Capture of Algiers (1529)

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Capture of Algiers
Part of the Ottoman-Habsburg wars
Penon de Alger before destruction.jpg
Spanish fortress (El Peñón de Argel) before dismantlement by Barbarossa.
Date 29 May 1529
Location Algiers
Result Ottomans capture Algiers
 Spanish Empire Osmanli-devleti-nisani-yeni.png Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Spain Don Martin de Vargas Executed Osmanli-devleti-nisani-yeni.png Hayreddin Barbarossa
200 soldiers 2,000 janissaries
Casualties and losses
175 dead
25 prisoners
Ornate Ottoman cannon cast 8 October 1581 in Algiers. Length: 385cm, cal:178mm, weight: 2910kg, stone projectile. Musée de l'Armée, Paris.
File:Old algiers 16th century.jpg
Algiers in the 16th century, with seawall built by Barbarossa, and remaining constructions on the Peñón.

The Capture of Algiers was accomplished when the Ottoman admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa took the Algerian city of Algiers from the Kabyles as well as the Habsburg Spanish in 1529.


In 1510, the Spaniards had established themselves on a small island in front of Algiers, and forced the local ruler Sālim al-Tūmī (Selim-bin-Teumi) to accept their presence through a treaty and pay tribute.[1][2] Fortifications were built on the islet, and a garrison of 200 men was established.[2] Sālim al-Tūmī had to go to Spain to take an oath of obedience to Ferdinand of Aragon.[2]

In 1516 however, the amir of Algiers Sālim al-Tūmī invited the corsair brothers Aruj and Khair ad-Din Barbarossa to expel the Spaniards. Aruj, with the help of Ottoman troops,[1] came to Algiers, ordered the assassination of Sālim, and seized the town. Spanish expeditions were sent to take over the city, first in 1516 under Don Diego de Vera, and then in 1519 under Don Ugo de Moncada, but both expeditions ended in failure.[2]

Khair ad-Din, succeeding Arouj after the latter was killed in battle against the Spaniards at the Fall of Tlemcen (1517). The capture of Algiers in 1516 had been made possible with the support of the Ottoman Sultan Selim I. This support was discontinued with Sultan Selim's death in 1520, causing Barbarossa to lose the city to a local kabyle chieftain in 1524,[2] and to retreat to his fief of Djidjelli.[3]


When Suleiman the Magnificent declared war on Ferdinand of Habsburg in January 1529, he also wished to go on the offensive in the western Mediterranean, and therefore chose to renew Ottoman support to Barbarossa.[4]

Barbarossa received from the Ottoman Empire 2,000 janissaries, artillery, and an important financial support.[3] Through bribery Barbarossa first obtained a change in the allegiance of the supporters of the Algiers Sheikh.[3] After taking power in the city, Barbarossa then started to lay siege to El Peñón de Argel, the Spanish fortress at the entrance of the harbour.[3] After 22 days enduring artillery fire, the Spanish under Governor Don Martin de Vargas finally surrendered on 29 May 1529, with only 25 men left and without having received help from the Spanish mainland.[2][3] Vargas was cudgelled to death, the fortress was dismantled, and the stonework used to build a seawall using Christian slaves as manpower.[2][3]


Over the following years, Barbarossa would use Algiers as a major base to launch raids from the Barbary Coast.[5] The huge Algiers expedition was undertaken by Charles V in 1541 to retake Algiers, but this also ended in failure.[2] Algiers remained for three centuries under Ottoman rule,[1] until the French Invasion of Algiers in 1830.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 International Dictionary of Historic Places: Middle East and Africa Trudy Ring p.54 [1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 E.J. Brill's first encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913-1936 by Martijn Theodoor Houtsma p.258 [2]
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Garnier, p.20
  4. Garnier, p.19-20
  5. Garnier, p.21