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.
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.
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).