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Ottoman Empire in the Balkans Part 2

During the reign of Bayazid II who was the son of Mehmed II, the Turkish mainly concentrated on the west. Hercegovina is occupied in and the Venetians were driven out of Albania in 1501.
During the reign of Bayazid's son, Selim I, the focus shifted to the east where Ismail I, founder of the new Safavid dynasty in Persia, posed a major threat.
After defeating the Persians in 1514, Selim embarked on a rather bold undertaking. He invaded the extensive territories of the Egyptian Mamelukes. By 1517 he achieved a resounding victory by bringing Syria, Palestine, Arabia and Egypt under Ottoman control.

Selim was succeeded in 1520, by his son Suleiman I who became the Sultan. Turkish interest in the west was regained. In 1521 Suleiman captured Belgrade while in 1526 he defeated the Hungarians at Mohacs. Further, in 1529 he even besieged Vienna, though that was ended on an unsuccessful note.

In 1534-5 Suleiman turned east to engage in a rapid campaign firstly by dislodging the Persians from Mesopotamia and subsequently capturing the city of Baghdad. In 1541-3 he returned back to the west. He conquered the ancient fortress and town of Buda and made it the capital of the Ottoman province in central Hungary which lasted for more than a century.

In the later part of the 16th century, Turkish campaigns led to substantial peace treaties on both frontiers.
On similar lines, a campaign in the west resulted in peace with Habsburg Austria in 1606. By this time the Balkan region from Budapest down to the coast at Dubrovnik, were either under Turkish control or were paying annual dues to Istanbul as vassal states.

During the 17th and 18th centuries there were repeated adjustments in the Balkan frontiers between the Turks and the neighboring Austrian empire to the west.

The extreme point of Turkish expansion reached with the siege of Vienna in 1683. Once Vienna was relieved, the Austrians gradually recovered the whole of Hungary during the next four decades. Further east, in Serbia, the variability of the situation can be observed from Belgrade. The city was taken by the Austrians for three separate periods that is between1688-90, 1718-39 as well as between 1789-91 and was lost to the Turks for each of these three times.

Amply clear was the interest in the Balkans by the other great neighboring powers. Like Russia's push towards the Black Sea involved the two principalities lying north of the Danube, just outside the Balkans which were Wallachia and Moldavia together known as the Danubian principalities.

The principalities, wholly or partly were occupied by Russian armies on several occasions during the frequent wars between Russia and Turkey in the 18th century. However, each time, the Turkish rule was restored back. Soon, throughout the Balkans, there were signs of a new nationalist demand for independence which was first seen in Serbia in 1804.

Around 1809, Turkey was distracted by yet another war with Russia. However, peace was arrived in 1812, leaving Turkey free to focus attention on her own backyard. Belgrade was conquered in October 1813. The second uprising began in 1814. The result of Milosh Obrenovich's leadership resulted in a dual win with both Turkish and international recognition for an autonomous Serbia. The state was to remain within the Ottoman Empire but would enjoy Russian protection.

The war fought by Serbia against Turkey in 1876-8 extended the national borders and resulted in the full independence. However, it also represented a setback in the campaign to lead the southern Slavs, as the same war brought Bosnia-Hercegovina under Austrian control.

The early part of the 19th century witnessed several schemes by Greek aristocrats raise an insurrection for the liberation of Greece. These chaotic beginnings were a typical sign of the warfare which followed over the next few years in which neither side could gain a lasting advantage.

The 19th century, however, observed a downslide of the Ottoman Empire which paved way to what was popularly known as 'The Eastern Question.' This question pertained to the danger created by the weakness of the Ottoman Empire as the Sultans in Istanbul were unable prove their control over the vast empire assembled by their predecessors. Thus, the rule of Ottoman Empire in the Balkan region can be characterized as one involving a lot of twists and turns before finally leading to its complete disintegration.

This site covers all areas Ottoman Empire History Facts. Besides the popular Ottoman topics like rise and fall, leaders, society, economy, Inventions, Religion, it also covers several other areas like comparison with other empires.

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