside, and a smart volley of shot and bolts completed the consternation of the Christians. Urūj and his men were quickly on the poop, and his Holiness's servants were soon safe under hatches.

Never before had a galley-royal struck her colours to a mere galleot. But worse was to follow. Urūj declared he must and would have her consort. In vain his officers showed him how temerarious was the venture, and how much more prudent it would be to make off with one rich prize than to court capture by overgreediness. The Corsair's will was of iron, and his crew, inflated with triumph, caught his audacious spirit. They clothed themselves in the dresses of the Christian prisoners, and manned the subdued galley as though they were her own seamen. On came the consort, utterly ignorant of what had happened, till a shower of arrows and small shot aroused her, just in time to be carried by assault, before her men had collected their senses.

Urūj brought his prizes into the Goletta. Never was such a sight seen there before. "The wonder and astonishment," says Haedo,[6] "that this noble exploit caused in Tunis, and even in Christendom, is not to be expressed, nor how celebrated the name of Urūj Reis was become from that very moment; he being held and accounted by all the world as a most valiant and enterprizing commander. And by reason his beard was extremely red, or carroty, from thenceforwards he was generally called Barba-rossa, which in Italian signifies Red-Beard."[7]

The capture of the Papal galleys gave Urūj what he wanted—rowers. He kept his Turks for fighting, and made the Christian prisoners work the oars; such was the custom of every Corsair down to the present century, and the Christian navies were similarly propelled by Mohammedan slaves. The practice must have lent a strange excitement to the battle; for then, assuredly, a man's foes were of his own household. A Venetian admiral knew well that his two or three hundred galley slaves were panting to break their irons and join the enemy; and the Turkish Corsair had also his unwilling subjects, who would take the first chance to mutiny in favour of the Christian adversary. Thus it often happened that a victory was secured by the strong arms of the enemy's chained partizans, who would have given half their lives to promote a defeat. But the sharp lash of the boatswain, who walked the bridge between the banks of rowers, was a present and acute argument which few backs could withstand.

Urūj had made his first coup, and he did not hesitate to follow it up. Next year he captured a Spanish ship with five hundred soldiers on board, who were all so sea-sick, or spent with pumping out the leaky vessel, that they fell an easy prey to his galleots. Before five years were out, what with cruising, and building with the timber of his many prizes, he had eight good vessels at his back, with two of his brothers to help. The port of Tunis now hardly sufficed his wants, so he established himself temporarily on the fertile island of Jerba, and from its ample anchorage his ships issued forth to harry the coasts of Italy.

To be king of Jerba was all too small a title for his ambition. He aimed at sovereignty on a large scale, and, Corsair as he was by nature, he wished for settled power almost as much as he delighted in adventure. In 1512 the opportunity he sought arrived. Three years before, the Mohammedan King of Bujēya had been driven out of his city by the Spaniards, and the exiled potentate appealed to the Corsair to come and restore him, coupling the petition with promises of the free use of Bujēya port, whence the command of the Spanish sea was easily to be held. Urūj was pleased with the prospect, and as he had now twelve galleots with cannon, and one thousand Turkish men-at-arms, to say nothing of renegades and Moors, he felt strong enough for the attempt. The renown of his exploits had spread far and wide, and there was no lack of a following from all parts of the Levant when it was known that Urūj Reis was on the war-path. His extraordinary energy and impetuosity called forth a corresponding zeal in his men, and, like other dashing commanders, he was very popular.

JIL, 1664.

(From a Map in the British Museum.)]

Well supported, and provided with such a siege-train as the times permitted, he landed before Bujēya in August, 1512, and found the dethroned king expecting him at the head of three thousand mountain Berbers. The Spanish garrison was collected in the strong bastion, which the Count Don Pedro Navarro had fortified when he took the city, and for eight days the fortress withstood the battering of the Corsair's ordnance. Just when a breach began to be opened, Urūj was disabled; a shot took his left arm away above the elbow. In the absence of their leader's heroic example, the Turks felt little confidence in their superiority to Spanish steel; they preferred carrying their wounded captain to the surgeons at Tunis. Bujēya for the moment escaped, but the Corsairs enjoyed some little consolation in the capture of a rich Genoese galleot which they met on its voyage to the Lomellini's mart at Tabarka. With this spoil Urūj returned to recover from his wound, while his brother, Kheyr-ed-dīn, kept guard over the castle of the Goletta, and began to bring the galleots and prizes through the canal into the Lake of Tunis, where they would be safe from pursuit.

