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What was the reason for the Ottoman invasion of Otranto?

What was the reason for the Ottoman invasion of Otranto?

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In 1480, the Ottomans invaded Otranto and briefly occupied it. However, it didn't seem that the city was strategically important or held particular value to the Ottomans, nor did they seem to follow this up with meaningful actions (e.g. reinforcing it or expanding their holding in Italy). They had to abandon it in the next year anyway. On the other hand, this act seemed to provoke a sort of Crusade against them

What was the reason for this invasion?

There were many reasons for an invasion:

  • punishing Naples for its support of the Knights of Rhodes, whom the king Ferdinand I of Naples sent two ships of reinforcements against the Turks, determining a burning defeat of the Ottomans
  • creating a bridgehead for further operations in Italy, against Naples and possibly Rome (we have to keep in mind that the Sultan Mehmet II had conquered Istanbul in 1453, so the conquest of Rome was conceivable to him)
  • making advantage of a peace treaty with Venice (1479) and of the division of Christianity in Italy (the Papal States and Naples fought the "War of the Pazzi" against Florence, 1478-1480)

These are however speculations.

In my opinion the intentions of Mehmet II were serious: the most important proof being that the commander of the expedition, Gedik Ahmed Pasha, was perhaps the best Ottoman general, with a crucial role in unifying Anatolia under Ottoman rule.

After conquering Otranto, because there was not enough food to sustain the occupying army, the Ottomans had to partially retreat to Albania, planning to start the operations again next year.

The death of the Sultan that same year however started a phase of instability, with his sons fighting over succession. Ahmed was forced to surrender as no reinforcements were sent. He never abandoned the idea of estabilishing a bridgehead in Italy, supporting one of Mehmet II sons, Bayezid, in return for support of his plan. Bayezid however did not trust Ahmed, and after having him imprisoned, he killed him in 1482.

You need to be aware that Sultan Mehmed II styled himself as a Roman Emperor after the conquest of Constantinople. Therefore, the original seat of the Empire, Rome, would be an attractive target. Besides the papacy was the principal enemy of Ottomans at that time. Later the target shifted to Vienna because successors were not so keen on classical Greek and Roman history as Mehmed II; and, more importantly, the principal enemy in the West became Habsburgs as the political power of Papacy weakened by the Reformation.

Six Reasons Why the Ottoman Empire Fell

At its peak in the 1500s, the Ottoman Empire was one of the biggest military and economic powers in the world, controlling an expanse that included not just its base in Asia Minor but also much of southeastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The empire controlled territory that stretched from the Danube to the Nile, with a powerful military, lucrative commerce, and impressive achievements in fields ranging from architecture to astronomy.

But it didn’t last. Though the Ottoman Empire persisted for 600 years, it succumbed to what most historians describe as a long, slow decline, despite efforts to modernize. Finally, after fighting on the side of Germany in World War I and suffering defeat, the empire was dismantled by treaty and came to an end in 1922, when the last Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed VI, was deposed and left the capital of Constantinople (now Istanbul) in a British warship. From Ottoman empire’s remains arose the modern nation of Turkey.

What caused the once awe-inspiring Ottoman Empire collapse? Historians aren’t in complete agreement, but below are some factors.

The Ottoman Domination

I hark back to a previous thread which was full of interesting ideas from esteemed posters. Basically, with a 15th century POD that leaves France disintegrated, and Spain still not unified, in the early 16th century the Ottomans are victorious.

This leads to an Ottoman domination of Austria and Italy, and eventually of Iberia and Provence, and thus an Ottoman Mediterranean, meaning that the competition in the New World is between the Ottoman domination on the one hand, and mainly British, Scandinavian and some Northern French states on the other.


pity I was hoping this about a theocratic/fascist state emerging from the ottomans.

but anyways sounds like an interesting idea.


Grey Wolf

Assuming that the Holy Roman Empire survives in some form, the Habsburgs look finished. In this TL they don't get Burgundy which remains Valois, and whilst its possible they DO get Britanny (they tried to marry Anne in OTL), this won't give them enough once Austria and Hungary re lost. Their position in Bohemia is easy for the Poles-Lithuanians to threaten, and I would imagine that Poland-Lithuania becomes a massive player in affairs within whatever remains of the HRE. We might even see a claimant from there on the imperial throne ?

If not, those in the best situation to gain the title are the Saxons and the Wittelsbachs.

Reformationary pressures will also be a serious element here. For a start, where is the Pope ? Maybe he's back in Avignon ? I don't see that being very popular ! But with Ottoman forces coming from the North via Austria-Croatia, and from the South via naval landings in Naples, he canot retreat to another wholly Italian city. A Swiss city may make some sense.

Remember, France is fractured here, and Avignon would not place him under the French crown, but under either Burgundy or Anjou etc. IIRC there was a very important theological conference at Lausanne in the early-mid fifteenth century, so maybe it looks like a good bet.

Of course, AGAIN, what is the situation of the Swiss in this TL ? How are Calvin and Erasmus, and perhaps Luther, playing on the theological stage given the increased Ottoman menace ? Does the Greater Menace draw Christianity together, or does the Fall of Rome rend it asunder ? If Saxony gets the imperial crown, then Luther has his own protector as emperor so you could get a Lutheran Church set up on the ruins of the Papacy. Luther as the new Peter ?

