Khair ad Din (Khairuddin) was one of four brothers: Ishaq (اسحاق), Aruj (عروج), Ilyas (الیاس) and Khizer (خضر), who were born in the 1470s on the island of Lesbos to their Muslim Turkish father, Yakup Ağa (یعقوب آغا), his paternal forefathers’ were Turkish whereas the maternal forefathers were belongs from Greek.
His original name was Khizer Yaqoob Khairuddin (Turkish: Hızır Yakupoğlu. Hayreddinan) and in Arabic/Persian/Urdu: خضربن یعقوب الخیرالدین, (means: Khizer son of Yaqoob), the honorary name given to him by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent was “Khair ad-Din” (خیرالدین) literally means Goodness of the Religion (of Islam). He became known as Barbarossa (Redbeard) in Europe, a name he inherited from his older brother Baba Oruç ( بابا عروجFather Aruj) after the martyrdom of Aruj in a battle with the Spanish (ہسپانیہ) in Algeria (الجزائر). This name sounded like “Barbarossa” (باربروسہ) to the Europeans, which eventually – due the similarity in sound – evolved in Spain, France and Italy into Barbarossa (meaning Redbeard in Italian).and Aruj did have a red beard. The nickname stuck then also to Hayreddin’s Turkish name, in the form Barbaros.
Kaptan-ı Derya of the Ottoman Navy (امیرالبحر خلافت عثمانیہ)
Khairuddin Barbarossa (خیرالدین باربروسا) Castle in Capri still carries the name of the Ottoman admiral who captured the island in 1535. The Turks eventually departed from Capri, but another famous Ottoman admiral, Turgut Reis, recaptured both the island and the castle in 1553.
Statue of Barbaros Hayreddin Paşha near the Turkish Naval Museum on the Bosphorus in Istanbul.In 1534 Khairuddin Barbarossa (خیرالدین باربروسا) set sail from Istanbul with 80 galleys and in April he recaptured Coron, Patrasand Lepanto from the Spaniards. In July 1534 he crossed the Strait of Messina and raided the Calabrian coasts, capturing a substantial number of ships around Reggio Calabria as well as the Castle of San Lucido. He later destroyed the port of Cetraro and the ships harbored there. Still in July 1534 he appeared in Campania and sacked the islands of Capri and Procida, before bombarding the ports in the Gulf of Naples. He then appeared in Lazio, shelled Gaeta and in August landed at Villa Santa Lucia, Sant’Isidoro, Sperlonga, Fondi, Terracina and Ostia on the River Tiber, causing the church bells in Rome to ring the alarm. He then sailed south, appearing at Ponza, Sicily and Sardinia, before capturing Tunis in August 1534 and sending the Hafsid Sultan Mulei Hassanfleeing. He also captured the strategic port of La Goulette.
Mulei Hassan asked Emperor Charles V for assistance to recover his kingdom, and a Spanish-Italian force of 300 galleys and 24,000 soldiers recaptured Tunis as well as Bone and Mahdiya in 1535. Recognizing the futility of armed resistance, Khairuddin Barbarossa (خیرالدین باربروسا) had abandoned Tunis well before the arrival of the invaders, sailing away into the Tyrrhenian Sea, where he bombarded ports, landed once again at Capri and reconstructed a fort (which still today carries his name) after largely destroying it during the siege of the island. He then sailed to Algiers, from where he raided the coastal towns of Spain, destroyed the ports of Majorca and Minorca, captured several Spanish and Genoese galleys and liberated their Muslim oar (چپّوبان) slaves. In September 1535 he repulsed another Spanish attack on Tlemcen.
In 1536 Khairuddin Barbarossa (خیرالدین باربروسا) was called back to Istanbul to take command of 200 ships in a naval attack on the Habsburg Kingdom of Naples. In July 1537 he landed at Otranto and captured the city, as well as the Fortress of Castro and the city of Ugento in Apulia.
