Friday, August 15, 2014

Austro-Turkish War (1537–1547)

Austro-Turkish War (1537–1547)

PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: Austria vs. Ottoman Turks




OUTCOME: After suffering many defeats, Austria was
allowed to retain its portion of Hungary in exchange
for tribute payment.

Austria, 24,000; Ottoman numbers unknown

CASUALTIES: Austria, 20,000 killed; Ottoman losses

TREATIES: Treaty of Adrianople, 1547

Following the truce that ended the AUSTRO-TURKISH WAR
(1529–1533), two incidents provoked the Ottoman sultan
Süleyman I the Magnificent (1496–1566) to start a new
war against the Austrians at Vienna. In 1537 a force of
24,000 Austrians and Bohemians attacked the Ottoman
fortress at Essek; they were repulsed. In that same year the
Ottoman governor of Moldavia was suspected of conspiring
with Vienna, which prompted Süleyman to occupy
Moldavia the following year and install a new governor. To
head off war John Zápolya (1487–1540), king of Ottoman
Hungary, concluded a pact with Austria’s archduke Ferdinand
(1503–1564), agreeing that each would retain what
he presently controlled until Zápolya’s death. If Zápolya
died childless (at the time of the pact, he was as yet
unmarried), his lands would devolve upon Ferdinand.
Unfortunately, John Zápolya did not secure Süleyman’s
consent to the pact. With great optimism, the Hungarian
monarch married in 1539 but died the following
year, though not before fathering a son, John II Sigismund
(1540–71). Despite the infant heir, Ferdinand laid claim to
Zápolya’s lands and marched against the Hungarian capital
of Buda.
Süleyman learned of the pact belatedly but mobilized
quickly, sending a force to hold Buda in 1541. The neighboring
city of Pest fell to him at this time as well. Although
victorious, Süleyman sought a negotiated settlement. He
demanded the return of territories seized after the death of
Zápolya, but he offered payment for Austrian Hungary.
Ferdinand made the mistake of failing to respond decisively,
and Süleyman took the delay as a sign of weakness.
He invaded from Belgrade during April–September 1543
and made quick work of the chain of Austrian fortresses
defending the route to Buda. This persuaded Ferdinand to
respond favorably to Süleyman’s original terms. For his
part, Süleyman was now pressed by the demands of the
ongoing TURKO-PERSIAN WAR (1526–1555) and was therefore
eager to settle with the Austrian archduke. A truce was
called in 1545 followed two years later by the Treaty of
Adrianople, by which it was Ferdinand who retained Austrian
Hungary in return for a tribute paid to the Ottomans.
The treaty specified a five-year peace; however, this was
broken by the outbreak in 1551 of the AUSTRO-TURKISH
WAR (1551–1553).

Further reading: Rhoads Murphey, Ottoman Warfare:
1500–1700 (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University
Press, 1999); V. J. Parry and M. J. Kitch, Hapsburg and
Ottoman Empires (London: Sussex Publications, 1982).

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