Alternatively, the Church either completely fractures or it stays loosely together and perhaps adopts an Erasmian view ?


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The Italian astrophysicist who solved the mystery of the martyrs of Otranto — Part 2

Pope Francis’s first proclamation of sainthood was also his most controversial.

Exactly one month into his papacy, on May 12, 2013, he canonized the infamous martyrs of Otranto, a group of 800 men who were reportedly massacred for refusing to convert to Islam during the Ottoman Invasion of Southern Italy in 1480.

Newspapers at the time described Francis’s task as “delicate and arguably unwelcome,” inherited from his predecessor and generating controversy because many viewed the move as stoking tensions between Catholicism and Islam.

But another controversy — one that the reporters largely ignored — was also brewing: the fundamental question of whether the story was even true.

While the Catholic and secular press both seemed to take the account’s veracity for granted, a scientist in Calimera, a small town near the fortified coastal city of Otranto, had been working for years to determine what really happened to the martyrs.

Driven by a love of solving puzzles and a desire to provide a fuller historical account of his beloved Salento region — a land of sun, sea and olive groves nestled in the heel of the boot of Italy — Daniele Palma had decoded hundreds of diplomatic letters exchanged during the wars of the 1480s.

In these letters Palma uncovered the truth about the martyrs of Otranto, which led him to tackle yet another historical mystery — this one about the infamous Lucrezia Borgia.

In 1480, the Ottoman Turks landed on the Italian peninsula and laid siege to its easternmost city, Otranto, which was part of the Kingdom of Naples at the time. During the 15-day siege, 12,000 people were killed and 5,000 enslaved, according to some reports.

Legend has it that 800 men were also taken prisoner during the siege and ordered to convert to Islam or be sentenced to death. They chose death and were decapitated one by one on a hill outside the city. The bones of the “martyrs of Otranto,” as they came to be known, are displayed to this day in the Cathedral of Otranto.

In September 1481, the King of Naples’ troops succeeding in expelling the Ottoman forces, marking the last time a Muslim force occupied any part of the Italian peninsula.

For centuries the story was rife with propaganda value, which in modern times has also made it rife with controversy.

During the Italian unification period in the 1860s — when the various neighboring kingdoms became a single state called Italy — historians recalled the martyrs of Otranto as representing the strength and fortitude of a collective Italian people, essentially presenting them as civic heroes.

Meanwhile the Catholic Church had long considered them religious heroes. They were beatified in the 1770s, meaning they were declared holy, and in 1980 Pope John Paul II visited Otranto to mark the 500th anniversary of the massacre.

The controversy heated up, however, in 2007, when Pope Benedict issued a decree saying the martyrs had been killed “out of hatred for their faith.” He later authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to issue a decree attributing a miracle to the martyrs — a crucial step on the path to sainthood.

For the miracle in question, the first martyr supposedly stood back up after losing his head and remained standing until all 800 had been killed.

Benedict then took the extraordinary step of announcing in February 2013 that he was stepping down from the papacy. In the very same meeting with cardinals that he announced his resignation, he also set a date for the future pope to canonize the martyrs of Otranto.

It was a highly unusual move that showed just how committed Benedict was to the martyrs’ cause.

But many questioned whether pushing through the sainthood was unnecessarily antagonistic toward Muslims. Two months later, Pope Francis declared the martyrs as saints — and studiously avoided any mention of Islam during his canonization remarks.

That didn’t stop some members of the Italian press — including the editors of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Il Giornale — from announcing that the “victims of Islam” had been granted sainthood.

To Daniele Palma, a trained astrophysicist who went on to pursue a career in machine logic and computer programming, the story of the martyrs of Otranto defied common sense. For years, Palma had been conducting research on local history, with a particular interest in the war with the Turks.

“Turkey dominated half of Europe leaving everyone to their own religion,” he explained, in Italian, over coffee in his home in Calimera last month.

Ottoman leaders, moreover, were not prone to ceremoniously killing captives selling them into slavery was much more lucrative. This begged the question: what really happened to the martyrs of Otranto?

Allies begin invasion of Gallipoli

On April 25, 1915, a week after Anglo-French naval attacks on the Dardanelles end in dismal failure, the Allies launch a large-scale land invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula, the Turkish-controlled land mass bordering the northern side of the Dardanelles.

In January 1915, two months after Turkey entered World War I on the side of the Central Powers, Russia appealed to Britain to defend it against attacks by the Ottoman army in the Caucasus. Lord Kitchener, Britain’s secretary of state for war, told Churchill, first lord of the Admiralty, that no troops were available to help the Russians and that the only place where they could demonstrate their support was at the Dardanelles, to prevent Ottoman troops from moving east to the Caucasus. First Sea Lord John Fisher advocated a joint army-navy attack.

The naval attack of March 18, 1915, was a disaster, as undetected Turkish mines sank half of the joint Anglo-French fleet sent against the Dardanelles. After this failure, the Allied command switched its focus to a landing of army troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula, with the objective of securing the Dardanelles so that the Allied fleet could pass safely through and reconnoiter with the Russians in the Black Sea.

