Kapudan Pasha ( Ottoman قپودان پاشا; alsoکاپیتان پاشا Kaptanpaşa 'Captain Pasha',قپودان دریا Kapudan-ı Deryâ orکاپیتان دریا Kaptan-ı Deryâ 'sea captain ') was the highest military rank in the Ottoman Navy . The title is only documented from 1567. Previously, the supreme fleet commander carried the title Derya Bey (= sea bey ) or Reis Kapudan (= captain leader ).
The Kapudan Pasha was usually a pasha of two or three horse tails and a member of the Sultan's State Council and acted both as Commander in Chief and Minister of the Navy and at the same time as Governor of several maritime provinces ( Vilâyet Cezayir ), including in particular the islands of Rhodes and Crete and from 1570 until 1703 also Cyprus . While in winter he was mainly in the naval arsenals of Galata and Gelibolu , in the summer months he was on the move between the maritime provinces and fulfilled his duties as governor. During his absence from the base, Tersane Emini (= administrator of the naval arsenal ; also Tersane-i Amire Emini = administrator of the imperial naval arsenal ), his adjutant .
One of the most famous Kapudan Pashas was Chair ad-Din Barbarossa (1534–1546), the conqueror of Algiers and Tunis, a corsair feared in the West and celebrated in the Ottoman Empire. Another was Piyale Pascha , who commanded the Ottoman fleet during the siege of Malta in 1565 and conquered Cyprus together with Lala Kara Mustafa Pascha in 1570/71.
Cezayirli Gazi Hassan Pascha served as Kapudan Pascha between 1774 and 1789. He modernized the fleet during this time.