Jan Janzoon or Jansen Van Haarlem, Van Salee, (also known as Murat Reiss)
Born: late 1500s, Haarlem, Netherlands
Died: after 1641, Morocco
Occupation: sailor, pirate. slaver
Military Service: Admiral of the Morroccan Navy (chief pirate of Morroco)
"Public Office": Governor of the Castle of El Qualidia, President of island port city of Sallee (chief pirate)
Religious Affiliation: Islam (saw the way of the "profit" when he turned to piracy under the Morrocan flag)
First Wife: unknown, maybe Moorish or Berber concubine
Born: unknown
Died: unknown
(also had other wives, allowed under Islamic law)


Anthony Jansen

Lysbeth Janzoon

Born: unknown, Haarlem, Netherlands
Died: after 1641, probably Netherlands

other sons & daughters, names unknown

Just as Thomas Trowbridge was about to settle the New World, another ancestor, through my great-grandmother, Anna Mae Southard, who went by the name of Murat Reiss (his Christian name was Jan Janszoon Van Harlem) was terrorizing the high seas. A very unsavory individual, who was Dutch by birth, but heard the word of the Prophet Muhammed (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 the grand-daughter of terror of the Mediterranean and north Atlantic during from about 1620 through 1641. The following is a biography of Janzoon posted on Genealogy.com by Francis Ferraro:

"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.

Anthony Jansen (van Salee), one of the sons of Jan Jansen (Janszoon) van Haarlem was born about 1607. He died in 1676 and his estate was probated on September 26, 1676 in New York, New York. Anthony grew up in Morocco, but when he reached adulthood he returned to the Netherlands. He met Grietje Reyniers (or Reijners) in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, obtained a marriage license on December 15, 1629, and they were married on board the ship heading for New Amsterdam (now New York City) in 1630. Grietje, daughter of Johannes Reijners (born 1576 in the Netherlands) and Jannetje (born in 1580 in the Netherlands) was a widow when she met Anthony. The marriage certificate describes Grietje as coming from Wesel, Germany, although her parents were both from the Netherlands. Various authors insinuate that she used her wiles on him, being older than he, but he never seemed to mind. She apparently worked in a tavern in the Netherlands as a young woman, but she was fired for acting inappropriately. Given the reputations of taverns in the Renaissance, one wonders what she did that was so bad as to get her fired. She was also an argumentative woman, so perhaps was the perfect match for Anthony, who enjoyed a good lawsuit against his neighbors. Anthony is described as being from Cartagena (in Spain), probably to avoid any problems from being recognized as a pirate and the son of a pirate. It is surmised by one author that Anthony and Grietje got married on board ship to bypass the religious authorities in either the Netherlands or New Amsterdam, because Anthony paid at least lip service to Islam and Grietje had little respect for the trappings of religion. He was referred to in the New World as The Turk, and he had in his possession a lovely Koran written in Arabic. In later years though, he was a moving force in legislation enforcing observance of Christian services in New Amsterdam. When Anthony arrived in New Amsterdam (today, New York City), he proceeded to buy a great deal of land in what is now lower Manhattan and set himself up as a very prosperous farmer and landowner. It is possible that his father had provided him with a good nest egg to start him off in the New World. It is also suspected that contact was maintained between father and son, as Anthony's homestead on Long Island included an excellent deep-water anchorage, where mysterious ships and privateers would anchor. There apparently is a great deal of information that can be found on his land holdings, his marriage, and his relations with his neighbors, more information than can be related in these notes. Anthony was a contentious neighbor, and whether due to an ego brought onby this background, or a natural aversion to friendship, he was widely known as a very disagreeable fellow. He was constantly at odds with neighbors and he did not hesitate to tangle with the Dutch authorities, or the Church. (Several articles concerning the history of Long Island have included colorful descriptions of Anthony's background.) Still, he is also reported to have been well respected in the community. He is an acknowledged founder of several communities in Long Island, and his opinion was respected in the communities. As a result of the anti-social behavior of his wife, Anthony was induced to leave the city of New Amsterdam. Anthony took his time about leaving and even after moving to Long Island, continued to deal in New Amsterdam real estate for the rest of his life. After selling the farm on what is now lower Manhattan, Anthony bought 200 acres some 10 miles SSE on Long Island near the community of Gravesend thus becoming the first settler of Brooklyn. His land fronted on Gravesend Bay across from the present Coney Island and not far from the place where Henry Hudson was said to have come ashore less than 50 years earlier. Since Coney Island abutted his property, it was, until sometime in the last century, also referred to as Turk's Island, the word Turk being a designation of his which the records used interchangeably with, mulatto. According to some documentation, it would seem that Anthony van Salee never converted to Christianity. His Koran, in fact, was in a descendant's possession until about fifty years ago when, ignorant of its relevance to his family's history, he offered it for sale at auction. Anthony and Grietje had four children, Annica, Cornelia, Eva, and Sarah. Grietje died in 1669, and Anthony apparently re-married in 1670 to Metje Gravenaaet. He died six years later. Anthony and Grietje's eldest daughter, Annica (later Anglicized to Eunice), born around 1632, married Thomas Southard in 1650. Thomas and Annica had eight children and thus began the Southard family in the New World."

From Wikipedia:

Jan Janszoon van Haarlem, commonly known as Murat Reis (circa 1570 - post 1641?) was the 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 "Salč Rovers".