On April 25, British, French, Australian and New Zealander troops landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula. The Turkish forces were well prepared to meet them, however, as they had long been aware of the likelihood of just such an invasion. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) was devastated by some of the best-trained Turkish defenders, led by Mustafa Kemal, the future President Ataturk of Turkey. Meanwhile, the British and French also met fierce resistance at their landing sites and suffered two-thirds casualties at some locations. During the next three months, the Allies made only slight gains off their landing sites and sustained terrible casualties.


Byzantine Empire Edit

After striking a blow to the weakened Byzantine Empire in 1356 (or in 1358 - disputable due to a change in the Byzantine calendar), (see Süleyman Pasha) which provided it with Gallipoli as a basis for operations in Europe, the Ottoman Empire started its westward expansion into the European continent in the middle of the 14th century.

Bulgarian Empire Edit

In the latter half of the 14th century, the Ottoman Empire proceeded to advance north and west in the Balkans, completely subordinating Thrace and much of Macedonia after the Battle of Maritsa in 1371. Sofia fell in 1382, followed by the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire Tarnovgrad in 1393, and the northwest remnants of the state after the Battle of Nicopolis in 1396.

Serbian Empire Edit

A significant opponent of the Ottomans, the young Serbian Empire, was worn down by a series of campaigns, notably in the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, in which the leaders of both armies were killed, and which gained a central role in Serbian folklore as an epic battle and as the beginning of the end for medieval Serbia. Much of Serbia fell to the Ottomans by 1459, the Kingdom of Hungary made a partial reconquest in 1480, but it fell again by 1499. Territories of Serbian Empire were divided between Ottoman Empire, the Republic of Venice and the Kingdom of Hungary, with remaining territories being in some sort of a vassal status towards Hungary, until its own conquest.

The defeat in 1456 at the siege of Nándorfehérvár (Belgrade) held up Ottoman expansion into Catholic Europe for 70 years, though for one year (1480–1481) the Italian port of Otranto was taken, and in 1493 the Ottoman army successfully raided Croatia and Styria. [6]

Wars in Albania and Italy Edit

The Ottomans took much of Albania in the 1385 Battle of Savra. The 1444 League of Lezhë briefly restored one part of Albania, until Ottomans captured complete territory of Albania after capture of Shkodër in 1479 and Durrës in 1501.

The Ottomans faced the fiercest resistance from Albanians who gathered around their leader, Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg, son of a feudal Albanian Nobleman, Gjon Kastrioti who also fought against the Ottomans in the Albanian revolt of 1432–1436 led by Gjergj Arianiti. Skanderbeg managed to fend off Ottoman attacks for more than 25 years, culminating at the siege of Shkodra in 1478–79. It has been argued that Albanian resilience halted the Ottoman advance along the Eastern flank of the Western Civilization, saving the Italian peninsula from Ottoman conquest. During this period, many Albanian victories were achieved like the Battle of Torvioll, Battle of Otonetë, siege of Krujë, Battle of Polog, Battle of Ohrid, Battle of Mokra, Battle of Oranik 1456 and many other battles, culminating in the Battle of Albulena in 1457 where the Albanian Army under Skanderbeg won a decisive victory over the Ottomans. In 1465 Ballaban's Campaign against Skanderbeg took place. Its goal was to crush the Albanian Resistance, but it was not successful and it ended in an Albanian victory. With the death of Skanderbeg on the 17th of January 1468, the Albanian Resistance began to fall. After the death of Skanderbeg, the Albanian Resistance was led by Lekë Dukagjini from 1468 until 1479, but it didn't have the same success as before. Merely two years after the collapse of the Albanian resistance in 1479, Sultan Mehmet II launched an Italian campaign, which failed thanks to Christian recapture of Otranto and Sultan's death in 1481.

Conquest of Bosnia Edit

The Ottoman Empire first reached Bosnia in 1388 where they were defeated by Bosnian forces in the Battle of Bileća and then were forced to retreat. [7] After the fall of Serbia in 1389 Battle of Kosovo, where the Bosnians participated through Vlatko Vuković, the Turks began various offensives against the Kingdom of Bosnia. The Bosnians defended themselves but without much success. The Bosnians resisted strongly in the Bosnian Royal castle of Jajce (the siege of Jajce), where the last Bosnian king Stjepan Tomašević tried to repel the Turks. The Ottoman army conquered Jajce after a few months in 1463 and executed the last King of Bosnia, ending Medieval Bosnia. [8] [9] [b]

The House of Kosača held Herzegovina until 1482. It took another four decades for the Ottomans to defeat the Hungarian garrison at Jajce Fortress in 1527. Bihać and the westernmost areas of Bosnia were finally conquered by the Ottomans in 1592. [8] [9]

Croatia Edit

After the fall of the Kingdom of Bosnia into Ottoman hands in 1463, the southern and central parts of the Kingdom of Croatia remained unprotected, the defense of which was left to Croatian gentry who kept smaller troops in the fortified border areas at their own expense. The Ottomans meanwhile reached the river Neretva and, having conquered Herzegovina (Rama) in 1482, they encroached upon Croatia, skillfully avoiding the fortified border towns. A decisive Ottoman victory at the Battle of Krbava Field shook all of Croatia. However, it did not dissuade the Croats from making persistent attempts at defending themselves against the attacks of the superior Ottoman forces. After almost two hundred years of Croatian resistance against the Ottoman Empire, victory in the Battle of Sisak marked the end of Ottoman rule and the Hundred Years' Croatian–Ottoman War. The Viceroy's army, chasing the fleeing remnants at Petrinja in 1595, sealed the victory.

