Jan Janszoon van Haarlem, aka Murat Reis

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Jan Janszoon van Haarlem, 1st President of Salé and Grand Admiral, Governor of Oualida

Also Known As: "Murat Reis The Younger", "1st President of Salé and Grand Admiral", "Governor of Oualida", "Murat Reis the younger"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Haarlem, Holland, Netherlands
Death: Died in Salé, Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer, Morocco
Immediate Family:

Son of Jan Dirckxz and Barbara Jostensed
Husband of Jannetye; Soutgen Janszoon and Moroccan Concubine, of Fez
Father of Anne Jan Jans; Lysbeth Jansz; Phillip Jansz van Salee; Abraham Jansen van Salee; Anthony Jansen Janszoon van Salee and 1 other

Occupation: pirate/privateer, 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".
Managed by: Private User
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About Jan Janszoon van Haarlem, aka Murat Reis

Jan Janszoon Van Haarlem was born c. 1588 in Haarlem, Holland to Jan Dirckxz and Barbara Jostensed. (Other sources have listed Gysbert Van Haarlem and Kornelia as his parents.) He first married Soutgen Caves, whom he left behind in Holland before becoming a pirate. Together, they had at least one child:

  • Lysbeth Jansz b. c. 1600

He later married Margrietje c. 1600. They had four children:

  • Anthony Jansen Van Salee b. 1607 m1. Grietje Reyniers m2. Metje Andries Grevenraet
  • Abraham Jansen Van Salee
  • Phillip Janz Van Salee
  • Cornelis Jansen Van Salee

Possible other partners/spouses:

  • Jannetye
  • Moroccan Concubine, of Fez

Possible other children:

  • Symon Jansz
  • Hendrick Jansen
  • Anne Jan Jans (daughter of Jannetye)

Jan Jansen was a Hollander turned buccaneer and became the Admiral of the fleet of Muley Zidan, Sultan of Morocco. He converted to Islam in 1622.

He died c. 1650 in Salé, Morocco.

-Jan Janszoon van Salee-

Jan Janszoon is one of the most successful corsairs of the Mediterranean sea. Like so many Dutch pirates, Jan, of the city Haarlem, began his career as a privateer. He sailed with a letter of Marque to capture pirates that operated from Duinkerken. Because this trade was not very lucrative, he became a pirate. He sailed with a small boat from La Rochelle, but met with an accident at Lancerote, one of the Canary Isles.

After this, he became a member of the crew of De Veenboer. Sailing under De Veenboer, he managed to work himself up to steerer. When DeVeenboer intended to stay ashore, it seems Janszoon took over as a commander of his ship (1618 or 1619).

In 1620, Jan Janszoon met a Dutch men-of-war in the area of Malaga. When the ship noticed the corsairs, it immediately altered its course and sailed directly after them while raising the red flag (this means that no quarter will be given). After seeing this, Janszoon turned and fled from the advancing ship. According to the Dutch consul in Algiers, the ship was not a men-of-war but a courageous merchant that bluffed his way out of the meeting. Not long after this, in June and July of 1620, Janszoon was again capturing ships. Contrary to De Veenboer, he did not distinguish between Dutch and other ships though.

While in Algiers, Janszoon converted to Islam and took a second wife which is acceptable according to the Islamic faith. He also adopted the name of Murat Reis (Murat, Morat, Murate or Morato). In 1623, Janszoon took Salé (in Morocco) as his base of operations.

Algiers was no longer a suitable harbour at that time to sell the cargo and or the captured ships because Algeria had made peace with several European nations. Janszoon soon built a fleet of 16 to 17 ships. The vessels were fast and well provisioned. He managed to make Salé almost as feared as Duinkerken (in Belgium).

Salé became very prosperous and consequently declared itself independent from Morocco. After an unsuccessful siege by Morocco, the Sultan eventually acknowledged it's suzerainty. The main sources of income of Salé were piracy, shipping and dealing in stolen property.

