Military Review

The leader of the barbarian coast

Dutch pirate Jan Janson van Harlem became famous under a different name. By adopting Islam, he became Murat-Reis junior, calling himself in honor of the heroic Turkish naval commander. On account of the sea robber many captured and destroyed ships. But truly glorified pirate attacks on Iceland and Baltimore.

This is just a business.

Jan Janson was born when there was a war of independence from Spain in the Netherlands. It began in the sixteenth century, 60, and in 1572, after the capture of the insurgents of Brille, a full-fledged uprising broke out throughout the territory.

Nothing is known about Janson’s childhood. On the historical he entered the arena already in adulthood, when he became a corsair. On the ship, the Dutchman patrolled the waters near the hometown of Haarlem and attacked the Spanish ships. True, he did this not only because of a sense of patriotism. The corsair wanted money. But the modest booty could not satisfy the appetite of the sea robber. After all, far more often than the trading "Spaniards" he came across well-armed warships, with which it was dangerous to contact. Upon reflection, Janson concluded that it was time to change life. The tiresome and protracted war with Spain did not promise gold mountains and glory. The most likely development of events was death during the next meeting with a powerful enemy ship. And Janson decided to "change the situation."

After leaving his hometown, he moved to the territory of the Barbarian shore, as the Europeans called the Mediterranean coast of North Africa at that time. An experienced corsair quickly found his place in the new field. His main dream came true - now Janson was not constrained by the treaties and obligations of Holland, and therefore he could easily attack any ship. Perhaps then Janson felt like a wolf in the sheepfold. If a Spanish ship appeared on the horizon, Jan raised the Dutch flag and went to the enemy. If the ship came across any other European country, the corsair was covered by the Turkish crescent or the standard of one of the countries of the North African coast. Luck did not change the resourceful and cunning pirate. His financial well-being grew, as did his influence. It seemed that the tale of the Dutch sea robber would be eternal, but ...

Someone else's success always generates a feeling of envy. Janson had enemies - Berber pirates, whom an influential rival (besides a Christian) was useless. And in 1618, a forty-eight-year-old Dutchman was ambushed near the Canary Islands. How exactly the Berber pirates managed to capture Janson is not exactly known. Curious: they did not kill the Dutchman. The pirates decided to go to Algeria to sell Janson into slavery there. The time has come for reckoning for all the atrocities. So, probably, some other robber who would have appeared in the place of the Dutchman would have thought. But Janson was too cunning and proud to just give up and accept fate. In fact, he had two options for salvation. The first is to escape from the Berber pirates. Then assemble flotilla and brutally avenge offenders. But this option turned out to be impossible. And then Janson said that he wants to become a "Turk." Europeans in those days called all the inhabitants of the Barbarian coast “Turks,” since the numerous states of that territory were somehow connected with the Ottoman Empire.

Berber pirates did not refuse Janson's request, and he converted to Islam. Having become a Muslim, the Dutchman took on a new name - Murat Reis Jr. The corsair did not become modest, calling himself in honor of one of the most famous naval commanders of the Ottoman Empire. Murat Reis Sr. (under that name Turks of Albanian origin and went down in history) became famous for the capture of several Canary Islands and Cyprus, as well as the expulsion of the Venetians from the latter (thus Cyprus became Ottoman for the next several hundred years). In addition, on his account was a victory over the famous Galeona Rossa - a large galleon armed with nine dozen guns. The Turks called this French ship the Red Devil. In general, with a new name, Janson made it clear that he was going to not only repeat the life of the Turk, but also to surpass it.

Pirates president

Becoming one of the Berber pirates, Janson often went to sea, teamed up with other sea robbers. But most often he united with two Dutch - Suleiman-Reis and Simon the dancer - who also converted to Islam.

It should be said that at that time Algeria was the main base for the pirates of the Barbarian Coast. But gradually the policy pursued by the leadership of the country went against the interests of the pirates. The government has signed too many peace treaties linking pirates hand and foot. Therefore, in the 1619 year, they decided to find a new shelter. Such was the port fortified city of Sale, located on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Shortly after these events, Suleiman Reis died. And Janson became one of the main pirate captains.

Initially, Sale was ruled by the Moroccan Sultan, but the pirates who moved there changed the status of the fortress. Due to sea robbery, the city began to quickly grow rich and expand. And the new owners did not want to share with the ruler of Morocco neither power nor money. And soon, Sale declared his independence. Sultan, of course, wanted to return the city under his jurisdiction, but the siege ended in victory for the pirates. The ruler of Morocco recognized the autonomy of the fortress city.
The leader of the barbarian coast

A republic was proclaimed in Sale, ruled by fourteen pirate captains. Of these, a president was also chosen who held the position of admiral of the combined fleet of sea robbers. Murat Reis Jr. was the first to take this top post. For the Dutchman, this meant one thing - it was time to settle down. And at first he clearly followed the role assigned to him. Janson got married, got children and was involved in administrative activities.

