In previous articles, we talked about some of the famous corsairs and admirals of the Maghreb and the Ottoman Empire. Now we will continue this story. First, let's talk about two famous Turkish sailors who became famous not only in battles, but also left a significant mark in science, literature and culture.
Ahmet ibn-i al-Hajj Mehmet el-Karamani, better known as Piri-reis, is not only a famous cartographer, but also the captain of a Turkish warship, and the admiral based in Suez fleet Indian Ocean.
Piri Reis. Modern turkish stylization of medieval miniature
He was born in 1470 and was the nephew of the Ottoman admiral Kemal Reis, the very one who, on the orders of Sultan Bayazid II, evacuated some of the Jews from Spain who were forced to leave the country after the publication of Catholic editions by Isabella and Ferdinand of the Granada Edict and died in a shipwreck in 1511.
On the ship of Kemal Reis, our hero, at the age of 17, took part in an attack on Malaga and before the death of this admiral (1511) he fought at sea with the Spaniards, Venetians and Genoese, and then until 1516 he was engaged in cartographic work. A fragment of his first card, published in 1513, could be seen on a banknote of 10 lira in the 8th series, which was in circulation from January 1, 2005 to January 1, 2009:
Turkish 10 lira banknote of the 8th series, which was in circulation from January 1, 2005 to January 1, 2009
His main work, Kitab-i-Bahrie (Book of the Seas), was published in 1521: it is an atlas containing 130 descriptions and navigation diagrams of the coasts and ports of the Mediterranean Sea. In 1526 an expanded version of the atlas was released, in which there were already 210 maps. The work was truly ambitious and aroused great respect, since in his work Pirireis studied a huge number of sources, including ancient ones (the earliest date from the XNUMXth century BC) and which have not survived to our time. In addition, Piríreis himself indicates that he used the cards available on captured Spanish and Portuguese ships (including those captured in the Indian Ocean), Arab cards, as well as a copy of the Columbus map, the original of which was lost.
The correct ideas of Piri-reis (or an unknown author of the maps used by him) about the shape and size of the Earth are surprising among modern geographers. And some of these maps, which depicted the coast of Brazil, the Andes, the Falkland Islands and even the outlines of Antarctica, are considered by many historians to be fake. But on these fragments of maps authentic Piri-reis autographs are preserved, which completely confuses the situation.
It was the “map of Antarctica” that made especially much noise. True, there is no Drake Strait on it, there is no ice cover, there are images of rivers, forests and animals, but the outlines of the coast of Princess Martha, Queen Maud Land and the Palmer Peninsula are quite recognizable. At the same time, modern researchers believe that the map found is a fragment of another, and Cairo or Alexandria should be the “center of the world” on the lost “large” map. Therefore, it has been suggested that the primary source was a map from the famous Alexandria Library that has not survived to our time.
Piri Reis. Map dated 1513
However, there are versions that it is not Antarctica that is depicted on this map, but the east coast of South America (somewhat distorted), the coastline of Central America (also the east coast) or southeast Asia with Japan.
One of the options for projecting a Piri-Reis map onto a modern
In 1516, Piri-reis returned to the fleet, took part in the conquest of Egypt and Rhodes, actively collaborating with Khair ad Din Barbarossa and Kurdoglu Reis. In 1524, it was his ship that the great vizier Ibrahim Pasha chose to travel to Egypt.
In 1547, having received the admiral title "Reis", he was sent to Suez, where he became commander of the Indian Ocean fleet.
Piri Reis, bust, Maritime Museum, Istanbul
He inflicted several serious defeats on the Portuguese, took Aden, Muscat, the Qatar Peninsula and the islands of Kish, Hormuz and Bahrain, forcing the Portuguese to leave the Arabian Peninsula.
Portuguese galliot with slaves. Illustration from the Travel Diary of Jan Huygen van Linschoten (1596)
For disobeying the order of the Sultan, Piri-reis was executed at the age of 84, but modern Turkey is proud of him, his name is given to the first Turkish-made submarine launched in December 2019.
Submarine "Piri-reis", length 68 meters, crew of 40 people
Sadie Ali Reis
In the famous battle of Preveza, which was described in the article Islamic Pirates of the Mediterranean, the right flank of the victorious fleet of Khair ad Din Barbarossa was led by Salah Reis (described in the article "The Great Islamic Admirals of the Mediterranean Sea") And the left was commanded by Seydi Ali-Reis.