Janszoon went privateering in the North Sea, the North-Atlantic Sea and the Canal. In November 1623, he went to the Dutch Harbour, Veere, because he needed to make repairs. The authorities could not deny the two ships access to Veere because at that time several peace treaties and trade agreements existed between the emperor of Morocco and the Dutch Republic. Several dutchmen joined his crew when he left in December despite their being prohibited to do so by the Dutch authorities. His first wife visited Janszoon while he was there.

During the repairs, some of their Spanish prisoners escaped. Out of compassion, they were hidden by sympathizers. The pirates did not get any help with locating the escaped prisoners, so the first thing they did after sailing out of the harbour of Veere was attack several French ships despite the treaties and agreements.

Several years later, in the month of February 1626, Janszoon was again in Holland, though under different circumstances. He had left Salé with 3 ships and had apparently captured a rich Spanish prize, which he hoped to sell in the Dutch Republic.

When his ships arrived in the North Sea, they spotted what appeared to be a rich Dutch merchant ship with only a few men on guard. They went alongside, but just when fifty of their crew had boarded the ship, the Dutch flag was struck and the Spanish flag went up instead. They were immediately attacked by the crew that had hidden itself. The ship turned out to be a Spanish privateer from Duinkerken. One ship was almost immediately disabled and forced to surrender. The other two ships barely managed to get away heavily damaged and with many dead and casualties. One of the ships managed to sail into the Maas River. The most heavily damaged one was able to reach the IJ of Amsterdam, via the Isle of Texel, where they had a hard time getting medical aid. The ship in Amsterdam was sold, and the pirates left with the ship that had entered the Maas early in 1627.

After this voyage, Janszoon was mainly active in Salé as a dealer in stolen goods. His reputation seems to have suffered from this less adventurous profession. Early in 1627, he went further north than he had previously sailed: Iceland.

In the harbour of the capital, he attacked a ship and imprisoned several of its crew. On the way back, he also took a Dutch vessel and imprisoned more people. The people were sold as slaves in Salé.

In 1631, we hear from him again. In this year he sailed for England and Ireland. He landed there with his men and managed to imprison about two hundred men who were sold as slaves in Algiers.

From 1631 to 1640 not much is known about his actions. Janszoon had to leave Salé because of political reasons and seems to have lived in Algiers and Tripoli for some time. He may have been captured by Malthese Knights for a short period, but whether this is true remains unclear.

In 1640, he was employed by the Emperor of Morocco as the Governor of the Castle Maladia on the West coast of Morocco. In 1640, his Dutch daughter, Lysbeth Janszoon, sailed to Morocco to visit him. The last thing that is known is that he and his daughter were still at the Castle of Maladia in August 1641.

(from Diane Foust Hubbard)

--------------------

MURAT REISS (a.k.a. JAN JANZOON VAN SALEE), CORSAIR

Our ancestor, who went by the name of Murat Reiss (his Christian name was Jan Janszoon Van Harlem), was a terror the high seas. A very unsavory individual, who was Dutch by birth, but heard the word of the Prophet Mohammed (but more motivated by "the profit") and converted to Islam (there was more money in being a Moroccan corsair than as a Dutch sailor). It is through Timothy Southard, the first Southard to settle the New World in Hempstead, Long Island, New York, and his wife, Annica or Eunice, a granddaughter of "the Grand Admiral", that I can trace my descent through the grand-daughter of terror of the Mediterranean and north Atlantic during from about 1620 through 1641.

