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(died 1546) Greek Turkish pirate and admiral in the service of the Ottoman Empire. He and his brother 'Aruj, sons of a Turk from Lesbos, hated the Spanish and Portuguese for their attacks on North Africa and took up piracy on the Barbary Coast in hopes of seizing an African domain for themselves. When 'Aruj was killed in 1518, Khidr took the title Khayr al-Din. He offered allegiance to the Ottoman sultan and in return received military aid that enabled him to capture Algiers in 1529. Appointed admiral in chief of the Ottoman Empire (1533), he conquered all of Tunisia. Emperor Charles V captured Tunis in 1535, but Khayr al-Din defeated his fleet at the Battle of Preveza (1538), securing the eastern Mediterranean for the Turks for 33 years. His red beard was the source of the epithet Barbarossa, used by Europeans.
Variants of BARBAROSSA
Barbarossa orig. Khidr later Khayr al-Din
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Barbarossa, visit Britannica.com.