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The Ottoman Navy

The Ottoman Navy

ISBN 9780198757092
Publication Date
Publisher Oxford University Press
To devote an entire book to the sea power of the Ottoman Empire starting only the morning after the Battle of Lepanto may seem paradoxical. On October 7, 1571, the Navy of the Ottoman Empire, then at the height of its power, was beaten by the assembled forces of the Holy League. Curiously enough, the spectacular defeat remained without immediate consequences: the Ottoman conquest of Cyprus, the immediate cause of the war, was completed, the fleet was rebuilt and Tunis definitively retaken from the Spanish in 1574. The retaking of Tunis however, turned out to be an isolated incident, not a prelude to new expansionism. By 1580, the Empire had turned away from the great naval policies pursued in the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean since the early sixteenth century, focusing instead on defending maritime borders which would remain stable until the early nineteenth century. While still at the height of its military power, the Empire redirected its ambitions and goals toward the European hinterland and to Asia at a time when its Mediterranean opponents were either exhausted, as Venice was, or distracted by the opening to the Atlantic world, as Spain was.

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