Jan Janszoon van Haarlem, commonly known as Murat Reis the younger (circa 1570 - post 1641?) was the first President and Grand Admiral of the Corsair Republic of Salé, Governor of Oualidia, and a Dutch pirate, one of the most notorious of the Barbary pirates from the 17th century; the most famous of the "Salé Rovers".
Jan Janszoon van Haarlem was born in Haarlem, North Holland, Netherlands in 1575. Little is known of his early life, except that he married young and had a child, Lysbeth Janszoon van Haarlem. His surname was toponymic, indicating his family was from the upper class.
In 1600, Jan Janszoon began as a Dutch privateer sailing from his home port, Haarlem, working for the state with letters of marque to harass Spanish shipping during the Eighty Years' War. Working from the Netherlands was insufficiently profitable, so Janszoon overstepped the boundaries of his letters and found his way to the semi-independent port states of the Barbary Coast of north Africa, whence he could attack ships of every foreign state: when he attacked a Spanish ship, he flew the Dutch flag; when he attacked any other, he became an Ottoman Captain and flew the red half-moon of the Turks or the flag of any of various other Mediterranean principalities. During this period he had abandoned his Dutch family.
Sail plan for a Polacca, first built by the Barbary pirates around the 16th century, many scholars believe the Polacca was extensively used by Jan Janszoon. The ship could sail with a large crew of 75 and was armed with 24 cannonsJanszoon was captured in 1618 at Lanzarote (one of the Canary Islands) by Barbary corsairs and taken to Algiers as a captive. There he turned "Turk", or Muslim (as the Ottoman Empire had some limited influence over the region, sometimes Europeans erroneously called people of the region "Turks"). It is speculated the conversion was forced. The Ottoman Turks maintained a precarious measure of influence on behalf of their Sultan by openly encouraging the local Berber communities to advance themselves through piracy against the European powers, which long resented the Ottoman Empire. After Janszoon's conversion to Islam and the ways of his captors, he sailed with the famous corsair Sulayman Rais, also known as Slemen Reis (originally a Dutchman named De Veenboer whom Janszoon had known before his capture and who, as Janszoon himself, had chosen to convert to Islam) and with Simon de Danser. But, because Algiers had concluded peace with several European nations, it was no longer a suitable harbor from which to sell captured ships or their cargo. So, after Sulayman Rais was killed by a cannonball in 1619, Janszoon moved to the ancient port of Salé and began operating from it as a Barbary corsair himself.
Salé in the 1600sThe Salé fleet totaled about eighteen ships, all small because of the very shallow harbor entrance. The port was nominally subject to the Sultanate of Morocco, but had elected Janszoon as their first Grand Admiral. After he left for Algiers, as Salé had become very prosperous through piracy, the pirates decided in 1627 to declare Salé an independent republic governed by twelve to sixteen pirate warlords (the divan) and an elected Grand Admiral of the piratical navy.
Even the Sultan of Morocco, after an unsuccessful siege of the city, acknowledged its semi-autonomy. Contrary to popular belief that Sultan Zidan Abu Maali has reclaimed sovereignty over Salé and appointed Janszoon the Governor in 1624, the Sultan merely approved Janszoon's election as President by formally appointing him as his ceremonial Governor of Salé. The walls of Marrakesh and El Badi Palace, by Adriaen Matham, 1640.Under Janszoon's leadership, business in Salé thrived. The main sources of income of this republic remained piracy and its by-trades, shipping and dealing in stolen property. Historians have noted Janszoon's intelligence and courage which reflected in his leadership ability. He was forced to find an assistant to keep up, resulting in the hiring of a fellow countryman from The Netherlands, Mathys van Bostel Oosterlinck, who would serve as his Vice-Admiral.
Janszoon had become very wealthy from his income as piratical admiral, payments for anchorage and other harbor dues, and the brokerage of stolen goods. The political climate in Salé worsened toward the end of 1627, so Janszoon quietly moved his family and his entire piratical operation back to semi-independent Algiers.
