Europe remembers Kheir-ed-Din Barbarossa as a pirate, a murderous corsair, a thief and considers him an insignificant figure. Contrary to this popular belief, Kheir-ed-Din was a highly cultured and intelligent man who had a significant impact on North Africa, the Mediterranean Sea and he left behind a legacy that endured for at least three centuries.
Sultan Suleiman appointed Kheir-ed-Din, commander of the Ottoman naval fleet, as the inexperienced Ottoman navy was not able to keep pace against the seasoned Genoese and Venetian fleets .
Kheir-ed-Din reorganized the dockyard system which would serve the empire for many years. Over the next several years he conquered everything in the Aegean, the Ionian and ravage the Italian coast and defeated the combined fleets of Venice, Genoa and the Pope in the battle of Preveza.
By the time Kheir-ed-Din Barbarossa retired, the Mediterranean from the Black Sea to the Atlantic coast of Morocco was controlled by the Ottomans and remained this way for the next 30 years.
Kheir-ed-Din was no pirate but an empire builder.