He was too late, however. The Senate of Genoa was highly incensed at the loss of the galleot, and Andrea Doria, soon to be known as the greatest Christian admiral of his time, was despatched with twelve galleys to exact reparation. He landed before the Goletta, and drove Kheyr-ed-dīn before him into Tunis. The fortress was sacked, and half Barbarossa's ships were brought in triumph to Genoa. Thus ended the first meeting between Doria and Kheyr-ed-dīn: the next was less happy for the noble Genoese.

Kheyr-ed-dīn, well aware of his brother's fierce humour, did not dare to face him after this humiliation, but left him to fume impotently in his sickroom, while he stole away to Jerba, there to work night and day at shipbuilding. Urūj joined him in the following spring—the King of Tunis had probably had enough of him—and they soon had the means of wiping out their disgrace. The attempt was at first a failure; a second assault on the ominous forts of Bujēya (1514) was on the point of success, when reinforcements arrived from Spain. The Berber allies evinced more interest in getting in their crops after the rain than in forcing the bastion; and Barbarossa, compelled to raise the siege, in a frantic rage, tearing his red beard like a madman, set fire to his ships that they might not fall into the hands of the Spaniards.

He would not show himself now in Tunis or Jerba. Some new spot must shelter him after this fresh reverse. On his way to and from Bujēya he had noticed the very place for his purpose—a spot easy to defend, perched on inaccessible rocks, yet furnished with a good harbour, where the losses of recent years might be repaired. This was Jījil, some sixty miles to the east of Bujēya; whose sturdy inhabitants owed allegiance to no Sultan, but were proud to welcome so renowned, although now so unfortunate, a warrior as Barbarossa. So at Jījil Urūj dwelt, and cultivated the good-will of the people with spoils of corn and goods from his cruisers, till those "indomitable African mountaineers," who had never owned a superior, chose him by acclamation their king.


[5] The differences between the Turkish authority, Hājji Khalīfa, who wrote in the middle of the seventeenth century and used "Memoirs" partly inspired by Kheyr-ed-dīn himself, and the two Spanish chroniclers, Haedo and Marmol, in their narratives of the early feats and experiences of Barbarossa and his brothers, are irreconcilable in details, though the general purport is similar. Von Hammer naturally follows Hājji Khalīfa, and modern writers, like Adm. Jurien de la Graviere, take the same course. For the period of his life when Kheyr-ed-dīn was at Constantinople the Turkish writer may be reasonably preferred; but on all matters concerning the Barbary coast the Abbot Diego de Haedo, who lived many years in Algiers in the sixteenth century, was personally acquainted with many of the servants and followers of Kheyr-ed-dīn (who died in 1546), and published his Topographia e historia de Argel in 1612, is undoubtedly the best informed and most trustworthy authority.

[6] Quoted by Morgan, Hist. of Algiers, 225.

[7] It is possible that Barba-rossa is but a European corruption of Baba Urūj, "Father Urūj," as his men called him. At all events Urūj is the real Barbarossa, though modern writers generally give the name to his younger brother Kheyr-ed-dīn, who was only called Barbarossa on account of his kinship to the original.




The new Sultan of Jījil was now called to a much more serious enterprize than heading his truculent highlanders against a neighbouring tribe—though it must be admitted that he was always in his element when fisticuffs were in request. An appeal had come from Algiers. The Moors there had endured for seven years the embargo of the Spaniards; they had seen their fregatas rotting before their eyes, and never dared to mend them; they had viewed many a rich prize sail by, and never so much as ventured a mile out to sea to look her over: for there were keen eyes and straight shots in the Penon which commanded the bay, and King Ferdinand the Catholic held a firm hand over the tribute which his banished subjects had to pay him for his condescension in ruining them. Their occupation was gone; they had not dragged a prize ashore for years; they must rebel or starve. At this juncture Ferdinand opportunely died (1516), and the Algerine Moors seized their chance. They stopped the tribute, and called in the aid of Salim, the neighbouring Arab sheykh, whose clansmen would make the city safe on the land side. "But what are they to do with the two hundred petulant and vexatious Spaniards in the fort, who incessantly pepper the town with their cannon, and make the houses too hot to hold them; especially when they are hungry? Little would the gallant Arab cavalry, with their fine Libyan mares and horses, rich coats-of-mail, tough targets, well-tempered sabres, and long supple lances, avail them against the Spanish volleys. And who so proper to redress this grievance as the invincible Barbarossa, who was master of a naval force, and wanted not artillery? Had he not been twice to reinstate the unfortunate King of Bujēya, and lost a limb in his service?