Conquest of central parts of Hungarian Kingdom Edit

The Kingdom of Hungary, which at the time spanned the area from Croatia in the west to Transylvania in the east, was also gravely threatened by Ottoman advances. The origins of such a deterioration can be traced back to the fall of the Árpád ruling dynasty and their subsequent replacement with the Angevin and Jagiellonian kings. After a series of inconclusive wars over the course of 176 years, the kingdom finally crumbled in the Battle of Mohács of 1526, after which most of it was either conquered or brought under Ottoman suzerainty. (The 150-year Turkish rule, as it is called in Hungary, lasted until the late 17th century but parts of the Hungarian Kingdom were under Ottoman rule from 1421 and until 1718.)

Conquest of Serbia Edit

As a result of heavy losses inflicted by the Ottomans in the Battle of Maritsa in 1371, the Serbian Empire had dissolved into several principalities. In the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, Serbian forces were again annihilated. Throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, constant struggles took place between various Serbian kingdoms and the Ottoman Empire. The turning point was the fall of Constantinople to the Turks. In 1459, following the siege, the temporary Serbian capital of Smederevo fell. Zeta was overrun by 1499. Belgrade was the last major Balkan city to endure Ottoman forces. Serbs, Hungarians, and European crusaders defeated the Turkish army in the siege of Belgrade in 1456. After repelling Ottoman attacks for over 70 years, Belgrade finally fell in 1521, along with the greater part of the Kingdom of Hungary. The rebellion of Serbian military commander Jovan Nenad between 1526 and 1528 led to the proclamation of the Second Serbian Empire in modern-day Serbian province of Vojvodina, which was among the last Serbian territories to resist the Ottomans. The Serbian Despotate fell in 1459, thus marking the two-century-long Ottoman conquest of Serbian principalities.

1463–1503: Wars with Venice Edit

The wars with the Republic of Venice began in 1463. A favorable peace treaty was signed in 1479 after the lengthy siege of Shkodra (1478–79). In 1480, now no longer hampered by the Venetian fleet, the Ottomans besieged Rhodes and captured Otranto. [10] War with Venice resumed from 1499 to 1503. In 1500, a Spanish–Venetian army commanded by Gonzalo de Córdoba took Kefalonia, temporarily stopping the Ottoman offensive on eastern Venetian territories. The offensive resumed after the Ottoman victory of Preveza (1538), fought between an Ottoman fleet commanded by Hayreddin Barbarossa and that of a Christian alliance assembled by Pope Paul III.

1462–1483: Wallachian and Moldavian campaigns Edit

In 1462, Mehmed II was driven back by Wallachian prince Vlad III Dracula in the Night Attack at Târgovişte. However, the latter was imprisoned by Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus. This caused outrage among many influential Hungarian figures and Western admirers of Vlad's success in the battle against the Ottoman Empire (and his early recognition of the threat it posed), including high-ranking members of the Vatican. Because of this, Matthias granted him the status of distinguished prisoner. Eventually, Dracula was freed in late 1475 and was sent with an army of Hungarian and Serbian soldiers to recover Bosnia from the Ottomans. There he defeated Ottoman forces for the first time. Upon this victory, Ottoman forces entered Wallachia in 1476 under the command of Mehmed II. [ clarification needed ] Vlad was killed and, according to some sources, his head was sent to Constantinople to discourage the other rebellions. (Bosnia was completely added to Ottoman lands in 1482.)

The Turkish advance was temporarily halted after Stephen the Great of Moldavia defeated the armies of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II at the Battle of Vaslui in 1475, one of the greatest defeats of the Ottoman Empire until that time. Stephen was defeated the next year at Războieni (Battle of Valea Albă), but the Ottomans had to retreat after they failed to take any significant castle (see siege of Neamț Citadel) as a plague started to spread in the Ottoman army. Stephen's search for European assistance against the Turks met with little success, even though he had "cut off the pagan's right-hand", as he put it in a letter.

1526–1566: Conquest of the Kingdom of Hungary Edit

After the Ottoman victory in the Battle of Mohács in 1526, only the southwestern part of the Kingdom of Hungary was actually conquered. [11] The Ottoman campaign continued between 1526 and 1556 with small campaigns and major summer invasions – troops would return south of the Balkan Mountains before winter. In 1529, they mounted their first major attack on the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy, attempting to conquer the city of Vienna (siege of Vienna). In 1532, another attack on Vienna with 60,000 troops in the main army was held up by the small fort (800 defenders) of Kőszeg in western Hungary, fighting a suicidal battle. [12] The invading troops were held up until winter was close and the Habsburg Empire had assembled a force of 80,000 at Vienna. The Ottoman troops returned home through Styria, laying waste to the country.

In the meantime, in 1538, the Ottoman Empire invaded Moldavia. In 1541, another campaign in Hungary took Buda and Pest (which today together form the Hungarian capital Budapest) with a largely bloodless trick: after concluding peace talks with an agreement, troops stormed the open gates of Buda in the night. In retaliation for a failed Austrian counter-attack in 1542, the conquest of the western half of central Hungary was finished in the 1543 campaign that took both the most important royal ex-capital, Székesfehérvár, and the ex-seat of the cardinal, Esztergom. However, the army of 35–40,000 men was not enough for Suleiman to mount another attack on Vienna. A temporary truce was signed between the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires in 1547, which was soon disregarded by the Habsburgs.

