The Peripheralization of The Ottoman Algerian Elite

Authored by: Tal Shuval

The Ottoman World

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  December  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415444927
eBook ISBN: 9780203142851
Adobe ISBN: 9781136498954


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At the turn of the fifteenth century, after the fall of Granada in 1492, a war zone in the western Mediterranean marked the area where the southwards-advancing Christian Iberian troops met the defensive, unorganized local North African Muslim forces. In their western policy the Ottomans were hampered until 1495 by dynastic problems, and their attention was focused on a continuing conflict with the Mamluks of Egypt. A war with Venice (1499–1503) prevented them from ending revolts in Albania. Above all, they had to deal with disturbances in western Anatolia and with the new threat posed by Safavid Iran in the east. Thus Ottoman efforts were concentrated in the eastern basin of the Mediterranean. Much as the events which took place in the western Mediterranean interested them, there was little they could do, and the small size of their fleet at the time prevented their assistance to the Muslims of Spain. 1 And yet, irregular forces originating within the Ottoman empire not only participated in these events, they initiated the move that joined all of the North African shore, except Morocco, to the empire. Ottoman corsairs (‘privateers’) operating in the region managed to take the city of Algiers and its hinterland; in 1519 their leader Hayreddin Barbarossa placed the territory he controlled under Ottoman sovereignty. In return, Selim I (1512–20) sent him troops and artillery. 2 This marked the foundation of what was to become a new Ottoman province.

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