Janszoon would become bored by his new official duties from time to time and again sail away on a pirate adventure. In 1622, Janszoon and his crews sailed into the English Channel with no particular plan but to try their luck there. When they ran low on supplies they docked at the port of Veere, Zealand, under the Moroccan flag, claiming diplomatic privileges from his official role as Admiral of Morocco (a very loose term in the environment of North African politics). The Dutch authorities could not deny the two ships access to Veere because, at the time, several peace treaties and trade agreements existed between the Sultan of Morocco and the Dutch Republic. During his anchorage there, the Dutch authorities brought to the port Janszoon's Dutch first wife and his Dutch children to persuade him to give up piracy; the authorities did the same to many of the pirate crews, but they utterly failed to persuade the men. Janszoon and his crews left port not only intact but with many new Dutch volunteers despite a Dutch prohibition of piracy.
He was instrumental in securing the release of Dutch captives while in Morocco from other pirates.
Knowledgeable of several languages, while in Algiers he contributed to the establishment of the Franco-Moroccan Treaty of 1631 between French King Louis XIII and Sultan Abu Marwan Abd al-Malik II.
Ólafur Egilsson was captured by Murat Reis the Younger=== Lundy=== In 1627 Janszoon captured the island of Lundy in the Bristol Channel and held it for five years, using it as a base for raiding expeditions.
In 1627, Janszoon hired a Danish "slave" (most likely a crew member captured on a Danish ship taken as a pirate prize) to pilot him and his men to Iceland. Janszoon captured a fishing vessel of the coast of the Faroe Islands. The fleet of Jan Janszoon raided the Icelandic city Reykjavík. Initially they managed to steal only some salted fish and a few hides, so they decided to make the raid profitable by kidnapping potential slaves in Austurland and Vestmannaeyjar. The number of slaves kidnapped from Iceland is disputed, with figures as high as 400, and as low as 8. This raid became known in Iceland as "The Turkish abductions". In the harbor of the capital, he attacked a ship and captured several of its crew. On the way back to Morocco, Janszoon also took a Dutch vessel and seized more unfortunates, also destined for sale into slavery in Salé. A similar raid was also undertaken by his apprentice Ali Biçin Reis.
Accounts by enslaved Icelanders who spent time on the corsair ships claimed that the conditions for women and children were normal, in that they were permitted to move throughout the ship, except to the quarter deck. The pirates were seen giving extra food to the children from their own private stashes, and that the women were treated with dignity when giving birth on board the ships, being afforded privacy and clothing by the pirates. The men were put in the hold of the ships, and had their chains removed once the ships were far enough from land. Despite popular claims, Icelander accounts failed to mention any rapes inflicted on slaves. Guðríður Símonardóttir and a few others are known to have returned to Iceland.
Having sailed for two months and with little to show for the voyage, Janszoon turned to a captive taken on the voyage, a Roman Catholic named John Hackett, for information on where a profitable raid could be made. The residents of Baltimore, a small town in West Cork, Ireland, were resented by the Roman Catholic native Irish because they were settled on lands confiscated from the O'Driscoll clan. Hackett would direct Janszoon to this town and away from his own. Janszoon sacked Baltimore on June 20, 1631, seizing little more than 108 persons whom he doomed to be sold as slaves in north Africa. Janszoon took no interest in the Celts and released them, only enslaving English. Shortly after the sack, Hackett was arrested and hanged for his crime. "Here was not a single Christian who was not weeping and who was not full of sadness at the sight of so many honest maidens and so many good women abandoned to the brutality of these barbarians" Only two of the Irish villagers ever saw their homeland again.
Murat Reis chose to make large profits by raiding Mediterranean islands such as the Balearic Islands, Corsica, Sardinia, the southern coast of Sicily. He often sold most of his merchandise in Tunis where he became a good friend of the Dey. He is known to have sailed the Ionian Sea. He fought the Venetians near the coasts of Crete and Cyprus with a vibrant Corsair crew consisting of Dutch, Morisco, Berber, Arab, Turkish and Elite Janissaries.
