Murat Reis

Murat Reis (b. 1570 CE (ra) was a famous Dutch Muslim Corsair. His full name was Jan Janszoon van Haarlem, Murat Reis. Of Christian origins he become a notable Muslim, the Grand Admiral of the Corsair Republic of Salé and the Governor of Oualidia. His sea career began with him a Dutch privateer, waging war against Spanish shipping during the Eighty Years’ War, but in 1618 CE he became a Muslim and sailed with the Dutch Muslim Corsair Sulayman Rais De Veenboer for a time, later joining the Corsair fleet based in Sale, Morocco.

The town was semi-independent and Jan Janszoon became its elected ruler, a position later ratified by the Sultan of Morocco. He fought the enemies of the Muslims in the Mediterranean and in the seas around Europe. In this he was joined by many European who were largely fellow reverts to Islam, picking many recruits up whilst under a Moroccan diplomatic flag in Holland.

In 1627 CE he relocated to Algiers. His crewmen included Europeans, Moriscos, North Africans and Turks. In 1631 CE his ships were directed by a native Irish man to the English settlement of Baltimore, West Cork, Ireland, which was built upon land confiscated from the Irish. Janszoon raided the town and seize the settlers, whilst leaving the natives unmolested.

In 1635 CE he was captured by the Knights of Malta who threw him into a dungeon for five years, but he was eventually freed by the Barbary Corsairs and thereafter he served the Sultan of Morocco as the Governor of the fortress of Oualidia. A daughter of his from his pre-Muslim life later visited him from Holland and found him living in comfort, attended by servants, and in this way he lived out the rest of his life. It is said that several prominent people are amongst his descendants.

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