Ottoman-Habsburg wars
The Ottoman–Habsburg wars refers to the military conflicts between 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...

 and the Habsburg dynasties of the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

, Habsburg Spain
Habsburg Spain
Habsburg Spain refers to the history of Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries , when Spain was ruled by the major branch of the Habsburg dynasty...

 and in certain times, the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 and the Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

. The war would be dominated by land campaigns
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 in Hungary and present day Croatia. Initially, Ottoman conquests in Europe
Ottoman wars in Europe
The wars of the Ottoman Empire in Europe are also sometimes referred to as the Ottoman Wars or as Turkish Wars, particularly in older, European texts.- Rise :...

 made significant gains with a decisive victory at Mohács
Battle of Mohács
The Battle of Mohács was fought on August 29, 1526 near Mohács, Hungary. In the battle, forces of the Kingdom of Hungary led by King Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia were defeated by forces of the Ottoman Empire led by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent....

 reducing around one third (central) part of Kingdom of Hungary to the status of an Ottoman tributary
Vassal and tributary states of the Ottoman Empire
Vassal States were a number of tributary or vassal states, usually on the periphery of the Ottoman Empire under suzerainty of the Porte, over which direct control was not established, for various reasons.-Functions:...


By the 16th century, the Ottomans had become a serious threat to Europe, with Ottoman Barbary ships sweeping away Venetian possessions in the Aegean and Ionia
Ionia is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements...

. The Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, the France-Habsburg rivalry
France-Habsburg rivalry
The term France–Habsburg rivalry describes the rivalry between the House of Habsburg, rulers of the Holy Roman Empire as well as Spain, and the kingdom of France, lasting from 1516 until 1756....

 and the numerous civil conflicts of the Holy Roman Empire served as distractions. Meanwhile the Ottomans had to contend with the Persian Safavid Empire and to a lesser extent the Mameluke Sultanate, which was defeated and fully incorporated into the empire.

Later, the Peace of Westphalia
Peace of Westphalia
The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October of 1648 in Osnabrück and Münster. These treaties ended the Thirty Years' War in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the...

 and the Spanish War of Succession in the 17th and 18th centuries respectively left the Austrian Empire as the sole firm possession of the House of Habsburg. By then, however, European advances in guns and military tactics outweighed the skill and resources of the Ottomans and their elite Janissaries, thus ensuring the Habsburgs to retake Hungary. The Great Turkish War
Great Turkish War
The Great Turkish War refers to a series of conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and contemporary European powers, then joined into a Holy League, during the second half of the 17th century.-1667–1683:...

 ended with three decisive Holy League victories at 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...

, Mohács and Zenta
Battle of Zenta
The Battle of Zenta or Battle of Senta, fought on 11 September 1697 just south of Zenta , on the east side of the Tisza river, was a major engagement in the Great Turkish War and one of the most decisive defeats in Ottoman history...

. The wars came to an end when the Austrian Empire and the Ottoman Empire signed an alliance with the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 prior to World War I. Following their defeat in that war, both Empires were dissolved and both Houses continue to claim the title of Caesar.


Main article in Byzantine-Ottoman wars
Byzantine-Ottoman wars
The Byzantine–Ottoman Wars were a series of decisive conflicts between the Ottoman Turks and the Byzantine that led to the final destruction of the Byzantine Empire and the rise of the Ottoman Empire....

 and Ottoman–Hungarian Wars

The origins of the wars are clouded by the fact that although the Habsburgs were occasionally the Kings of Hungary and Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire (though almost always that of the Holy Roman Empire after the 15th century), the wars between the Hungarians and the Ottomans included other Dynasties as well. Naturally, the Ottoman Wars in Europe
Ottoman wars in Europe
The wars of the Ottoman Empire in Europe are also sometimes referred to as the Ottoman Wars or as Turkish Wars, particularly in older, European texts.- Rise :...

 attracted support from the West, where the advancing and powerful Islamic state was seen as a threat to Christendom in Europe. The Crusades of Nicopolis and of Varna
Crusade of Varna
The Crusade of Varna was a string of events in 1443–44 between the Kingdom of Hungary, the Serbian Despotate, the Principality of Wallachia and the Ottoman Empire...

 marked the most determined attempts by Europe to halt the Turkic advance into Central Europe and the Balkans.