In the major but moderately successful campaign of 1552, two armies took the eastern part of central Hungary, pushing the borders of the Ottoman Empire to the second (inner) line of northern végvárs (border castles), which Hungary originally built as defence against an expected second Mongol invasion—hence, afterwards, borders on this front changed little. For Hungarians, the 1552 campaign was a series of tragic losses and some heroic (but pyrrhic) victories, which entered folklore—most notably the fall of Drégely (a small fort defended to the last man by just 146 men, [13] and the siege of Eger. The latter was a major végvár with more than 2,000 men, without outside help. They faced two Ottoman armies, which were surprisingly unable to take the castle within five weeks. (The fort was later taken in 1596.) Finally, the 1556 campaign secured Ottoman influence over Transylvania (which had fallen under Habsburg control for a time), while failing to gain any ground on the western front, being tied down in the second (after 1555) unsuccessful siege of the southwestern Hungarian border castle of Szigetvár.

The Ottoman Empire conducted another major war against the Habsburgs and their Hungarian territories between 1566 and 1568. The 1566 siege of Szigetvár, the third siege in which the fort was finally taken, but the aged Sultan died, deterring that year's push for Vienna.

1522–1573: Rhodes, Malta and the Holy League Edit

Ottoman forces invaded and captured the island of Rhodes in 1522, after two previous failed attempts (see Siege of Rhodes (1522)). [14] The Knights of Saint John were banished to Malta, which was in turn besieged in 1565.

After a siege of three months, the Ottoman army failed to control all of the Maltese forts. Delaying the Ottomans until bad weather conditions and the arrival of Sicilian reinforcements, made Ottoman commander Kızılahmedli Mustafa Pasha quit the siege. Around 22,000 to 48,000 Ottoman troops against 6,000 to 8,500 Maltese troops, the Ottomans failed to conquer Malta, sustaining more than 25,000 losses, [15] including one of the greatest Muslim corsair generals of the time, Dragut, and were repulsed. Had Malta fallen, Sicily and mainland Italy could have fallen under the threat of an Ottoman invasion. The victory of Malta during this event, which is nowadays known as the Great Siege of Malta, turned the tide and gave Europe hopes and motivation. It also marked the importance of the Knights of Saint John and their relevant presence in Malta to aid Christendom in its defence against the Muslim conquest.

The Ottoman naval victories of this period were in the Battle of Preveza (1538) and the Battle of Djerba (1560).

The Mediterranean campaign, which lasted from 1570 to 1573, resulted in the Ottoman conquest of Cyprus. A Holy League of Venice, the Papal States, Spain, the Knights of Saint John in Malta and initially Portugal was formed against the Ottoman Empire during this period. The League's victory in the Battle of Lepanto (1571) briefly ended Ottoman predominance at sea.

1570–1571: Conquest of Cyprus Edit

In the summer of 1570, the Turks struck again, but this time with a full-scale invasion rather than a raid. About 60,000 troops, including cavalry and artillery, under the command of Lala Mustafa Pasha landed unopposed near Limassol on July 2, 1570, and laid siege to Nicosia. In an orgy of victory on the day that the city fell—September 9, every public building and palace was looted. Word of the superior Ottoman numbers spread, and a few days later Mustafa took Kyrenia without having to fire a shot. Famagusta, however, resisted and put up a defense that lasted from September 1570 until August 1571.

The fall of Famagusta marked the beginning of the Ottoman period in Cyprus. Two months later, the naval forces of the Holy League, composed mainly of Venetian, Spanish, and Papal ships under the command of Don John of Austria, defeated the Ottoman fleet at the Battle of Lepanto in one of the decisive battles of world history. The victory over the Turks, however, came too late to help Cyprus, and the island remained under Ottoman rule for the next three centuries.

In 1570, the Ottoman Empire first conquered Cyprus, and Lala Mustafa Pasha became the first Ottoman governor of Cyprus, challenging the claims of Venice. Simultaneously, the Pope formed a coalition between the Papal States, Malta, Spain, Venice and several other Italian states, with no real result. In 1573 the Venetians left, removing the influence of the Roman Catholic Church.

1593–1669: Austria, Venice and Wallachia Edit

    (15-year war with Austria, 1593–1606) ends with status quo. campaign against the Ottoman Empire (1593–1601)
  • War with Venice 1645–1669 and the conquest of Crete (see Cretan War (1645–1669)). : failed Ottoman attempt to defeat and invade Austria.

1620–1621: Poland-Lithuania Edit

Wars fought over Moldavia. The Polish army advanced into Moldavia and was defeated in the Battle of Ţuţora. The Next year, the Poles repelled the Turkish invasion in the Battle of Khotyn. Another conflict started in 1633 but was soon settled.

