For the cartographer, see Johannes Janssonius.
Jan Janszoon van Haarlem
(circa 1570 - post 1641) was the first President and Grand Admiral
of the Corsair Republic of Salè, Governor of Oualidia, and a Dutch pirate who was considered one of the most notorious
of the Barbary pirates from the 17th century; the most famous of
the "Salè Rovers".
Jan Janszoon van Haarlem was born in Haarlem, North Holland,
Netherlands in 1575. Little is known of his early life, except that
he married young and had a child, Lysbeth Janszoon van Haarlem. His
surname was toponymic, indicating his family was from the upper
Jan Janszoon began as a Dutch privateer
sailing from his home port, Haarlem, working for
the state with letters of marque to harass Spanish shipping
during the Eighty Years'
Working from the Netherlands was insufficiently
profitable, so Janszoon overstepped the boundaries of his letters
and found his way to the semi-independent port states of the
of north Africa, whence
he could attack ships of every foreign state: when he attacked a
Spanish ship, he flew the Dutch flag; when he attacked any other,
he became an Ottoman Captain and flew the red half-moon of the
Turks or the flag of any of various other Mediterranean
principalities. During this period he had abandoned his Dutch
Capture by Barbary corsairs
was captured in 1618 at Lanzarote (one of the Canary Islands) by Barbary corsairs and
taken to Algiers as a
There he turned "Turk", or Muslim
(as the Ottoman
had some limited influence over the region, sometimes
Europeans erroneously called people of the region "Turks"). It is
speculated the conversion was forced. The Ottoman Turks maintained
a precarious measure of influence on behalf of their Sultan
by openly encouraging the local Berber
communities to advance themselves
through piracy against the European powers, which long were opposed
to the Ottoman Sultan and empire. After Janszoon's conversion to
and the ways of his captors, he sailed
with the famous corsair Sulayman Rais, also known as Slemen Reis
(originally a Dutchman named De Veenboer
for whom Janszoon knew before his capture who, as Janszoon himself,
had chosen to convert to Islam) and with Simon de Danser
. But, because Algeria had
concluded peace with several European nations, it was no longer a
suitable harbor from which to sell captured ships or their cargo.
Sulayman Rais was killed by a cannonball in 1619, Janszoon moved to
the ancient port of Salé and began
operating from it as a Barbary corsair
Republic of Salé
The Salé fleet totaled about eighteen ships, all small because of
the very shallow harbor entrance.
The port was nominally subject
to the Sultanate of Morocco
, but (as
Salé had become very prosperous through piracy) shortly after
Janszoon’s arrival, the pirates decided to declare Salé an
independent republic governed by fourteen pirate warlords and an
elected president, who was also the Admiral
of the piratical navy
. Janszoon was elected
their first president.
Even the Sultan of Morocco, after an unsuccessful siege of the
city, acknowledged its semi-autonomy. Contrary to popular belief
that Sultan Zidan Abu Maali
reclaimed sovereignty over Salé and appointed Janszoon the Governor
in 1624, the Sultan merely approved Janszoon's election as
President by formally appointing him as his ceremonial Governor of
Under Janszoon's leadership, business in Salé thrived. The main
sources of income of this republic remained piracy and its
by-trades, shipping and dealing in stolen property. Historians have
noted Janszoon's intelligence and courage which reflected in his
leadership ability. He was forced to find an assistant to keep up,
resulting in the hiring of a fellow countryman from The
Netherlands, Mathys van Bostel Oosterlinck, who would serve as his
Janszoon had become very wealthy from his income as piratical
admiral, payments for anchorage and other harbor dues, and the
brokerage of stolen goods. The political climate in Salé worsened
toward the end of 1627, so Janszoon quietly moved his family and
his entire piratical operation back to semi-independent
Plea from Dutch family
Janszoon would become bored by his new official duties from time to
time and again sail away on a pirate adventure. In 1622, Janszoon and
his crews sailed into the English Channel with no particular plan but to try their luck
there. When they ran low on supplies they docked at
the port of Veere, Zealand, under the
Moroccan flag, claiming diplomatic privileges from his official
role as Admiral of Morocco (a very
loose term in the environment of North African politics).
The Dutch authorities could not deny the two ships access to Veere
because, at the time, several peace treaties and trade agreements
existed between the Sultan of Morocco and the Dutch Republic
. During his anchorage there,
the Dutch authorities brought to the port Janszoon's Dutch first
wife and his Dutch children to persuade him to give up piracy; the
authorities did the same to many of the pirate crews, but they
utterly failed to persuade the men. Janszoon and his crews left
port not only intact but with many new Dutch volunteers despite a
Dutch prohibition of piracy.
Janszoon hired a Danish “slave”
(most likely a crew member captured on a Danish ship taken
as a pirate prize) to pilot him and his men to Iceland, where they
raided the Icelandic city Reykjavík.
Ólafur Egilsson was captured by Murat
Reis the Younger
Initially they managed to steal only some
salted fish and a few hides, so they decided to make the raid
profitable by kidnapping potential slaves. The number of slaves
kidnapped from Iceland is disputed, with figures as high as 400,
and as low as 8. This raid became known in Iceland as "The Turkish abductions
". In the
harbor of the capital, he attacked a ship and captured several of
its crew. On the way back to Morocco, Janszoon also took a Dutch
vessel and seized more unfortunates, also destined for sale into
slavery in Salé.
