Don Maitz Original Painting Titled “Paully The Parrot”
Redbeard was one of four brothers born to a Turkish renegade and a Christian mother on the island of Lesbos, a stronghold for the Mediterranean pirates. His real name was Aruj or Oruc Reis but became known s Father Aruj when he transported large numbers of refugees from Spain to North Africa; in the Christian countries of the Mediterranean this became “Barbarossa”, or Redbeard in Italian.
Redbeard was a very successful seaman. He learned to speak Italian, Spanish, French, Greek, Arabic early in his career. Over the years, he managed to capture large number of vessels along the Barbary Coast and became very rich and powerful.
In 1512, Redbeard was invited by the Moors to assist them in an attempt to retake the town and port of Bougie from the Spaniards. Redbeard lost his left arm in battle and earned the nickname “Silver Arm” in reference to the prosthetic device now in place of his missing limb.
Eventually, in 1518, Charles V. of Spain sent an army of 10,000 troops to North Africa, defeated Redbeard and two of his brothers in battle. The last remaining brother, Hizir Reis, inherited his brother’s place , his name Barbarossa and his mission.