9GREAT ISLAMIC BATTLES OF HISTORY FROM HISTORYARTE BY DR. LEVALLOIS
STUDY GUIDE FOR ISLAMIC EMPIRES
The Battle of Ankara or Battle of Angora, fought on 20th July 1402 (10th Dhul-Hijjah 804), took place at the field of Çubuk (near Ankara) between the forces of the Ottoman sultan Bayezid I and the Turko-Mongol forces of Timur, ruler of the Timurid Empire. The battle was a major victory for Timur, and resulted in the annexation of the Ottoman Empire at that time. However the Timurid Empire went into terminal decline following Timur's death just three years after the battle, while the Ottoman Empire made a full recovery, and continued to increase in power for another two to three centuries. The battle is significant in Ottoman history as being the only time a Sultan has been captured in person, He was caged until he committed suicide by banging his head against his cage. His aide de camp princess Zuleika Lazarevic had been captured, skinned alive and killed before Bayezid´s eyes by orders of Timur.
The Battle of Chaldiran or Chaldoran occurred on 23 August 1514 and ended with a victory for the Ottoman Empire over the Safavid Empire . As a result, the Ottomans gained immediate control over eastern Anatolia and northern Iraq . The battle, however, was just the beginning of 41 years of destructive war between the two empires that only ended in 1555 with the Treaty of Amasya . While the Ottomans often had the upper hand, the Persians for the most part held their ground. All Safavid losses in Shia-dominated metropolitan regions of Persia, such as Azerbaijan , Luristan and Kirmanshahan , proved temporary, being recovered from the Ottomans soon after each battle. The loss of Iraq, as well as eastern Anatolia, however, became permanent.At Chaldiran , the Ottomans had a larger, better equipped army numbering 60,000 to 200,000, while the Kizilbash Turcomans numbered some 40,000 to 80,000. Shah Ismail I , who was wounded and almost captured in the battle, retired to his palace and withdrew from government administration after his wives were captured by Selim I , with at least one married off to one of Selim's statesmen. The battle is one of major historical importance because it not only negated the idea that the Murshid of the Shia -Qizilbash was infallible, but it also fully defined the Ottoman-Safavid borders and led Kurdish chiefs to assert their authority and switch their allegiance from the Safavids to the Ottomans.
The Siege of Rhodes of 1522 was the second and ultimately successful attempt by the Ottoman Empire to expel the Knights of Rhodes from their island stronghold and thereby secure Ottoman control of the Eastern Mediterranean . The first siege, in 1480 , had been unsuccessful.Great Sultan Selim Yavuz I was at the head of his troops. The siege of Rhodes ended with an Ottoman victory, albeit at high cost: as many as half of the invading force may have perished or been wounded. The conquest of Rhodes was a major step towards Ottoman control over the eastern Mediterranean and greatly eased their maritime communications between Constantinople and Cairo and the Levantine ports. Later, in 1669, from this base Turks captured Venetian Crete.
The Battle of Lepanto took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League , a coalition of southern European Catholic maritime states , decisively defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire in five hours of fighting on the northern edge of the Gulf of Corinth , off western Greece . The Ottoman forces sailing westwards from their naval station in met the Holy League forces, which had come from Messina .The victory of the Holy League prevented the Ottoman Empire expanding further along the Mediterranean side of Europe . Lepanto was the last major naval battle in the Mediterranean fought entirely between galleys and has been assigned great symbolic importance. Of course, lazy Selim II the Sot of Turkey wasn´t even there, and on the Spanish side the commander was the royal spurious son of Philip II, don Juan de Austria. Among his soldiers was the future glory of Spain, Miguel de Cervantes, future author of Don Quijote. Due to his war injuries he was unable to use one of his arms, which is why he is poetically called El Manco de Lepanto.
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of 21-year-old Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos. The siege lasted from Friday, 6 April 1453 until Tuesday, 29 May 1453 (according to the Julian calendar), when the city was conquered by the Ottomans.The capture of Constantinople (and two other Byzantine splinter territories soon thereafter) marked the end of the last remnant of the Roman Empire, an imperial state which had lasted for nearly 1,500 years. It was also a massive blow to Christendom, and the Ottomans thereafter were free to advance into Europe without an adversary to their rear. After the conquest, Mehmed made Constantinople the Ottoman Empire's new capital. Several Greek and non-Greek intellectuals fled the city before and after the siege, migrating particularly to Italy. It is argued that they helped fuel the Renaissance. Some mark the end of the Middle Ages by the fall of the city and empire. Medieval astronomers witnessed the May 1453 lunar eclipse, during which approximately two-thirds of the Moon was covered by the Earth's umbral shadow. The residual illumination the Moon during an eclipse, can often be red. This may explain why it is said a "red moon" took place during the eclipse, and was taken as an omen or prophecy of the city's transfer of power.