Seydi Ali Reis on a coin of 50 lira, 2013
He was born in Galat in 1498, his grandfather served as chief of the naval arsenal, his father was in charge of Bahriye Dârü's-Sınaası (literally - something like "the center of the naval industry). It is not surprising that the boy went on this part - he began his service in the naval arsenal. In 1522, he took part in the siege of Rhodes, which ended with the expulsion of hospitaliers from this island. Then he served under the command of Sinan Pasha and Turgut Reis (they were described in the article The Disciples of Khair ad Din Barbarossa).
Sadi Ali received an admiral post at the end of 1552 when he was appointed commander of the Indian Ocean fleet.
Arriving in Basra (a port in the Persian Gulf), he arranged for repairs and arming with new guns of the 15 galleys located there, which then should have been transferred to Suez. Putting the ships of this squadron in order, he went to sea with them, and 10 days later he collided with the Portuguese fleet, which consisted of 25 ships, among which were 4 large sailing ships, 3 galleons, 6 patrol ships and 12 galleys. The fierce battle ended in a “draw”, many ships were seriously damaged, one of the Portuguese galleons was sunk. With the onset of darkness, the squadrons dispersed, and they did not dare to enter a new battle.
A new clash with the Portuguese occurred 18 days later: the son of the Portuguese governor, Muscat (Oman), at the head of 34 ships, attacked an already battered Ottoman squadron. In this battle, each side lost 5 ships. A few days later, Sadi Ali Reis brought the remaining ships to the port of Gwadar (currently located in the modern Pakistani province of Balochistan), where he was friendly received by local residents and, finally, was able to replenish supplies of food and fresh water. On the way to Yemen, the squadron fell into a storm that lasted 10 days and carried them to the coast of India. They were able to land about two miles from the city of Daman. During this storm, the ships received such damage that it was almost impossible to repair them: according to Sadie-Ali, it was simply a miracle that they could get to the shore on them. By agreement with the ruler of Gujarat (now state in western India), ships with all weapons were transferred to the local authorities in exchange for the right to move freely and the promise to pay for them, not to Admiral Sadi Ali, but to the Port authorities. Many of the Ottoman sailors went to the service of the local sultan, at the head of the remaining Sadi Ali Reis moved to Surat. From there, he began his overland trip (lasting two years and three months) to Constantinople: through Delhi, Kabul, Samarkand, Bukhara, Iraq, Anatolia.
Suleiman the Magnificent Seydi Ali Reis brought letters from the rulers of 18 states that he visited during his journey.
The Sultan accepted his apology for the loss of ships, ordered to pay a salary for 4 years and appointed a muteferric to the court position, which provided for a daily salary of 80 AHCH.
But this admiral became famous not by the naval service, but by the book “Mirror of the Countries”, translated into many languages: this is a description of his great journey, which has not lost its historical and literary significance in our time.
Sadie Ali is also known as the author of many poems written under the pseudonym Katib-i Rumi (Scribe of the West).
“First” (Senior) Murat-reis
Another great pirate admiral Maghreb was born into an Albanian family in 1534 - either on the island of Rhodes, or in Albania. When the boy was 12 years old, he, like Giovanni Galeni, was captured by one of the captains of the Barbarian pirates - a certain Kara Ali, and, having also accepted Islam, joined the corsairs. However, there is another version according to which Murat joined the pirates voluntarily, and not to anyone, but immediately to Turgut-reis. It is also known that for some time Murat served on the ship of Piri Reis.
The first of Murat’s independent raids was unsuccessful - his ship crashed on rocks in 1565. But already during the second raid, he captured three Spanish ships.
Further, he was subordinate to the ruler of Algeria, Uluj-Ali. In 1570, at the head of 25 galleys, he participated in the capture of the last Venetian fortress in Cyprus - Famagusta.
In 1578, Murat Reis, commanding a squadron of 8 galliotes, off the coast of Calabria attacked two large Sicilian ships, capturing one of them and forcing the flagship (on board of which was the Duke of Terra Nova), jump onto the rocks. In 1585, he, the first of the Algerian pirates, went to the Atlantic, visited the Moroccan Sale and attacked Lanzarote - the northernmost of the Canary Islands: captured three hundred prisoners, including the governor.
In 1589, he won the battle with the La Serena Gallery of Hospitallers, who led a captured Turkish ship to Malta.
After that, Murat Reis was appointed commander of the galley fleet of Algeria.
Galleria of the Barbary Pirates
In 1594, Murat, commanding four small galliots, captured two Tuscan galeas.
