Habsburg-Ottoman War, 1683-1699

A.) Prehistory of the Conflict

Since 1679, much of Royal Hungary was under the control of Imre Thököly and the Kuruc rebel movement. Despite a truce concluded with Emperor Leopold in 1680, Thököly mistrusted the Emperor and in 1682 recognized Ottoman sovereignty, himself being appointed Duke of Upper Hungary (i.e. modern Slovakia and adjacent regions). The Ottoman Sultan decided the time being right for another assault on Vienna.

B) The War

B.1) The Structure of the War

The Habsburg-Ottoman War 1683-1699 was to last 16 years and go through a number of stages. Thököly's Kuruc Rebellion (1679-1686) was prelude and early stage. The Siege of Vienna (1683) was an early climax; then the Ottoman Empire had to fight three wars simultaneously - a Habsburg-Ottoman War (1683-1699; the focus of this page), a Polish-Ottoman War (1683-1699) and a Venetian-Ottoman War (1684-1699), and briefly, the Russo-Ottoman War over Azov (1696). The war began with an anti-Habsburg rebellion in Royal Hungary; Habsburg and Venetian agents attempted to stir up the Christian population of the Balkans peninsula to rebel against Ottoman rule. Montenegro, nominally Ottoman but in all practicality autonomous, sided with the Habsburgs and Venetians and repelled Ottoman incursions in 1687 and 1692. The Bulgarian Catholics of Chipovtsi rebelled in 1688, the Karposh Rebellion in Macedonia occurred in 1689; Crete rebelled against Ottoman rule in 1692,
Spain, ruled by another branch of the Habsburg family, did not directly enter the war against the Ottoman Empire, but faced Moroccan sieges of her North African enclave Melilla in 1687, 1696 and 1697. While the Austrian Habsburg and Imperial forces were tied up in Hungary, France used the situation to expand on her northern and eastern frontier. After the mlitary situation in Hungary stabilized, William III., King of England and Stadholder of Holland etc. managed to put together the Grand Alliance or League of Augsburg, which then withstood further French expansion (War of the Grand Alliance 1689-1697). The former Beylerbey of Rumelia, Jegen Pasha, with a force of 10,000 malcontent Ottoman troops, undertook a campaign of his own against Ottoman forces, until he was caught and executed in 1689. Transylvania switching allegiance from the Ottoman Empire to Habsburg Austria in 1686, again in 1691 were further important steps in the war.

B.2) The Siege of Vienna

Kara Mustapha Pasha lead an Ottoman force of 140,000 against Vienna, defended by 11,000. The Viennese laid down the suburbs and prepared for a siege; Emperor Leopold had moved to the western regions of his Habsburg domains. While the siege (July 14th - Sept. 12th) made progress and the area surrounding Vienna was subjected to raids, relief armies were gathered in various regions of the Empire and in Poland (which had been a French ally and thus a Habsburg enemy, but was drawn into the Habsburg camp by papal diplomacy.
While Vienna held out under greatest difficulty, the relief armies approached, crossed the Danube and the Kahlenberg (a mountain) near Vienna unopposed, and then, under the command of Polish King Jan Sobieski, defeated the Ottoman Army in the Battle of Kahlenberg; the siege of Vienna was lifted.

B.3) The War

Habsburg commanders : 1683-1687 Duke Charles of Lorraine, 1688 Duke-Elector Max Emanuel of Bavaria, 1689-1693 Ludwig von Baden, 1693-1699 Prince Eugene of Savoy. Bavarian troops operated separately under the command of Duke-Elector Max Emanuel 1683-1688.
Ottoman commanders : 1683 Kara Mustapha, 1688-1695 Mustafa Köperülü, 1695-1699 Sultan Mustafa II.

Main theatres of war : 1683-1688 Hungary; 1688-1690 Serbia; 1690-1699 Serbia, Hungary.
Side theatres of the war : 1686-1699 Transylvania, where pro-Habsburg and pro-Ottoman factions vied for power; Montenegro; Bulgaria (Rumelia) 1688-1689, Macedonia (Rumelia) 1689.

