Murat Rais (Murat Reis) was born probably in Albania around 1535 and embraced piracy when as just a boy the corsair Kari Ali Rais captured him in 1546. He took his Muslim name Murat and sailed with the Barbary corsairs and this crew for nearly 20 years.
He went 'solo' after Kari's death in 1565, and through the 1570's, his reputation grew through bold land and sea attacks on Spanish and Italian interests. His exploits included capturing the flagship of the pope and at another time taking treasure in one year equivalent to the annual salary of 40,000 tradesmen.
Murat Rais' boldness led him to often break the unspoken rules of Barbary society. As a result, when the Sultan of Algiers commissioned him as, "Captain of the Sea" in 1574, he could not assume the position with the Emperor's permission for another twenty years.
By the 1580's, he was notorious for his attacks on Christian ships and towns, which extended out to the Atlantic, where he held the people of one Spanish city for ransom.
Daring feats like his large attack on Southern Italy and subsequent capture of Spanish warships in the mid-1590's led to his being given command of ever-larger Ottoman naval groups, which he used to completely control the Eastern Mediterranean in the early 17th century. He was killed while laying siege to the city of Vlore in 1638, reputedly around the age of 100.