"Without the least deliberation Prince Salim despatched a solemn embassy to Jījil, intreating Barbarossa, in whom he and his people reposed their entire confidence, to hasten to their assistance. No message whatever could have been more welcome to the ambitious Barbarossa than one of this nature. His new-acquired realm brought him in but a very scanty revenue; nor was he absolute.... He had been wretchedly baffled at Bujēya, but hoped for better success at Algiers, which, likewise, is a place of much greater consequence, and much more convenient for his purpose, which, as has been said, was to erect a great monarchy of his own in Barbary."[8]

With some six thousand men and sixteen galleots Urūj set forth by sea and land to the rescue of Algiers. First he surprised Shershēl, a strong position fifteen leagues to the west of Algiers, which had been occupied by Moors from Granada, and was now commanded by a bold Turkish Corsair, Kara Hasan, who, emulating his old comrade's success with the people of Jījil, had induced the Shershēl rovers to accept him as their leader. Urūj had no liking for two Kings of Brentford, and took off Black Hasan's head as a friendly precaution, before exposing himself to the perils of another contest with the Spaniards.

Soon he was at Algiers, hospitably lodged and entertained, he and all his men, Turks and Jījilis alike, by Sheykh Salim and the people of the town. There, at the distance of a crossbow-shot, stood the fortress he had come to reduce, and thither he sent a message offering a safe conduct to the garrison if they would surrender. The Spanish captain made reply that "neither threats nor proffered curtesies availed aught with men of his kidney," and told him to remember Bujēya. Upon which Urūj, more to please his unsuspicious hosts than with much prospect of success, battered the Penon for twenty days with his light field-pieces, without making any sensible breach in the defences.

Meanwhile, the Arabs and Moors who had called him to their aid were becoming aware of their mistake. Instead of getting rid of their old enemy the Spaniard, they had imported a second, worse than the first, and Urūj soon showed them who was to be master. He and his Turks treated the ancient Moorish families, who had welcomed them within their gates, with an insolence that was hard to be borne by descendants of the Abencerrages and other noble houses of Granada. Salim, the Arab Sheykh, was the first to feel the despot's power: he was murdered in his bath—it was said by the Corsair himself. In their alarm, the Algerines secretly made common cause with the soldiers of the Penon, and a general rising was planned; but one day at Friday prayers Barbarossa let the crowded congregation know that their designs were not unsuspected. Shutting the gates, the Turks bound their entertainers with the turbans off their heads, and the immediate decapitation of the ringleaders at the mosque door quelled the spirit of revolt. Nor was a great Armada, sent by Cardinal Ximenes, and commanded by Don Diego de Vera, more successful than the Algerine rebellion. Seven thousand Spaniards were utterly routed by the Turks and Arabs; and to complete the discomfiture of the Christians a violent tempest drove their ships ashore, insomuch that this mighty expedition was all but annihilate.

An adventurer who, with a motley following of untrained bandits and nomads, could overthrow a Spanish army was a phenomenon which the Christian States now began to eye with considerable anxiety. From the possessor of a strong place or two on the coast, he had become nothing less than the Sultan of Middle Barbary (Maghrib el-Awsat). When the Prince of Tinnis raised the whole country side against him, and a mighty host was rolling down upon Algiers, Urūj marched out with one thousand Turks and five hundred Moors, and never a cannon amongst them, and smote the enemy hip and thigh, and pursued them into their own city. The prince of Tinnis took to the mountains, and Urūj Barbarossa reigned in his stead (1517). Then Tilimsān fell into his possession, and save that the Spaniards held Oran and two or three fortresses, such as the Penon de Alger and Bujēya, his dominions coincided with modern Algeria, and marched with the kingdoms of Tunis and Fez. He was in a position to form alliances with Fez and Morocco. His galleots were punctilious, moreover, in returning the call of Don Diego de Vera, and many an expectant merchant in Genoa, or Naples, or Venice, strained his eyes in vain for the argosy that, thanks to the Corsair's vigilance, would never again sail proudly into the harbour.

When all this came to the ears of the new King of Spain, afterwards the Emperor Charles V, he yielded to the prayer of the Marquis de Comares, Governor of Oran, and despatched ten thousand veterans to make an end of the Corsairs once and for ever. Urūj Barbarossa was then stationed at Tilimsān with only 1,500 men, and when the hosts of the enemy drew near he made a bolt by night for Algiers, taking his Turks and his treasure with him. The news soon reached the enemy's scouts, and the Marquis gave hot pursuit. A river with steep banks lay in the fugitives' path: could they pass it, they would have the chances in their favour. Urūj scattered his jewels and gold behind him, vainly hoping to delay the greedy Spaniards; but Comares trampled over everything, and came up with the Turkish rear when but half their force had crossed the river. Their leader was already safe on the other side, but the cries of his rear-guard brought him back. The Corsair was not the man to desert his followers, and without an instant's hesitation he recrossed the fatal stream and threw himself into the fray. Hardly a Turk or a Moor escaped from that bloody field. Facing round, they fought till they dropped; and among them the vigorous figure of Barbarossa was ever to be seen, laying about him with his one arm like a lion to the last.