For a while the Ottomans were too busy trying to put down Balkan rebels such as Vlad Dracula. However, the defeat of these and other rebellious vassal states opened up Central Europe to Ottoman invasion. The Kingdom of Hungary now bordered the Ottoman Empire and its vassals.

After King Louis II of Hungary was killed at the Battle of Mohács
Battle of Mohács
The Battle of Mohács was fought on August 29, 1526 near Mohács, Hungary. In the battle, forces of the Kingdom of Hungary led by King Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia were defeated by forces of the Ottoman Empire led by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent....

, his widow Queen Mary fled to her brother the Archduke of Austria, Ferdinand I
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...

. Ferdinand's claim to the throne of Hungary was further strengthened by the fact that he had married Anne, the sister of King Louis II and the only family member claimant to the throne of the shattered Kingdom. Consequently Ferdinand I was elected King of Bohemia and at the Diet of Pozsony he and his wife were elected King and Queen of Hungary. This clashed with the Turkish objective of placing the puppet John Szapolyai on the throne, thus setting the stage for a conflict between the two powers.

Habsburg advance

Ferdinand I attacked Hungary, a state severely weakened by civil conflict, in 1527, in an attempt to drive out John Szapolyai and enforce his authority there. John was unable to prevent Ferdinand's campaigning which saw the capture of Buda and several other key settlements along the Danube. Despite this, the Ottoman Sultan was slow to react and only came to the aid of his vassal when he launched a huge army of about 120,000 men on 10 May 1529.

Siege of Vienna

The Ottoman Sultan, 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...

, easily wrestled from Ferdinand most of the gains he had achieved in the previous two years - to the disappointment of Ferdinand I, only the fortress of Bratislava
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia and, with a population of about 431,000, also the country's largest city. Bratislava is in southwestern Slovakia on both banks of the Danube River. Bordering Austria and Hungary, it is the only national capital that borders two independent countries.Bratislava...

 resisted. Considering the size of Suleiman's army and the devastation wrought upon Hungary in the previous few years it is not surprising that the will to resist one of the world's powerful states was lacking in many of the recently garrisoned Habsburg settlements.

The Sultan arrived at Vienna on 27 September the same year. Ferdinand's army was some 16,000 strong - he was outnumbered roughly 7 to 1 and the walls of Vienna were an invitation to Ottoman cannon (6 ft thick along some parts). Nonetheless, Ferdinand defended Vienna with great vigour. By October 12, after much mining and counter-mining an Ottoman war council was called and on October 14 the Ottomans abandoned the siege. The retreat of the Ottoman army was hampered by the resistance of Bratislava which once more bombarded the Ottomans. Early snowfall made matters worse and it would be another three years before Suleiman could campaign in Hungary.

Little War

After the defeat at Vienna, the Ottoman Sultan had to turn his attention to other parts of his impressive domain. Taking advantage of this absence, Archduke Ferdinand launched an offensive in 1530, recapturing Gran and other forts. An assault on Buda was only thwarted by the presence of Ottoman Turkish soldiers.
Much like the previous Austrian offensive, the return of the Ottomans forced the Habsburgs in Austria to go on the defensive once more. In 1532 Suleiman sent a massive Ottoman army to take Vienna. However, the army took a different route to Koszeg. After a defence by a mere 700-strong Croatian force, the defenders accepted an "honorable" surrender of the fortress in return for their safety. After this, the Sultan withdrew content with his success and recognizing the limited Austrian gains in Hungary, whilst at the same time forcing Ferdinand to recognize John Szapolyai as King of Hungary.

Whilst the peace between the Austrians and the Ottomans would last for nine years, John Szapolyai and Ferdinand found it convenient to continue skirmishes along their respective borders. In 1537 Ferdinand broke the peace treaty by sending his ablest generals to a disastrous siege of Osijek which saw another Ottoman triumph. Even so, by the Treaty of Nagyvárad
Treaty of Nagyvárad
The Treaty of Grosswardein or Treaty of Nagyvárad was a secret peace agreement between Ferdinand I of the Holy Roman Empire and the John Zápolya signed in Grosswardein / Várad on February 24, 1538. In the treaty the medieval Kingdom of Hungary was divided by them...

