LOADING ...

























BARBAROS HAYREDDIN PASA
2001 / SEPTEMBER

In the spring of 1538 the largest armada ever known was being formed, consisting of 600 ships belonging to Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, Venice, Portugal, Genoa, the Vatican, Florence, Malta and other European states. Holy Roman Emperor Charles V appointed Andrea Doria, the most celebrated admiral of 16th century Europe, as commander-in-chief of the fleet. The main objective of this great Christian armada was to destroy the Ottoman fleet under the command of Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa, Governor of Algeria and High Admiral of the Ottoman Empire, since the fleet's supremacy in the Mediterranean was a serious threat to the European countries. At the beginning of September 1538 the fleet gathered in the Ionian Sea in readiness for a major attack. The news soon reached Istanbul, and the Ottoman government informed Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa who was with the fleet at the island of Euboea in the Aegean. Andrea Doria launched a bombardment of Preveza, a port in what is now western Greece and which at that time was the most important Ottoman naval base in the Mediterranean, sinking

PAGE 1/5


























BARBAROS HAYREDDIN PASA
2001 / SEPTEMBER

some of the Turkish ships anchored in the harbour. Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa sent a reconnaissance fleet of 20 vessels under the command of Turgut Reis into the Ionian Sea, and when he arrived off the island of Zanta (the modern Zakinthos) in the southern Ionian Islands he observed a fleet of 40 vessels belonging to the Christian armada. News was sent back to Barbaros, who led the Ottoman fleet from Euboea around the Morean coast to the naval base at Methoni. Learning of the approach of the enemy, Andrea Doria lifted the siege of Preveza and withdrew northwards to Corfu. Meanwhile the Ottoman fleet sailed north to Preveza at the northwest extremity of the Gulf of Amvrakikos and through the narrow channel into Preveza Harbour. This was what Andrea Doria had been hoping for. He had predicted that the Turkish fleet would avoid a battle in the open sea against the superior forces of the Christian fleet, which had three times the number of vessels. With the Ottoman fleet trapped at Preveza a Christian victory was certain.

PAGE 2/5


























BARBAROS HAYREDDIN PASA
2001 / SEPTEMBER

On Friday 27 September Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa gathered his captains to discuss the enemy's strategy and decide upon their own. In view of the superiority of arms of the Christian fleet, he proposed to take the initiative and sail out of Preveza to the attack. He argued that the Turkish fleet had the advantages of greater manoeuvring ability and longer range guns. That night the Ottoman fleet made its preparations and set out before daybreak on the morning of Saturday 28 September. A few hours after sunrise the two fleets came face to face. The Ottoman fleet was divided into three squadrons, the ships in the centre commanded by Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa, those to the right by Salih Reis, and those to the left by Seydi Ali Reis. Turgut Reis remained behind in command of the reserve ships. All three Ottoman squadrons began firing on the Christian fleet, and within a few hours half were sunk. At this unexpected defeat, Andrea Doria decided to cut his losses and made a rapid withdrawal. The Battle of Preveza, one of the largest in naval history, thus ended with the victory of Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa.

PAGE 3/5


























BARBAROS HAYREDDIN PASA
2001 / SEPTEMBER

Born in 1473 Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa began life at sea on pirating expeditions along the coast of North Africa with his elder brother Oruç Reis, winning fame and notoriety throughout the Mediterranean, and conquering most of Algeria, which was subsequently ruled first by Oruç and then by Hayreddin. They accepted Ottoman suzerainty in 1519, and in 1533 Hayreddin Pasa was appointed high admiral of the Ottoman fleet by Süleyman the Magnificent. Under his command the Ottoman fleet became the most powerful in the Mediterranean.
At the advanced age of 70, Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa won his last and one of his greatest victories at Nice. On 5 August 1543, a fleet of Turkish and allied French ships besieged and took the city of Nice from the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. The city was returned to France on 20 August. Several hundred years later a magnificent painting portraying the Ottoman fleet at anchor in Toulon harbour was hung in the city hall of Toulon, France's main naval base, in commemoration of Barbaros Hayreddin Pasa.

PAGE 4/5


























BARBAROS HAYREDDIN PASA
2001 / SEPTEMBER

Beneath the painting, which remained there for several years, was a poem, whose last line read, 'Here you see Barbarossa and his army who came to the aid of us all.' Hayreddin Pasa died in Istanbul in 1546, two years after this battle, and was buried in his mausoleum situated next to the Naval Museum in Besiktas. The modern Turkish poet Yahya Kemal Beyatli has described his return from campaign in these lines: Whence these sounds of cannon on the horizon of the sea? / Perhaps Barbaros is returning with his fleet / Does he come from the Archipelago, Tunisia or Algeria? / Two hundred armed vessels on free horizons / They come from sighting the newly risen moon / From which dawn do those blessed ships come?

* Turgay Tuna is a freelance writer.

PAGE 5/5





























Previous Next