"Urūj Barbarossa, according to the testimony of those who remember him, was, when he died, about forty-four years of age. He was not very tall of stature, but extremely well set and robust. His hair and beard perfectly red; his eyes quick, sparkling and lively; his nose aquiline or Roman; and his complexion between brown and fair. He was a man excessively bold, resolute, daring, magnanimous, enterprizing, profusely liberal, and in nowise bloodthirsty, except in the heat of battle, nor rigorously cruel but when disobeyed He was highly beloved, feared, and respected, by his soldiers and domestics, and when dead was by them all in general most bitterly regretted and lamented. He left neither son nor daughter. He resided in Barbary fourteen years, during which the harms he did to the Christians are inexpressible."[9]


[8] Morgan, Hist. of Algiers, 233. (1731.)

[9] Morgan, 257.




Urūj Barbarossa, the gallant, impulsive, reckless, lovable soldier of fortune was dead, and it seemed as if all the power he had built up by his indomitable energy must inevitably vanish with its founder. The Marquis de Comares and the Spanish army held the fate of Algiers in their hands; one steady march, and surely the Corsairs must be swept out of Africa. But, with what would seem incredible folly, if it had not been often repeated, the troops were shipped back to Spain, the Marquis returned to his post at Oran, and the opportunity was lost for three hundred years. The Algerines drew breath again, and their leader began to prepare fresh schemes of conquest.

The mantle of Urūj had fallen upon worthy shoulders. The elder brother possessed, indeed, matchless qualities for deeds of derring-do; to lead a storming party, board a galleon,—cut and thrust and "have at you,"—he had no equal: but Kheyr-ed-dīn, with like courage and determination, was gifted with prudent and statesmanlike intelligence, which led him to greater enterprizes, though not to more daring exploits. He measured the risk by the end, and never exposed himself needlessly to the hazard of defeat; but when he saw his way clear, none struck harder or more effectual blows.[10]

His first proceeding was typical of his sagacious mind. He sent an ambassador to Constantinople, to lay his homage at the feet of the Grand Signior, and to beg his Majesty's favour and protection for the new province of Algiers, which was now by his humble servant added to the Ottoman Empire. The reply was gracious. Selīm had just conquered Egypt, and Algiers formed an important western extension of his African dominion. The sage Corsair was immediately appointed Beglerbeg, or Governor-General, of Algiers (1519), and invested with the insignia of office, the horse and scimitar and horsetail-banner. Not only this, but the Sultan sent a guard of two thousand Janissaries to his viceroy's aid, and offered special inducements to such of his subjects as would pass westward to Algiers and help to strengthen the Corsair's authority.

The Beglerbeg lost no time in repairing the damage of the Spaniards. He reinforced his garrisons along the coast, at Meliana, Shershēl, Tinnis, and Mustaghānim, and struck up alliances with the great Arab tribes of the interior. An armada of some fifty men-of-war and transports, including eight galleys-royal, under the command of Admiral Don Hugo de Moncada, in vain landed an army of veterans on the Algerine strand—they were driven back in confusion, and one of those storms, for which the coast bears so evil a name, finished the work of Turkish steel (1519). One after the other, the ports and strongholds of Middle Barbary fell into the Corsair's hands: Col, Bona, Constantine, owned the sway of Kheyr-ed-dīn Barbarossa, who was now free to resume his favourite occupation of scouring the seas in search of Christian quarry. Once or twice in every year he would lead out his own eighteen stout galleots, and call to his side other daring spirits whom the renown of his name had drawn from the Levant, each with his own swift cruiser manned by stout arms and the pick of Turkish desperadoes. There you might see him surrounded by captains who were soon to be famous wherever ships were to be seized or coasts harried;—by Dragut, Sālih Reis, Sinān the "Jew of Smyrna," who was suspected of black arts because he could take a declination with the crossbow, and that redoubtable rover Aydīn Reis, whom the Spaniards dubbed Cachadiablo, or "Drub-devil," though he had better been named Drub-Spaniard. The season for cruising began in May, and lasted till the autumn storms warned vessels to keep the harbours, or at least to attempt no distant expeditions. During the summer months the Algerine galleots infested every part of the Western Mediterranean, levied contributions of slaves and treasure upon the Balearic Isles and the coasts of Spain, and even passed beyond the straits to waylay the argosies which were returning to Cadiz laden with the gold and jewels of the Indies. Nothing was safe from their attacks; not a vessel ran the gauntlet of the Barbary coast in her passage from Spain to Italy without many a heart quaking within her. The "Scourge of Christendom" had begun, which was to keep all the nations of Europe in perpetual alarm for three centuries. The Algerine Corsairs were masters of the sea, and they made their mastery felt by all who dared to cross their path; and not merchantmen only, but galleys-royal of his Catholic Majesty learnt to dread the creak of the Turkish rowlock.