, Ferdinand was recognized as the heir of the Kingdom of Hungary.
The death of John Szapolyai in 1540 saw Ferdinand's inheritance robbed; it was instead given to John's son John II Sigismund. Attempting to enforce the treaty, the Austrians advanced on Buda where they experienced another defeat by Suleiman; the elderly Austrian General Rogendorf proved to be incompetent. Suleiman then finished off the remaining Austrian troops and proceeded to de facto annex Hungary. By the time a peace treaty was enforced in 1551, Habsburg Hungary had been reduced to little more than border land. However, at Eger the Austrians achieved a stunning victory, thanks in part to the efforts of the civilians present.

After the seizure of Buda
For detailed information see: History of Buda CastleBuda is the western part of the Hungarian capital Budapest on the west bank of the Danube. The name Buda takes its name from the name of Bleda the Hun ruler, whose name is also Buda in Hungarian.Buda comprises about one-third of Budapest's...

 by the Turks in 1541, the West and North Hungary recognized a Habsburg as king ("Royal Hungary
Royal Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary between 1538 and 1867 was part of the lands of the Habsburg Monarchy, while outside the Holy Roman Empire.After Battle of Mohács, the country was ruled by two crowned kings . They divided the kingdom in 1538...

"), while the central and southern counties were occupied by the Sultan ("Ottoman Hungary
Ottoman Hungary
History of Ottoman Hungary refers to the history of parts of the Ottoman Empire situated in what today is Hungary, in the period from 1541 to 1699.-History:...

") and the east became the Principality of Transylvania.

The Little war saw wasted opportunities on both sides; Austrian attempts to increase their influence in Hungary were just as unsuccessful as the Ottoman drives to Vienna. Nonetheless, there were no illusions as to the status quo; the Ottoman Empire was still a very powerful and dangerous threat. Even so, the Austrians would go on the offensive again, their generals building a bloody reputation for so much loss of life. Costly battles like those fought at Buda and Osijek were to be avoided, but not absent in the upcoming conflicts. In any case Habsburg interests were split 3-way between fighting for a devastated European land under Islamic control, trying to stop the gradual decentralization of Imperial authority in Germany, and Spain's ambitions in North Africa, the Low Countries
Dutch Revolt
The Dutch Revolt or the Revolt of the Netherlands This article adopts 1568 as the starting date of the war, as this was the year of the first battles between armies. However, since there is a long period of Protestant vs...

 and against the French
Italian Wars
The Italian Wars, often referred to as the Great Italian Wars or the Great Wars of Italy and sometimes as the Habsburg–Valois Wars, were a series of conflicts from 1494 to 1559 that involved, at various times, most of the city-states of Italy, the Papal States, most of the major states of Western...

. Having said this, the Ottomans, whilst hanging on to their supreme power, could not expand upon it as much as they did in the days of Mehmet and Bayezid. Whilst the nadir of the Empire had yet to come, its stagnation would be characterized by the same campaigning that led to little real expansion. To the east lay further wars against their Shi'ite opponents, the Safavids.

Suleiman the Magnificent led one last final campaign in 1566, ending at the Siege of Szigetvar. The Siege was meant to be only a temporary stop before taking on Vienna. However, the fortress withstood against the Sultan's armies. Eventually the Sultan, already an old man at 72 years (ironically campaigning to restore his health), died. The Royal Physician was strangled to prevent news from reaching the troops and the unaware Ottomans took the fort, ending the campaign shortly afterward without making a move against Vienna.


Meanwhile, the Ottoman Empire rapidly began displacing her Christian opponents at Sea. In the 14th century, the Ottomans had only a small navy. By the 15th century, hundreds of ships were in the Ottoman arsenal taking on Constantinople and challenging the naval powers of the Italian Republics of Venice and Genoa. In 1480, the Ottomans unsuccessfully laid siege to Rhodes Island, the stronghold of the Knights of St. John. When the Ottomans returned in 1522, they were more successful and the Christian powers lost a crucial naval base.

