Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Habsburg-Persian alliance

Habsburg-Persian alliance

Ask a question about 'Habsburg-Persian alliance'
Start a new discussion about 'Habsburg-Persian alliance'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
A Habsburg-Persian alliance was attempted and to a certain extent achieved in the 16th century between the Habsburg Empire and the Persian Empire
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

 in their common conflict against the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...


First contacts

During the reign of the Persian Shah Ismail, exchanges occurred between him and Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

, and Ludwig II of Hungary in view of combining against the Turks. Charles, then king of Spain as Charles I, sent an envoy to propose an alliance to the Shah of Persia between 1516 and 1519. Also in 1516, Ludwig II sent a Maronite friar by the name of Petrus de Monte Libano
Petrus de Monte Libano
Petrus de Monte Libano was a Maronite friar from Syria who was sent in 1516 by Ludwig II of Hungary to the Persian court of the Safavid Empire to negotiate a Habsburg-Persian alliance against the Ottoman Empire....

 with the same mission.

The response to these letters has not been preserved, but in 1523 Shah Ismail sent a letter in Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 offering to Charles V to coordinate military operations against the common Ottoman enemy, again using Petrus of Monte Libano as an emissary. The envoys visited Charles V in Burgos
Burgos is a city of northern Spain, historic capital of Castile. It is situated at the edge of the central plateau, with about 178,966 inhabitants in the city proper and another 20,000 in its suburbs. It is the capital of the province of Burgos, in the autonomous community of Castile and León...

 in March 1524 "to ask for an alliance against the Turks". Nothing concrete however seems to have come out of these first exchanges. Charles accepted the alliance in principle, but the death of Shah Ismail in 1524 effectively invalidated the agreement.

Ottoman-Safavid war

Finally, on 18 February 1529, Charles V, deeply alarmed by the Ottoman progression towards Vienna
Siege of Vienna
The Siege of Vienna in 1529 was the first attempt by the Ottoman Empire, led by Suleiman the Magnificent, to capture the city of Vienna, Austria. The siege signalled the pinnacle of the Ottoman Empire's power, the maximum extent of Ottoman expansion in central Europe, and was the result of a...

, again sent a letter from Toledo
Toledo, Spain
Toledo's Alcázar became renowned in the 19th and 20th centuries as a military academy. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 its garrison was famously besieged by Republican forces.-Economy:...

 to Shah Ismail, who had died in 1524 and had been replaced by Shah Tahmasp
Tahmasp I
Tahmasp or Tahmasb I was an influential Shah of Iran, who enjoyed the longest reign of any member of the Safavid dynasty...

, pleading for a military diversion. His ambassador to the Shah was the knight of Saint John de Balbi, and an alliance was made with the objective of making an attack on the Ottoman Empire in the west and the east within the following year. Tahmasp also responded by expressing his "friendship" to the Emperor. A decision was thus taken to attack the Ottoman Empire on both fronts, but Balbi took more than one year to return to the Persian Empire, and by that time the situation had changed in Persia, as Persia was forced to make peace with the Ottoman Empire because of an insurrection of the Shaybanid Uzbeks
The Uzbeks are a Turkic ethnic group in Central Asia. They comprise the majority population of Uzbekistan, and large populations can also be found in Afghanistan, Tajikstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Pakistan, Mongolia and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China...


About the same time, envoys were also sent to Persia by King
King of the Romans
King of the Romans was the title used by the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire following his election to the office by the princes of the Kingdom of Germany...

Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Ferdinand I was Holy Roman Emperor from 1558 and king of Bohemia and Hungary from 1526 until his death. Before his accession, he ruled the Austrian hereditary lands of the Habsburgs in the name of his elder brother, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.The key events during his reign were the contest...

, in the person of Pietro da Negro and Simon de Lillis, without success. Other legations were sent in 1532 and 1533. These exchanges were effectively followed however by the long Ottoman-Safavid War (1532–1555). From that time, as soon as the Ottomans would launch a European campaign, they would be attacked by the Persian on their eastern frontier, forcing Suleiman to return speedily to his capital.

Meanwhile, King Francis I of France
Francis I of France
Francis I was King of France from 1515 until his death. During his reign, huge cultural changes took place in France and he has been called France's original Renaissance monarch...

, enemy of the Habsburgs, and Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman I was the tenth and longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1520 to his death in 1566. He is known in the West as Suleiman the Magnificent and in the East, as "The Lawgiver" , for his complete reconstruction of the Ottoman legal system...

 were moving forward with a Franco-Ottoman alliance
Franco-Ottoman alliance
The Franco-Ottoman alliance, also Franco-Turkish alliance, was an alliance established in 1536 between the king of France Francis I and the Turkish ruler of the Ottoman Empire Suleiman the Magnificent. The alliance has been called "the first non-ideological diplomatic alliance of its kind between a...

, formalized in 1536, that would counter-balance the Habsburg threat. In 1547, when Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman I was the tenth and longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1520 to his death in 1566. He is known in the West as Suleiman the Magnificent and in the East, as "The Lawgiver" , for his complete reconstruction of the Ottoman legal system...

 attacked Persia, France sent him the ambassador Gabriel de Luetz
Gabriel de Luetz
Gabriel de Luetz, Baron et Seigneur d'Aramon et de Vallabregues , often also abbreviated to Gabriel d'Aramon, was the French Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1546 to 1553, in the service first of Francis I, who dispatched him to the Ottoman Empire, and then of the French king Henry II...

 to accompany him in his campaign. Gabriel de Luetz was able to give decisive military advice to Suleiman, as when he advised on artillery placement during the Siege of Vān
Siege of Vān
The Siege of Vān occurred in 1547 when Suleiman the Magnificent attacked Persia in his second campaign of the Ottoman-Safavid War ....


Further attempts

The Persians effectively entered into conflict with the Ottoman Empire on five occasions in the Ottoman–Persian Wars
Ottoman–Persian Wars
Below is the list of wars between the Ottoman Empire and Persia in the 16th–19th centuries. The Ottomans consolidated their control of what is today Turkey in the 15th century, and gradually came into conflict with the emerging Persian state, led by Ismail I of the Safavid dynasty...

, weakening the Ottoman Empire considerably every time, and effectively opening a second front when the Ottoman Empire was in conflict in Europe, to the rejoicing of Habsburg Europe. It was a great relief for the Habsburgs, and appeared as the realization of the old Habsburg-Persian alliance stratagem.
After a period of trouble in Persia, contacts between Austria and Persia were resumed in 1593 when Emperor Rudolf II sent from Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

 a message to Shah ʿAbbās through the Persian minister in Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

. Further efforts towards an alliance were also undertaken by the English adventurer Anthony Sherley acting as intermediary. Numerous similar diplomatic efforts to combine against the Ottomans would continue into the 17th century, especially with the Persian embassy to Europe (1599–1602)
Persian embassy to Europe (1599–1602)
The Persian embassy to Europe was dispatched by the Persian Shah Abbas I in 1599 to obtain an alliance against the Ottoman Empire. The Persians had then been at war with the Ottoman Empire for more than a century, and so decided to try to obtain European help against the Ottomans...

 and the Persian embassy to Europe (1609–1615)
Persian embassy to Europe (1609–1615)
The Persian embassy to Europe was dispatched by the Persian Shah Abbas I in 1609 to obtain an alliance with Europe against the Ottoman Empire. The embassy was led by the Englishman Robert Shirley.-Background:...