One day in 1529 Kheyr-ed-dīn despatched his trusty lieutenant "Drub-Devil" with fourteen galleots to make a descent upon Majorca and the neighbouring islands. No job could be more suited to the Corsair's taste, and Sālih Reis, who was with him, fully shared his enjoyment of the task. The pair began in the usual way by taking several prizes on the high seas, dropping down upon the islands and the Spanish coasts, and carrying off abundance of Christians to serve at the oar, or to purchase their liberty with those pieces-of-eight which never came amiss to the rover's pockets. Tidings reaching them of a party of Moriscos who were eager to make their escape from their Spanish masters, and were ready to pay handsomely for a passage to Barbary. "Drub-Devil" and his comrades landed by night near Oliva, embarked two hundred families and much treasure, and lay-to under the island of Formentara. Unfortunately General Portundo, with eight Spanish galleys, was just then on his way back from Genoa, whither he had conveyed Charles V. to be crowned Emperor by the Pope at Bologna; and, being straightway informed of the piratical exploit which had taken place, bore away for the Balearic Isles in hot pursuit. "Drub-Devil" hastily landed his Morisco friends, to be the better prepared to fight or run, for the sight of eight big galleys was more than he had bargained for; but to his surprise the enemy came on, well within gun-shot, without firing a single round. Portundo was anxious not to sink the Turks, for fear of drowning the fugitive Moriscos, whom he supposed to be on board, and for whose recapture he was to have ten thousand ducats; but the Corsairs imputed his conduct to cowardice, and, suddenly changing their part from attacked to attackers, they swooped like eagles upon the galleys, and after a brisk hand-to-hand combat, in which Portundo was slain, they carried seven of them by assault, and sent the other flying at topmost speed to Ivica. This bold stroke brought to Algiers, besides the Moriscos, who had watched the battle anxiously from the island, many valuable captives of rank, and released hundreds of Moslem galley-slaves from irons and the lash.[11] "Drub-Devil" had a splendid reception, we may be sure, when the people of Algiers saw seven royal galleys, including the capitana, or flagship, of Spain, moored in their roads; and it is no wonder that with such triumphs the new Barbary State flourished exceedingly.

Fortified by a series of unbroken successes, Kheyr-ed-dīn at last ventured to attack the Spanish garrison, which had all this time affronted him at the Penon de Alger. It was provoking to be obliged to beach his galleots a mile to the west, and to drag them painfully up the strand; and the merchantmen, moored east of the city, were exposed to the weather to such a degree as to imperil their commerce. Kheyr-ed-dīn resolved to have a port of his own at Algiers, with no Spanish bridle to curb him. He summoned Don Martin de Vargas to surrender, and, on his refusal, bombarded the Penon day and night for fifteen days with heavy cannon, partly founded in Algiers, partly seized from a French galleon, till an assault was practicable, when the feeble remnant of the garrison was quickly overpowered and sent to the bagnios. The stones of the fortress were used to build the great mole which protects Algiers harbour on the west, and for two whole years the Christian slaves were laboriously employed upon the work.

To aggravate this disaster, a curious sight was seen a fortnight after the fall of the Penon. Nine transports, full of men and ammunition for the reinforcement of the garrison, hove in sight, and long they searched to and fro for the well-known fortress they had come to succour. And whilst they marvelled that they could not discover it, out dashed the Corsairs in their galleots and light shebēks, and seized the whole convoy, together with two thousand seven hundred captives and a fine store of arms and provisions.[12]

Everything that Kheyr-ed-dīn took in hand seemed to prosper. His fleet increased month by month, till he had thirty-six of his own galleots perpetually on the cruise in the summer season; his prizes were innumerable, and his forces were increased by the fighting men of the seventy thousand Moriscos whom he rescued, in a series of voyages, from servitude in Spain. The waste places of Africa were peopled with the industrious agriculturists and artisans whom the Spanish Government knew not how to employ. The foundries and dockyards of Algiers teemed with busy workmen. Seven thousand Christian slaves laboured at the defensive works and the harbour; and every attempt of the Emperor to rescue them and destroy the pirates was repelled with disastrous loss.