In retaliation, 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...

 led a massive Holy League of 60,000 soldiers against the Ottoman supported city of Tunis. After Hayreddin Barbarossa's fleet was defeated by a Genoan one, Charles put 30,000 of the city's residents to the sword. Afterwards, the Spanish placed a friendlier Muslim leader in power. The campaign was not an unmitigated success; many Holy League soldiers succumbed to dysentery, only natural for such a large overseas army. Furthermore, much of Barbarossa's fleet was not present in North Africa and the Ottomans won a victory against the Holy League in 1538 at the Battle of Preveza
Battle of Preveza
The naval Battle of Preveza took place on 28 September 1538 near Preveza in northwestern Greece between an Ottoman fleet and that of a Christian alliance assembled by Pope Paul III.-Background:...


Siege of Malta

Despite the loss of Rhodes, Cyprus, an island further from Europe than Rhodes, remained Venetian. When the Knights of St. John moved to Malta, the Ottomans found that their victory at Rhodes only displaced the problem; Ottoman ships came under frequent attacks by the Knights, as they attempted to stop Ottoman expansion to the West. Not to be outdone, Ottoman ships struck many parts of southern Europe and around Italy, as part of their wider war with France against the Habsburgs (See Italian Wars
Italian Wars
The Italian Wars, often referred to as the Great Italian Wars or the Great Wars of Italy and sometimes as the Habsburg–Valois Wars, were a series of conflicts from 1494 to 1559 that involved, at various times, most of the city-states of Italy, the Papal States, most of the major states of Western...

). The situation finally came to a head when Suleiman, the victor at Rhodes in 1522 and at Djerba
Battle of Djerba
The naval Battle of Djerba took place in May 1560 near the island of Djerba, Tunisia in which the Ottomans under Piyale Pasha's command overwhelmed a large joint European fleet, chiefly Spanish forces, sinking half its ships.-Background:...

 decided in 1565 to destroy the Knight's base at Malta. The presence of the Ottoman fleet so close to the Papacy alarmed the Spanish, who began assembling first a small expeditionary force (that arrived in time for the siege) and then a larger fleet to relieve the Island. The ultra-modern star shaped fort of St Elmo was taken only with heavy casualties; the rest of the island was too much. Even so, Barbary piracy continued and the victory at Malta had no effect on Ottoman military strength in the Mediterranean.

Cyprus & Lepanto

The death of Suleiman the Magnificent in 1566 brought Selim II
Selim II
Selim II Sarkhosh Hashoink , also known as "Selim the Sot " or "Selim the Drunkard"; and as "Sarı Selim" or "Selim the Blond", was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1566 until his death in 1574.-Early years:He was born in Constantinople a son of Suleiman the...

 to power. Known by some as "Selim the Sot", he assembled a massive expedition to take Cyprus from the Venetians, an Island far closer to Ottoman-controlled Middle East then to Venice. The other military option that Selim opted out of was to assist the Moorish rebellion that had been instigated by the Spanish crown to root out disloyal Moors. Had Suleiman succeeded in landing in the Iberian peninsula, he may have been cut off, for after he had captured Cyprus in 1571 he suffered a decisive naval defeat at Lepanto. The Holy League, assembled by the Pope to defend the Island arrived too late to save it (despite 11 months of resistance at Famagusta) but having collected so much of Europe's available military strength, sought to inflict a blow on the Ottomans, which with better supplied ammunition and armor, they did. The chance to retake Cyprus was wasted in the typical squabbling the followed the victory, so that when the Venetians signed a peace treaty with the Ottomans in 1573 they did so according to Ottoman terms.

Thirteen Years War 1593–1606

After Suleiman' death in 1566, Selim II posed less of a threat to Europe. Though Cyprus was captured at long last, the Ottomans failed against the Habsburgs at sea (see above Battle of Lepanto). Selim died not too long after, leaving his son Murad III. A hedonist and a total womanizer, Murad spent more time at his Harem than at the war front. Under such deteriorating circumstances, the Empire found itself at war with the Austrians yet again. In the early stages of the war, the military situation for the Ottomans worsened as the Principalities of Wallachia, Moldova and Transylvania each had new rulers who renounced their vassalship to the Ottomans. At the Battle of Sisak
Battle of Sisak
The Battle of Sisak was fought on June 22, 1593, between Ottoman forces of the Bosnian governor-general, or Beylerbeyi, Hasan-paša Predojević, and forces of the Holy Roman Empire under the supreme command of the Styrian general Ruprecht von Eggenberg...

