Biography of Khair Ben Eddyn Barbarroja (1483-1546)

Berber pirate, born in Mytilene, Lesbos Island (Greece), in 1483 and died in 1546, whose origin, wrapped in legend, is quite uncertain. It may be Greek, Spanish or Provençal. Barbarossa was the nickname of Jair-el-Din or Khair Ben Eddyn, whose history is intimately linked to that of his two brothers, Arug, and Isaac. All three together were made with power in Tunisia after murdering the emir and subsequently conquered Algiers.

Khair really takes center stage after the death of his brother mayor Arug at the battle of Tlemcen, in which they were defeated by the Spanish Governor of Oran. Khair at that time assumed command and placed itself under the protection of the Turkish sultan Suleiman the magnificent, that I give you bey (Governor) of Algiers, and in 1536 Admiral of the Ottoman fleet. Barbarossa gathered numerous independent pirate heads and dominated the Western Mediterranean conducting coastal attacks arrive each spring. In 1529 he/she took the island fortress of the Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, essential for the pirate base of Algiers. Their biggest strategic problem was Tunisia, where Hassan, protected and ally of Carlos I, reigned so attacked and conquered the plaza. Carlos I regained the city in 1535. That same year sacked Mahon and conquered the Ionian Islands. In 1538 he/she defeated the Spanish troops of Andrea Doria, who considered it the best marine of his time, in the Gulf of Arta. Carlos I began negotiations for an alliance with Barbarossa around 1540, but they had no result. Francisco I of France allied with Soliman to confront Spain in 1543. Barbarossa was in Marseille as a negotiator and subsequently sacked nice (that belonged to the Duchy of Savoy), Cadaqués, roses, Palamós, Ibiza and Villajoyosa. Withdrew then to Istanbul, where he/she died enjoying his power and riches in 1546.