Friday, September 28, 2012

Sydney Newman (#77)


Sydney C. Newman was born on April 1, 1917 in Toronto, Canada, the son of a shoe shop owner. Though he originally went to Ogden Public School, he dropped out at the age of 13 and later studied art and design at Central Technical School. Newman originally hoped to become a photographer and artist, making money as a creator of film posters, but when this profession did not make much money, he went into the film industry itself. 

Early Work

Newman went to Hollywood in 1938, looking for work. He was offered a job by the Walt Disney Company, but he had to turn down the job because he could not obtain a work permit. Newman obtained his first major film job as an editor for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). When WW2 began, Newman was assigned to produce documentaries and propaganda for Canada, and in 1949, the Canadian government assigned Newman to work with NBC, creating reports on film techniques of Americans. These reports helped Newman to obtain a job with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), where he helped to televise Canadian sports. Newman also oversaw several other television programs for CBC, including General Motor Theatre,  but none of which gained him much esteem. Newman did, however, make films with a fresh perspective. Instead of using normal plots, he tended to experiment with the format of a show. 

Work in England

Several of the plays produced by Newman in General Motor Theatre were purchased by Associated British Corporation, or ABC. Impressed by the production of the plays, ABC decided to hire Newman in 1958. he was soon promoted to the Head of Drama. As the Head of Drama, he helped to produce many of the shows of the time. Again, Newman used original ideas and concepts in his shows, creating everything from Armchair Theatre to The Avengers (a spy television series, not the superhero movie). His success in ABC got him noticed by the BBC, who hired him in 1962 to revive their drama department. As BBC's head of drama, Newman changed how BBC worked. He initiated several new television shows while also hiring new writers and and directors with original and unique ideas.

Doctor Who

By far, Newman's most famous creation was the television show Doctor Who. In 1963, when Newman was told that a slot between two shows on Saturday evenings needed to be filled, he decided to make a science-fiction drama. The resulting show was Doctor Who. The idea was to have a mysterious man, the Doctor, along with companions travel through time and space in a little blue box that was bigger on the inside than the outside. Newman originally hoped that Doctor Who would be a children's television show. The Doctor's two companions were teachers, one of science, the other of history. Children were to learn history when the Doctor traveled into the past and learn science when they traveled into the future. He, himself said that he wanted no "bug-eyed monsters" in the show. This hope all changed when he took on Verity Lambert as the show's producer. Although he sometimes clashed with Newman because she enjoyed putting strange monsters in the show. Newman eventually accepted her aliens when one of her creations, the Daleks, became a major success and saved the program from going off the air.

Later Work

Newman continued to work for BBC until 1967, going to work for the Associated British Picture Corporation and EMI Films. In 1970, Newman moved back to work for the Canadian Radio and Television Commission until 1975. Later on, he would work as the Special Advsor for Film to the Canadian Secretary of State and as the Chief Creative Consultant to the Canadian Film Development Corporation.

The End

On October 30, 1997, Sydney Newman died of a heart attack at the age of 80. Newman is on our list for many reasons. First, many think of him as one of the main influences on modern Canadian drama. He also revived BBC Drama, allowing it to become the success that it is today. Third, he created Doctor Who, one of the most famous television shows in history along with the longest running science fiction television show in history. Finally, he hired Verity Lambert as Doctor Who's producer, making her the first female producer to work for the BBC.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Montezuma I (#78)


Huehuemotecuhzoma, or Montezuma I, was born around the year 1398 BC in the Aztec Empire. He was to son of emperor Huitzilihuil, ruler of the Aztec people. The story goes that Montezuma's mother, Miahuaxihuitl, became pregnant after swallowing the jewel. Montezuma married his mother's niece, Chichimecacihuatzin. 