, a group of Ghazis sent to raid the insubordinate lands in Croatia were thoroughly defeated by tough Imperial troops fresh from savage fighting in the Low countries. In response to this defeat, the Grand Vizier launched a large army of 13,000 Janissaries plus numerous European levies against the Christians. When the Janissaries rebelled against the Vizier's demands for a winter campaign, the Ottomans had captured little other than Veszprém.

1594 saw a more fruitful Ottoman response. An even larger army was assembled by the Grand Vizier Sinan Pasha. In the face of this threat, the Austrians abandoned a siege of Gran, a fortress that had fallen in Suleiman's career and then lost Raab. For the Austrians, their only comfort in the year came when the fortress of Komarno held out long enough against the Vizier's forces to retreat for the winter.

Despite the previous years' success, situation for the Ottomans worsened yet again in 1595. A Christian coalition of the former vassal states along with Austrian troops recaptured Gran and marched southward down the Danube. Michael the Brave, the prince of Wallachia
Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians...

 started a campaign against the Turks (1594–1595), conquering several castles near the Lower-Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

, including Giurgiu
Giurgiu is the capital city of Giurgiu County, Romania, in the Greater Wallachia. It is situated amid mud-flats and marshes on the left bank of the Danube facing the Bulgarian city of Rousse on the opposite bank. Three small islands face the city, and a larger one shelters its port, Smarda...

, Brăila
Brăila is a city in Muntenia, eastern Romania, a port on the Danube and the capital of Brăila County, in the close vicinity of Galaţi.According to the 2002 Romanian census there were 216,292 people living within the city of Brăila, making it the 10th most populous city in Romania.-History:A...

, Hârşova
Hârşova is a town located on the right bank of the Danube, in Constanţa County, Romania, with a population of 11,000.The village of Vadu Oii is administered by the town...

, and Silistra
Silistra is a port city of northeastern Bulgaria, lying on the southern bank of the lower Danube at the country's border with Romania. Silistra is the administrative centre of Silistra Province and one of the important cities of the historical region of Southern Dobrudzha...

, while his Moldavian allies defeated the Turks in Iaşi
Iași is the second most populous city and a municipality in Romania. Located in the historical Moldavia region, Iași has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Romanian social, cultural, academic and artistic life...

 and other parts of Moldavia
Moldavia is a geographic and historical region and former principality in Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester river...

. Michael continued his attacks deep within the Ottoman Empire, taking the forts of Nicopolis
Nikopol, Bulgaria
Nikopol is a town in northern Bulgaria, the administrative center of Nikopol municipality, part of Pleven Province, on the right bank of the Danube river, 4 km downstream from the mouth of the Osam river. It spreads at the foot of steep chalk cliffs along the Danube and up a narrow valley...

, Ribnic, and Chilia  and even reaching as far as Adrianople. At one point his forces reached Edirne
Edirne is a city in Eastern Thrace, the northwestern part of Turkey, close to the borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Edirne served as the capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1365 to 1453, before Constantinople became the empire's new capital. At present, Edirne is the capital of the Edirne...

, the former Ottoman capital city; no Christian army had set foot in the region since the days of the Byzantine Empire under the Palaiologoi.
Following the defeat of the Ottoman army in Wallachia
Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians...

 (see the Battle of Călugăreni
Battle of Calugareni
The Battle of Călugăreni was one of the most important battles in the history of medieval Romania. It took place on 23 August 1595 between the Wallachian army led by Michael the Brave and the Ottoman army led by Sinan Pasha...

) and the series of unsuccessful confrontations with the Habsburgs (culminating in the devastating siege and fall of Ottoman-held Esztergom
Esztergom , is a city in northern Hungary, 46 km north-west of the capital Budapest. It lies in Komárom-Esztergom county, on the right bank of the river Danube, which forms the border with Slovakia there....

), alarmed by the success and proximity of the threat, the new Sultan Mehmed III strangled his 19 brothers to seize power and personally marched his army to the north west of Hungary to counter his enemies' moves. In 1596 Eger fell to the Ottomans
Siege of Eger (1596)
The Ottomans launched a siege of Eger as part of the Long War, conquering it in 1596. The 7,000 defenders of the fortress, mostly foreign mercenaries, capitulated to the Ottoman forces commanded by the Sultan Mehmed III himself....

