List of Wars
Ottoman Rumelia
List of Wars

Ottoman-Venetian War, 1684-1699

A.) Prehistory of the Conflict

In 1683 an Ottoman army 140,000 men strong had failed to take Vienna by siege, and had been defeated by a combined Polish-German relief force in the Battle of Kahlenberg (Habsburg-Ottoman War 1683-1699). In December that year, Ottoman commander Kara Mustafa Pasha was strangled, an execution ordered by Sultan Mehmet IV. Pope Innocent XI. then forged the Holy Alliance, joined by the Papal State, the Emperor, Poland and the Republic of Venice, directed against the Ottoman Empire.

B) The War

B.1) The Morea and Livadia

In 1685 a mercenary army financed by the Republic of Venice and commanded by Francesco Morosini occupied the Morea (i.e. the Peloponnese); in 1687 it took Athens (during the siege, a Turkish arms depot on the Acropolis exploded, doing much damage to the Parthenon). During the peace negotiations, Venice agreed to return Livadia to the Ottoman Empire, but held on to the Morea.

B.2) Crete and the Aegaean

At the outset of the war, the options to attack the Morea or Crete were discussed; Crete had been lost to the Ottomans only in 1645/1669, and, being an island, it was easier to defend for a maritime power that the Morea peninsula. In 1692 a Venetian fleet attacked Crete, laid siege to Chania, but, despite the Ottoman garrison facing a Cretan rebellion, failed to take the island. The Ottomans even gained the island fortress of Gramvoussa, by bribing the Venetian commander. In 1694 the Venetians occupied Chios; Ottoman forces retook the island in 1695.

B.3) Dalmatia

The population of areas adjacent to Venetian Dalmatia, mainly christian Morlachs, rose in rebellion and expelled their Turkish masters, then requesting to be allowed to enter into Venetian service. They were organized and conducted raids into Ottoman territory. In Dalmatia, the fortress of Sign was conquered in 1686, By 1688, Dalmatia was cleared of Ottoman forces. Ragusa, which pursued a policy of neutrality benevolent to the Ottoman Empire, faced a Venetian blockade lasting for two years; so the Ottoman forces were deprived of a vital supply base. Nearby Montenegro sided with Venice and repelled Ottoman incursions in 1687 and 1692.

C.) Legacy

For the Ottoman Empire, the war with Venice was a side show; the main war was fought with the Imperial army in Serbia/Hungary. In the peace negotiations, Venice had to give up Livadia with Athens, because the Emperor wanted to end the war, and Venice did not feel strong enough to face the Ottoman Empire on her own. This assessment proved realistic, when Ottoman forces retook the Morea in 1715; Venice, an aging maritime power, depended on renting mercenary forces to fight for them on land, a policy which proved less and less practical.

REFERENCE Giuseppe Praga, History of Dalmatia, Pisa : Giardini 1993 [G]
Molly Greene, A Shared World. Christians and Muslims in the Early Modern Mediterranean, Princeton : UP 2000 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on July 13th 2005

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