[10] Kheyr-ed-dīn (pronounced by the Turks Hare-udeen), as has been said, is the Barbarossa of modern writers, and it is probable that the name was given to him originally under some impression that it was of the nature of a family name. Haedo, Marmol, and Hājji Khalīfa all give him this title, though his beard was auburn, while Urūj was the true "Red-Beard." Neither of the brothers was ever called Barbarossa by Turks or Moors, and Hājji Khalīfa records the title merely as used by Europeans. The popular usage is here adopted.

[11] Morgan, 264-6.

[12] Jurien de la Graviere, Doria et Barberousse, Pt. I., ch. xxi.




No one appreciated better the triumphs of the Beglerbeg of Algiers than Sultan Suleymān. The Ottomans, as yet inexperienced in naval affairs, were eager to take lessons. The Turkish navy had been of slow growth, chiefly because in early days there were always people ready to act as sailors for pay. When Murād I. wished to cross from Asia to Europe to meet the invading army of Vladislaus and Hunyady, the Genoese skippers were happy to carry over his men for a ducat a head, just to spite their immemorial foes the Venetians, who were enlisted on the other side. It was not till the fall of Constantinople gave the Turks the command of the Bosphorus that Mohammed II. resolved to create for himself a naval power.

That fatal jealousy between the Christian States which so often aided the progress of the Turks helped them now. The great commercial republics, Genoa and Venice, had long been struggling for supremacy on the sea. Venice held many important posts among the islands of the Archipelago and on the Syrian coast, where the Crusaders had rewarded her naval assistance with the gift of the fortress of Acre. Genoa was stronger in the Black Sea and Marmora, where, until the coming of the Turks, her colony at Galata was little less than an Oriental Genoa. The Genoese tower is still seen on the steep slope of Pera, and Genoese forts are common objects in the Bosphorus, and in the Crimea, where they dominate the little harbour of Balaklava. The Sea of Marmora was the scene of many a deadly contest between the rival fleets. In 1352, under the walls of Constantinople, the Genoese defeated the combined squadrons of the Venetians, the Catalonians, and the Greeks. But next year the Bride of the Sea humbled the pride of Genoa in a disastrous engagement off Alghero; and in 1380, when the Genoese had gained possession of Chioggia and all but occupied Venice itself, the citizens rose like one man to meet the desperate emergency, and not only repulsed, but surrounded the invaders, and forced them to capitulate. From this time Genoa declined in power, while Venice waxed stronger and more haughty. The conquest of Constantinople by the Turks, followed rapidly by the expulsion of the Genoese from Trebizond, Sinope, Kaffa, and Azov, was the end of the commercial prosperity of the Ligurian Republic in the East. The Black Sea and Marmora were now Turkish lakes. The Castles of the Dardanelles, mounted with heavy guns, protected any Ottoman fleet from pursuit; and though Giacomo Veniero defiantly carried his own ship under fire through the strait and back again with the loss of only eleven men, no one cared to follow his example.

When Mohammed II. issued forth with a fleet of one hundred galleys and two hundred transports, carrying seventy thousand troops, and ravished the Negropont away from Venice in 1470, he had only to repass the Hellespont to be absolutely safe. All that the Venetian admirals, the famous Loredani, could do was to retaliate upon such islands of the Archipelago as were under Turkish sway and ravage the coasts of Asia Minor. Superior as they were to the Turks in the building and management of galleys, they had not the military resources of their foe. Their troops were mercenaries, not to be compared with the Janissaries and Sipāhis, though the hardy Stradiotes from Epirus, dressed like Turks, but without the turban, of whom Othello is a familiar specimen, came near to rivalling them. On land, the Republic could not meet the troops of the Grand Signior, and after her very existence had been menaced by the near approach of a Turkish army on the banks of the Piave[13] (1477), Venice made peace, and even, it is said, incited the Turks to the capture of Otranto. The Ottoman galleys were now free of the Adriatic, and carried fire and sword along the Italian coast, insomuch that whenever the crescent was seen at a vessel's peak the terrified villagers fled inland, and left their homes at the mercy of the pirates. The period of the Turkish Corsairs had already begun.