Accounts by enslaved Icelanders who spent time on the corsair ships
claimed that the conditions for women and children were normal, in
that they were permitted to move throughout the ship, except to the
quarter deck. The pirates were seen giving extra food to the
children from their own private stashes, and that the women were
treated with dignity when giving birth on board the ships, being
afforded privacy and clothing by the pirates. The men were put in
the hold of the ships, and had their chains removed once the ships
were far enough from land. Despite popular claims, Icelander
accounts failed to mention any rapes inflicted on slaves.
Sack of Baltimore
Having sailed for two months and with little to show for the
voyage, Janszoon turned to a captive taken on the voyage, a
Catholic named John Hackett, for information on where a profitable
raid could be made. The residents of Baltimore, a small town in
West Cork, Ireland, were
resented by Catholics because they were Protestants.
would direct Janszoon to this town. Janszoon sacked Baltimore
on June 20
, 1631, seizing little more than 108 persons
whom he doomed to be sold as slaves in north Africa. Janszoon took
no interest in the Celts and released them, only enslaving English.
Shortly after the sack, Hackett was arrested and hanged for his
crime. Upon arrival in Africa, the women made no complaints of
abuse to the custom officers. In Irish history, Hackett is
considered an Irish patriot, but in English history, a traitor.
Only two of the Irish villagers ever saw their homeland
Capture by Knights of Malta
In 1635, Janszoon was surprised and captured by the Knights of Malta
, who held him until he
escaped in 1640.
Escape and return to Morocco
returned to Morocco in 1640 and was appointed Governor of the great
fortress of Oualidia, near Safi, Morocco.
He resided at the Castle of Maladia. In
December, 1640, a ship arrived with a new Dutch consul, who brought
Lysbeth Janszoon van Haarlem, Janszoon’s daughter by his first
Dutch wife, to visit her father. When Lysbeth arrived, Janszoon
"was seated in great pomp on a carpet, with silk cushions, the
servants all around him." Lysbeth stayed with her father until
August, 1641, when she returned to Holland. Little is known of
Janszoon thereafter; he likely retired at last from both public
life and piracy. The date of his death remains unknown.
Marriages and issue
In 1596, by an unknown Dutch woman, Janszoon's first child was
born, Lysbeth Janszoon van Haarlem.
becoming a privateer, Janszoon met an unknown woman in Cartagena,
Spain, who he would marry.
The identity of this
woman is historically vague, but the consensus is that she was of
some kind of mixed-ethnic background, considered "Moorish" in
Spain. Historians have claimed her to be nothing more than a
concubine, others claim she was a Muslim Mudejar
who worked for a Christian noble family, and
other claims have been made that she was a "Moorish princess."
Through this marriage, Janszoon had four childen: Abraham Janszoon
van Salee (b.1602), Philip Janszoon van Salee (b. 1604), Anthony Janszoon van Salee
(b.1607), and Cornelis Janszoon van Salee (b. 1608).
It is speculated that Janszoon married for a third time, to another
Moorish woman in Morocco, in 1624.
In 2009, the stage act "Jan Janszoon, de blonde Arabier" toured The
Netherlands. It was written by Karim
, and based on Janszoon's life as a pirate.
It is claimed that Janszoon had many prominent descendants in
America and Great Britain. Notable descendants through Anthony and
his wife include William Henry
Vernou Bouvier III
, John H.
, Princess Lee Radziwill
, Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen
, Gloria Vanderbilt
, Consuelo Vanderbilt
, Duchess of Marlborough
Spencer-Churchill, Marquess of Blandford
; Lady Henrietta
Spencer-Churchill, 10th Duke of Marlborough
; Lord Ivor Spencer-Churchill
Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough
to Queen Elizabeth II
, Rosemary Mildred
Spencer-Churchill; George Spencer-Churchill, Earl of Sunderland;
Christopher Denys Stormont Finch-Hatton, 16th Earl of Winchilsea;
Daniel James Hatfield Finch-Hatton, 17th Earl of Winchilsea, 12th
Earl of Nottingham; Countess Gladys Vanderbilt Széchenyi
of Hungary, Countess Ferdinandine Széchenyi of Austria, Countess
Sylvia Széchenyi of Hungary, and:Image:Cornelius
, patriarch of the Vanderbilt Family
, American First LadyImage:Sabrina9.jpg|Humphrey Bogart
, Academy Award Winning
ActorImage:Caroline Kennedy.PNG|Caroline Kennedy
, American First
DaughterImage:Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney headshot
, American socialiteImage:JFKJr2.jpg|John F. Kennedy, Jr.
, American First
SonImage:Frederick T. Frelinghuysen - Brady-Handy.jpg|Frederick Theodore
, American SenatorImage:Anderson
Janszoon was also known as Murat Reis the Younger
His Dutch names are also given as Jan Jansen
; his adopted name as Morat
, Murat Rais
Little John Ward
, John Barber
, Caid Morato
were some of his pirate
- "Murad Reis", The Everything Pirates Book, p.
36, Retrieved 29 sept 2009.
- "Murad Reis", p. 36
- "Murad Rais", Pirate Utopias, p.96, Retrieved
29 sept 2009.
- "De Veenboer", Zeerovery, Retrieved 29 sept 2009.
- "Murad Reis", p. 36
- "Murad Rais", p.98
- "Murad Rais", p. 98
- "Murad Rais", p.99
- "Murad Rais", p. 100
- "Murad Rais", p. 129
- "Murad Rais", p. 121, 129
- "Murad Rais", p.140
- "Anthony Jansen van Salee", Pirate Utopias, p.
206, Retrieved 29 sept 2009.
- "Jan Janszoon knipoogt naar het heden", 8
Weekly, Retrieved 30 sept 2009.
- "Sex and the City", Bill Greer, Retrieved 1 oct