. At the decisive Battle of Keresztes
Battle of Keresztes
The Battle of Keresztes took place on 24–26 October 1596. The battle was fought between a combined Habsburg-Transylvanian force and the Ottoman Empire near the village of Mezőkeresztes in northern Hungary. The battle ended with a victory by the Ottoman Empire...

, a slow Austrian response was wiped out by the Ottomans. Mehmet III's inexperience in ruling showed when he failed to reward the Janissaries for their efforts in battle; rather he punished them for not fighting well enough and thereby incited a rebellion.

Keresztes was a bloodbath for the Christian armies - thus it is surprising to note that the Austrians renewed the war against their enemies in the summer of 1597 with a drive southward, taking Pápa, Tata, Raab (Győr) and Veszprém. Further Habsburg victories were achieved when a Turkish relief force was defeated at Grosswardein (Nagyvárad). Enraged by these defeats, the Turks replied with a more energetic response so that by 1605, after much wasted Austrian relief efforts and failed sieges on both sides, only Raab remained in the hands of the Austrians. In that year a pro-Turkish vassal prince was elected leader of Transylvania by the Hungarian nobles and the war came to a conclusion with the Peace of Zsitva-Torok.

Conquest of Crete

The Knights of Malta, emboldened by declining Turkish offensive power, began attacking Turkish ships in the Mediterranean. The Turks retaliated by besieging Candia
Siege of Candia
The Siege of Candia was a military conflict in which Ottoman forces besieged the Venetian-ruled city and were ultimately victorious. Lasting from 1648 to 1669, it was the longest siege in history.-Background:...

 on Crete in 1648. The Venetians were left to defend their last major Aegean island alone, as Austria was still recovering from the devastation of the Thirty Years War and Spain remained defiant against the French.

Since the darker days for Venice of the 16th century, the Venetian fleet was a more potent force, defeating the Turks in their attempts to take the Island. So long as the Venetians had naval supremacy, the Ottomans could do little on land at Crete, and the blockade established by the Italian city state at the Dardanelles was more than a serious humiliation. Within 10 years the Spanish had signed a peace treaty with the French in 1659 and war with Austria resumed in the later 1660s. With the war going slow and the Austrians, Spanish and Venetians operating with the initiative, the Grand Vizier seized power in the name of the Sultan and conducted a far more rigorous effort. Though beaten by the Austrians, the Ottomans concluded a favorable peace in 1664 and the Venetians were finally defeated at sea, ending the embarrassing blockade at the Dardanelles, so close to the Ottoman Capital. The Island fell after many years of siege, thanks to the skillful resources of the Grand Vizier, his organization of an army misused for many years and the French attacks on Austria, which forced her to postpone any offensives into Hungary.

Great Turkish War

In 1663, the Ottomans launched a disastrous invasion of Austria, ending at the Battle of St Gotthard. The battle was won by the Christians, chiefly through the
attack of 6,000 French troops led by La Feuillade and Coligny. The Austrians were unable to follow up on this victory due to the intervention of French forces in the Rhine; in such circumstances the Protestant allies of the Catholic Habsburgs would have proven unreliable, wanting instead to have the Austrians and themselves fight the French in a German coalition. The Ottomans therefore turned their attention north again against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. By now, the Kingdom had fallen into a terrible state; the Sejm had divided loyalties and the treasury was bankrupt. It is therefore noteworthy that Jan III Sobieski of the Poles led a decisive victory against the Ottomans at the Second battle of Khotyn
Battle of Khotyn (1673)
Battle of Khotyn on 11 November 1673 was a battle where Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth forces under hetman Jan Sobieski defeated Ottoman Empire forces under Hussain Pasha...


Restless, the Ottomans were to have another chance in 1682, when the Grand Vizier marched a massive army into Hungary and to Vienna in response to Habsburg raids into Ottoman controlled Hungary.

Siege of Vienna

In 1683, after 15 months of mobilizing forces, the Grand Vizier reached Vienna to find the city well defended and prepared. Worst of all for the Vizier were the numerous alliances established by the Austrians, including one with Jan Sobieski. When the siege of Vienna began in 1683, the Polish King and his coalition of Germans and Poles arrived just as the city's defense became untenable. In a decisive battle, the Ottomans were defeated and the siege lifted.