In August 1537, Lütfi Pasha (لطفی پاشا) and Khairuddin Barbarossa (خیرالدین باربروسا) led a huge Ottoman force which captured the Aegean and Ionian islands belonging to the Republic of Venice, namely Syros, Aegina, Ios, Paros, Tinos, Karpathos, Kasos, Kythira, and Naxos. In the same year Khairuddin Barbarossa (خیرالدین باربروسا) raided Corfuand Calabria. These losses caused Venice to ask Pope Paul III to organize a “Holy League” against the Ottomans.
In February 1538, Pope Paul III succeeded in assembling a Holy League (composed of the Papacy, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, the Republic of Venice and the Maltese Knights) against the Ottomans, but Barbarossa defeated its combined fleet, commanded by Andrea Doria, at the Battle of Preveza in September 1538. This victory secured Turkish dominance over the Mediterranean for the next 33 years, until the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.
Khairuddin Barbarossa (Hayreddin) Pasha (خیرالدین باربروسا پاشا) defeats the Holy League of Charles V under the command of Andrea Doria at the Battle of Preveza in 1538.
In the summer of 1539 Khairuddin Barbarossa captured the islands of Skiathos, Skyros, Andros and Serifos and recaptured Castelnuovo from the Spanish, who had taken it from the Ottomans after the battle of Preveza. He also captured the nearby Castle of Risan and later assaulted the Venetian fortress of Cattaro and the Spanish fortress of Santa Veneranda near Pesaro. Khairuddin Barbarossa later took the remaining Christian outposts in the Ionian and Aegean Seas. Venice finally signed a peace treaty with Sultan Suleiman in October 1540, agreeing to recognize the Turkish territorial gains and to pay 300,000 gold ducats.In September 1540, Emperor Charles V contacted Khairuddin Barbarossa and offered him to become his Admiral-in-Chief as well as the ruler of Spain’s territories in North Africa, but he refused. Unable to persuade Barbarossa to switch sides, in October 1541, Charles himself laid siege to Algiers, seeking to end the corsair threat to the Spanish domains and Christian shipping in the western Mediterranean. Andrea Doria, who commanded the fleet, and the old Hernan Cortés, who had been asked by Charles to participate in the campaign, both attempted to change the Emperor’s mind but failed. Eventually a violent storm disrupted Charles’ landing operations. Andrea Doria took his fleet away into open waters to avoid being wrecked on the shore, but much of the Spanish fleet went aground. After some indecisive fighting on land, Charles had to abandon the effort and withdraw his severely battered force.
Franco-Ottoman alliance (اتحاد فرانسیہ و عثمانیہ)
In the Siege of Nice in 1543, Khairuddin Barbarossa’s (خیرالدین باربروسا) fleet combined with a French force to capture the city.
In 1543 Khairuddin Barbarossa (خیرالدین باربروسا) headed towards Marseilles to assist France, then an ally of the Ottoman Empire, and cruised the western Mediterranean with a fleet of 210 ships (70 galleys, 40 galliots and 100 other warships carrying 14,000 Turkish soldiers, thus an overall total of 30,000 Ottoman troops.) On his way, while passing through the Strait of Messina, he asked Diego Gaetani, the governor of Reggio Calabria, to surrender his city. Gaetani responded with cannon fire, which killed three Turkish sailors. Khairuddin Barbarossa (خیرالدین باربروسا), angered by the response, besieged and captured the city. He then landed on the coasts of Campania and Lazio, and from the mouth of the Tiber threatened Rome, but France intervened in favor of the Pope’s city. Khairuddin Barbarossa (خیرالدین باربروسا) then raided several Italian and Spanish islands and coastal settlements before laying the Siege of Nice and capturing the city on 5 August 1543 on behalf of the French king Francis I. The Turkish captain later landed at Antibes and the Île Sainte-Marguerite near Cannes, before sacking the city of San Remo, other ports of Liguria, Monaco and La Turbie. He spent the winter with his fleet and 30,000 Turkish soldiers in Toulon, but occasionally sent his ships from there to bombard the coasts of Spain.In the spring of 1544, after assaulting San Remo for the second time and landing at Borghetto Santo Spirito and Ceriale, Barbarossa defeated another Spanish-Italian fleet and raided deeply into the Kingdom of Naples. He then sailed to Genoa with his 210 ships and threatened to attack the city unless it freed Turgut Reis, who had been serving as a galley slave on a Genoese ship and then imprisoned in the city since his capture in Corsica by Giannettino Doria in 1540. Barbarossa was invited by Andrea Doria to discuss the issue at his palace in the Fassolo district of Genoa, and the two admirals negotiated the release of Turgut Reis in exchange for 3,500 gold ducats. Barbarossa then successfully repulsed further Spanish attacks on southern France, but was recalled to Istanbul after Charles V and Suleiman had agreed to a truce in 1544.