1657–1683 Conclusion of wars with Habsburgs Edit

Transylvania, the Eastern part of the former Hungarian Kingdom, gained semi-independence in 1526, while paying tribute to the Ottoman Empire. In 1657, Transylvania felt strong enough to attack the Tatars to the East (then the Empire's vassals), and later the Ottoman Empire itself, which had come to the Tatars' defence. The war lasted until 1662, ending in defeat for the Hungarians. The Western part of the Hungarian Kingdom (Partium) was annexed and placed under direct Ottoman control. At the same time, there was another campaign against Austria between 1663 and 1664. Despite being defeated in the Battle of Saint Gotthard on 1 August 1664 by Raimondo Montecuccoli, the Ottomans secured recognition of their conquest of Nové Zámky in the Peace of Vasvár with Austria, marking the greatest territorial extent of Ottoman rule in the former Hungarian Kingdom. [16]

1672–1676: Poland-Lithuania Edit

The Polish–Ottoman War (1672–1676) ended with the Treaty of Żurawno, in which the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth ceded control of most of its Ukrainian territories to the empire.

1683–1699: Great Turkish War – Loss of Hungary and the Morea Edit

The Great Turkish War started in 1683, with a grand invasion force of 140,000 men [17] marching on Vienna, supported by Protestant Hungarian noblemen rebelling against Habsburg rule. To stop the invasion, another Holy League was formed, composed of Austria and Poland (notably in the Battle of Vienna), Venetians and the Russian Empire, Vienna had been besieged by the Ottoman Empire for two months. The battle marked the first time the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Holy Roman Empire had cooperated militarily against the Ottomans, and it is often seen as a turning point in history, after which "the Ottoman Turks ceased to be a menace to the Christian world". [18] [c] In the ensuing war that lasted until 1699, the Ottomans lost almost all of Hungary to the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I. [18]

After winning the Battle of Vienna, the Holy League gained the upper hand and reconquered Hungary (Buda and Pest were retaken in 1686, the former under the command of a Swiss-born convert to Islam). At the same time, the Venetians launched an expedition into Greece, which conquered the Peloponnese. During the 1687 Venetian attack on the city of Athens (conquered by the Ottomans), the Ottomans turned the ancient Parthenon into an ammunitions storehouse. A Venetian mortar hit the Parthenon, detonating the Ottoman gunpowder stored inside, partially destroying it. [19] [20]

The war ended with the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699. Prince Eugene of Savoy first distinguished himself in 1683 and remained the most important Austrian commander until 1718. [21] [22]

18th century Edit

The second Russo-Turkish War took place 1710–1711 near Prut. It was instigated by Charles XII of Sweden after the defeat at the Battle of Poltava, in order to tie down Russia with the Ottoman Empire and gain some breathing space in the increasingly unsuccessful Great Northern War. The Russians were severely beaten but not annihilated, and after the Treaty of Prut was signed the Ottoman Empire disengaged, allowing Russia to refocus its energies on the defeat of Sweden.

The Ottoman–Venetian War started in 1714. It overlapped with the Austro-Turkish War (1716–1718), in which Austria conquered the remaining areas of the former Hungarian Kingdom, ending with the Treaty of Passarowitz in 1718.

Another war with Russia started in 1735. The Austrians joined in 1737 the war ended in 1739 with the Treaty of Belgrade (with Austria) and the Treaty of Niš (with Russia).

The fourth Russo-Turkish War started in 1768 and ended in 1774 with the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca.

Another war with Russia started in 1787 and a concurrent war with Austria followed in 1788 the Austrian war ended with the 1791 Treaty of Sistova, and the Russian war ended with the 1792 Treaty of Jassy.

An invasion of Egypt and Syria by Napoleon I of France took place in 1798–99, but ended due to British intervention.

Napoleon's capture of Malta on his way to Egypt resulted in the unusual alliance of Russia and the Ottomans resulting in a joint naval expedition to the Ionian Islands. Their successful capture of these islands led to the setting up of the Septinsular Republic.

19th century Edit

The First Serbian Uprising took place in 1804, followed by the Second Serbian Uprising in 1815 Serbia was fully liberated by 1867. Officially recognized independence followed in 1878.

The sixth Russo-Turkish War began in 1806 and ended in May 1812, just 13 days before Napoleon's invasion of Russia.

The Greek War of Independence, taking place from 1821 to 1832, in which the Great Powers intervened from 1827, including Russia (seventh Russo-Turkish war, 1828–1829), achieved independence for Greece the Treaty of Adrianople ended the war.

The decline of the Ottoman Empire included the following conflicts.

Bosnian rebellions 1831–1836, 1836–1837, 1841.

Albanian rebellions 1820–1822, 1830–1835, 1847.

War with Montenegro 1852–1853.

Eight Russo-Turkish war 1853–1856, Crimean War, in which the United Kingdom and France joined the war on the side of the Ottoman Empire. Ended with the Treaty of Paris.

Second war with Montenegro in 1858–1859.

War with Montenegro, Bosnia and Serbia in 1862.

The ninth and final Russo-Turkish War started in 1877, the same year the Ottomans withdrew from the Constantinople Conference. Romania then declared its independence and waged war on Turkey, joined by Serbians and Bulgarians and finally the Russians (see also History of Russia (1855–92)). Austria occupied Bosnia in 1878. The Russians and the Ottomans signed the Treaty of San Stefano in early 1878. After deliberations at the Congress of Berlin, which was attended by all the Great Powers of the time, the Treaty of Berlin (1878) recognized several territorial changes.