But neither the family nor the huge money could not keep Janson on the beach for a long time. Therefore, after a short time, he began to return to his usual occupation - piracy. And in the 20 of the seventeenth century, the ships of Murat Reis the Younger became regulars of the English Channel. And although the pirates did not succeed in getting rich here, Janson managed to win over many experienced English and Dutch sailors.

According to legend, once Janson entered the Dutch port of Vir under the Moroccan flag. Then he, calling himself the admiral of the fleet of this country, on behalf of the Sultan demanded to provide him with the necessary supplies and equipment. The authorities of the port city, of course, knew who was hiding under the guise of "Turk", so they made him a counter offer: to quit pirate fishing and stand up for the Dutch flag in the war with Spain. Janson refused. And, as if mocking the "fathers" of Vira, he managed to recruit several dozen Dutch soldiers, seducing them with stories of fabulous wealth.

In 1627, Janson decided to raid Iceland. At the Faroe Islands, the “Turks” seized a Danish fishing vessel, and with a part of the team moved onto it. This trick helped the pirates reach Reykjavik and several coastal villages located in eastern Iceland, as well as on the southern islands of Vestmannajjar. During the raid, the pirates succeeded in capturing at least two hundred young Icelanders (the robbers specifically chose a better product to sell it at a higher price in the slave market). The same people who tried to resist the robbers were killed with demonstrative cruelty. For example, the elderly and the sick were driven into the church, they pounded doors and windows, and then they set fire to them.

History has kept the name of only one prisoner who managed to return home - this is the priest Olaf Egilsson. According to one version, Janson learned the legend of the treasures hidden on the island of Heimaei, which is part of the Westman archipelago. According to popular tradition, in ancient times, a Norwegian named Heroliv settled on Heimaei Island. By force and cunning, he managed to appropriate himself the only source of fresh water. And when a severe drought suddenly began, the Norwegian began selling it to the rest of the island’s inhabitants. Those who did not have the required amount, he refused, condemning people to death. But Kherjolva had a daughter - Vilborg. Unlike her father, she tried to help the people of Heimaei. Therefore, without his knowledge, she shared water with people. Once she found a crow with a broken wing. The girl took it and went out. When the raven could fly again, he left Wilborg. But after a short time he returned. The girl at this moment sewed shoes. The raven snatched the shoes from her hands and flew off a short distance. But as Vilborg approached him, he immediately flapped his wings and jumped to another place. When they were significantly removed from the house, an earthquake began. A huge stone rolled down the mountain and covered the dwelling, burying Herself and all its wealth. Vilborg was saved by the raven in gratitude for her kindness.

These treasures, buried under stones, and tried to find the sea robbers. Therefore, they acted especially cruel with the inhabitants of this piece of land. After all, the pirates thought that Icelanders are trying to hide from them a place where there are countless riches. Especially got the local priest Egilsson. During the interrogation, he asserted that the entire population of the island lives only through fishing, and the treasure is just a beautiful legend. But the robbers, of course, did not believe him and beat him with sticks. The interrogations and beatings of the inhabitants of the island lasted for several days, but they did not bring the desired result. In retaliation, the pirates took to slavery almost all the people of Heimaei, including the priest. But soon Egilsson returned home. How he managed to escape is a mystery.

But even without the ancient treasures, Janson managed to seize rich booty, which he then converted into money and precious stones in the slave market in Algeria.

A few years later, the leader of the Barbarian shore again reminded him of himself. This time, his pirates marched with fire and sword, first along the English coast, and then reached Ireland. More than the other settlements suffered the village of Baltimore, located in County Cork.

It must be said that the inhabitants of this village - the O'Driskoll clan - were themselves not averse to correcting their financial situation at the expense of sea robbery. In addition, the head of the clan Finnin fully supported this option of filling the budget of Baltimore. The main victims of the Irish pirates were merchants from Waterford. According to one version, it was one of them, wanting to take revenge, and advised Murat Reis to attack Baltimore. According to legend, this merchant was called Hackett. And when the Baltimore robbers found out about everything, they caught him and hung him up.