"A journey of about 17 miles from Tangier, south along the Atlantic Coast, brings the traveler to the present-day twin cities of Rabat-Salee. Rabat, with a population of 600,000 is the capital of the Kingdom of Morocco. On the north side is the city of Salee (pronounced Sally) which was, during the Middle Ages, the most important merchant port and center of trade in Morocco. Many attempts were made by French and English expeditions to purge this den of its infamous pirates. Finally, the French succeeded in the 17th century. Jan Janszoon (also Janzoon and Jansen) was one of the most successful corsairs (pirates) of the Mediterranean Sea. As a young seaman, Jan Janszoon of the Netherlands ventured forth into the world and eventually won the favor of the Sultan of Morocco. The Sultan designated Jan as Morat Rais or Admiral of the Sultan's fleet at Salee (or Salea), Morocco. In addition, Jan received other honors such as the Governor of the Castle of El Qualidia. The plain truth is that Jan was a pirate leader who sailed the seas in the latter part of the 16th and early 17th centuries and was rewarded for his exploits by his employer. Jan, originally from the seaport city of Haarlem in the Netherlands, began his career as a Dutch privateer harassing Spanish shipping. He sailed with a letter of Marque to capture pirates that operated from Dunkirk in Belgium. He found there wasn't enough profit in this, so he sailed south to the Barbary Coast where he became a pirate and attacked ships of all countries. When he attacked a Spanish ship he flew the Dutch flag, when he attacked all others he flew the red half-moon of the Turks. He sailed with a small boat from La Rochelle in France, but he was captured in 1618 at Lanzarotte (or Lancerote), one of the Canary Isles, by Barbary Pirates and taken to Algiers. After this, he became a member of the crew of De Veenboer, another notorious and very successful pirate who had become Admiral of the Fleet of Algiers in 1617. Sailing under De Veenboer, he managed to work himself up to steerer. When De Veenboer decided to stay ashore, Janszoon took over as a commander of his ship (1618 or 1619). Jan had abandoned his wife and at least two children back in Haarlem, but he apparently had one of his sons, Anthony, with him in 1618 when he was captured. Jan embraced his new life, achieving success with the Admirals of the Turkish fleet. Jan is quoted as saying, roughly, "It's better to sail with the Moor than to sail for the Papists." [in reference to the Catholic powers of France and Spain] Anthony grew to manhood in Morocco, training as a sailor. While in Algiers, Jan converted to Islam and took a Moorish woman as a second wife, which is acceptable according to the Islamic faith. He also adopted the name of Murat Reis (Murat, Morat, Murate or Morato). In 1619, Jan took Salee, a port city in Morocco, as his base of operations. Algiers was no longer a suitable harbor at that time to sell the cargo and captured ships because Algeria had made peace with several European nations. Salee was the infamous home of the Salee Rovers, notorious buccaneers that preyed on shipping in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic coasts, and the Indian Ocean. The port was nominally subject to the Sultan of Morocco. With a fleet of 18 ships that were fast and well provisioned, Jan soon made Salee almost as feared as Dunkirk. In 1620, Jan met a Dutch man-of-war in the area of Malaga, a port city in Spain. When the ship noticed the corsairs it immediately altered its course and sailed directly after them while raising the red flag (this means that no quarter will be given). After seeing this, Jan turned and fled from the advancing ship. According to the Dutch consul in Algiers, the ship was not a man-of-war, but a courageous merchant that bluffed his way out of the meeting. Not long after this, in June and July of 1620, Janszoon was again capturing ships. Unlike his predecessor, De Veenboer, Jan attacked ships of all nations and did not distinguish between Dutch and other ships. Janzoon became a rich man between his Admiral perks, payments for anchorage, pilotage, other harbor dues and from the brokerage on stolen goods. He would become bored from time to time and sail off on an adventure. Salee became very prosperous and consequently the pirates declared Salee an independent republic governed by fourteen pirates and a president who was also the Admiral of the Navy. Jan was elected the first President and Admiral. After an unsuccessful siege by Morocco, the Sultan eventually acknowledged its independence. The main sources of income of Salee were piracy, shipping and dealing in stolen property. Janszoon went privateering in the North Sea, the North-Atlantic Sea and the Canal. In 1622, he and his crew sailed into the English Channel to try his luck there. When they ran low on supplies, in November 1623, they