Eastern Rumelia was granted some autonomy in 1878, but then rebelled and joined Bulgaria in 1885. Thessaly was ceded to Greece in 1881, but after Greece attacked the Ottoman Empire to help the Second Cretan Uprising in 1897, Greece was defeated in Thessaly.

What was the reason for the Ottoman invasion of Otranto? - History

The End of Europe's Middle Ages

Although the Ottoman Empire is not considered a European kingdom per se, Ottoman expansion had a profound impact on a continent already stunned by the calamities of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and the Ottoman Turks must, therefore, be considered in any study of Europe in the late Middle Ages. The ease with which the Ottoman Empire achieved military victories led Western Europeans to fear that ongoing Ottoman success would collapse the political and social infrastructure of the West and bring about the downfall of Christendom. Such a momentous threat could not be ignored and the Europeans mounted crusades against the Ottomans in 1366, 1396, and 1444, but to no avail. The Ottomans continued to conquer new territories.

One of a number of Turkish tribes that migrated from the central Asian steppe, the Ottomans were initially a nomadic people who followed a primitive shamanistic religion. Contact with various settled peoples led to the introduction of Islam and under Islamic influence, the Turks acquired their greatest fighting tradition, that of the gazi warrior. Well trained and highly skilled, gazi warriors fought to conquer the infidel, acquiring land and riches in the process.

While the gazi warriors fought for Islam, the greatest military asset of the Ottoman Empire was the standing paid army of Christian soldiers, the janissaries. Originally created in 1330 by Orhan (d.1359), the janissaries were Christian captives from conquered territories. Educated in the Islamic faith and trained as soldiers, the janissaries were forced to provide annual tribute in the form of military service. To counter the challenges of the gazi nobility, Murad I (1319-1389) transformed the new military force into the elite personal army of the Sultan. They were rewarded for their loyalty with grants of newly acquired land and janissaries quickly rose to fill the most important administrative offices of the Ottoman Empire.

During the early history of the Ottoman Empire, political factions within Byzantium employed the Ottoman Turks and the janissaries as mercenaries in their own struggles for imperial supremacy. In the 1340's, a usurper's request for Ottoman assistance in a revolt against the emperor provided the excuse for an Ottoman invasion of Thrace on the northern frontier of the Byzantine Empire. The conquest of Thrace gave the Ottomans a foothold in Europe from which future campaigns into the Balkans and Greece were launched and Adrianople became the Ottoman capital in 1366. Over the next century, the Ottomans developed an empire that took in Anatolia and increasingly larger sections of Byzantine territories in Eastern Europe and Asia Minor.

Ottoman expansion into Europe was well underway in the late fourteenth century. Gallipoli was conquered in 1354 and at the Battle of Nicopolis in 1394, the Ottomans crushed a vast crusading army, taking many European leaders hostage. The disaster was so great that the first survivors to return to France were imprisoned as liars. But Nicopolis was only the beginning. The appearance of the Tatars under Tamarlane early in the fifteenth century temporarily delayed Turkish advances but the Ottomans soon resumed attacks on Byzantium and Eastern Europe. A Hungarian-Polish army was decimated at Varna in 1444 by Murad II (c.1403-1451) and Ottoman conquests were virtually unchecked during the reign of his son, Mehmed II the Conqueror (1432-1481).

Constantinople itself was captured in 1453, sending a shock wave across Europe. With the fall of Byzantium, a wave of Byzantine refugees fled to the Latin West, carrying with them the classical and Hellenistic knowledge that provided additional impetus to the burgeoning humanism of the Renaissance.

Athens fell in 1456 and Belgrade narrowly escaped capture when a peasant army led by the Hungarian Janos Hunyadi held off a siege in the same year. Nevertheless, Serbia, Bosnia, Wallachia, and the Khanate of Crimea were all under Ottoman control by 1478. The Turks commanded the Black Sea and the northern Aegean and many prime trade routes had been closed to European shipping. The Islamic threat loomed even larger when an Ottoman beachhead was established at Otranto in Italy in 1480. Although the Turkish presence in Italy was short-lived, it appeared as if Rome itself must soon fall into Islamic hands. In 1529, the Ottomans had moved up the Danube and besieged Vienna. The siege was unsuccessful and the Turks began to retreat. Although the Ottomans continued to instil fear well into the sixteenth century, internal struggles began to deteriorate the once overwhelming military supremacy of the Ottoman Empire. The outcome of battles was no longer a foregone conclusion and Europeans began to score victories against the Turks.

Despite military success of their territorial expansion, there remained problems of organisation and government within the Ottoman Empire. Murad II attempted to limit the influence of the nobility and the gazi by elevating faithful former slaves and janissaries to administrative positions. These administrators came to provide an alternative voice to that of the nobility and, as a result, Murad II and successive Sultans were able to play one faction against the other, a feature that came to typify the Ottoman Empire. The power of the janissaries often overrode a weak sultan and the elite military force occasionally acted as 'king-makers.'

Another weakness was that primogeniture was not used in Islam and the transference of power from a deceased sultan to his son was frequently disputed. If a Sultan died without a male heir or if he left several sons, succession was violently contested. In the early period, to prevent ongoing rivalries, all male relatives of a newly crowned Sultan were put to death. Later, however, the potential rivals were merely imprisoned for life. Some historians consider that this policy of imprisonment contributed to the decline of the Ottoman Empire as mentally unstable and politically inexperienced Sultans were rescued from prison and placed upon the throne. Nevertheless, despite frequent disputes over succession, the Ottoman Empire managed to produce effective leaders in the late Middle Ages and a comprehensive government policy developed.

