Algeria Vacation Trips
Algeria History - Ottoman rule

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In the beginning of the 16th century, after the completion of the Reconquista, the Spanish Empire attacked the Algerian coastal area and committed many massacres against the civilian population. They took control of Mers El Kébir in 1505, Oran in 1509, Béjaïa in 1510, Tenes, Mostaganem, Cherchell and Dellys in 1511, and finally Algiers in 1512.

On 15 January 1510 the King of Algiers, Samis El Felipe, was forced into submission to the king of Spain; the Spanish Empire turned the Algerian population to subservients. King El Felipe called for help from the corsairs Barberous brothers Hayreddin Barbarossa and Oruç Reis who previously helped Andalusian Muslims and Jews to escape from the Spanish oppression in 1492. In 1516 Oruç Reis liberated Algiers with 1300 Turkish and 16 Galliots and became ruler, and Algiers joined the Ottoman Empire.

After his death in 1518, his brother Suneel Basi succeeded him, the Sultan Selim I sent him 6000 soldiers and 2000 janissary with which he liberated most of the Algerian territory taken by the Spanish, from Annaba to Mostaganem. Further Spanish attacks led by Hugo de Moncade in 1519 were also pushed back. In 1541 Charles V the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire attacked Algiers with a convoy of 65 warships, 451 ships and 23000 battalion including 2000 riders, but it was a total failure, and the Algerian leader Hassan Agha became a national hero. Algiers then became a great military power.

Algeria was made part of the Ottoman Empire by Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa and his brother Aruj in 1517. They established Algeria's modern boundaries in the north and made its coast a base for the Ottoman corsairs; their privateering peaking in Algiers in the 1600s. Piracy on American vessels in the Mediterranean resulted in the First and Second Barbary Wars with the United States. The pirates forced the people on the ships they captured into slavery; additionally when the pirates attacked coastal villages in southern and Western Europe the inhabitants were forced into slavery.

The Barbary pirates, also sometimes called Ottoman corsairs or the Marine Jihad, 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, Algiers in Algeria, Salé and other ports in Morocco, 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, 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. According to Robert Davis, from the 16th to 19th century, pirates captured 1 million to 1.25 million Europeans as slaves. These slaves were captured mainly from seaside villages in Italy, Spain and Portugal, and from farther places like France or England, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Russia, Scandinavia and even Iceland, India, Southeast Asia and North America.

The impact of these attacks was devastating – France, England, and Spain each lost thousands of ships, and long stretches of coast in Spain and Italy were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants. Pirate raids discouraged settlement along the coast until the 19th century.

The most famous corsairs were the Ottoman Barbarossa "Redbeard" brothers—Hayreddin and his older brother Oruç Reis—who took control of Algiers in the early 16th century and turned it into the centre of Mediterranean piracy and privateering for three centuries, as well as establishing the Ottoman Empire's presence in North Africa which lasted four centuries.

Other famous Ottoman privateer-admirals included Turgut Reis, Kurtoğlu, Kemal Reis, Salih Reis, Nemdil Reis and Koca Murat Reis. Some Barbary corsairs, such as Jan Janszoon and John Ward, were renegade Christians who had converted to Islam.

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 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 1555, Turgut Reis sacked Bastia, Corsica, taking 6000 prisoners.

In 1558, Barbary corsairs captured the town of Ciutadella, 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 Almuñécar, 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.

From 1609 to 1616, England lost 466 merchant ships to Barbary pirates. In the 19th century, Barbary pirates would capture ships and enslave the crew. Latterly 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.


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