Montezuma came to the throne in 1440 after his brother, Itzcoatl, died. Starting where his brother left off, Montezuma solidified an alliance between Tenochtitlan, the Aztec home city, and two neighboring people groups from the cities of Texcoco and Tlacopan. This alliance, known as the Triple Alliance, stated that the three cities would fight together and that 4/5 of the land would be divided between Texcoco and Tenochtitlan and the remaining 1/5 would be given to Tlacopan. With this alliance, Montezuma began to expand the empire. When the Triple Alliance conquered the Huastec and Totonac people, the Aztecs gained access to the Gulf Coast. Though most defeated people groups were treated well and were allowed to keep their land, Montezuma could be harsh. In 1458, Montezuma led an attack on the city-state of Coixtlahuaca after several Aztec merchants were mistreated. After defeating Coixtlahuaca and the allies of the city, Montezuma killed the city's ruler and made his family slaves. Montezuma I provided one of the largest periods of expansion in the history of the Aztec Empire, earning him the title of 'Archer in the Sky' from his people.


Under Montezuma I, the Aztec heartland contained about one million people. This included Tenochtitlan and nine provincial centers surrounding the capitol. In 1449, Lake Texcoco, which surrounded Tenochtitlan, flooded the city. That same year, weather damaged the crops and famine struck the Empire. Montezuma and Nezahualcoyotl, the ruler of Texcoco, led the construction of a dike to control water levels and reduce the salt content of the lake. By lowering salt levels, the lake could be used for farming. After ten years, the dike was finished, but Montezuma continued to make improvements. He built a three-mile-long aqueduct to help bring water to Tenochtitlan and also improved irrigation systems throughout the empire. Finally, Montezuma helped to set down rules of conduct. These rules spoke on everything from defining social classes, conduct in battle, and regular rules regarding criminal activity. This helped Montezuma to control his rapidly expanding empire.

The End

Montezuma died under unknown circumstances in the year 1469. Montezuma is in our book because he created one of the two great American Empires, the other being the Inca Empire under Huayna Capac. Montezuma helped to establish Aztec dominance in Mesoamerica and helped to bring stability to the Aztec empire through his improvements to the empire. Please not that this is NOT the Montezuma who was defeated by Hernan Cortes and was killed by his own people.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Asparukh of Bulgaria (#79)

Asparukh of Bulgaria


Asparukh was born around the year AD 640 in what is now Ukraine. He was the second son of Kubrat, who had set up the state of Great Bulgaria on the steppes of modern Ukraine. Asparukh learned leadership and politics from his father, and his father appointed him the leader of the Onogur tribe. When Kubrat died in 665, Asparukh's brother, Bat Bayan, took the throne, but by 668, Great Bulgaria had dissolved due to attacks from Khazars, semi-nomadic Turks. Bat Bayan and Asparukh each led their people to safer lands, each going a different way.

Finding a Homeland

Asparukh, with 30,000 to 50,000 Bulgars with him, traveled south and east along the coast of the Black Sea. Eventually, the group reached the Danube, settling down along the Danube delta. This land was claimed by the Byzantine Empire, but the Bulgars were not attacked because Constantinople was currently under siege by Muawiyah I of the Umayyad dynasty. When the siege ended in 678, Emperor Constantine IV attacked the Bulgars and Slavs, forcing most of those attacked into fortified encampments. During his campaign, Constantine IV had to leave his troops to get medicine for an ailment of his. A rumor spread that Constantine had run away, and Constantine's soldiers began to desert. As they did, Asparukh led his followers against the weakened Byzantine army, breaking through the blockade and moving past the Danube at the battle of Ongala in 680. Asparukh quickly took the Balkan area with the Slavic tribes as his allies.
 In 681, Constantine IV made peace with Asparukh and agreed to send money to the Bulgars each year in return for protection from the Khazars. Asparukh settled his people down in the Balkans, creating what many wold call the first true Bulgarian state.