Despite the difficulties of succession and administrative control, the Ottomans had a number of advantages that contributed to their success, the enormous wealth of the Empire being the most significant asset. As the Ottoman Empire expanded, it acquired control of the trade routes to the East and many European powers, such as Venice and Genoa, paid great sums for the privilege of access to these routes.

Although Ottoman expansion was greatly feared in the late Middle Ages, the Ottomans generally allowed religious groups to continue to practice their own faiths within the conquered territories. They also tended to preserve the established feudal institutions and, in many cases, permitted the co-existence of law codes to regulate the different ethnic and religious groups. Their administrative and governmental systems were well developed and highly effective and most lands under Ottoman control were well managed during this time.


On 28 July 1480 an Ottoman force commanded by Gedik Ahmed Pasha, consisting of 90 galleys, 40 galiots and other ships carrying a total of around 150 crew and 18,000 troops, landed beneath the walls of Otranto. The city strongly resisted the Ottoman assaults, but the garrison was unable to resist the bombardment for long. The garrison and all the townsfolk thus abandoned the main part of the city on 29 July, retreating into the citadel whilst the Ottomans began bombarding the neighboring houses.

According to an accounts of the story chronicled by Giovanni Laggetto and Saverio de Marco (and presented by author Ted Byfield) the Turks promised clemency if the city capitulated but were informed that Otranto would never surrender. A second Turkish messenger sent to repeat the offer "was slain with arrows and an Otranto guardsman flung the keys of the city into the sea." [5] At this the Ottoman artillery resumed the bombardment.

A messenger was dispatched to see if King Ferdinand of Naples could send assistance. As time went on "Nearly seven-eights of Otranto's militia slipped over the city walls and fled." [5] The remaining fifty soldiers fought alongside the citizenry dumping boiling oil and water on Turks trying to scale the ramparts between the cannonades. [5]

On 11 August, after a 15-day siege, Gedik Ahmed ordered the final assault, which broke through the defenses and captured the citadel. When the walls were breached the Turks began fighting their way through the town. upon reaching the cathedral "they found Archbishop Stefano Agricolo [ Stefano Pendinelli ], fully vested and crucifix in hand" awaiting them with Count Francesco Largo. "The archbishop was beheaded before the altar, his companions were sawn in half, and their accompanying priests were all murdered." After desecrating the Cathedral, they gathered the women and older children to be sold into Albanian slavery. Men over fifteen years old, small children, and infants, were slain. [5]

According to some historical accounts, a total of 12,000 were killed and 5,000 enslaved, including victims from the territories of the Salentine peninsula around the city. [6]

Eight hundred able-bodied men were told to convert to Islam or be slain. A tailor named Antonio Primaldi is said to have proclaimed "Now it is time for us to fight to save our souls for the Lord. And since he died on the cross for us, it is fitting that we should die for him." [5] To which those captives with him gave a loud cheer.

On August 14 they were led to the Hill of Minerva (later renamed the Hill of Martyrs). There they were to be executed with Primaldi to be beheaded first. After the blade decapitated him "his body allegedly remaining stubbornly and astonishing upright on its feet. Not until all had been decapitated could the aghast executioners force Primaldi's corpse to lie prone." [5] Witnessing this, one Muslim executioner (whom the chroniclers say was an Ottoman officer called Bersabei) is said to have converted on the spot and been impaled immediately by his fellows for doing so.

Between August and September 1480, King Ferdinand of Naples, with the help of his cousin Ferdinand the Catholic and the Kingdom of Sicily, tried unsuccessfully to recapture Otranto. [7] Seeing the Turks as a threat to his home Alfonso of Aragon left his battles with the Florentines to led a campaign to liberate Otranto from the Ottoman invaders beginning in August 1480. [8] The city was finally retaken in the spring of 1481 by Alfonso's troops supported by King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary's forces. The skulls of the martyrs were placed in a reliquary in the city's cathedral. [5]

How did the Fall of Constantinople change Italy?

The Fall of Constantinople was the end of an era for Europe. The end of the Byzantine Empire was both a blessing and a curse for Renaissance Italy. There was a flood of refugees from Constantinople, and many scholars found sanctuary in the various Italian city-states. These brought with them knowledge of the Ancient classics and precious manuscripts that allowed the humanists better to understand philosophers and other writers from the ancient world. This helped to change the direction of humanist thought, and it began to focus on metaphysical speculation and concepts such as virtue.

The Fall of the Byzantine world's capital raised the threat level posed by the Ottomans to Italy. For several decades after the capture of Constantinople, the Italian states lived in the shadow of the Ottomans. The end of the Byzantine Empire was a catastrophe for Venice and Genoa. The loss of trade and the Turkish Sultans' persistent attacks led to the decline of both city-states. The Fall of Constantinople for Genoa led to a crisis that severely weakened the Republic. In Venice's case, it led to a relative decline period as the city had to fight regular costly wars with the Turks.

Watch the video: OTTOMAN INVASION OF OTRANTO: EVERY DAY (June 2022).


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