After leaving the Provence from the port of Île Sainte-Marguerite in May 1544, Barbarossa assaulted San Remo for the third time, and when he appeared before Vado Ligure, the Republic of Genoa sent him a substantial sum to save other Genoese cities from further attacks. In June 1544 Barbarossa appeared before Elba. Threatening to bombard Piombinounless the city released the son of Sinan Reis who had been captured 10 years earlier by the Spaniards in Tunis, he obtained his release. He then captured Castiglione della Pescaia, Talamone and Orbetello in the province of Grosseto in Tuscany. There he destroyed the tomb and burned the remains of Bartolomeo Peretti, who had burned his father’s house in Mytilene the previous year, in 1543. He then captured Montiano and occupied Porto Ercole and the Isle of Giglio. He later assaulted Civitavecchia, but Leone Strozzi, the French envoy, convinced Barbarossa to lift the siege.
The Turkish fleet then assaulted the coasts of Sardinia before appearing at Ischiaand landing there in July 1544, capturing the city as well as Forio and the Isle of Procida before threatening Pozzuoli. Encountering 30 galleys under Giannettino Doria, Barbarossa forced them to sail away towards Sicily and seek refuge in Messina. Due to strong winds the Turks were unable to attack Salerno but managed to land at Cape Palinuro nearby. Barbarossa then entered the Strait of Messina and landed at Catona, Fiumara and Calanna near Reggio Calabria and later at Cariati and at Lipari, which was his final landing on the Italian peninsula. There he bombarded the citadel for 15 days after the city refused to surrender, and eventually captured it.
He finally returned to Istanbul, and in 1545 left the city for his final naval expeditions, during which he bombarded the ports of the Spanish mainland and landed at Majorca and Minorca for the last time. He then sailed back to Istanbul and built a palace on the Bosphorus, in the present-day district of Büyükdere.
Retirement and death
Khairuddin Barbarossa (خیرالدین باربروسا) retired in Istanbul in 1545, leaving his son Hasan Pasha (حسن پاشا) as his successor in Algiers. He then dictated his memoirs to Muradi Sinan Reis (مرادی ثنان رئیس). They consist of five hand-written volumes known as “Gazavat-ı Hayreddin Paşa” (Conquests of Hayreddin Pasha – غزواۃ خیرالدین پاشا). Today they are exhibited at the Topkapı Palace and Istanbul University Library. They are prepared and published by Babıali Kültür Yayıncılığı as “Kaptan Paşa’nın Seyir Defteri” (The Logbook of the Captain Pasha) by Prof. Dr. Ahmet Şimşirgil, a Turkish academic, and “Akdeniz Bizimdi” (The Mediterranean was Ours) by M. Ertuğrul Düzdağ.
Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha (خیرالدین باربروساپاشا) died in 1546 إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ)) in his seaside palace in the Büyükdere neighbourhood of Istanbul, on the northwestern shores of the Bosphorus. He is buried in the tall mausoleum (türbe – مقبرہ) near the ferry port of the district of Beşiktaş on the European side of Istanbul; which was built in 1541 by the famous architect Mimar Sinan, at the site where his fleet used to assemble. His memorial was built in 1944, next to his mausoleum.