The End

Asparukh died in 701 while fighting Khazars. Asparukh is on our list of people because he was the first person to create a Balkan state. Not only was he the first, he got his state to be formally recognized by the Byzantine Empire and had the Byzantine Empire relying on him for protection. Because of Asparukh's leadership, the Bulgars as well as the Slavic tribes were able to set up their own nations in the Balkans, creating the many states that we see in that region to this day.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Anne Bonny & Mary Read (#81 & #80)

Anne Bonny

Anne Bonny

Anne Bonny was born on March 8, 1702. She was born in Ireland, but her family moved to the Americas soon after she was born. Her father became successful in the merchant business and she could have gotten a good marriage, though she chose to marry a poor sailor named James Bonny between the years 1714 and 1718. When her father disowned her, Anne and James moved to Nassau, in the Bahamas, where James worked for the governor. In the Bahamas, Anne met John Rackham, or Calico Jack. Anne and Jack became lovers, having a child named Cunningham together. Anne divorced her husband, left Cunningham, and ran off with Rackham to live a pirate's life.
Mary Read

Mary Read

Mary Read was born in England in the late 1600s. She was the illegitimate daughter of the widow of a sea captain. To receive financial support from her paternal grandmother, Anne was dressed as a boy, pretending to be her older, legitimate brother. Read continued to dress as a boy to find work, becoming a footboy, and later, a soldier. Read, still in disguise, fought in the British military during the Nine Years War against the French. During the War, she fell in love with a Flemish soldier. The two got married and bought an inn in the Netherlands. When her husband died, Read again dressed as a man and wen on board a ship to the West Indies. Pirates captured her ship, though she took King's pardon in 1718 to become a privateer. 

Bonny and Read

In 1720, after she joined a mutiny with her crew, Mary Read joined Calico Jack Rackham and Anne Bonny on the pirate ship Revenge. Because she was still dressed as a man, Anne Bonny began to take a liking towards Read, so Read revealed that she was a woman to both Rackham and Bonny. Rackham allowed Read to stay aboard as a woman, and both Bonny and Read were said to have been capable fighters in combat. Though they were women, both Bonny and Read made it on to The Boston News-Letters's Wanted Pirates list. 

The End

In October of 1720, Jonathan Barnet, a privateer from Jamaica, attacked the Revenge. Most of the pirates aboard Rackham's ship were either drunk or asleep, though four pirates, including Rackham, Bonny, and Read, were able to hold off Barnet's men for some time. They were eventually captured and imprisoned. Rackham was executed, but both Read and Bonny had their executions postponed because both were pregnant. In 1721, Mary Read died of a fever in prison, supposedly during childbirth. Anne Bonny has no record of release or execution, because (most likely) her father smuggled her out to South Carolina, where she gave birth to Rackham's second child, remarried, and had ten more children. She died at the age of 80 on April 22, 1782. Bonny and Read are on this list because both were pirates (very good pirates), but both were women, breaking the usual stereotype. Both proved that women were as capable as men at privateering and pirating in a time when women were viewed as inferior.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Jerry Nelson (#82)

Jerry Nelson


Jerry L. Nelson was born in Oklahoma on July 10, 1934. Soon afterwards, Nelson moved to Washington, D.C. Nelson got his first puppeteering job from Bil Baird, who is most famous for his puppeteering in the "The Lonely Goatherd" sequence in The Sound of Music. Nelson first began working with the Muppets on The Jimmy Dean Show in 1965, playing Rowlf the Dog's right hand. For the next year, Nelson continued to work with the Muppets in variety shows and commercials, but in 1966, Jim Henson had to reduce the amount of work and Nelson was let go. 

Sesame Street

When help was needed for the second season of Sesame Street, Jerry Nelson was brought back on. On the show, Nelson played such characters as, Sherlock Hemlock, The Amazing Mumford, and Herry Monster, but by far, Nelson's most famous character was Count von Count, the vampire who taught math on the show. He also was the first puppeteer to perform Mr. Snuffleupagus, Big Bird's imaginary friend. After his beginning work on Sesame Street, Nelson was brought back on to the Muppet Show, where he played many minor roles as well as Sgt. Floyd Pepper and Camilla the Chicken. When Richard Hunt was brought on to the Muppets, Nelson acted as his mentor and the two ran several characters together. Hunt would go on to play such characters as Scooter and Beaker. Nelson continued to work with Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, though he worked on several other shows, including Fraggle Rock and Emmet Otter's Jug-Band.