There was another naval power to be reckoned with besides discredited Genoa and tributary Venice. The Knights Hospitallers of Jerusalem, driven from Smyrna (in 1403) by Timur, had settled at Rhodes, which they hastened to render impregnable. Apparently they succeeded, for attack after attack from the Mamlūk Sultans of Egypt failed to shake them from their stronghold, whence they commanded the line of commerce between Alexandria and Constantinople, and did a brisk trade in piracy upon passing vessels. The Knights of Rhodes were the Christian Corsairs of the Levant; the forests of Caramania furnished them with ships, and the populations of Asia Minor supplied them with slaves. So long as they roved the seas the Sultan's galleys were ill at ease. Even Christian ships suffered from their high-handed proceedings, and Venice looked on with open satisfaction when, in 1480, Mohammed II. despatched one hundred and sixty ships and a large army to humble the pride of the Knights. The siege failed, however; D'Aubusson, the Grand Master, repulsed the general assault with furious heroism, and the Turks retired with heavy loss.[14]

Finding that the Ottomans were not quite invincible, Venice plucked up heart, and began to prepare for hostilities with her temporary ally. The interval of friendliness had been turned to good account by the Turks. Yāni, the Christian shipbuilder of the Sultan, had studied the improvements of the Venetians, and he now constructed two immense kokas, seventy cubits long and thirty in the beam, with masts of several trees spliced together, measuring four cubits round. Forty men in armour might stand in the maintop and fire down upon the enemy. There were two decks, one like a galleon's deck, and the other like a galley, each with a big gun on either side. Four-and-twenty oars a side, on the upper deck, were propelled each by nine men. Boats hung from the stern; and the ship's complement consisted (so says Hājji Khalīfa)[15] of two thousand soldiers and sailors. Kemāl Reis and Borāk Reis commanded these two prodigies, and the whole fleet, numbering some three hundred other vessels, was despatched to the Adriatic under the command of Daūd Pasha. The object of attack was Lepanto.

Towards the end of July, 1499, they sighted the Venetian fleet, which was on the look-out for them, off Modon. They counted forty-four galleys, sixteen galleasses, and twenty-eight ordinary sail. Neither courted an action, which each knew to be fraught with momentous consequences. Grimani, the Venetian admiral, retired to Navarino; the Turks anchored off Sapienza. On August 12th Daūd Pasha, who knew the Sultan was awaiting him with the land forces at Lepanto, resolved to push on at all costs. In those days Turkish navigators had little confidence in the open sea; they preferred to hug the shore, where they might run into a port in case of bad weather. Daūd accordingly endeavoured to pass between the island of Prodano and the Morea, just north of Navarino. Perfectly aware of his course, the Venetians had drawn out their fleet at the upper end of the narrow passage, where they had the best possible chance of catching the enemy in confused order. The Proveditore of Corfu, Andrea Loredano, had reinforced the Christian fleet that very day with ten ships; the position was well chosen; the wind was fair, and drove full down upon the Turks as they emerged from the strait. But the Venetian admiral placed his chief reliance in his galleasses, and as yet the art of manoeuvring sailing vessels in battle array was in its youth. Bad steering here, a wrong tack there, and then ship ran against ship, the great galleasses became entangled and helpless, carried by the wind into the midst of the enemy, or borne away where they were useless, and the Turkish galleys had it all their own way. Loredano's flagship burnt down to the water, and other vessels were destroyed by fire. Yāni's big ships played an important part in the action. Two galleasses, each containing a thousand men, and two other vessels, surrounded Borāk Reis, but the smaller ships could not fire over the koka's lofty sides, and were speedily sunk. Borāk Reis threw burning pitch into the galleasses, and burnt up crews and ships, till, his own vessel catching fire, he and other notable captains, after performing prodigies of valour, perished in the flames. Wherefore the island of Prodano is by the Turks called Borāk Isle to this day.[16] To the Christians the action was known as "the deplorable battle of Zonchio," from the name of the old castle of Navarino, beneath which it was fought.

In spite of his success at Zonchio, Daūd Pasha had still to fight his way up to Lepanto. The Venetians had collected their scattered fleet, and had been reinforced by their allies of France and Rhodes; it was clear they were bent on revenge. The Turks hugged the land, dropped anchor at night, and kept a sharp look-out. It was a perpetual skirmish all the way. The Venetians tried to surprise the enemy at their moorings, but they were already at sea, and squally weather upset Grimani's strategy and he had the mortification of seeing his six fire-ships burning innocuously with never a Turk the worse. Again and again it seemed impossible that Daūd could escape, but Grimani's Fabian policy delivered the enemy out of his hands, and when finally the Turkish fleet sailed triumphantly into the Gulf of Patras, where it was protected by the Sultan's artillery at Lepanto, the Grand Prior of Auvergne, who commanded the French squadron, sailed away in disgust at the pusillanimity of his colleague. Lepanto fell, August 28th; and Grimani was imprisoned, nominally for life, for his blundering: nevertheless, after twenty-one years he was made Doge.[17]