This pirate admiral was killed in 1609, when his ships came together in battle with a squadron of 10 French and Maltese ships, among which was the famous Galeono Rossa — a 90-gun combat galleon known as the Rosso Inferno (Red Hell or "Hellish Red"). Then 6 out of 10 enemy ships were captured, including the Red Galleon, 160 guns and 2000 muskets, as well as 500 sailors and soldiers, but Murat-reis was mortally wounded. The admiral died on the way to Cyprus, and, according to his will, was buried on the island of Rhodes.
Mosque and grave of Murat-Reis the Elder on the island of Rhodes
In Turkey, one of the submarines was named after him.
Submarine Murat Reis
Bust of Piyale Pasha, Istanbul, Naval Museum
Another great admiral of the Ottoman Empire, Piyale Mehmed Paşa, was either a Hungarian or a Croat born in Hungary in 1515. He came to Turkey as a child (probably after the battle of Mohach on August 29, 1526), was converted to Islam and made a dizzying career, becoming the third person in the empire.
The boy, apparently, turned out to be extremely smart and talented, because he was sent to Enderun, located in the third courtyard of the Topkapi palace complex, where the most talented “foreign boys” were trained, taken in the conquered Christian countries using the devshire system (this was described in article "Janissaries and Bektashi").
Enderun, library of Ahmet III
Education at this school was very serious and included seven levels: the Small Chamber, the Grand Chamber, the Sokolnichy Chamber, the Military Chamber, the House of Economy, the Treasury Chamber and the highest level - Personal Chambers . The further the student progressed along these steps, the more prestigious the position he later occupied.
Graduates of the “Military Chamber” were usually sent to serve in the part of the Sipahs. Those who graduated from the House of Economy were engaged in the economic support of the palace and mosques, or were sent to serve in the guards cavalry formations (kapi kullari - personal slaves of the Sultan). Graduates of the Treasury Chamber became palace servants, or were also sent to the Sultan's Guard. Pupils who were trained in the chamber "Personal chambers" became senior pages, valets, squires of the Sultan, or horsemen. Our hero, went through all the steps of Enderun, and in 1547 we see him in the position of Kapijibashi - head of the internal security of the Sultan's palace. At this time he was 32 years old. Agree that in Hungary this boy, the son of a poor shoemaker, would not even have dreamed of such a career.
Suleiman I (Magnificent) generally appreciated this admiral and in 1566 even married his granddaughter - the daughter of shekhzade (the title of son or grandson of the Sultan), the future Sultan Selim II (her name was Gevheri Muluk-Sultan), which was an incredible honor.
Such were seen by Suleiman the Magnificent and his sons by the audience of the series “The Magnificent Century”
Selim was the son of the "fatal woman of the Ottoman Empire" - Roksolany (Alexandra Anastasia Lisowska Haseki Sultan), and in Turkey he was called "Blonde." But in history he entered under the nickname "The Drunkard."
Titian, who had never seen Roxolana, decided that it should look like this:
But such Suleiman and Roksolana appear before us in engraving by an unknown artist (circa 1550):
The caption on this paired portrait reads:
“La piu bella e la piu favorita donna del gran Turcho dita la Rossa” (The most beautiful and beloved woman of the Great Turk, Russian).
And this is a shot from the series "The Magnificent Century":
But back to the brave admiral and son-in-law of the Ottoman sultans Piyale Pasha.
In 1554, Piyale was appointed Pasha of Galipoli, together with Turgut-Reis attacked the islands of Elba and Corsica, and in 1555 commanded the Turkish squadron, operating in alliance with the French fleet.
In 1556, his squadron captured Oran and Tlemcen, in 1557 - Bizerte, in 1558 - the island of Mallorca, where many Christians were captured. In the same year, acting together with Turgut-Reis, captured the city of Reggio Calabria.
The threat to the Mediterranean coasts of Christian countries was so great that at the initiative of the Spanish King Philip II, an alliance was created, which was joined by the Genoese Republic, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the papal region and the Order of Hospitallers. The Duke of Medinaceli, Viceroy of Sicily, was appointed command of the Spanish ships. The allies of the Spaniards were led by Giovanni Andrea Doria - the son of the nephew of the famous Genoese admiral (Andrea Doria, which was described in previous articles). Giovanni will later take part in the battle of Lepanto.
Giovanni Andrea Doria
A landing party (about 14 thousand people) was landed on the island of Djerba, the Turkish fort Bordj el-Kebir fell, the sheikhs of Djerba recognized the power of Philip II and agreed to a tribute of 6 thousand ecu. However, the Allies did not have time to enjoy their victory properly: on May 11 the fleet of Piyale Pasha, which included the ships of Turgut Reis, approached Djerba.