The Siege of Belgrade or Battle of Belgrade or Siege of Nándorfehérvár occurred from July 4 to July 22, 1456. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II was rallying his resources in order to subjugate the Kingdom of Hungary. His immediate objective was the border fort (Hungarian végvár) of the town of Belgrade (in old Hungarian Nándorfehérvár). John Hunyadi, a Hungarian nobleman and warlord, who had fought many battles against the Ottomans in the previous two decades, prepared the defense of the fortress.The siege eventually escalated into a major battle, during which Hunyadi led a sudden counterattack that overran the Ottoman camp, ultimately compelling the wounded Sultan Mehmed II to lift the siege and retreat.When Christian forces led by John Hunyadi defeated the Ottoman Turks besieging Belgrade in 1456, as of July 22, 2011, the day is marked as a national memorial day in Hungary.The meaning of this battle was significant, as it proved that the Hungarian and Serbian Christians could interfere in the expansion of the Ottoman empire by defending Hungary and prolonging it's conquest for 70 years, saving Europe and the Christian world in that time. The Pope celebrated the victory as well, and he previously ordered all Catholic kingdoms to pray for the victory of the defenders of Belgrade. However, the Hungarians paid dearly for this victory. Plague broke out in the camp, from which John Hunyadi himself died three weeks later (August 11, 1456). He was buried in the Cathedral of Gyulafehérvár (now Alba Iulia), the capital of Transylvania.e noon bell ritual that is still undertaken in Catholic and old Protestant churches to this day.
The Battle of Vienna (German: Schlacht am Kahlenberg, Polish: Bitwa pod Wiedniem or Odsiecz Wiedeńska, Turkish: İkinci Viyana Kuşatması) took place on 11 and 12 September 1683 after Vienna had been besieged by the Ottoman Empire for two months. It was a battle of the Holy Roman Empire in league with the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (Holy League) versus the Ottoman Empire and chiefdoms of the Ottoman Empire, and took place at the Kahlenberg mountain near Vienna. The battle marked the beginning of the political hegemony of the Habsburg dynasty in the Holy Roman Empire and Central Europe.
The battle was won by the combined forces of the Holy Roman Empire and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the latter being only represented by the forces of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland (the march of the Lithuanian army was delayed, as a result of which they arrived in Vienna after it was relieved. The Viennese garrison was led by Ernst Rüdiger Graf von Starhemberg, subordinate of Leopold I Habsburg, Holy Roman Emperor. The overall command was held by the commander of the Polish Crown's forces, the King of Poland, Jan III Sobieski. Viennese bakers, whho had been instrumental in keeping the Turks well watched in the wee hours of the morning, celebrated by creating the croissant, a pastry which mocks the Islamic crescent moon. The first breadpan was offered to heroic King Jan´s mount(Salvador).
The alliance fought the army of the Ottoman Empire and those of Ottoman fiefdoms commanded by Grand Vizier Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha. The siege itself began on 14 July 1683, by the Ottoman Empire army of approximately 90,000–300,000men. The besieging force was composed of 60 ortas of Janissaries (12,000 men paper strength) with an observation army of c.70,000 men watching the countryside. The decisive battle took place on 12 September, after the united relief army of approximately 84,000 men had arrived.
The Battle of Mohács was fought on 29 August 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.The Ottoman victory led to the partition of Hungary for several centuries between the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburg Monarchy, and the Principality of Transylvania. The death of Louis II as he fled the battle marked the end of the Jagiellon dynasty in Hungary and Bohemia, whose dynastic claims were absorbed by the Habsburgs via the marriage of Louis' sister.It has been suggested by some historians that the battle marked the turning point in the Ottoman–Habsburg wars, the 300-year struggle between the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire. However, an opposing view sees the battle as only confirming the already-decaying power of the Ottoman Empire. Over the sixteen years following the battle, the Habsburgs of Austria gradually occupied and dominated southern Hungary and Transylvania, which had been largely cleared of the Ottoman forces. The battle is also notable for including the largest cavalry charge in history.
The Siege of Szigetvár or Battle of Szigeth was a siege of the Szigeth Fortress in Baranya (near the present Hungarian/Croatian border) which blocked Suleiman's line of advance towards Vienna in 1566 AD. The battle was fought between the defending forces of the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy under the leadership of Croatian ban Nikola Šubić Zrinski (Hungarian: Zrínyi Miklós), and the invading Ottoman army under the nominal command of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (
After the Battle of Mohács in 1526, which resulted in the end of the independent Kingdom of Hungary, Ferdinand I was elected King by the nobles of both Hungary and Croatia. This was followed by a series of conflicts with the Habsburgs and their allies, fighting against the Ottoman Empire. In the Little War in Hungary both sides exhausted themselves after sustaining heavy casualties. The Ottoman campaign in Hungary ceased until the offensive against Szigetvár.
