Back to museums THE BARBEROUSSE BROTHERS

Welcome to the spectacle of the most beautiful legend of the brother Barbarossa! On boat course along a stream recalling the coasts of the Mediterranean, you will wind through the scenery retracing the adventures of the famous pirates, the Barberousa brothers. War songs and music restitute the edifying life of the most well-known of them, Khereddine Barberousse, prince of the seas for others, the greatest historical adventures in Tunisia and Mediterranean Sea in the 16th century, when Tunisia became the stakes of a duel between the Habsburg Christian Empire, ruled by Charles V and the Ottoman Empire of Suleiman the Magnificent. One learns thus the role of the Turkish corsairs, of which the famous Khair-Eddine, called Barbarossa. “There were once four brothers coming from the small Greek island of Lesbos, son of a Turkish potter and a Greek mother. Elyas, Ishaq, Arroudj and Khair-Eddine were to mark the century with their exploits.

Merchants and corsairs at an early age, Khair-Eddine and Arroudj first sought to put themselves at the service of the sovereigns of Egypt and Tunisia. In Algeria, they are called by governors of the coastal cities attacked by the Spaniards. They are very strong and very robust, have red beards, lively eyes that seem to throw flames. They are energetic, very courageous and intrepid, magnanimous and generous. The Barbarossa brothers are going to pledge allegiance to Sultan Ottoman Selim for their conquests to come. Arroudj is called "the Red", because of his red beard. That is why they and his brother are nicknamed "the Barbarossa". The Sultan Selim granted to Arroudj the title of Beyler bey of Algiers, which becomes a Regency. In a few years, Arroudj submits a large part of the Central Maghreb. In 1519, after the death of Arroudj, Khair-Eddine is also placed under the Ottoman power. It is invested by the Sultan Selim 1st as Beylerbey of Africa and its military companies are openly supported by Istanbul. Khair-Eddine's successive victories earned him riches and great fame in the capital of the Ottoman Empire. He is then invited to "the sublime gate", where the pashas present it to Soliman the magnificent. It is accompanied by hundreds camels bearing the treasures of the Mediterranean coasts.

He prays his highness to accept them, and presents him with lions and leopards which he brought back from Africa. These presents are very agreeable to Soliman, who gives him the greatest welcome. The pachas listen to him without anxiety and tranquility, but their jealousy awakens when Barbarossa is raised by the Sultan Soliman to the rank of Grand Admiral or Kapudan Pasha in 1533 and charged with reforming the fleet of the Empire. Thus, in 1534, he succeeded in occupying Tunis, Bizerte and Kairouan, expelling the new Emir Hafside al-Hassan, and liberating the Muslims and Jews who were persecuted by Charles V. Charles V., Great Emperor of Germany and King of Spain, is called by the sovereign of Tunis deposed. To counter the Ottoman danger which now controls the Algerian and Tunisian coasts and the Strait of Sicily, he decides to form a powerful armada of 412 vessels and 35,000 men who, under his personal command, land on June 16, 1535 on the coasts of Carthage. On 14 July, he removed the fort from La Goulette and, after a week, eventually occupied Tunis. The Spanish protectorate on the Hafsid emirate is often shaken by the resistance of the Ottoman fleet, led by Barbarossa and its successors, but lasts until 1574. It is Sinan Pasha who will definitively liberate Tunisia, which becomes an Ottoman regency, Like Algiers and Tripoli. Khair-Eddine ended his active life after several resounding victories, such as the one he won in Italy in 1544. In Istanbul, among his own, he leads a peaceful life in his palace, Where it can enjoy all the luxury allowed. Honored by Soliman the Magnificent, he dedicates to his death a mausoleum which stands on the banks of the Bosphorus. On the occasion of each new investiture of a great admiral, and every solemn departure of the fleet, the Ottoman army salutes this great statesman.

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