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The Pirate's Realm

The Barbarossa Brothers Aruj and his younger brother Hizir (Kheir) were born in Greece in the 1470's. Aruj began his career by attacking Aegean ships from his home island of Lesbos. After being freed from slavery to the Knights of Rhodes by Egyptian forces, he began working with his brother Hizir out of the port of Alexandria with ships provided by the local ruler.

After moving to the Western Mediterranean around 1505, they flooded the base of Djerba with plunder from merchant and warships alike. Several years later, they moved to the port of Djidjelli near Algiers after a fallout with the Sultan of Tunis, and stepped up their attacks on the Spanish, which included raiding more coastal towns and forts.

Corsair Galley, Barbarossa Brothers, Barbary PiratesBarbary sailors, The Barbarossa Brothers Aruj took advantage of disfavor among the locals toward the Algerian Sultan's policies and assumed his position after invading the port of Algiers and killing him in 1516. After two years of conflict with local areas still controlled by the Spanish, Aruj was killed while trying to escape a siege in the town of Tlemcan, and his brother Hizir assumed control.

flag of Algiers, Algerian flagThe End of Barbary Terror- book As Hizir ascended to the position of Sultan of Algiers through alliance with the Ottoman Emperor Sulayman I, he was able to command Ottoman resources to both defend his territory and sack Spanish-held areas, such as the towns of Majorca and Nice. He died around 1547, having gained control of a large portion of North Africa and solidifying Ottoman rule over almost the entire Mediterranean. A more detailed account of the Algerine Corsairs by Charles Ellms is below.

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The Pirates of Barbary- bookThe Pirates of Barbary- book

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The Algerine Corsairs from Charles Ellm's The Pirate's Own book

Containing accounts of the cruelties and atrocities of the Barbary Corsairs, with narratives of the expeditions sent against them, and the final capture of Algiers by the French in 1830.

That former den of pirates, the city of Algiers is situated on the shores of a pretty deep bay, by which the northern coast of Africa, is here indented, and may be said to form an irregular triangular figure, the base line of which abuts on the sea, while the apex is formed by the Cassaubah, or citadel, which answered the double purpose of a fort to defend and awe the city, and a palace for the habitation of the Dey and his court. The hill on which the city is built, slopes rather rapidly upwards, so that every house is visible from the sea, in consequence of which it was always sure to suffer severely from a bombardment. The top of the hill has an elevation of nearly five hundred feet, and exactly at this point is built the citadel; the whole town lying between it and the sea. The houses of Algiers have no roofs, but are all terminated by terraces, which are constantly whitewashed; and as the exterior walls, the fort, the batteries and the walls are similarly beautified, the whole city, from a distance, looks not unlike a vast chalk quarry opened on the side of a hill.

The fortifications towards the sea are of amasing strength, and with the additions made since Lord Exmouth's attack, may be considered as almost impregnable. They occupy the entire of a small island, which lies a short distance in front of the city, to which it is connected at one end by a magnificent mole of solid masonry, while the other which commands the entrance of the port, is crowned with a battery, bristling with cannon of immense calibre, which would instantly sink any vessel which should now attempt to occupy the station taken by the Queen Charlotte on that memorable occasion.

On the land side, the defences are by no means of equal strength, as they were always considered rather as a shelter against an insurrectionary movement of the natives, than as intended to repulse the regular attacks of a disciplined army. In fact defences on this side would be of little use as the city is completely commanded by different hills, particularly that on which the Emperor's fort is built, and was obliged instantly to capitulate, as soon as this latter had fallen into the hands of the French, in 1830.

Click the link for the rest of this article on the Algerine (Barbary) Corsairs.