Corso was born on the island of Corsica. When he was five years old, he was taken and sent away to Istanbul, and was introduced to the Janissaries. There, he was educated in the Muslim religion, Turkish language and given military education. At the end of these years, the Turkish gave him the name Hassan Corso, and sent him to Algiers. He rapidly rose through the ranks and earned the title of Agha. In 1549, he became mayor of Algiers and caliph of Salah Rais. He died in August, 1556, at the age of 38.