Holy League Counter

In 1687, the Ottomans repaired their armies and marched north once more. However, Duke Charles intercepted the Turks at the Second Battle of Mohács and avenged the loss inflicted on the last Hungarian King over 160 years ago by Suleiman the Magnificent. Pressing southward, the Ottomans continued to resist the Austrians, denying them an opportunity to negotiate from a position of strength. Only when the Ottomans suffered yet another disastrous battle at the crossing at Zenta
Battle of Zenta
The Battle of Zenta or Battle of Senta, fought on 11 September 1697 just south of Zenta , on the east side of the Tisza river, was a major engagement in the Great Turkish War and one of the most decisive defeats in Ottoman history...

 in 1697 did the Ottomans sue for peace; the resulting treaty of Karlowitz in 1699 secured vast amounts of the Balkans, including Hungary, for the Austrians.
Throughout Europe, both Protestants and Catholics hailed Prince Eugene of Savoy as "the savior of Christendom" - English volunteers, including a son of Prince Rupert (nephew of Charles I of England) and Protestants from as far as Scotland fought in the Prince's army. For the Ottomans, the years between 1683 and 1702 were a sad time; 12 Grand Viziers were deposed in 19 years - the legacy of what was at one time under Köprülü Mehmed Pasha
Köprülü Mehmed Pasha
Köprülü Mehmed Pasha , was the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire from 1656 until his death. He was the first leader and founder of the Albanian Köprülü noble dynasty/family.- Life :He was recruited as a part of the devshirmeh system and was trained in the palace school...

 the most powerful position of one of the most powerful Empire in the world.

18th Century wars

Although the Great Turkish War
Great Turkish War
The Great Turkish War refers to a series of conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and contemporary European powers, then joined into a Holy League, during the second half of the 17th century.-1667–1683:...

 was a disaster for the Ottomans, from which they were unable to recover, the Habsburgs were soon drawn into another destructive European War against the French, their traditional rivals. The King of Spain was childless and approaching death. The two most powerful claimants to the Spanish throne were the Austrian branch of the Habsburgs and the French Bourbon dynasty (the latter being the closest claimant). The Protestant powers of England (later Great Britain after 1707) and the Netherlands were concerned with the consequences of either Catholic power seizing all the lands. When the Bourbons decided to inherit the entire Empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 without partitioning it with the Austrians, war broke out lasting until 1714. By the time the war had ended, Eugene's reputation in battle had risen further with victories such as those at Blenheim
Battle of Blenheim
The Battle of Blenheim , fought on 13 August 1704, was a major battle of the War of the Spanish Succession. Louis XIV of France sought to knock Emperor Leopold out of the war by seizing Vienna, the Habsburg capital, and gain a favourable peace settlement...

. Nonetheless, the Bourbons had succeeded in de facto annexing Spain to their territories by placing a member of the Bourbon lineage on the Spanish throne. Even so, the Italian provinces of the Spanish crown passed to the Austrians, and the Catholic portions of the Low countries - rather than passing to the Dutch who coveted them, or to the French who desired them as part of their expansion of their borders, returned to Imperial control once more.

With the war over, Eugene turned his attention south again. Another victory was added to his record in 1716 at the battle of Petrovaradin
Battle of Petrovaradin
The Battle of Petrovaradin or Battle of Peterwardein was a decisive victory for Austrian forces in the war between Austria and the Ottoman Empire , at Petrovaradin, now part of Novi Sad, Vojvodina, in Serbia.-History:...

, a stunning victory in which the cunning Prince saved his army from defeat at the hands of larger force and disease. However, Austria failed to produce a military commander worthy enough to succeed him. In the absence of such a talented leader, the Ottomans won a surprising victory against their Christian opponents at the Battle of Grocka
Battle of Grocka
The Battle of Grocka, also known as Battle of Krotzka, was fought between Austria and the Ottoman Empire on July 21–22, 1739, in Grocka, Belgrade. The Turks were victorious and took the city of Belgrade. The battle was part of the Ottoman-Habsburg wars.-Battle:The Austrians had direct orders from...

 in 1739. Drunken, outnumbered and in a disorderly fashion, the Ottomans had forced the overconfident Austrians to surrender. It was a shameful defeat, one of many in Empress Maria's reign, for which she was able to discipline her incompetent generals.