docked at the port of Veere, Holland under the Moroccan flag claiming diplomatic privileges. The authorities could not deny the two ships access to Veere because at that time several peace treaties and trade agreements existed between the Sultan of Morocco and the Dutch Republic. While there, the Dutch authorities trotted out his Dutch wife and children to persuade him to give up pirating. The same happened to many more on board. Rather than succeeding in luring any of the crew to leave their footloose ways, several young Dutchmen signed up for a lifetime of adventure and sailed off with Janszoon when he left in December despite their being prohibited to do so by the Dutch authorities. After Jan returned to Salee in 1624, Sultan Moulay Zaydan, who wanted a show of sovereignty over the area, appointed Jan Governor of Salee. In Feb. 1626, Janszoon was again in Holland, though under different circumstances. He had left Salee with 3 ships and had apparently captured a rich Spanish prize that he hoped to sell in the Dutch Republic. When his ships arrived in the North Sea they spotted what appeared to be a rich Dutch merchant ship with only a few men on guard. They went alongside, but just when fifty of their crew had boarded the ship the Dutch flag was struck and the Spanish flag went up instead. They were immediately attacked by the crew that had hidden itself. The ship turned out to be a Spanish privateer from Duinkerken. One ship was almost immediately disabled and forced to surrender. The other two ships barely managed to get away heavily damaged and with many dead and casualties. One of the ships managed to sail into the Maas River. The most heavily damaged one was able to reach Amsterdam, via the Isle of Texel, where they had a hard time getting medical aid. The ship in Amsterdam was sold and the pirates left with the ship that had entered the Maas early in 1627. After this voyage, Janszoon was mainly active in Salee as a dealer in stolen goods. His reputation seems to have suffered from this less adventurous profession. Early in 1627, Janszoon hired a Danish slave to pilot them to Iceland where they raided Reykjavik, further north than he had ever previously sailed. In the harbor of the capital, he attacked a ship, but they only managed to steal some salted fish and a few hides, so they captured 400 Icelanders to be sold as slaves. On the way, back he also took a Dutch vessel and imprisoned more people. The people were sold as slaves in Salee. The political climate changed in Salee toward the end of 1627, so Janszoon moved his family and operations back to Algiers and seems to have lived in Algiers and Tripoli for some time. In 1631, Jan again sailed north, this time to England and Ireland where they captured and imprisoned about two hundred men who were sold as slaves in Algiers. The poem, "The Sack of Baltimore", was written about this raid in Ireland. In Baltimore alone, he captured 108 men. From 1631 to 1640, not much is known about his actions. He may have been captured and held prisoner by the Knights of Malta for a short period, but whether this is true remains unclear. He apparently escaped because in 1640, he was appointed by the Sultan of Morocco as the Governor of the Castle Maladia on the West Coast of Morocco. Also in that year, his Dutch daughter, Lysbeth Janszoon (Lysbeth Jansen Van Haarlem) sailed to Morocco to visit him. The last thing that is known is that he and his daughter stayed at the Castle of Maladia until August 1641 when she returned to Holland. Nothing is known about him after 1641. The European records say that Jan, the Murat Reis, came to a bad end, but this conclusion may have been fabricated to placate good, upright Christians of the time who would have found little propaganda value in the story of a man who had given up his faith and his family, found success with the infidel and died of peaceful old age in the bosom of his loving Muslim family.

Books including Jan Janszoon Van Haarlem

Documentaries including Jan Janszoon Van Haarlem

  • "White Slaves, Pirate Gold" by The History Channel

Places to visit

  • Heritage Center in Skibbereen, Ireland, about 10 miles from Baltimore. A former Museum Manager explained that, after Jan's sack of Baltimore, the remaining residents of Baltimore went up river to avoid further raids. Those people founded the town of Skibereen.

Unverified sources:

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Jan Janszoon van Haarlem, aka Murat Reis's Timeline

1588
1588
Haarlem, Holland, Netherlands
1600
1600
Age 12
The Netherlands
1600
Age 12
Mappelen, Dreuth, , Netherlands
1602
1602
Age 14
1604
1604
Age 16
1607
1607
Age 19
Sale, Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer, Morocco
1608
1608
Age 20
1650
1650
Age 62
Salé, Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer, Morocco
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