The naval battle took place on May 14 in a strait off the Kerkenna Islands: the allied fleet of Christians was almost destroyed. Two months later, European troops surrendered on Djerba. About 5000 soldiers and officers were taken prisoner, including Don Sancho de Levia (Sicily squadron commander), Naples squadron general Don Berenger Kekennes and the Spanish garrison commander Djerba don Alvare de Sande, who later rejected the offer, having accepted Islam, to head the Turkish army in the war with Persia. This triumph of Piyale Pasha was overshadowed by the accusations of the great vizier Rustem Pasha that the admiral did not give the Ottoman authorities the son of the Duke of Medinaceli Gaston in order to get a ransom for him himself. But the vizier died, and the investigation was not completed. Moreover, in 1565, the lucky admiral was appointed Kapudan Pasha. They say that then he found his mother and brought her to Constantinople, where she lived, remaining a Christian.
In the position of Kapudan Pasha, he led an expedition against Malta (Great Siege of Malta). He was Kizilahmetli Mustafa Pasha, Seraksir (Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces), and later Turgut-Reis arrived, who would die during the siege of Fort St. Elm.
Matteo Peresa d`Aleccio. Turgut Reis, Mustafa Pasha and Piyale Pasha in Malta, XNUMXth century fresco
It was not possible to capture Malta then.
“Only with me my armies achieve triumph!”,
- Sultan Suleiman said about this.
Seraskir of this expedition was demoted, but Piyale Pasha did not lose the location of the Sultan. In April of the following year, he captured the islands of Chios and Naxos without a fight, and then plundered the coast of Puglia.
In September 1566, the Sultan Suleiman died, his son Selim ascended the throne of the Ottoman Empire (recall that Piyale Pasha was married to his daughter).
Selim II, portrait, Austrian National Library
During his coronation in Constantinople another rebellion broke out of the Janissaries, who threw Piyale Pasha, who had come to them for negotiations, from his horse. They calmed down only after receiving significant amounts of money as “gifts” and achieving an increase in salaries. In addition, Piyale Pasha was forced to relinquish the post of Fleet Commander-in-Chief age Janissaries Muezinzade Ali Pasha. It was he who commanded the Ottoman fleet at the battle of Lepanto (1571), and, according to many, his incompetence became one of the main reasons for the defeat:
“The great admiral of the Ottoman fleet in his life did not even command a rowing boat”,
- wrote about this occasion the Turkish historian of the XVII century Kyatib Celebi.
(The battle of Lepanto was described in an article "The Great Islamic Admirals of the Mediterranean Sea".)
But back to Piyale Pasha. After receiving the post of second vizier, after the defeat at Lepanto, he, together with Uludj-reis, worked on the restoration and reform of the Ottoman fleet. This admiral went to sea for the last time in 1573, when the Ottomans again robbed the coast of Puglia. He died in Constantinople - January 21, 1578.
The big mosque of Piyale Mehmed Pasha (mosque of the shipyard), this admiral is buried next to her in a turba (mausoleum). Istanbul
The death of the most famous and terrible pirates of the Maghreb and the great admirals of the Ottoman Empire did not improve the situation of their opponents - Christians. So, if in 1581 the Algerian fleet consisted of 26 warships, in 1616 there were 40 ships in the military fleet of Algeria. It was divided into 2 squadrons: the first, of 18 ships, cruised at Malaga, the second (22 ships) controlled the sea between Lisbon and Seville.
According to the calculations of modern researchers, only English and Scottish merchant ships from 1606 to 1609. no less than 466 were captured by the Barbarian pirates. From 1613 and 1622 Algerian corsairs alone captured 963 ships (including 447 Dutch and 253 French). And in the period from 1625 to 1630 they seized another 600 ships. The Catholic priest Pierre Dan reports that in 1634 there were 25 thousand Christians in the position of slaves in Algeria, there were 7 thousand of them in Tunisia, from 4 to 5 thousand in Tripoli, and about 1,5 thousand in Sala.
As a result, at the beginning of the XNUMXth century, the coasts of Puglia and Calabria were almost empty, living here at that time from the locals were mostly at risk from pirates 'trading affairs', robbers and smugglers, or completely impoverished people who fled debt or were persecuted by authorities of other Italian lands for committing there crime.
In the next article we will talk about famous renegades: Suleiman-Reis, Jack Ptashka (Sparrow) and some other Europeans, who became famous as corsairs of the Islamic Maghreb, about the "captain-devil" Simon Dancer, who remained a zealous Protestant even in the Maghreb, as well as The pirate republic of Sale, its first admiral and "president" Jan Yanson, better known as Murat-reis the Younger.