Later Life

Nelson had one daughter, Christine, from his first marriage, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.  When the family found out about her disease, Nelson took a large amount of time off of his work with the Muppets to spend time with her. Christine also had a cameo appearance in The Great Muppet Caper and Jim Henson gave her a speaking part so that she could become a member of the actors' union before she died in 1982. 

The End

In 2004, Nelson stated that he would no longer puppeteer due to health issues. He continued to voice his characters until his death on August 23, 2012 due to emphysema. Jerry Nelson is on our list because (1) he helped to form both Sesame Street and The Muppet Show and (2) he played characters who are famous and known by generations of Americans and people around the world.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Leonidas I (#83)

Leonidas I


Leonidas was born around the year 540 BC in Sparta. Leonidas was the second son of King Anaxandridas II's first wife. Leonidas had two brothers: Dorieus, the eldest son of Anaxandridas's first wife, and Cleomenes, the son of the king's second wife. Because he was not expected to be king, Leonidas went through the harsh Spartan public school system in order to qualify for citizenship.

Rise to Power

When King Anaxandridas II died in 520 BC, Cleomenes became king. Dorieus was outraged by the decision because Cleomenes was the youngest son and Dorieus, the eldest. Dorieus left Sparta and attempted to start a colony in Africa and later in Sicily. Though he found success in Italy, he was killed soon after the colony's foundation. Leonidas remained in Sparta, marrying Cleomenes's daughter, Gorgo, in 490 BC. During Cleomenes's reign, the Greek states were at war with Persia, but before the war ended, Cleomenes was accused of insanity and fled Sparta in 490 BC. Leonidas succeeded Cleomenes as king, and when Persia invaded Greece again in 481 BC, Leonidas was chosen to lead the combined Greek forces. 

Battle of Thermopylae

In August of 480 BC, Leonidas marched to Thermopylae with 300 Spartans. The other city-states of Greece sent additional troops, forming an army of about 14,000. There is some dispute over the reason for sending so few into battle, but most agree that it was because of the Olympic Games being held at the same time. Xerxes I, ruler of Persia, attacked the Greek army after five days of waiting. Leonidas and his men were able to hold of the Persians for the first two days, killing approximately 20,000 Persians while losing only 2,500 Greek soldiers. In the process, two of Xerces' brothers were killed. 

The End

On the seventh day of the Battle of Thermopylae, Ephialtes, a Greek traitor, led a group of Persians through a mountain pass to attack the Greeks from behind, When Leonidas found out, he sent away the entire Greek Army other than his 300 Spartans to keep them from being killed in the battle. 900 Helots and 700 Thespians, though, refused to leave Leonidas's side. Attacked from both the front and the back, Leonidas  and his men held their post, but all were killed, though Spartans were able to recover Leonidas's body before the Persians could. Leonidas is on our list because he was both a tragic hero of the Ancient world, he also had a famous movie made about him.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Bartholomew Diaz(#84)

Bartholomew Diaz


Bartolomeu Dias, or Bartholomew Diaz, was born around the year 1451,the son of a Portuguese nobleman. Very little is known about Dias's life, but as an adult, he became a Knight of the royal court, the superintendent of the royal warehouses, and the captain of the ship, Sao Cristovao. Dias was married and had two children: Simao and Antonia Dias.


After Marco Polo came back from the East, Europeans started looking for ways to travel to the East without travelling through any Islamic kingdoms. Europeans wanted to find both spices and precious metals. Also, they wanted to find Prester John. Prester John was a supposed Christian ruler of the East who would serve as a powerful ally against the Muslim nations, something that Europeans desperately needed during the Crusades. On October 10, 1487, Bartholomew Diaz was appointed by King John II of Portugal to sail around the southern tip of Africa, which had not yet been discovered by Europeans, and to search for Prester John. Diaz sailed out of Lisbon that same year, hugging the African coast the entire way down. As he sailed, Diaz completely missed the southern tip of Africa, so he decided to go straight on to India. Diaz, unfortunately, was forced to turn back after his crew refused to go any further. On his way back, Diaz landed at the tip of Africa, naming it the Cape of Storms. King John II later named it the Cape of Good Hope. Diaz later helped in the construction of Sao Gabriel and Sao Rafael, the two ships that held Vasco da Gama, the first European to sail all the way to Asia. Bartholomew also sailed with da Gama on the first leg of his voyage to India, though he did not travel the entire way.

