Algeria – Barbary PrivateersTweet
The Spanish expansionist policy in North Africa began with the rule of the Catholic monarchs Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon and their regent Cisneros. Once the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula was completed, several towns and outposts on the Algerian coast were conquered and occupied by the Spanish Empire: Mers El KÃ©bir (1505), Oran (1509), PeÃ±Ã³n of Algiers (1510) and Bugia (1510). The Muslim leaders of Algiers called for help from the Barbary corsairs Hayreddin Barbarossa and OruÃ§ Reis, who previously helped Andalusian Muslims and Jews escape from Spanish oppression in 1492. In 1516, OruÃ§ Reis conquered Algiers with the support of 1,300 Turkish soldiers on board 16 galliots and became its ruler, with Algiers joining the Ottoman Empire.
The Spaniards left Algiers in 1529, Bugia in 1554, Mers El KÃ©bir and Oran in 1708. The Spanish returned in 1732 when the armada of the Duke of Montemar was victorious in the Battle of AÃ¯n-el-Turk; Spain recaptured Oran and Mers El KÃ©bir. Both cities were held until 1792, when they were sold by King Charles IV of Spain to the Bey of Algiers.
Algeria was made part of the Ottoman Empire by Hayreddin Barbarossa and his brother Aruj in 1517. After the death of OruÃ§ Reis in 1518, his brother succeeded him. The Sultan Selim I sent him 6,000 soldiers and 2,000 janissaries with which he conquered most of the Algerian territory taken by the Spanish, from Annaba to Mostaganem. Further Spanish attacks led by Hugo of Moncada in 1519 were also pushed back. In 1541, Charles V, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, attacked Algiers with a convoy of 65 warships, 451 large ships and 23,000 men, 2000 of whom were mounted. The attack resulted in failure however, and the Algerian leader Hassan Agha became a national hero as Algiers grew into a center of military power in the Mediterranean.
The Ottomans established Algeria’s modern boundaries in the north and made its coast a base for the Ottoman corsairs; their privateering peaked in Algiers in the 17th century. Piracy on American vessels in the Mediterranean resulted in the First (1801â€“1805) and Second Barbary Wars (1815) with the United States. The pirates forced the people on the ships they captured into slavery; the pirates also attacked coastal villages in southern and Western Europe in order to enslave the inhabitants.
The Barbary pirates, also sometimes called Ottoman corsairs or the Marine Jihad (Ø§Ù„Ø¬Ù‡Ø§Ø¯ Ø§Ù„Ø¨ØØ±ÙŠ), were Muslim pirates and privateers that operated from North Africa, from the time of the Crusades until the early 19th century. Based in North African ports such as Tunis in Tunisia, Tripoli in Libya and Algiers in Algeria, they preyed on Christian and other non-Islamic shipping in the western Mediterranean Sea.
Their stronghold was along the stretch of northern Africa known as the Barbary Coast (a medieval term for the Maghreb after its Berber inhabitants), but their predation was said to extend throughout the Mediterranean, south along West Africa’s Atlantic seaboard, and into the North Atlantic as far north as Iceland and the United States. They often made raids, called Razzias, on European coastal towns to capture Christian slaves to sell at slave markets in places such as Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Algeria and Morocco.
In 1544, Hayreddin captured the island of Ischia, taking 4,000 prisoners, and enslaved some 9,000 inhabitants of Lipari, almost the entire population. In 1551, Turgut Reis enslaved the entire population of the Maltese island of Gozo, between 5,000 and 6,000, sending them to Libya. In 1554, pirates sacked Vieste in southern Italy and took an estimated 7,000 slaves.
In 1558, Barbary corsairs captured the town of Ciutadella (Minorca), destroyed it, slaughtered the inhabitants and took 3,000 survivors to Istanbul as slaves. In 1563, Turgut Reis landed on the shores of the province of Granada, Spain, and captured coastal settlements in the area, such as AlmuÃ±Ã©car, along with 4,000 prisoners. Barbary pirates often attacked the Balearic Islands, and in response many coastal watchtowers and fortified churches were erected. The threat was so severe that the island of Formentera became uninhabited.
Between 1609 to 1616, England lost 466 merchant ships to Barbary pirates. In the 19th century, Barbary pirates would capture ships and enslave the crew. Later American ships were attacked. During this period, the pirates forged affiliations with Caribbean powers, paying a “license tax” in exchange for safe harbor of their vessels. One American slave reported that the Algerians had enslaved 130 American seamen in the Mediterranean and Atlantic from 1785 to 1793.
Plague had repeatedly struck the cities of North Africa. Algiers lost from 30,000 to 50,000 inhabitants to the plague in 1620â€“21, and again in 1654â€“57, 1665, 1691, and 1740â€“42.