Battle of Lepanto (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: The Battle of Lepanto brings the forces of the Holy League and the Turkish fleet together in a major naval confrontation that marks the last great galley battle fought between Mediterranean Christendom and Islam.
Summary of Event
The protracted conflict between Christians and Muslims resulted in one of the greatest sea engagements in fifteen centuries, the Battle of Lepanto.
The Turks captured Constantinople in 1453 and destroyed Byzantium. Egypt, Mesopotamia, North Africa, much of the Balkans, and about two-thirds of the Mediterranean coast came under their domination. Turkish sea power was virtually unchallenged, and threatened a disunited Europe.
Philip II of Spain was conscious of his exposed coastline, his vulnerable outposts in North Africa, and his possession of Naples-Sicily. Venice traditionally had sought an accommodation with the Turks to profit from the Levant trade. Sultan Selim II’s attack on its possession of Cyprus in 1570, however, persuaded the Venetians to join Spain and the crusading Counter-Reformation pope Pius V in a Holy League. Their goal was to destroy the Turkish fleet, protect Christian Europe, defeat Islam, and drive a wedge between the European and African parts of the Turkish empire.
Don Juan of Austria, Philip’s illegitimate half brother, was chosen for the delicate task of commanding the Christian fleet, which was united in name...
(The entire section is 1427 words.)
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Battle of Lepanto (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Type of action: Sea battle in Cyprus War. Result: A decisive victory for the Christian forces.
In response to Turkish threats in the eastern Mediterranean and especially the attack on the Venetian-held island of Cyprus, a naval force was organized through the efforts of Pope Pius V. Don Juan de Austria, half brother of King Philip II of Spain, was placed in supreme command. Spain and Venice supplied most of the ships. There was also a Genoese squadron under the command of Andrea Doria and a small squadron from the Papal States commanded by Marc Antonio Colonna. The fleet consisted mostly of galleys—light fast ships propelled by oars.
The force gathered at Messina in Sicily from which it departed in the summer of 1571 to seek out and destroy the Turkish fleet. At Corfu, reconnaissance galleys were dispatched under the command of Gil de Andrade, who located the Turkish fleet in the harbor at Lepanto. Aware of the presence of a Christian fleet in the area but not knowing its size, the Turkish commander, Ali Pasha, sent a message to Sultan Selim I suggesting that it might be advisable for the...
(The entire section is 737 words.)