Fort Saint Angelo in Valletta, MaltaIn 1635, near the Tunisian coast Murat Reis was outnumbered and surprised by a sudden attack he and many of his men were captured by the Knights of Malta, he spent the next five years in the Islands notorious dark dungeons in which he was held he was mistreated and cruelly tortured, the effects of his imprisonment became dearly costly to his health and wellbeing. In 1640 he barely escaped after a massive Corsair attack, which was carefully planned by the Dey of Tunis in order to rescue their fellow sailors and Corsairs. He was greatly honored and praised upon his return in Morocco and the nearby Barbary States.
He returned to Morocco in 1640 and was appointed Governor of the great fortress of Oualidia, near Safi, Morocco. He resided at the Castle of Maladia. In December, 1640, a ship arrived with a new Dutch consul, who brought Lysbeth Janszoon van Haarlem, Janszoon's daughter by his first Dutch wife, to visit her father. When Lysbeth arrived, Janszoon "was seated in great pomp on a carpet, with silk cushions, the servants all around him" she had also noticed that Murat Reis the great Corsair lord had become an old and feeble man. Lysbeth stayed with her father until August, 1641, when she returned to Holland. Little is known of Janszoon thereafter; he likely retired at last from both public life and piracy. The date of his death remains unknown.
In 1596, by an unknown Dutch woman, Janszoon's first child was born, Lysbeth Janszoon van Haarlem.
After becoming a privateer, Janszoon met an unknown woman in Cartagena, Spain, who he would marry. The identity of this woman is historically vague, but the consensus is that she was of some kind of mixed-ethnic background, considered "Moorish" in Spain. Historians have claimed her to be nothing more than a concubine, others claim she was a Muslim Mudéjar who worked for a Christian noble family, and other claims have been made that she was a "Moorish princess." Through this marriage, Janszoon had four children: Abraham Janszoon van Salee (b.1602), Philip Janszoon van Salee (b. 1604), Anthony Janszoon van Salee (b.1607), and Cornelis Janszoon van Salee (b. 1608).
It is claimed that Janszoon had many prominent descendants in America and Great Britain. Notable descendants through Anthony and his wife include William Henry Vanderbilt, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, John Vernou Bouvier III, John H. Hammond, Princess Lee Radziwill, Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, Gloria Vanderbilt, Consuelo Vanderbilt, Duchess of Marlborough; Jamie Spencer-Churchill, Marquess of Blandford; Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill, John Spencer-Churchill, 10th Duke of Marlborough; Lord Ivor Spencer-Churchill, John Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough; Lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II, Rosemary Mildred Spencer-Churchill; George Spencer-Churchill, Earl of Sunderland; Christopher Denys Stormont Finch-Hatton, 16th Earl of Winchilsea; Daniel James Hatfield Finch-Hatton, 17th Earl of Winchilsea, 12th Earl of Nottingham; Countess Gladys Vanderbilt Széchenyi of Hungary, Countess Ferdinandine Széchenyi of Austria, Countess Sylvia Széchenyi of Hungary, and:
- Cornelius Vanderbilt, patriarch of the Vanderbilt Family
- Jacqueline Kennedy, former First Lady
- Humphrey Bogart, Academy Award Winning Actor
- Caroline Kennedy, American First Daughter
- Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, American socialite
- John F. Kennedy, Jr., American First Son
- Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen, American Senator
- Anderson Cooper, American media personality
In 2009, a play based on Janszoon's life as a pirate, "Jan Janszoon, de blonde Arabier", written by Karim El Guennouni toured The Netherlands. "Bad Grandpa: The Ballad of Murad the Captain" is a poem about van Haarlem published in 2007.
Janszoon was also known as Murat Reis the Younger. His Dutch names are also given as Jan Jansen and Jan Jansz; his adopted name as Morat Rais, Murat Rais, Morat; Little John Ward, John Barber, Captain John, Caid Morato were some of his pirate names. "The Hairdresser" was a nickname of van Haarlem.
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