The Ottoman pirates were based mainly in Tunis, Algiers, Sale, Rabat, and Tripoli, all of which are ports in North Africa, during the 16th century. The pirates were also known as the Barbary Corsairs because this region in Europe was called the the Barbary Coast after its Berber inhabitants.
Raiding Villages and Piracy
Along with taking over ships the Ottoman Pirates also raided villages and towns along the European coasts, targeting countries like Portugal, France, Spain, Netherlands, and Iceland. Part of the main objective of the Ottoman Pirates was to capture as many Christians as possible to sell them into slavery. The Christian slaves were then traded with the Ottoman empire market in the Middle East and North Africa.
Ghost towns along the coasts
During this time the Ottoman Pirates continued to capture thousands of ships and they continued to raid coastal coastal towns. Due to this, residents along the coasts, particularly in Spain and Italy, started to leave their villages for the mainland. Such was the problem of raiding coastal towns that many remained empty until around the 19th century. During the 16th-19th century nearly 800,000-1.5 million people were captured, turned into slaves due to the Barbary raids that reached their peak in the mid-17th century.
Outcastes and Converts
Many of the Ottoman pirates were outcasts and converts from Europe, while others were local seeking their fortune. The most notable Ottoman pirates were the Barbarossa Brothers from Turkey, who took over Algiers for the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century.
A couple of things that the European pirates brought to the Barbary Coast was sailing advancement and shipbuilding advancement, which was around the 1600’s. The corsair activity started to die down in the last part of the 17th century, because the European navies wanted to make peace with the Barbary States and to have them to stop attacking their ships. The Christian states, coasts, and ships still suffered until the start of the 19th century.
The end of the Ottoman Pirates
In 1814-1815 the Congress of Vienna and the Napoleon Wars followed. The Europeans agreed to suppress the activity of the Barbary corsairs completely. There were a few incidents that happened such as the wars that occurred with the Barbary States and the United States, which stopped in 19830 by the French conquest.