The End

Bartholomew Diaz sailed with Pedro Alvares Cabral on the expedition which discovered Brazil. After the ships turned around and sailed to India via the Cape of Good Hope. On May 29, 1500, at the Cape, a violent storm hit the ships, wrecking Diaz's ship, probably killing him in the process. Diaz is on our list because he discovered that Africa actually had a southern tip. His maps provided the basis for the expeditions led by Vasco da Gama and Pedro Cabral.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Philo Farnsworth (#85)

Philo Farnsworth


Philo Taylor Farnsworth was born on August 19, 1906 to a family living in Beaver, Utah. In 1918, the Farnsworth family moved to a farm in Rigby, Idaho. The house that they moved into was wired for electricity. Philo study the mechanical and electrical technology of the house and was soon able to fix the Delco generator that ran the house's farming equipment. He also was able to fix a discarded electric motor and use it to turn the family's hand-powered washing machine into an electrical washing machine. When he was in high school, Farnsworth came to his science teacher with ideas of an electronic television system, covering several blackboards with his diagrams. In 1922, when the Farnsworths moved to Provo, Utah, Philo stayed behind to work at a railway company so he could pay for classes at Brigham Young University. He came to live with his family again in 1923.

School and Early Career

In 1924, Farnsworth applied for the U.S. Naval Academy, where he was recruited when he got the second highest score in the nation on the academy tests. He left soon afterwards, though, when he learned that the government would own any patents Farnsworth earned. Farnsworth went back to Utah to help care for his family after his father's death. The family moved into a duplex with the family's friends, the Gardners. Cliff Gardner shared Farnsworth's interest in electronics and the two started up a radio repair business. After the business failed, Farnsworth met Leslie Gorrell and George Everson, who helped Farnsworth to fund his experiments on televisions. Farnsworth was able to get a laboratory in Los Angeles, but married Cliff Gardner's sister, Elma Gardner, before he left.

Electric Television

After moving to Los Angeles, Farnsworth applied for a patent on his designs. At the time, almost all television systems used at least some mechanical components. Farnsworth, instead, attempted to create a completely electronic television system. In 1927, Farnsworth finished his image dissector and transmitted a single straight line with it. By 1929, Farnsworth changed the design to not rely on a motor generator. THis made his system the first all-electronic television system.The other major innovator in the field of elctric televison was Vladmir Zworykin. In 1928, Farnsworth had lost two interference claims to Zworykin, but Zworykin was still unable to make it work properly. In 1930, Zworykin was hired by RCA, the leader in television development. In 1931, RCA attempted to buy Farnsworth's patents and hire Farnsworth in the process, but Farnsworth refused and went to work with the Philco company instead. RCA later filed an interference suit against Farnsworth, stating that Zworykin's 1923 patent had priority over Farnsworth's design. Farnsworth won the legal battle and a subsequent appeal by RCA, but a variety of issues led to a delay in RCA's payment of royalties to Farnsworth.  In 1932, Farnsworth met John Baird, who had given the world's first public demonstration of a working television system. Farnsworth and Baird worked together to compete with EMI to create the U.K. standard television system. When BBC chose the EMI system, Farnsworth returned to America. 

