Posts Tagged ‘Istanbul’


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BAYAZID I (1317-1403) Turkey
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Nicknamed Yildirim, the Thunderbolt, for the speed with which he marched and overran the countries reminiscent of blitzkrieg of Hitler, he was the sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1389 to 1402. He ascended to the throne following the assassination of his father Murad I and immediately had his younger brother strangled to prevent him from staging a coup.

In revenge for his father’s death by stealth in the Battle of Kosovo, Beyazid massacred his Serb prisoners. Nevertheless, he was able to conclude a treaty with the Serb leader, Stephen Bulcovic, and granted Serbia considerable autonomy. In 1391 he laid siege to Constantinople. The call of a Crusade by the Byzantine emperor John V Palaeologus did not succeed. In 1396, the Battle of Nicopolis went against the Christian allies, under the leadership of the Hungarian King and Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund. The siege of Constantinople lasted until 1398 and could end it only by paying heavy tribute to the sultan. However he was unable to take the city as the threat of Timurlane became very real.

In 1400, the Mongol warlord Timur Lenk had succeeded in rousing the local kingdoms that had been conquered by the Turks to join him in his attack on Beyazid. In the fateful Battle of Ankara, on July 20, 1402, Beyazid was captured by Timur and taken to Samarkhand. Contrary to popular belief he was treated with leniency. One year later, Beyazid died — some accounts claim that he committed suicide.
Postscript:Fall of Constantinople(1453)

After Timur’s death in 1405 in the ensuing confusion, the Ottoman Empire could quickly recover under Murad II’s son, Mehmed II, known as Fatih, or “the Conqueror.” He was determined not only to restore the Ottoman Empire to its pre-Timurid glory, but to build on it as well. Crucial to this was to conquer Constantinople, the Byzantine capital, once and for all. The siege of Constantinople began on April 6, 1453, with 50,000 Ottoman troops facing off against only 8,500 Byzantine troops. Since their introduction to firearms 30 years earlier, the Ottomans had drastically improved their artillery, and city walls, although the strongest of the Middle Ages, were no match for their cannons.

On May 29, 1453, after 54 days of battle, Sultan Mehmed II entered Constantinople and prayed at Hagia Sophia, which was built by the Emperor Constantine. He then ordered it turned into a mosque, and renamed the city Islambol – “Islam abounds” – or Istanbul. With the capital firmly in Ottoman hands, the rest of the Byzantine Empire quickly crumbled.

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