Austro-Turkish War (1551–1553)
PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: Austria vs. Ottoman Turks (with
PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): Hungary
MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: Possession of Hungary
OUTCOME: The war was inconclusive but resulted in the
three-way division of Hungary among Austria, the Ottoman
Empire, and Transylvania, making the area a powderkeg.
APPROXIMATE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF MEN UNDER ARMS:
TREATIES: Although fighting ceased in 1553, the Treaty of
Constantinople was not concluded until 1563.
The Peace of Adrianople, which ended the AUSTRO-TURKISH
WAR (1537–1547), was slated to hold for five years. But
Austria’s signatory, Archduke Ferdinand (1503–64), broke
the treaty in 1551 because Buda, now in the hands of the
Ottomans, separated Austrian Hungary from Transylvania.
Ferdinand invaded Transylvania, laying siege to Lippa, the
Transylvanian capital. The Ottomans launched a counteroffensive.
In 1551 Ottoman amphibious forces captured
Tripoli, which had been held by the Knights of St. John.
While Ottoman and French ships raided the Mediterranean—
capturing Bastia on Corsica in 1553—Ottoman
land forces concentrated on Hungary. In 1551 three key
fortresses fell to the Ottomans, leading to the collapse of
Temesvár, which became an Ottoman province. An Ottoman
attack on the fortress city of Erlau failed in 1552,
prompting the Ottomans to sue for peace. It was a proposal
the beleaguered Austrians quickly accepted.
Both sides sought to exploit the armistice. The Ottomans
were able to turn full attention to the TURKO-PERSIAN
WAR (1526–1555), and the Austrians used the interval of
peace to attempt the consummation of the annexation of
Hungary. In the end a treaty of 1563 created the worst possible
scenario with regard to Hungary. It was trisected into
three hostile regions, one controlled by Transylvania, one
by Austria, and the third by the Ottomans. The stage was
set for a long series of wars: AUSTRO-TURKISH WAR (1566),
AUSTRO-TURKISHWAR (1591–1606), AUSTRO-TURKISHWAR
(1663–1664), AUSTRO-TURKISH WAR (1683–1699), and
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).