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Fourth Ottoman-Venetian War (Ninety-Five Theses Map Game)

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Fourth Ottoman-Venetian War
Part of Ottoman-Venetian Wars
Battle of the combined Venetian and Dutch fleets against the Turks in the Bay of Foja 1649 (Abraham Beerstratenm, 1656)
The Venetian Armada at the Battle of Dardanelles
Date August 1526-March 1528
Location Aegean Sea
Result Ottoman victory
Territorial
changes
Turkish annexation of the Duchy of the Archipelago

Turkish domination of the Eastern Mediterranean

Belligerents
Flag of the Ottoman Empire (1517-1844) Ottoman Empire Flag of Most Serene Republic of Venice Republic of Venice
Commanders and leaders
Suleiman the Magnificent

Oruc Reis
Iskandar Asha

Poalo Sommaripa

Alberto Sommaripa✟

Strength
144 Galleys, 72 Galleons, 32 Frigates, 15,000 Azab, 250 Janissaries, 48 Howizters, eight Morters 380 Galleys, 88 Warships, 9000 Lanquenets, 56 Knights, 24 Falconets
Casualties and losses
22 Galleys, two Frigates, 700 Azab, 12 Janissaries, three Mortars 290 Galleys, 60 Warships, 6000 Lanquenets, 44 Knights, 3000 peasants/non-combatants
The Fourth Ottoman-Venetian War was a conflict between the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Venice that lasted from August 1526 until March 1528. It was the final war that ensured the Ottoman domination over the Eastern Mediterranean, damaging much of the Venetian navy, and ultimately forcing their interests to move westward. 

Background

Ever since Oruc Reis assisted to place Haryidden Barbarossa as Emir of Tunisia in 1521, he had ambitions of seeking glory further in the Mediterranean. When the War of the Parisan League broke out in May of 1525, Oruc saw his opportunity, and with the permission of Suleiman he led a massive 50,000 troops with the lofty goal of taking Sicily. After quickly overwhelming Malta in a siege that lasted until November, Oruc landed his troops in the ancient site of Selinunte, then proceeded north across the Wine Country to lay siege to Monreale in January 1526. However, in March a French emissary arrived, informing Oruc that the whole island has been claimed by King Francis of France. In a long negotiation known as the Palmero Agreement, the French monarchy allowed the Turks to keep Malta if they remained in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

It was this agreement that Iskandar, the Kapadun of the Ottoman Navy, took as the advantage to reignite conflict with Venice. After the brief Third Ottoman-Venetian War for a few months in 1520, the Turks annexed Cyrpus and Crete, but was unable to dislodge Venice from the Aegean Sea. 

Peloponesian Conflict

In the first phase of the war, Oruc's combined fleet of 130 ships blockaded the Poloponesian coastline, preventing the Venetian reinforcements of 122 ships from entering the Aegean without circumnavigating Ottoman-controlled Crete. Several sea battles at various points of the strait continued to vie back and forth between these two groups. This in turn allowed Iskandar to quickly claim control over most of the Archipelago, taking the capital at Naxos within a couple of months. Finally, out of desparation to break the blockade, the Venetians turned northwards in an egregious effort of maneuvering their fleet through the harbor of Corith. After several months of trial and error in agonizing secrecy, the Venetians managed to break through the blockade and arrive on the east side of the Peloponese. This took Oruc completely by surprise, and forced his fleet to re-maneuver to meet this new armada. As a final act of desperation, Oruc turned a number of Galleys into fire ships and sent them against the Venetian Armada, sinking dozens of ships. This completely turned the tide of the battle for the Turks, who routed the remaining ships until only a skeleton fleet could join the Sommaripas at Andros.

Battle of Dardanelles

For the bulk of the Venetian Navy of 240 ships, they initially considered attempting to retake Naxos from the Ottomans. However, after the Battle of Corith, Oruc's navy had moved in to completely secure the island, and no Venetian captain wanted to face off against another fireship. Instead, they decided on the more tactical idea of closing in on the strait of the Dardanelles, with the hope of eventually pushing on to Istanbul itself. However, Iskandar's pitiful fleet of only 120 ships had little chance against a force twice its size. Quickly assimilating an alternate strategy, Iskandar had his ships spread out far out of range of the Venetian guns, landing on the coasts on either side of the Dardanelles. Then, in a tactical effort completed in monumental time, the falconetes were removed from the ships and reattached to the coastline, hidden under underbrush. as the Venetian Armada closed in on the strait, Iskandar let fire the coastal cannons, crushing many of the Venetian ships on both sides. What ships remained were drastically outnumbered and surrounded, resulting in a crushing victory for the Turks. 

Siege of Andros

By September of 1527, the tide had completely turned at sea in favor of the Ottomans. Almost of the Archipelago had been occupied by Turkish forces, with the Venetian military withdrawn completely to the prized island of Andros. Andros was the only island directly owned by the Doge of Venice. The Sommaripa family, originally from Paros, had claimed the island since Crusino Sommaripa in 1440. Alberto Sommaripa, Poalo's brother placed in charge of the island, proved to be a great tactical leader who managed to hold off the island from either the tricks of Oruc's fire ships or Iskandar's land-based artillery. However, Alberto's fall came from within his own court. As the Andrean people were very discontent of the rule of Sommaripas, the commoners in the north of the island secretly invited the Ottomans to land, taking in 13,000 troops and siege equipment. Alberto himself was killed in the resulting battle at the city of Korthio, causing his army to fall back to the city of Andros itself. This last battle was long and brutal, causing many civilians to get killed in the process. But after this island too surrendered, the war was over. 

Legacy

SuleimanArmada

The famous "Aemada Portrait" of Suleiman the Magnificent, painted long after the fact

With the Venetian Armada destroyed, the Ottoman Empire claimed total control over the Mediterranean Sea. Suleiman the Magnificent reorganized the administration of colonies to be based more on the Venetians, changing the Stado de Mar to Dolat Al-Bahar. He also added the title of Kaputan Al-Bahar Ubiut (Captain of the White Sea) to his list of titles. Suleiman ensured after this that the Turks would take to seafaring mor seriously than in the past.

The Venetians did not official acknowledge an end to the war, but continued to be in a technical state of conflict with the Ottomans. The Doge abandoned economic policies in the Eastern Mediterranean, but instead focused on the newly-acquired territories claimed in the War of the Parisian League. This began a shift of politics in Venice towards more western economy. 

Oruc's use of fireships against the Venetians have been greatly romanticized by people in the Ottoman Empire, as such a tactic had been rarely seen before this point. However, most military experts consider Iskandar's use of artillery on land to have been the more brilliant strategy overall, especially against steeper odds. The massacre at Andros, albeit in the name of claiming liberty for the Andrians, is nonetheless a controversial episode in the war. 

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