In January 1566 Suleiman went to war for the last time.The siege of Szigetvár was fought from 5 August to 8 September 1566 and, though it resulted in an Ottoman victory, there were heavy losses on both sides. Both commanders died during the battle—Zrinsky in the final charge and Suleiman in his tent from natural causes, with his stomach running loose. More than 20,000 Turks had fallen during the attacks and almost all of Zrinsky's 2,300 man garrison was killed, with most of the final 600 men killed on the last day.[ Although the battle was an Ottoman victory, it stopped the Ottoman push to Vienna that year. Vienna was not threatened again until the Battle of Vienna in 1683.
The importance of the battle was considered so great that the French clergyman and statesman Cardinal Richelieu was reported to have described it as "the battle that saved civilization." The battle is still famous in Croatia and Hungary and inspired both the Hungarian epic poem Siege of Sziget and the Croatian opera Nikola Šubić Zrinski. After the battle the Grand Vizier forged bulletins in the Sultan's name, proclaiming victory. These announced that the Sultan regretted that his current state of health prevented him from continuing with the successful campaign. His body was returned to Constantinople while the inner circle of officials pretended to keep up communication with him. Turkish sources state that the illusion was maintained for three weeks and that even the Sultan's personal physician was strangled as a precaution.It is likely that the long journey and the siege had a detrimental effect on the Sultan's health. His death meant that any advances were postponed as the Grand Vizier had to return to Constantinople for the succession of the new Sultan, Selim II. Even if Suleiman had lived his army could not have achieved much in the short time that remained between the fall of Szigeth and the onset of winter] The prolonged resistance at Szigeth delayed the Ottoman push to Vienna.Selim II, who would be a gentle, overfed, overdrunk ruler who would not even get near the Battle of Lepanto later on, ordered an 8 year truce.
There have been three Battles of Panipat:
• The First Battle of Panipat (1526), between the Mughal Babur and the Delhi Sultan Ibrahim Lodi, resulting in a Mughal victory
• The Second Battle of Panipat (1556), between the Mughal Akbar and Hemu, resulting in a Mughal victory
• The Third Battle of Panipat (1761), between the Durrani Empire and the Maratha Empire, resulting in a Durrani victory CitePrint EmailShareBattles of Panipat
• Battles of Panipat, (1526, 1556, 1761), three military engagements, important in the history of northern India , fought at Panipat , a level plain suitable for cavalry movements, about 50 miles (80 km) north of Delhi . The first battle (April 21, 1526) was between the Mughal chief Bābur , then ruler of Kabul, and Sultan Ibrāhīm Lodī of Delhi. Although the sultan’s army outnumbered the Mughals’, it was unused to the wheeling tactics of the cavalry and suffered from deep divisions. Ibrāhīm was killed, and his army was defeated. This marked the beginning of the Mughal Empire in India.
• The second battle (Nov. 5, 1556) ended in a victory for Bayram Khān, the guardian of the young Mughal emperor Akbar , over Hemu, the Hindu general of an Afghan claimant who had proclaimed himself independent. It marked the restoration of Mughal power after the expulsion of the emperor Humāyūn by the Afghan Shēr Shah of Sūr in 1540.
• The third battle (Jan. 14, 1761) ended the Maratha attempt to succeed the Mughals as rulers of India and marked the virtual end of the Mughal empire. The Maratha army, under the Bhao Sahib, uncle of the peshwa (chief minister), was trapped and destroyed by the Afghan chief Aḥmad Shah Durrānī . This began 40 years of anarchy in northwestern India and cleared the way for later British supremacy.
Siege of Chittor, Siege of Chittorgarh, In October 1567, well equipped Mughal forces of approximately 5000 men led by Akbar surrounded and besieged 8000 Hindu Rajputs in Chittorgarh Fort and within a few months Akbar's ranks expanded to over 50,000 men and possibly more than 60,000 troops during the ending phases of the siege.The Rajput began to emerge as a dominant power after the defeat of the Lodi dynasty, the Rajputs were utterly opposed to the rise of the Mughal Empire and they often supported Akbars fellow Muslim rivals including Baz Bahadur causing much tension in the region. Akbar set out on a series of campaign against the Rajputs, but in the year 1567 he fought many battles including the Battle of Thanesar, and realized that the Rajput owned Chittorgarh Fort must be eliminated mainly because it was used as a bastion for those who opposed him. The fortress of Chittor finally fell on February 1568 after a siege of four months when it stormed by the Mughal forces. Akbar himself ordered 2 "armored Elephants" and 250 Sowars to enter through two narrow breaches on the northern wall of the fort . Instead of defending the fort the highly outnumbered Rajputs inside the fort ran towards the Mughal forces with their Kitar's and were killed, Akbar then ordered the victorious Mughal forces to massacre of 30,000 inhabitants of Chittorgarh Fort.Akbar then ordered the heads of his enemies to be displayed upon towers erected throughout the region, in order to demonstrate his authorityThe Rajput resistance against the Mughal Empire began to breakdown many Rajput Maharajas and commanders surrendered their forts and founded large Jaghirs under Mughal patronage. The last efforts made by the Rajput to eliminate the Mughal Emperor Akbar ended in a devastating rout during the Battle of Haldighati in the year 1576 and its ruler Maharana Pratap Singh was forced to live in the hills for the next 21 years of his life. Pratap resumed the tactics of guerilla warfare. Using the hills as his base, Pratap harassed the large and therefore awkward Mughal forces in their encampments. He ensured that the Mughal occupying force in Mewar never knew peace: Akbar dispatched three more expeditions to ferret Pratap out of his mountainous hideouts, but they all failed.Not exactly the idea we have of Akbar as a pacifier in his later years, right?
