Barbary Pirates (Ottoman Corsairs)

Pirates in Physical Combat

Pirates and privateers who operated from North Africa are known as Barbary Pirates or Ottoman Corsairs. The Barbary pirates were mainly located at the ports of Tripoli, Rabat, Tunis, Sale, and Algiers. The Berber inhabitants named the Barbary Coast in Europe.

Ottoman Corsairs

The Barbary Pirates seized ships, raided coastal towns in Europe, and engaged in Razzias, but the mostly raided villages and towns in Italy, Portugal, Spain, British Isles, France, Iceland, and in the Netherlands. One of the main goals of the Barbary Pirates (Ottoman Corsairs) was to capture all the Christian slaves for Arabic market, Middle East market, North Africa market, and for the Ottoman’s trading of slaves. Many of the raids would have happened immediately after the Muslims took over the region.

16th Century pirates

“Barbary Pirates”, “Barbary Corsairs” or Ottoman Corsairs are the terms for pirates raiding from the 16th Century and onward in North Africa. During this time is when the attacks from slaves started to increase. During that time, Tripoli, Algiers, and Tunis took power over the Ottoman Empire, which was administered directly and dependent upon the Barbary States. Sale and a few other ports in Morocco were raided and taken over too.

Successful pirates

The Ottoman Corsairs were able to capture thousands and thousands of vessels and they continued to raid many of the coastal towns and villages. Due to this many of the villagers left their villages in Italy and Spain. The raids became such a major problem that the coastal villages remained abandoned until the 19th Century. The Corsairs captured around 800,000 to 1.25 million people and made them slaves from the 16th thru the 19th Century, and to the middle of the 17th Century the Barbary raids rose.

Barbarossa Brothers

Many of the Ottoman Corsairs were outcasts and converts from Europe and local residents of the region. The Turkish Barbarossa Brothers were the most well-known and famous Barbary pirates. They gained control of Algiers in the name of the Ottomans and this occurred in the beginning of the 16th Century, and they were well noted corsairs.

Barbary States

Around the 1600’s the pirates from Europe brought with them their talent of shipbuilding and sailing to the Barbary Coast. This talent helped the Ottoman corsairs to continue their activity through the Atlantic Ocean. In the later part of the 17th Century the corsair activity started to end, because the navies of Europe began to comply with the Barbary States and they made peace and stopped all their attacking to their ships, but until the beginning of the 19th Century the Christian states coasts and ships continued to suffer.

Napoleonic Wars

Soon to follow were the Napoleonic Wars along with the Congress of Vienna and this occurred in 1814-1815. The Europeans came with an agreement, which would stop the Barbary corsairs completely and all the threats ceased. Of course, some incidents would happen, which included two wars that occurred with the United States and the Barbary States, then in 1830 the wars was stopped by the French conquest in Algiers.