Samson Rowlie

Samson Rowlie (died after 1588), was Chief Eunuch and Treasurer of Algiers during Ottoman rule. Born in Norfolk, England, the son of a Bristol merchant Francis Rowlie, he was captured aboard of the Swallow[1] and castrated by the Ottomans in 1577.[2] He converted from Christianity to Islam and took the name Hassan Aga.[3] He served the Beglerbeg of Algiers, Uluç Ali Pasha.

Richard Hakluyt's 1589 collection The Principal Navigations included a 1586 letter from William Harborne, England's ambassador to the Ottoman court, addressed to Hassan Aga, for the purpose of negotiating prisoner release.[4] A 1588 watercolor portrait depicts Hassan Aga with white skin and rosy cheeks, wearing a large turban. He was reported to have been presumed murdered.[5]


  1. ^ Maclean, G. (2007-09-05). Looking East: English Writing and the Ottoman Empire Before 1800. Springer. ISBN 9780230591844.
  2. ^ "The first Muslims in England - BBC News". bbc.com. Retrieved 2016-03-21.
  3. ^ Matar, Nabil (1998-10-13). Islam in Britain, 1558-1685. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521622332.
  4. ^ Das, Nandini. "Richard Hakluyt and Early English Travel". The Public Domain Review. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  5. ^ Bamford, Daniel. "The life & death of Samson Rowlie, alias Hassan Agha. London, Nov. 2016". Academia.edu. Retrieved 9 May 2018.

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