Ottoman-Neapolitan War : Otranto 1480-1481

A.) Prehistory of the War

The Prince of Taranto, in whose territory Otranto was located (the Principality of Taranto being part of the Kingdom of Naples), had died; his inheritance was contested.

B.) The War

On July 28th 1480 an Ottoman naval expedition commanded by Gedik Ahmed Pasha appeared off Otranto. Figures regarding the size of the Ottoman force range between 70 and 200 ships, between 18,000 and 100,000 men. For two weeks, the citadel was targetted by Ottoman cannons; on August 11th Ottoman forces conquered the citadel and massacred the garrison. Of the population of the city, estimated 20,000 before the siege, 12,000 died. The Cathedral of Otranto was used as a stable for the Ottoman horses. The surviving inhabitants of Otranto were given the option to convert to Islam; 800, who refused, were decapitated.
In October 1480, Ahmed Pasha, with the bulk of his troops, returned to Albania, leaving behind a garrison of 800 infantry and 500 cavalry to defend Otranto.
Duke Alfonso of Calabria, son of King Ferrante of Naples, commander of the Neapolitan troops, allied with the Venetians, Aragonese and Castilians, laid siege to Otranto; the city fell March 4th 1481.

La Guerra Turco-Italiana : La Battaglia di Otranto 1480, from Cronologia, in Italian
1480. Il sacco di Otranto ed il sacrificio del 800, from Otranto Vacanze, in Italian
Storia di Terra d'Otranto, from Griko, in Italian
La Cronaca della Strage di Otranto del 1480, from Japigia, in Italian
I Bastione di Otranto, from La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno, in Italian
Reyes Catolicos, from Museo Naval Madrid, in Spanish

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on March 7th 2004, last revised on November 16th 2004

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