Later Work in Television and Science

In 1933, Farnsworth was let go from Philco and returned to his lab. Farnsworth worked with the University of Pennsylvania to create a method of sterilizing milk with radio waves. He also invented a fog-penetrating light beam for boats. In 1938, Farnsworth established the Farnsworth Television and Radio Corporation, and a year later, RCA finally agreed to pay Farnsworth one million dollars to license Farnsworth's 1927 Television patent. ITT, or International Telephone and Telegraph, bought Farnsworth Television and Radio in 1951. Farnsworth, at this company, worked to create a defense early warning system, submarine detection devices, radar calibration equipment, and infrared telescopes. Farnsworth also did work on nuclear fusion with ITT, Philo T. Farnsworth Associates (PTFA), and NASA. 

The End

PTFA lost funding for fusion research in 1970. A year later, Farnsworth caught pneumonia, dying on March 11, 1971. Farnsworth is on our list of important people because he invented the television that we know today. He also worked in many areas of science, creating the world we know today. He also predicted and started research on ideas that would later come true, including high-definition television and flat-screen television.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pepin the Short (#86)

Pepin the Short

Rise to Power

Pepin the Younger was born in the year 714 in what is now France. He was the son of Charles Martel, the Mayor of the Palace. As Mayor of the Palace, Martel ruled Francia (the kingdom of the Franks), but served the Merovingian kings. When Martel died in 741, he divided his seat as Mayor into two parts. Carloman, Martel's eldest son, became the Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia, or Eastern Francia. Pepin was crowned as the Mayor of the Palace of Neustria, or Western Francia. Grifo, Pepin and Carloman's half-brother, did not inherit a position, so he demanded that he got a piece of land from his two half-brothers. Pepin and Carloman refused and imprisoned Grifo in a monastery. In 743, Carloman and Pepin officially acknowledged the king, Childeric III, as the king of Francia, but for an unknown reason, Carloman retired as Mayor four years later to become a monk. This left Pepin as the Mayor of the Palace for all of Francia. In 747, the same year that Carloman retired, Grifo escaped his prison and started a revolt against Pepin, which was completely destroyed by 753, when Grifo was killed in battle..

Becoming King

In 752, Pepin asked the Pope to depose of Childeric III, the king of Francia. Childeric was king, though he had no power. All the power rested with Pepin, the Mayor of the Palace. Pope Zachary, needing help to fight against the Lombards, agreed to Pepin's request, and Childeric was deposed. Pepin became the new king of Francia, starting the Carolingian dynasty. In 752, the archbishop of Mainz anointed Pepin, but in 754, Pope Stephen, Pope Zachary's successor, personally went to Paris to anoint Pepin as king. Along with anointing Pepin as the King of Francia, Stephen also gave Pepin the title of patricius Romanorum, or Patrician of Rome. 


In return for anointing him, Pepin helped Stephen to fight of the Lombards. When Pepin defeated them, he forced the Lombard king Aistulf to return the land belonging to the Church. Pepin also expanded Francia, attacking Septimania, a region in southern France, taking it over by 759. When Waifer, the duke of Aquitaine, seized church lands in760, Pepin went to war with Aquitaine as well. This was the harshest war under Pepin's rule and Pepin had to burn everything in his path to inspire fear in Waifer. By 768, a pro-Frankish treaty was accepted by the Aquitanian nobles. 

The End

Pepin died in 768 at the age of 54. Pepin was interred in the church of Saint Denis. Pepin is in our book because he is almost always forgotten. His father, Charles Martel, and his son, Charlemagne, both earned more fame than Pepin even though it was Pepin that acquired the Frankish throne for the Carolingian dynasty. He also has the best description ever: The Short. Anybody who is called "The Short" is automatically awesome.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Aruj (#87)


Oruç, or Aruj, was born around 1474 on Lesbos to the Turkish Sipahi, Yakup Aga. After helping the Ottomans conquer Lesbos from the Genoese, Yakup Aga settled down on Lesbos, where he met and married Katerina, with whom he had four sons: Ishak, Aruj, Hizir, and Ilyas. When he moved to Lesbos, Yakup bought a ship to become a merchant. All four of his sons, including Aruj, helped their father with his trade.