There is another version explaining the reason for the attack of Janson on Baltimore. For example, Walter Copping, a representative of the influential Cork family, feuded with the O'Driskoll clan. He wanted to do away with them and take the village and the surrounding territory to itself. Therefore, Janson brought it to Baltimore. According to the third version, the disgraced relatives of Finnin O'Driscoll persuaded pirates from the Barbarian shore. In the war for power over the village, they lost and were forced to flee to Spain. And with the help of the people of Janson, O'Driscolls hoped to regain Baltimore.

By the way, there is information that Finnin himself knew about the possible attack of pirates. But mistakenly assumed that their main goal is the richer and more populous village of Kinsale, and not Baltimore. Therefore, villagers could not render decent resistance to pirates. As a result of the raid, Janson captured more than a hundred people, and Baltimore itself was burned. Those people who were able to survive and avoid captivity, moved to neighboring villages. And for a long time Baltimore was abandoned.

Hunting for Janson

After the devastation of Baltimore, the “Turks” of Janson made several more devastating raids on Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily and the Balearic Islands.

The raids could not go on forever. In the end, Janson became the main enemy of all the Christian sailors of the Mediterranean, who declared not his hunt. For some time, Murat Reis managed to win or run away from his pursuers, but once he got caught. It is not exactly known when the Knights of the Order of Malta captured the Dutchman, presumably in 1635 year. If this date is correct, he spent five years in Valletta’s dungeon, because in 1640, Janson managed to escape. The escape was a success thanks to a sudden attack on Malta by Tunisian pirates. The Dutchman returned to the Barbarian shore. Pirates greeted him as a true hero. And soon Murat Reis became governor of one of the robber fortresses in Morocco. But the years spent in captivity, greatly undermined the health of the elderly "Turk." According to some reports, Janson died in August 1641. Another version says that he lived for several more years and even participated in pirate raids. In one of them, Murat-Reis Jr. was killed.

The sons of the Dutchman, of course, also became pirates. For years, they plied the Mediterranean, terrorizing Christian ships. However, they then, together with the Dutch colonists, recovered to North America, where they took part in the founding of New Amsterdam (New York).
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  1. Serge72
    Serge72 17 January 2018 06: 28
    Place to such comrades in the yard
    By accepting Islam, he became Murat Reis Jr.

    even at the stake.
    Unfortunately, for some time they shed blood, hooligans. Until, finally, the sea powers cleared this shushara.
    There is a story left - quite interesting
  2. Korsar4
    Korsar4 17 January 2018 06: 55
    Not one of those pirates who are at least somehow cute.

    Most of all I liked the story of the raven.
  3. Olgovich
    Olgovich 17 January 2018 07: 29
    Even in those days, an amazing bastard.
  4. parusnik
    parusnik 17 January 2018 07: 32
    Indeed, it’s just business, nothing personal .. On blood and death ..
  5. XII Legion
    XII Legion 17 January 2018 08: 26
    That's interesting.
    The worst thing (the hunters told) is when a dog breaks into the leaders of a wolf pack. She knows the habits of people and hates them for becoming homeless.
    So here - there is no worse pirate than hitchhiker, a traitor to the faith. Such is worse than natural Turks. It’s a pity that they didn’t tie
    1. Korsar4
      Korsar4 17 January 2018 09: 30
      According to the White Fang. Only the word raskriga does not quite fit here.
    2. Glory1974
      Glory1974 17 January 2018 14: 56
      Than a shit, a betrayer of faith

      Now they are called - a neophyte. Accepted a different religion.
      1. Freeman
        Freeman 17 January 2018 20: 24
        Quote: glory1974
        Than a shit, a betrayer of faith

        Now they are called - a neophyte. Accepted a different religion.

        And for the adherents of his former faith -
        Renegade (lat. renegatus, from renego - “I renounce”) - a person who has converted from one religion to another; in the figurative sense - a person who has betrayed his convictions and transferred to the camp of opponents, an apostate, a traitor. In Europe, the Middle Ages and the New Age, the term meant a Christian who sided with the Muslims (Arabs, Turks) and converted to Islam.
        1. Antares
          Antares 18 January 2018 00: 36
          Quote: Freeman