Main events : Habsburg conquest of Gran (Esztergom) and Neuhäusel (Nove Zamky) 1685, Habsburg conquest of Buda 1686, Habsburg victory at Mount Harsan near Mohacs in 1687, Habsburg conquest of Belgrade 1688, Habsburg victory in Battle of Nis 1689, Ottoman reconquest of Belgrade 1690, Habsburg victory over Ottomans at Slankamen 1691, Habsburg conquest of Grosswardein (Oradea), Habsburg victory in Battle of Zenta 1697, Treaty of Karlovitz 1699 (in Serbian : Sremski Karlovci, in Hung.: Karloca).
The Kuruc Rebellion was suppressed in 1684. Imre Thököly arrested at the command of the Sultan (1686). Released, he invaded Transylvania in 1690, attempting to return it to the Ottoman camp; in 1691 he was pushed back, but not eliminated.
The Chernovtsi (Bulgaria, 1688) and Karposh Rebellions (Macedonia, 1689) were suppressed, the rebel renegade, former Beylerbey of Rumelia, Jegen Pasha, defeated, captured and executed (1689).

Scale of the war : the Siege of Vienna and the Battle of Kahlenberg involved the largest number of troops (140,000 Ottoman soldiers, 300 cannon); Vienna defended by 11,000 soldiers and 5,000 militia; Relief army 75,000 men, 170 cannon.
Battle of Mt. Harsan near Mohacs 1687 : Ottoman force 60,000; Imperial force 50,000. Battle of Nis 1689 : Imperial force 16,000. Battle of Slankamen 1691 : Ottoman force 60,000, Imperial force 34,000. Battle of Zenta : Imperial force 50,000.

War logistics : Both the Ottoman Empire and the Emperor had great difficulty to finance the war. Both sides had not foreseen such a long war; the Emperor in 1689 had to divert funds, men and experienced leaders from the war in Hungary/Serbia to the war against France. The Ottoman counteroffensive of 1689 thus dealt with weakened Habsburg forces in Serbia and Hungary, but only resulted in retaking Belgrade and regaining control in Rumelia. The Treaty of Rijswijk 1697, ending the war with France, freed men tied up in the west and permitted Prince Eugene to fight the decisive Battle of Zenta.

C.) Legacy

The Ottoman Empire ceded Hungary without the Banat, including Transylvania, to the house of Habsburg, Podolia to Poland and the Morea (Peloponnese) as well as border territory in Dalmatia to Venice. The war laid open the weakness of the Ottoman Empire; during the 18th century it would have to defend her vast Empire in numerous wars ("The Sick man of the Bosphorus" or "The Sick Man of Europe").

Die Sieben Türkenkriege der Habsburger (The Seven Habsburg-Turkish Wars), from Flacker-Seiten, scroll down for Der Grosse Türkenkrieg 1683-1699 (The Great War on the Turks), in German
The Battle of Vienna: September 12, 1683, by Richard Lysiak
Jan III Sobieski: 1674-1696 and the Siege of Vienna of 1683, from North Park
La battaglia di Vienna del 1683, bt Renato Cirelli, in Italian
The period of the Turkish sieges (1529-1683), from Vienna's Web Service
Article Eugene of Savoy, from Columbia Encyclopedia, from EB 1911; only latter part of article posted here; from Wikipedia
Article Treaty of Karlowitz, from Columbia Encyclopedia, from EB 1911, from Wikipedia
Biography of Marco Aviano (Capuchin monk, councillor of Emperor Leopold), from ORF Religion : Biographien, in German
Macedonia under Ottoman Rule, by Risto Stefov (on Karposh Uprising, Jegen Pasha)
Der Türkenkrieg Mehmets IV. gegen Leopold I. (The War of Mehmet IV. against Leopold I.), from Karlsruher Türkenbeute (Karlsrhe Turkish Spoils), in German
K.u.K. Wehrmacht (Imperial Austrian Army), in German
DOCUMENTS A True and Exact Relation Of the Raising of the siege of Vienna And the Victory obtained over the Ottoman Army, the 12th of September 1683, posted by Hillsdale; also from Polonica
Illustration : Siege of Vienna 1683, from Mappe di Citta ed altre mappe antiche diverse , comment in Italian
REFERENCE Miklos Molnar, A Concise History of Hungary, Cambridge : UP, 2001, pp.131-133

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 12th 2003, last revised on July 13th 2005

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