Early Career

 The four brothers all became seamen, trading throughout the Mediterranean, but mainly within the Levant, the oceans between Anatolia, Mesopotamia, and Egypt. During his career as a merchant, Aruj learned how to speak Italian, Spanish, French, Greek, and Arabic, but later Aruj, Hizir, and Ilyas became privateers to counteract the power of the Knights of St. John, privateers from the island of Rhodes. While on their way back from a trading expedition,  Ilyas and Aruj were attacked by the Knights of St. John. Ilyas was killed and Aruj was imprisoned for almost three years. Aruj's brother Hizir tracked down Aruj and helped him to escape.


On a trip to the Ottoman city of Antalya, the governor of Antalya, Ottoman prince Shehzade Korkud, gave Aruj 18 galleys to fight the Knights of St. John because the Knights were damaging the Ottoman ocean trade network. When Shehzade Korkud became the governor of Manisa, he increased Aruj's fleet size to include 24 galleys. Aruj also helped when Korkud was sending a naval expedition to Italy. Aruj bombarded several coastal cities and captured two ships while there. He also captured four more ships on his way back to see Korkud. Korkud, though, had fled to Egypt after a dispute of succession to the Ottoman throne. Aruj went to Egypt, and with the help of Korkud, gained an audience with the Mamluk Sultan, Qansuh al-Ghawri. The Sultan gave Aruj another ship and charged him with raiding the coasts of Italy and any other Christian powers within the Mediterranean. In 1503, Aruj did as told and moved west from Egypt towards Sicily. He captured three more ships before making a base on the island of Djerba, which is off the coast of Tunisia. Aruj's brother Hizir sooned joined Aruj at Djerba, though a year later, they requested that Tunisian Sultan Abu Abdullah Mohammed Hamis allow them to use the port of La Goulette for their operations. The Sultan agreed as long as Aruj and Hizir gave one third of their booty to him. Aruj and Hizir gained more power within the Mediterranean, capturing the Cavalleria, which had 380 Spanish soldier and 60 knights on board. They also raided th coast of Calabria. These accomplishments gained the two brothers more fame, and their fleet was soon merged with those of other Muslim privateers. In 1509, Aruj's older brother Ishak joined him as well. As Aruj's fame grew, he earned the name Baba Oruç (Father Aruj), or Barbossa to the Europeans. In 1512, Aruj lost his left arm in a battle with a Spanish ruler, which Aruj soon replaced with a silver prosthetic. The three brothers continued to raid the coasts of Italy, France, and Spain, gaining more power as they did. In 1514, the brothers attacked the city of Bougie with 1,000 men. After they took the city, they moved on, taking Jijel and Mahdiya as well. In 1516, the brothers laid seige to the Castle of Elba with the help of privateer Kurtoglu.


In 1516, the brothers took control of the area surrounding Jijel and Algiers. When Emperor Charles V, King of Spain, failed to help the Spaniards of Algiers, Aruj declared himself as the new Sultan of Algiers. With his new power, Aruj took Miliana, Medea, and Tenes. To protect Algiers from falling into Spanish hands, Aruj relinquished his title to the Ottomans in 1517. Aruj was appointed as Bey, or governor, of Algiers, an Beylerbey, or chief governor, of the West Mediterranean.

The End

On orders from Spain, Abu Zayan, ruler of the city of Tlemcen, planned to attack Aruj, but Aruj found out about the plan and took Tlemcen in a surprise atttack in 1517. When Aruj had Abu Zayan executed, Emperor Charles V came to take care of Aruj himself. With 10,000 Spanish soldiers and thousands of Bedouins, Charles marched on Tlemcen in 1518. Aruj and Ishak defended the city with their force of 1,500 Turks and 5,000 Moors, but it was not enough. Though the two brothers held off the Spanish for twenty days, they were eventually killed in battle. Hizir, the last surviving brother of Aruj, inheritted Aruj's title of Beylerbey and continued to attack ships throughout the Mediterranean. Aruj is on our list because nobody ever hears about the pirates of the Mediterranean. Also, Aruj is one of the few pirates so powerful that he became a Sultan himself. Aruj, while he was alive, was one of the most power and famous people in the Mediterranean.