Barbarossa Khairuddin (Hayreddin) Pasha established Turkish supremacy in the Mediterranean which lasted until the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. But even after their defeat in Lepanto, the Ottoman Turks quickly rebuilt their fleet, regained Cyprus and other lost territories in Morea and Dalmatia from the Republic of Venice between 1571 and 1572, and conquered Tunisia from Spain in 1574. Furthermore, the Turks ventured into the northern Atlantic Ocean between 1585 and 1660, and continued to be a major Mediterranean sea power for three more centuries, until the reign of Sultan Abdülaziz, when the Ottoman fleet, which had 21 battleships and 173 other types of warships, ranked as the third largest naval force in the world after the British and French navies (see the main article History of the Turkish Navy).
However, during these centuries of great seamen such as Kemal Reis before him; his brother Oruç Reis(عروج رئیس) and other contemporaries Turgut Reis(ترگت رئیس) , Salih Reis (صالح رئیس), Piri Reis (پیری رئیس) and Kurtoğlu Muslihiddin Reis (کرتوگلو مصیح الدین رئیس); or Piyale Pasha (پیارے پاشا), Murat Reis (مؤرت رئیس), Seydi Ali Reis (سیّدی علی رئیس), Uluç Ali Reis (علوک علی رئیس) and Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis (کرتوگلو خضر رئیس) after him, few other Turkish admirals ever achieved the overwhelming naval power of Barbaros Khairuddin (Hayreddin) Paşha (باربروسہ خیرالدین پاشا).
His mausoleum is in the Barbaros Park of Beşiktaş, Istanbul, where his statue also stands, right next to the Turkish Naval Museum. On the back of the statue are verses by the Turkish poet Yahya Kemal Beyatlı which may be translated as follows
Whence on the sea’s horizon comes that roar?
Can it be Barbarossa now returning
From Tunis or Algiers or from the Isles?
Two hundred vessels ride upon the waves,
Coming from lands the rising Crescent lights:
O blessed ships, from what seas are ye come?
In the centuries following his death, even today, Turkish seamen salute his mausoleum with a cannon shot before leaving for naval operations and battles. Several warships of the Turkish Navy and passenger ships have been named after him. A Dutch-speaking group of traditional sea scouts in Brussels (140′ FOS sea scouts Roodbaard) recently named their group after Barbarossa (Dutch Roodbaard, meaning Redbeard.)
Summary as Admiral-in-Chief of the Ottoman Empire
In 1533 Khair ad Din was made Admiral-in-Chief by the Ottoman Sultan.
In 1535, al-Hasan asked the Spaniards for assistance, and Charles V prepared a campaign and recaptured Tunisia in that year.
In 1538, the fleet of Charles V was defeated at the Battle of Preveza by Khair ad Din, securing the eastern Mediterranean for the Turks for 33 years.
In 1541, Ahmed Ibn al-Hasan al-Hafsi took over Tunisia from his father, because of his father’s status of servitude to the Spaniards.
In 1544, when Spain declared war on France, the French king Francois I, asked the OttomanSultan Suleiman I for help. The latter sent a fleet headed by Khair ad Din who is victorious over the Spaniards, and manages to retake Naplesfrom them.
Like his brother ‘Aruj, Khair ad Din managed to coordinate a fleet of 36 ships, and in 7 voyages successfully transferred 70,000 Muslim Morisco, and settled them in Algiers, making it a stronger base against Spain.
Due to all these achievements, the Ottoman Sultan bestowed on him the title of Beylerbey: Commander General.
With the orders of the Suleiman the Magnificent he dictated his memoirs to Muradi Sinan Reis. They consist of 5 volumes of hand writings known as “Gazavat-Ä± Hayrettin PaÅŸa” (Memories of Khair ad Din Pasha). Today they are exhibited at the Topkapi Palace and Istanbul University Library. They are fictionalised as “Akdeniz Bizimdi” (Mediterranean was Ours) by M. ErtuÄŸrul DÃ¼zdaÄŸ.
Khair ad Din died aged 65 in his palace on the Bosphorus in Istanbul. After his death, his son, Hasan Pasha succeeded him in Algiers.
His mausoleum is in Besiktas, Istanbul in the same square where his statute is located.