Born circa 1483 on the island of Mytilini (Lesbos); died July 4, 1546, in Istanbul. Ruler of Algeria from 1519. Pirate and naval commander.
Barbarossa was the son of a potter. Taking advantage of the Algerian people’s struggle with the Spanish invaders, he and his brother Aruj seized power in Algeria. In an attempt to retain power after Aruj’s death in 1518, Barbarossa turned for help to the Turkish sultan, Selim I, and placed Algeria under Turkish suzerainty; in return, he received the title of pasha in 1519. Between 1520 and 1525 he waged war against the Spanish, the tribes of Kabylia, and the Hafsids. In 1538 he became admiral in chief of the Turkish fleet. During the Venetian-Turkish war of 1538–40 he routed the European coalition’s navy, commanded by A. Doria, at Preveza in 1538. In 1541, Barbarossa defeated Charles V near Algiers.