The Ottoman fleet defeats a combined Christian fleet
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 18th of the Islamic month of Sha’ban in 967 AH, the Ottoman fleet led by Admiral Piyale Pasha (a Croat Muslim) and the Bey of Tripoli Turgut Ra’ees (a Greek Muslim), defeated a combined Christian fleet, led by the Spanish, in the Battle of Jerba at the island of the same name near Tunis, in one of the major marine battles in the world that prevented North Africa from falling to the expansionist designs of Spain and other Christian powers. In this battle over two thirds of the huge Christian armada was destroyed and as many as 18,000 killed in addition to 5,000 captured and taken to Istanbul, while the Ottoman loss was only one thousand soldiers.
Since losing to Khayreddin Pasha’s (Barbarossa) Ottoman fleet at the Battle of Preveza over two decades ago, and the disastrous expedition of Emperor Charles V against Algiers, some three years later, the major European sea powers in the Mediterranean, especially King Philip II of Spain together with Venice, appealed to Pope Paul IV in Rome and his allies to organize a Christian expedition against North Africa, two years after Piyale Pasha and Turgut Raees had captured the Balearic Islands and raided the Mediterranean coasts of Spain. The battle again proved the naval superiority of the Muslims and was over in a matter of hours, with about half the Christian ships captured or sunk.