Early life

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 class.


In 1600, 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' War. 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 Barbary Coast 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 family.

Capture by Barbary corsairs

Sail plan for a Polacca, first built by the Barbary pirates around the 16th century, many scholars believe the Polacca was extensively used by Jan Janszoon. The ship could sail with a large crew of 75 and was armed with 24 cannons.

Janszoon was captured in 1618 at Lanzarote (one of the Canary Islands) by Barbary corsairs and taken to Algiers as a captive. There he turned "Turk", or Muslim (as the Ottoman Empire had some limited influence over the region, sometimes Europeans erroneously called people of the region "Turks"). It is speculated the conversion was forced.[3] 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 resented the Ottoman Empire. After Janszoon's conversion to Islam 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[4] for whom Janszoon knew before his capture who,[2] as Janszoon himself, had chosen to convert to Islam) and with Simon de Danser.[citation needed] But, because Algiers had concluded peace with several European nations, it was no longer a suitable harbor from which to sell captured ships or their cargo. So, after 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 himself.

Republic of Salé Salé in the 1600s

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 had elected Janszoon as their first Grand Admiral. After he left for Algiers, as Salé had become very prosperous through piracy, the pirates decided in 1627 to declare Salé an independent republic governed by twelve to sixteen pirate warlords (the divan) and an elected Grand Admiral of the piratical navy.

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 has 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 Salé.

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 Vice-Admiral.

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 Algiers.

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.[7] Janszoon and his crews left port not only intact but with many new Dutch volunteers despite a Dutch prohibition of piracy.

Notable raids

Ólafur Egilsson was captured by Murat Reis the Younger Lundy

In 1627 Janszoon captured the island of Lundy in the Bristol Channel and held it for five years, using it as a base for raiding expeditions.


In 1627, 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. Janszoon captured a fishing vessel of the coast of the Faroe Islands. The fleet of Jan Janszoon raided the Icelandic city Reykjavík. 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 in Austurland and Vestmannaeyjar. 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. A similar raid was also undertaken by his apprentice Ali Biçin Reis.

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. Guđríđur Símonardóttir and a few others are known to have returned back to Iceland.

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, the Catholic, native Irish because they were settled on lands confiscated from the O'Driscoll clan. Hackett would direct Janszoon to this town and away from his own. 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. "Here was not a single Christian who was not weeping and who was not full of sadness at the sight of so many honest maidens and so many good women abandoned to the brutality of these barbarians" 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 again.

Raids in the Mediterranean Sea

Murat Reis chose to make large profits by raiding Mediterranean islands such as the Balearic Islands, Corsica, Sardinia, the southern coast of Sicily. He often sold most of his merchandise in Tunis where he became a good friend of the Dey. He is known to have sailed the Ionian Sea. He fought the Venetians near the coasts of Crete and Cyprus with a vibrant Corsair crew consisting of Dutch, Morisco, Berber, Arab, Turkish and Elite Janissaries.

Capture by Knights of Malta Fort Saint Angelo in Valletta, Malta

In 1635, near the Tunisian coast Murat Reis was outnumbered and surprised by a sudden attack he and many of his men were captured by the Knights of Malta, he spent the next five years in the Islands notorious dark dungeons in which he was held he was mistreated and cruelly tortured, the effects of his imprisonment became dearly costly to his health and wellbeing. In 1640 he barely escaped after a massive Corsair attack, which was carefully planned by the Dey of Tunis in order to rescue their fellow sailors and Corsairs. He was greatly honored and praised upon his return in Morocco and the nearby Barbary States.

Escape and return to Morocco

He 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" she had also noticed that Murat Reis the great Corsair lord had become an old and feeble man. 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.

After 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 Mudéjar who worked for a Christian noble family, and other claims have been made that she was a "Moorish princess."[14] Through this marriage, Janszoon had four children: 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.

Popular culture

In 2009, the stage act "Jan Janszoon, de blonde Arabier" toured The Netherlands. It was written by Karim El Guennouni, and based on Janszoon's life as a pirate.

Notable descendants

It is claimed that Janszoon had many prominent descendants in America and Great Britain. Notable descendants through Anthony and his wife include William Henry Vanderbilt, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, John Vernou Bouvier III, John H. Hammond, Princess Lee Radziwill, Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, Gloria Vanderbilt, Consuelo Vanderbilt, Duchess of Marlborough; Jamie Spencer-Churchill, Marquess of Blandford; Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill, John Spencer-Churchill, 10th Duke of Marlborough; Lord Ivor Spencer-Churchill, John Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough; Lady-in-waiting 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:

Cornelius Vanderbilt, patriarch of the Vanderbilt Family

Jacqueline Kennedy, former First Lady

Humphrey Bogart, Academy Award Winning Actor

Caroline Kennedy, American First Daughter

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, American socialite

John F. Kennedy, Jr.

Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen, American Senator

Rodney Frelinghuysen, Congressman, New Jersey

Anderson Cooper, American media personality

Gloria Vanderbilt, American socialite and fashion designer


Janszoon was also known as Murat Reis the Younger. His Dutch names are also given as Jan Jansen and Jan Jansz; his adopted name as Morat Rais, Murat Rais, Morat; Little John Ward, John Barber, Captain John, Caid Morato were some of his pirate names.