          renegade is one of the most serious crimes of the time
          death or the eternal galleys of the Order of Malta (for Muslims, although for the military they outfitted the best teams of hired rowers and won, since the captives are much worse than rowers if it comes to military risk)
  6. Cherkashin Ivan
    Cherkashin Ivan 17 January 2018 09: 57
    Thanks, interesting. Does the story with sons who went to America have any confirmation? Because if there is reliable information, then their biography can be no less interesting than daddies. The fact that for a long time it was the renegades that were the main force of piracy in S. Africa is known to many. But I can’t remember the way back from the Muslim pirate to respected Christian businessmen (even in the world .. Peace).
  7. Conductor
    Conductor 17 January 2018 11: 11
    Ordinary business, not tainted by Christian or other morality. You might think the same Soros is better.
  8. Mikado
    Mikado 17 January 2018 11: 24
    Proposal to the Author: Pavel, if you would like to write, I would love to see your coverage of the activities of Antonio de Faria with his “twelve thousand cruzeiro”. hi
    1. parusnik
      parusnik 17 January 2018 18: 42
      Is this the Portuguese pirate who robbed in the South Seas, escaped death in the waves of the sea and died in Goa - a beggar? Having squandered his fortune ...
      1. Mikado
        Mikado 17 January 2018 18: 54
        Yes Yes! and forever remembered the Lord when he wanted to do something bad! Another example - you can write about Bartholomew Sharp. Interesting, "fairy-tale man" was! laughing
        1. parusnik
          parusnik 17 January 2018 19: 00
          You can write about many people starting with the Vikings. My pirates haven’t got a bad library. Books 5 .. But lately, I haven’t reread them ... Earlier, from the pages, I heard more, the sound of the sea wind, the creak of the masts, the smell of gunpowder hovered .. And now I open it, death rattles, blood flows, shackles and the gallows creak ...
          1. Mikado
            Mikado 17 January 2018 19: 10
            how are you right! hi Over the years, you start to look at things from a different point of view, taking into account what has been experienced, seen, felt yes
            1. parusnik
              parusnik 17 January 2018 19: 17
              Like yes .. I remember with what pleasure I read and re-read The Adventures of Ben Gunn, Ronald Delderfield .. Treasure Island, after reading it seemed like a children's fairy tale .. Although we like our films about Treasure Island .. But most of all a cartoon .. masterpiece ... smile
              1. Mikado
                Mikado 17 January 2018 20: 43
                and I read out "Captain Blood" and "Black Corsair." And in the pocket atlas of the world in childhood he was looking for cities and islands. This instilled a relative knowledge of geography! yes
                But most of all a cartoon .. a masterpiece ... smile

                absolutely! good "Good boy! Our man, ours!" (blind Pugh)

                and when my brother Lelik (whom I already mentioned today on a branch of "china") begins to be smart, I mimic, parodying Dzhigarkhanyan:
                "Some were afraid of Pugh, others - of Billy Bons. And Flint himself was afraid of me!"
                1. Korsar4
                  Korsar4 17 January 2018 22: 14
                  Everything is good at the time - “Treasure Island”, and “Captain Blood” at the time - from the beloved. But the "Black Corsair" recently took - passed.
                  1. Mikado
                    Mikado 17 January 2018 22: 21
                    All is well in due time

                    that you are right, to each age - its reading matter. I couldn’t master Dumas, not a single book. I couldn’t! Maybe try re-reading? what (By the way, The Lord of the Rings didn’t seem interesting to me either. To each his own! hi)
                    1. Korsar4
                      Korsar4 17 January 2018 22: 34
                      What I read early remains. And I can re-read it. I tried to read "Ascanio" at the university - it does not go, and that’s it.

                      About the same with Jack London.

                      The Lord of the Rings is highly dependent on translation. Separate chapters - very hooked. And then he appreciated the whole picture. But the colors are still not as bright as if in childhood.
                      1. Mikado
                        Mikado 17 January 2018 22: 37
                        and already in adulthood I discovered Igor Mozheiko (usually we know him under the pseudonym Kir Bulychev). His book about pirates, although it has flaws, is easy to read, and its subtle humor is inimitable. drinks
  9. andrew42
    andrew42 17 January 2018 11: 43
    A typical product of West European ethnogenesis: a mercenary - a pirate - a slave trader - a mass murderer - a "governor".
  10. Weyland
    Weyland 17 January 2018 23: 12
    Тit is not known in person when the knights of the Order of Malta captured the Dutchman, presumably in 1635.
    The irony of fate ... A Catholic who converted to Islam would have been waiting for the Inquisition bonfire - and this bastard was a heretic from the very beginning - and therefore his conversion to Catholic Islam did not bother!
    1. Antares
      Antares 18 January 2018 00: 45
      Quote: Weyland
      the fire of the Inquisition - and this bastard was originally a heretic - and therefore his conversion to Catholic Islam was not worried!

      by 1635, the Order became completely dependent on the papal throne and its sovereignty is now limited by the right to resolve internal current issues.
      Not an isolated case among pirates. Patriot, change of faith, active pirate, captivity, escape ... (stole, drank, imprisoned) romance ..