The Austro-Turkish War (1787–1791) was inconclusive, ending with the Treaty of Sistova
Treaty of Sistova
The Treaty of Sistova ended the Austro-Turkish War between the Ottoman Empire and Austria. It was signed in Sistova in present-day Bulgaria on August 4, 1791....


19th Century

For the next 100 years, the Austrians and the Ottomans both began to slowly lose their power to the French, British, Prussians and Russians. The key problem faced by both Empires was the rise of the new industrial era
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

. New industries in Germany, France and Britain produced massive quantities of manufactured goods that aided in war and diplomacy. Both the British and the French had colonial empires that fueled their economies with raw materials, whilst the Germans found what they needed in the Ruhr valley. Although the Russians had no such colonial empire, they did have vast amounts of territory and manpower. Both the Ottomans and the Austrians lacked the heavy industry of their other European counterparts, but the Ottomans were further behind than the Austrians. Thus, Ottoman power decayed faster than Austrian power. In the Balkans, the increasingly prevalent nationalistic
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 cries for independence became a bigger problem for the more militarily incompetent Ottomans. After 1867, the Austrians compromised with the Hungarians to form Austro-Hungary, thus preventing a major ethnic group from rebelling in the shorter term. The same benefits could not be had with the Ottomans. Efforts to catch up with European technology led officers and intellectuals to study abroad—a plan that backfired for the Ottomans when these individuals brought back European ideas of Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 and egalitarianism
Egalitarianism is a trend of thought that favors equality of some sort among moral agents, whether persons or animals. Emphasis is placed upon the fact that equality contains the idea of equity of quality...

. These ideas subsequently clashed with the traditional Turkish-dominated, autocratic, millet system of the Ottomans. Therefore, Ottoman power collapsed more rapidly than Austrian power, and they were powerless to stop Bosnia from being occupied in 1878 (officially annexed in 1908). Had it not been for the Western powers of Britain, France and Prussia, the Ottomans would have faced more defeats against the Austrians and their newer enemies, the Russians.

World War I

Relations between Austria and the Ottomans began to improve when they saw a common threat in Russia and a common ally in Germany in countering the threat of the Tsar. The Ottomans had hoped the Germans would industrialize their nation to defend itself against the Russians, who had taken the "anti-Turk crusade" to a more committed level, driving the Turks out of the Crimea and Caucasus. Meanwhile the German Empire of Prussia appealed to the Austrians through a common culture, language and the lenient terms imposed after the Austro-Prussian War
Austro-Prussian War
The Austro-Prussian War was a war fought in 1866 between the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its German allies on one side and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies and Italy on the...

. The Austrians were in no hurry to see Russia advance at the cost of the Ottomans towards their borders. Thus, in the years before World War 1, the two former enemies found themselves allies against the French, the Russians and the British. Both powers proved to be incapable of arming their troops with enough firepower and feeding their populations under blockade. In 1918, the Austro-Hungarian Empire surrendered to partition under the Treaty of Saint-Germain
Treaty of Saint-Germain
The Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, was signed on 10 September 1919 by the victorious Allies of World War I on the one hand and by the new Republic of Austria on the other...

, as did the Ottomans under the Treaty of Sèvres
Treaty of Sèvres
The Treaty of Sèvres was the peace treaty between the Ottoman Empire and Allies at the end of World War I. The Treaty of Versailles was signed with Germany before this treaty to annul the German concessions including the economic rights and enterprises. Also, France, Great Britain and Italy...


See also

  • Ottoman wars in Europe
    Ottoman wars in Europe
    The wars of the Ottoman Empire in Europe are also sometimes referred to as the Ottoman Wars or as Turkish Wars, particularly in older, European texts.- Rise :...

  • Ottoman Navy
    Ottoman Navy
    The Ottoman Navy was established in the early 14th century. During its long existence it was involved in many conflicts; refer to list of Ottoman sieges and landings and list of Admirals in the Ottoman Empire for a brief chronology.- Pre-Ottoman:...

  • List of Ottoman sieges and landings
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