The Battle of Karnal (February 13, 1739), was a decisive victory for Nader Shah, the emperor of the Afsharid dynasty during his invasion of India. The Shah's forces defeated the army of Muhammad Shah, the Indian emperor of the Mughal dynasty, in little more than three hours thus paving the way for the Persian sack of Delhi. The battle took place at Karnal, 110 kilometres (68 mi) north of Delhi, India.The Mughal in power was Muhammad Sha and cruel Nader Shah of the Safavids was on the other side. Nader ended up taking the Peacock Throne home with him. Mughal generals mounted on elephants became easy targets for Persian attacks whilst the Persian cavalry was swifter and out-manoeuvered the Mughals. The Mughal commander, Sa’adat Khan was taken prisoner by the Persians after his elephant was driven into Persian ranks by the out of control elephant belonging to his nephew.With the loss of Sa’adat Khan and Khan Dauran, Mughal morale plummeted, the army started to disintegrate. Mughal camp followers started to loot their own camp whilst Mughal soldiers fled the battlefield heavily pursued by the Persian cavalry who inflicted a great slaughter. The Emperor, who had remained inactive throughout the battle, was captured by the Persian army. The Peacock Throne thereafter served as a symbol of Persian imperial might. Among a trove of other fabulous jewels, Nader also gained the Koh-i-Noor ("Mountain of Light") and Darya-ye Noor ("Sea of Light") diamonds
Persian troops left Delhi at the beginning of May 1739, also taking with them thousands of elephants, horses, and camels, all loaded with the booty they had collected. The plunder seized from India was so rich that Nader stopped taxation in Iran for a period of three years following his return.Nader Shah's campaign against the Mughal Empire, caused the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud I to initiate the Ottoman-Persian War (1743-1746), in which the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah closely cooperated with the Ottomans until his death in 1748.
The Battle of Tours (October 732), also called the Battle of was fought in an area between the cities of Poitiers and Tours, in north-central France, near the village of Moussais-la-Bataille, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) northeast of Poitiers. The location of the battle was close to the border between the Frankish realm and then-independent Aquitaine. The battle pitted Frankish and Burgundian] forces under Austrasian Mayor of the Palace Charles Martel, against an army of the Umayyad Caliphate led by ‘Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi, Governor-General of al-Andalus.
The Franks were victorious. ‘Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi was killed, and Charles subsequently extended his authority in the south. Ninth-century chroniclers, who interpreted the outcome of the battle as divine judgment in his favour, gave Charles the nickname Martellus ("The Hammer"), possibly recalling Judas Maccabeus ("The Hammerer") of the Maccabean revolt.Details of the battle, including its exact location and the exact number of combatants, cannot be determined from accounts that have survived. Notably, the Frankish troops won the battle without cavalry.
Later Christian chroniclers and pre-20th century historians praised Charles Martel as the champion of Christianity, characterizing the battle as the decisive turning point in the struggle against Islam, a struggle which preserved Christianity as the religion of Europe; according to modern military historian Victor Davis Hanson, "most of the 18th and 19th century historians, like Gibbon, saw Poitiers (Tours), as a landmark battle that marked the high tide of the Muslim advance into Europe."Leopold von Ranke felt that "Poitiers was the turning point of one of the most important epochs in the history of the world."
Other modern historians, by contrast, are divided over the battle's importance, and considerable disagreement exists as to whether the victory was responsible — as Gibbon and his generation of historians claimed, and which is echoed by many modern historians — for saving Christianity and halting the conquest of Europe by Islam; however, there is little dispute that the battle helped lay the foundations of the Carolingian Empire and Frankish domination of Europe for the next century. Most historians agree that "the establishment of Frankish power in western Europe shaped that continent's destiny and the Battle of Tours confirmed that power.