Yakup Ağa

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Yakup Ağa (Ottoman Turkish: یاکوب آقا) or Ebu Yusuf Nurullah Yakub (Ottoman Turkish: ابو یوسف نصرالله یاکوب), was the father of the Barbarossa Brothers, Oruç and Hızır. A Greek renegade[1] or Turk.[2][3][4][5] Yakup Ağa was a former Sipahi,[6][7][8][9] a Turkish feudal cavalry knight, from Yenice (modern Greek city of Yanitsa).[10] Yakup was among those who took part in the capture of the Aegean island of Lesbos from the Genoese on behalf of the Ottomans in 1462. For his participation he was granted the fief of Bonova village of the island as a reward and the title of the village's Agha (master).

In Lesbos Yakup married a local Christian Greek woman from Mytilene, the widow of an Orthodox priest[11] named Katerina. From that union two daughters and four sons were born: Ishak, Oruç, Hızır and Ilyas. Yakup became an established potter and purchased a boat to trade his products. The four sons helped their father with his business, but not much is known about his daughters.

At first, Ishak, the eldest son, was involved with the financial affairs of the family business and remained on Mytilene. Hızır operated in the Aegean Sea and based his operations mostly in Salonica. The other two brothers Oruç and Ilyas soon became seamen engaging in sea trade, later turning privateers in the Mediterranean. When their vessel was captured by a Knights of St. John galley, Ilyas was killed during the battle and Oruç became a slave aboard the galley for two to three years. When he regained his freedom, he and his brother Hızir started engaging in piracy as corsairs entering history as the Barbarossa Brothers. They took part in many Ottoman campaigns around the Mediterranean and gained fame for their skill as commanders. Oruç and Ishak were killed in Oran during the battle for Tlemcen fighting the Spaniards. The last surviving son Hızır became one of the most famous Barbary pirates of his era and a legendary figure as Admiral of the Ottoman navy.

References and sources[edit]

  1. ^ Early Habsburg Spain, 1517-1598, A. W. Lovett, p.132, Oxford University Press, 1986
  2. ^ Piracy: the complete history, Angus Konstam, page 80, 2008
  3. ^ Feeding people. feeding power: imarets in the Ottoman Empire, Nina Ergin, Christoph K. Neumann, Amy Singer, page 98, 2007
  4. ^ Between Venice and Istanbul: colonial landscapes in early modern Greece, Siriol Davies,Jack L. Davis, page 36, 2007
  5. ^ The Turks: Ottomans, Hasan Celâl Güzel, Cem Oğuz, Osman Karatay, Murat Ocak, 2002
  6. ^ Feeding people. feeding power: imarets in the Ottoman Empire, Nina Ergin, Christoph K. Neumann, Amy Singer, page 98, 2007
  7. ^ Piracy: the complete history, Angus Konstam, page 80, 2008
  8. ^ The Turks: Ottomans, Hasan Celâl Güzel, Cem Oğuz, Osman Karatay, Murat Ocak, 2002
  9. ^ Between Venice and Istanbul: colonial landscapes in early modern Greece, Siriol Davies,Jack L. Davis, page 36, 2007
  10. ^ Between Venice and Istanbul: Colonial landscapes in early modern Greece, p. 36, Siriol Davies,Jack L. Davis, American School of Classical Studies, 2007
  11. ^ Die Seeaktivitäten der muslimischen Beutefahrer als Bestandteil der staatlichen Flotte während der osmanischen Expansion im Mittelmeer im 15. und 16. Jahrhundert, p.548, Andreas Rieger, Klaus Schwarz Verlag, 1994