Venice never recovered from her defeat. The loss of Lepanto and the consequent closing of the gulfs of Patras and Corinth were followed by the capture of Modon, commanding the strait of Sapienza: the east coast of the Adriatic and Ionian seas was no longer open to Christian vessels. The Oriental trade of the republic was further seriously impaired by the Turkish conquest of Egypt (1517),[18] which deprived her of her most important mart; and the discovery of the New World brought Spanish traders into successful competition with her own. Venice indeed was practically an Oriental city; her skilled workmen learned their arts in Egypt and Mesopotamia; her bazaars were filled with the products of the East, with the dimity and other cloths and silks and brocades of Damietta, Alexandria, Tinnis, and Cairo, cotton from Ba'lbekk, silk from Baghdād, atlas satin from Ma'din in Armenia; and she introduced to Europe not only the products of the East, but their very names. Sarcenet is Saracen stuff; tabby is named after a street in Baghdād where watered silk was made; Baldacchini are simply "Baldac," i.e., Baghdād, canopies; samite is Shāmī, "Syrian," fabric; the very coat of the Egyptian, the jubba, is preserved in giuppa, jupe.[19] With the loss of her Oriental commerce, which the hostility of the Turks involved, Venice could no longer hold her own. She bowed to her fate and acknowledged the Turkish supremacy by sea as well as by land. She even paid the Sultan tribute for the island of Cyprus. When Suleymān the Magnificent succeeded Selīm and took Belgrade (1521), Venice hastily increased her payment and did homage for Zante as well. So meek had now become the Bride of the Sea.

Turkey still suffered the annoyance of the Rhodian Corsairs, and till they were removed her naval supremacy was not complete. Genoa and Venice had been humbled: the turn of the Knights of St. John was come. Selīm had left his son, the great Suleymān, the legacy of a splendid fleet, prepared for this very enterprize. One hundred and three swift galleys, thirty-five galleasses, besides smaller craft, and 107 transports, "naves, fustes, mahones, tafforees, galions, et esquirasses,"[20] formed a noble navy, and Rhodes fell, after an heroic defence, at the close of 1522. For six months the Knights held out, against a fleet which had swollen to four hundred sail and an army of over a hundred thousand men commanded by the Sultan in person. It was a crisis in the history of Europe: the outpost of Christendom was at bay. The Knights realized their duty nobly, but they had the best engineers in the world against them, and all the resources of a now mighty empire, wielded by a master-mind. Suleymān surrounded the city with his works, and made regular approaches for his advancing batteries and mines; yet at the end of a month not a wall was down, and the eight bastions of the eight Tongues of the Order—the English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Provencal, and Auvergnat—were so far unmoved. Gabriel Martinego of Candia superintended the countermines with marked success.[21] At last the English bastion was blown up; the Turks swarmed to the breach, and were beaten back with a loss of two thousand men. A second assault failed, but on September 24th they succeeded in getting a foothold, and the destruction of the Spanish, Italian, and Provencal bastions by the Turkish mines and the consequent exposure of the exhausted garrison rendered the defence more and more perilous. The Ottoman army too was suffering severely, from disease, as well as from the deadly weapons of the Knights, and in the hope of sparing his men Suleymān offered the garrison life and liberty if they would surrender the city. At first they proudly rejected the offer, but within a fortnight, finding their ammunition exhausted and their numbers sadly thinned, on December 21st they begged the Sultan to repeat his conditions, and, with an honourable clemency, Suleymān let them all depart unmolested in his own ships to such ports in Europe as seemed best to them.[22]

The fall of Rhodes removed the last obstacle to the complete domination of the Ottoman fleet in the eastern basin of the Mediterranean. Henceforward no Christian ship was safe in those waters unless by the pleasure of the Sultan. The old maritime Republics were for the time reduced to impotence, and no power existed to challenge the Ottoman supremacy in the Aegean, Ionian, and Adriatic Seas.

Almost at the same time the brothers Barbarossa had effected a similar triumph in the west. The capture of Algiers and the firm establishment of various strong garrisons on the Barbary coast had given the Turkish Corsairs the command of the western basin of the Mediterranean. Suleymān the Magnificent saw the necessity of combination; he knew that Kheyr-ed-dīn could teach the Stambol navigators and ship-builders much that they ought to learn; his Grand Vezīr Ibrahīm strenuously urged a closer relation between the Turkish powers of the east and west; and Kheyr-ed-dīn received the Imperial command to present himself at Constantinople.

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