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Barbary Coast / Pirates /
Also called: Turgut Reis

Artistitic representation of Dragut.
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Artistitic representation of Dragut.

(1514-1565) Barbary pirate and Ottoman admiral, operating largely along the Barbary coast.
Dragut was a protege of Barbarossa (Khayr ed-Din). He was known as a cruel and brutal opponent, and feared among many Christians.
Through the 1550's, Dragut managed to alienate most of his fellow Ottoman administrators and rulers in North Africa. His line was closer to the sultan of Constantinople than the local North Africans.
His home town would be named after him, Turgutreis.

1514: Born near Bodrum.
1540: Captured and forced to work as a galley slave.
1544: Is ransomed by Barbarossa for 3,000 ducats.
1546: Turgut takes the lead of a fleet of 24 brigantines, pillaging the coasts of modern Italy.
1550: Briefly takes control of most of Tunisia from the Spanish.
— Escapes to Jerba, before continuing to Constantinople.
1551: With an Ottoman-backed fleet, consisting of 112 galleys, Turgut launches a new attack on Tunisia, and especially on the port of Mahdia.
July: Dragut enslaves the entire population of the Maltese island Gozo, between 5,000 and 6,000, sending them to Libya.
August: Takes control over Tripoli of Tripolitania. Dragut is appointed Sanjak Bey for Tripolitania. He added "Reis" to his name, indicating his position as admiral.
1553: Raids the Italian coast.
1554: Returns to pirating the Italian coast.
1559: Holds back a Spanish attack on Algiers.
1560: His fellow Ottoman administrators and rulers of North Africa forms an alliance against Dragut, together with the Viceroy of Sicily, but they are unable to defeat him.
1565: Dragut joins the Ottoman forces in an attack on Malta.
June 23: Is killed in battle on the ramparts of Fort Saint Elmo.
— Dragut's body is brought to Tripoli, and buried in the mosque named after him.

By Tore Kjeilen