Commander of Naval Forces (B. 20 August 1477?, Midilli – D. 4 July
He is the son of a cavalryman who came from Vardar Yenicesi and settled to Midilli.
His real name is Hızır and he is known with the nickname Barbaros Hayreddin. Westerners
first called his brother Oruç Reis “Barbarossa” because of his red beard and
later him. The nickname “Hayreddin” was given to him by Yavuz Sultan Selim.
Barbaros started trade between Midilli, Thessaloniki and Eğriboz by
a ship built by him. After his brother Oruç was saved from the knights of Rhodes the two brothers came under protection of Şehzade
Korkut. After atrocities of the Spanish in Andalusia,
Muslims started to emigrate from there. Oruç and Hızır brothers moved to Western Mediterranean. After the year 1504 they came to
agreement with Hafsî Sultan Ebû Abdullah Muhammed b. Hasan (1493-1526) who
ruled in Tunisian shores of Northern Africa
and they settled to Halkulvâdî (La
Goletta). When his ships increased in number he passed to Cerbe Island
and used it as a base. They attacked all the shores until Italia from there.
Meanwhile Cicelli people who established a town administration on their own
declared Oruç Reis as Sultan. Barbaros brothers who returned to Midilli for a
while came under protection of Yavuz Sultan Selim and gained the support of the
Ottomans. They helped the Algerian people who wanted to get rid of the Spanish
invasion. After the conquest of Algeria
and Cherchell town in the west Algeria,
Oruç Reis was declared as the Sultan of Cherchell and Algeria. Following that, he
conquered in 1517 Tenes and Tlemsen towns. However, the Spanish who made an
agreement with the natives recaptured Tlemsen in 1518, martyring Oruç Reis.
Hızır Reis who became alone sent over one of his men
with forty slaves to the Ottoman Sultan to strengthen the Ottoman support.
Yavuz Sultan Selim who learned about the happenings in Africa
said “Hızır Reis is the helper and goodness of religion” showing his
appreciation. He sent a will which declares that he is recognized as the ruler
Besides Selim gave him the right to recruit voluntary soldiers in Anatolia and decided to send him an auxiliary troop of
two thousand janissaries and bombardiers. Thus Algeria
became part of the Ottoman Empire where the
khutbah was spoken in his name. Hızır Reis was known as Hayreddin Pasha.
An attack to Harras in August 1519 by a fleet of eighty
ships under the command of the Sicilian regent Hugo del Moncada was repelled by
Hızır Reis. According to his memories the Europeans during this war granted Hızır
the nickname “Barbarossa” like his brother. Barbaros Hayreddin became the ruler
of the whole region except for a small island controlled by the Spanish between
1520 and 29. Meanwhile Muslims of Granada who were oppressed and mistreated
received great support from him. Kanunî Sultan Süleyman invited Barbaros to Istanbul in order to
appoint him the Commander of the Naval Forces. Barbaros after this appointment
defeated European united forces led by the Spanish and attempted to establish a
strong and regular fleet in order to take the Mediterranean
under Turkish hegemony. In the same time he gave importance to cooperation with
against Karl V.
Barbaros participated to the Korfu siege in 1537 but
this island could not be conquered. Thus he attempted to capture the isles
belonging to Venetians. He maintained the security of sea routes by ending the
Venetian hegemony in Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean.
With the victory of Preveze he enabled the Turkish sovereignty in Central
Mediterranean after the Eastern Mediterranean.
François I started to approach the Ottomans again after Preveze. Barbaros who
was supporting cooperation with the French from the beginning on and who
established relations with François I in 1532 agreed on a common attack to
places controlled by Karl V in the Mediterranean.
However Barbaros who stayed about six months in Southern France had to return
since François made an agreement with Karl V. On his return he saved Turgut
Reis who was being held captive in Genoa.
Nice campaign is the last major campaign of Barbaros. After this he was rather
busy with shipbuilding. He passed away on the 5th of July 1546 after
a short-term disease and was inhumed to the tomb near to the madrasah he built
in Beşiktaş while he was alive.
During Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha Ottoman navigation
reached the summit of its power and thanks to valuable navigators raised in his
school and shipbuilding which regularly worked, this power lasted a certain
period. According to the sources Barbaros was portly and brown-skinned. His
hair, beard, eyebrows and eyelashes were very bushy. His life pretty much
lasted in Mediterranean, so he could speak
Greek, Arabic, Spanish, Italian and French well. Besides he was interested in
navigation as the captain of a small ship and became one day the Commander of
Naval Forces. He let write his memories upon the order of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman. Hayreddin
Pasha told his memories and Muradi Sinan Reis wrote them. These precious
memories which are of the most important sources of Turkish navigation history
were not published until recently and only give handwritten copies existed. The
book on his memories whose original title was “Gazavât-ı Hayreddîn Paşa” was simplified
and published in two volumes as “Barbaros
Hayreddin Paşa’nın Hatıraları” (Edited by: Osman Erdem). Barbaros in his memories
first mentions his brother Oruç Reis, later tells about his works as “Hızır
Reis” before becoming “Hayreddin Paşa”.
Captain Pashas of the Ottoman
Empire wore their captain uniforms in Barbaros’ tomb in Beşiktaş.
During this ceremony prayers were done and poor people were given food. Turkish
ships which went on a cruise or realized military exercises greet Barbaros
Hayreddin Pasha with artilleries even today when they pass from there. In the
memory of Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha the Monument of Barbaros
was built in Beşiktaş district of Istanbul between 194 and 43 by our famous
sculptors Ali Haydar Bara and Zühtü Müridoğlu. Kadıköy seaport in Beşiktaş was
given the name “Beşiktaş Hayrettin Pasha Seaport” and this seaport was renewed
by the architects Erkan İnce and M. Hilmi Şenalp with Ottoman architectural
style. Various ships in the Turkish fleet were given the name of Barbaros
Gazavât-ı Hayreddin Paşa
(There are two versions of it. One of them is prose and the other one poetical.
The prosaic one was translated to French in Paris in 1837, to Italian in Palermo
in 1887 and partly to Arabic in Algeria in 1934; simplified by Ertuğrul Düzdağ and
published under the title Barbaros Hayreddin Paşa’nın Hâtıraları I-II (Istanbul
Necip Âsım / Gazavât-ı Hayreddin Paşa (manzum hatıratın tanıtımı, 1908), Ali
Rıza Seyfi / Barbaros Hayreddin 1912), Fevzi Kurtoğlu, Barbaros Hayreddin Paşa,
(1935), İskender Fahreddin Sertelli / Barbarosun Ölümü (1937), Şerafettin Turan
/ “Barbaros Hayreddin” (Küçük Türk-İslâm Ansiklopedisi, 1981), Fahir İz /
Barbaros Hayreddin Paşa Gazavatnamesi Üzerinde Yeni Bir Araştırma (TDAY
Belleten,1972), TDV İslâm Ansiklopedisi (c.5, 1992), İhsan
Işık / Ünlü Devlet Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 1, 2013) -
Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013).