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Today is the 450th Anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto


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On 10/8/2021 at 1:03 PM, RETAC21 said:

It was similar to Trafalgar, the short term effects were minimal, long term it's another matter

It is often forgotten that the Ottomans won that war: albeit undoubtely it was a costlier and less satisfactory win than they would have liked.

Soon forthcoming technological shift to large, cannon-armed oceangoing sail ships did more to stunt Ottoman naval power than any singular battle. Galley fleets were so operationally useful in Eastern Med that the Turks could not give them up, and they could not afford to build both a powerful galley force and a proper, bluewater ship-of-the-line fleet.

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The same happened to Venice ofc.....

I think in the larger long term schem of things it was just the focus of international trade and wealth shifting from the Mediterrean to the Atlantic/North sea and Northwestern Europe in general. No fleet policy could have changed that in the long term.

Long ranged ocean worthy trade ships just made the med. economically a backwater. (Until the new trade route openend by the Suez canal ofc, but that was just a trade route pasing trought the Med and did not put the med region back on the front seat economically)

It hurt Venice and Genua most directly (hence eg the Venetian turn from gathering wealth by trading to starting a domestic "empire" on the terra firma and a colonial one in Dalmatia and the Aegean. The Ottomans responded by centralising their state economically and socially basicaly turning inward. Their trade shifted from being the middle man in the trade with the Orient to trade with the North-Western European states and imports from these market for domestic use became much more dominant than the previous "middelman" trade.

Both the Ventian and Ottoman answers to the diminishing importance ot the med. were rahter effective in the short/mid term. Due to the small size of the Ventian "empire" this one went down first (mainly at the hands of the  Ottomans none the less) The Ottomans took much longer to desintegrate due to sheer inertia (i.e. like the Roman-Byzantine empire). The Ottoman empire pre 16th century can best be compared with the Roman principate era, post 16th century with the Roman dominate era: more focussed on surviving (altough they did still trive) with large military reforms, increasing buraucracy to keep things running etc....

The geographically more exposed Genoese had to deal with these new emerging powerhouses in the north western Europe (at first Milan, then Spain and France, later Austria) And would only survive by forging/switching alliances with these in which their impact/importance in these aliances quickly diminshed to being a spectator without much say at best.

 

 

Edited by Inhapi
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Good points those ones.

I think that, usually, the second Siege of Vienna of 1683, the one with the Winged Hussars, is considered as the beginning of the Ottoman decadence. In the 16th century the Ottomans still managed to defeat Hungary at Mohacs in 1526, and end the Hungarian reigning dynasty. Lepanto could be considered as another proof of the not invincibility of the Turk, after their defeat at the Great Siege of Malta of 1565.

Edited by sunday
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15 hours ago, Yama said:

It is often forgotten that the Ottomans won that war: albeit undoubtely it was a costlier and less satisfactory win than they would have liked.

Soon forthcoming technological shift to large, cannon-armed oceangoing sail ships did more to stunt Ottoman naval power than any singular battle. Galley fleets were so operationally useful in Eastern Med that the Turks could not give them up, and they could not afford to build both a powerful galley force and a proper, bluewater ship-of-the-line fleet.

Same as the Armada of 1588, still it's a rallying point for the winner. As inhapi points out, it was the era of exploration, which increased the wealth at the Western end of the Med and the Atlantic more than the battle itself, and of course, the Ottomans were also busy on the Persian side of the empire. Cutting the silk road through wars eventually made the Eastern Med a backwater until the Cold War.

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33 minutes ago, sunday said:

Good points those ones.

I think that, usually, the second Siege of Vienna of 1683, the one with the Winged Hussars, is considered as the beginning of the Ottoman decadence. In the 16th century the Ottomans still managed to defeat Hungary at Mohacs in 1526, and end the Hungarian reigning dynasty. Lepanto could be considered as another proof of the not invincibility of the Turk, after their defeat at the Great Siege of Malta of 1565.

The 16th century was not the beginning of Ottoman "decadence" ofc, but the transformation of the empire to one focussed on consolidation.  A large part of the economic reforms that completely transformed the empire was to make it more self-sustaining. OFC they were still a large power for a long time.

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The non existence of Suez channel did not prevented the trade, it is after all just an isthmus, so an inconvenience, but still a small distance land travel.

What assured the Oceanic trade was the Portuguese naval fleets in Indian ocean blocking the Ottomans - they were in this particular allied with Venetians - since they were defeated at sea, they resorted to land trade and encroached in Red Sea.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottoman–Portuguese_confrontations

An example:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Gulf_of_Oman

This a galleon/caravel  vs galley battle.

 

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2 hours ago, lucklucky said:

The non existence of Suez channel did not prevented the trade,

 

 

OFC it did not. I just wanted to point ou that the Suez canal geve the (eastern) med some of its importance back strategically.

I didn't mention the Portuguese essentially controlling the (northern) Indian ocean but this indeed a second factor in cutting the traditional (Byzantine)Ottoman-Venetian trade routes.

I guess the point is that even if the Ottomans had sustained trade routes to India, European nations (Portugal to start with) had now an alternative and would never accept a high "middleman" mark-up from a Middle eastern empire-nation in the trade routes.

 

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26 minutes ago, Yama said:

Another problem for the Ottomans at the end of 16th century, and right at the time of Lepanto, was that their unholy alliance with France took a significant downturn as France was embroiled in long and destructive Huguenot Wars.

That is a good point. The 16th century was really bad for France.

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4 minutes ago, Yama said:

Yes, there was at some point fairly realistic chance they'd fall for the Habsburgs.

Not really. France was too big to annex at those times, and the French campaign was a distraction for the Duke of Parma, who was beating the Dutch rebels, recovering for Spain the lands of the future Belgium in the meanwhile, and could not distract troops. He was ordered to France, defended Paris from the army of Henry IV of Navarre, fell ill, and died.

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