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Battle of Lepanto

1571 naval battle of the Ottoman–Habsburg wars / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Battle of Lepanto was a naval engagement that took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of Catholic states arranged by Pope Pius V (comprising Spain and its Italian territories, several independent Italian states, and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta), inflicted a major defeat on the fleet of the Ottoman Empire in the Gulf of Patras. The Ottoman forces were sailing westward from their naval station in Lepanto (the Venetian name of ancient Naupactus – Greek Ναύπακτος, Turkish İnebahtı) when they met the fleet of the Holy League which was sailing east from Messina, Sicily.[10]

Quick facts: Battle of Lepanto, Date, Location, Result, Be...
Battle of Lepanto
Part of the Ottoman–Habsburg wars and Fourth Ottoman–Venetian War
The Battle of Lepanto, Paolo Veronese (detail)[1]
Date7 October 1571
Location38°15′N 21°15′E
Result Holy League victory

Banner_of_the_Holy_League_1571.png Holy League
Flag_of_Cross_of_Burgundy.svg Spanish Empire

Flag_of_the_Serene_Republic_of_Venice.svg Republic of Venice
Flag_of_Genoa.svg Republic of Genoa
Flag_of_Savoie.svg Duchy of Savoy
Tuscany Grand Duchy of Tuscany
Flag_of_the_Order_of_St._John_%28various%29.svg Order of St. John
Papal States Papal States
Greek_Revolution_flag.svg Greek rebels

Fictitious_Ottoman_flag_2.svg Ottoman Empire

Commanders and leaders
Spanish Empire John of Austria
Spanish Empire Álvaro de Bazán
Spanish Empire Luis de Requesens
Spanish Empire Carlo d'Aragona Tagliavia
Republic of Venice Sebastiano Venier
Republic of Venice Agostino Barbarigo 
Republic of Genoa Gianandrea Doria
Papal States Marcantonio Colonna
Fictitious_Ottoman_flag_2.svg Ali Pasha 
Fictitious_Ottoman_flag_2.svg Mahomet Sirocco 
Regency of Algiers Occhiali

65,000 men:

  • 30,000 sailors and oarsmen
  • 35,000 soldiers[2]
206 galleys
6 galleasses[3][4][5]

67,000 men:

  • 37,000 sailors and oarsmen
  • 30,000 soldiers
222 galleys
56 galliots[5]
Casualties and losses

7,500–10,000 killed[6] and 15,000 wounded[7]

13 galleys sunk or destroyed[8]
20,000[7]–25,000 killed[9]
117 galleys captured
20 galliots captured
50 galleys and galliots sunk or destroyed
15,000 Christian slaves freed[7]
Battle of Lepanto is located in Greece
Battle of Lepanto
Location within Greece
Battle of Lepanto is located in Peloponnese
Battle of Lepanto
Battle of Lepanto (Peloponnese)

The fleet of the Holy League consisted of 109 galleys and 6 galleasses from the Republic of Venice, 49 galleys from the Spanish Empire, 27 galleys from the Republic of Genoa, 7 galleys from the Papal States, 5 galleys from the Order of Saint Stephen and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, 3 galleys from the Duchy of Savoy, 3 galleys from the Knights of Malta and some private ships.[11] Don John of Austria, half-brother of Philip II of Spain, was named by Pope Pius V as overall commander of the fleet and led the centre division along with the Papal captain Marcantonio Colonna and the Venetian Sebastiano Venier; the wings were commanded by the Venetian Agostino Barbarigo and the Genoese Gianandrea Doria. The Ottoman fleet consisted of 222 galleys and 56 galliots and was led by Müezzinzade Ali Pasha, Mahomet Sirocco and Occhiali.

In the history of naval warfare, Lepanto marks the last major engagement in the Western world to be fought almost entirely between rowing vessels,[12] namely the galleys and galleasses which were the direct descendants of ancient trireme warships. The battle was in essence an "infantry battle on floating platforms".[13] It was the largest naval battle in Western history since classical antiquity, involving more than 400 warships. Over the following decades, the increasing importance of the galleon and the line of battle tactic would displace the galley as the major warship of its era, marking the beginning of the "Age of Sail".

The victory of the Holy League is of great importance in the history of Europe and of the Ottoman Empire, marking the turning-point of Ottoman military expansion into the Mediterranean, although the Ottoman wars in Europe would continue for another century. It has long been compared to the Battle of Salamis, both for tactical parallels and for its crucial importance in the defense of Europe against imperial expansion.[14] It was also of great symbolic importance in a period when Europe was torn by its own wars of religion following the Protestant Reformation. Pope Pius V instituted the feast of Our Lady of Victory, and Philip II of Spain used the victory to strengthen his position as the "Most Catholic King" and defender of Christendom against Muslim incursion.[15] Historian Paul K. Davis writes that

More than a military victory, Lepanto was a moral one. For decades, the Ottoman Turks had terrified Europe, and the victories of Suleiman the Magnificent caused Christian Europe serious concern. The defeat at Lepanto further exemplified the rapid deterioration of Ottoman might under Selim II, and Christians rejoiced at this setback for the Ottomans. The mystique of Ottoman power was tarnished significantly by this battle, and Christian Europe was heartened.[16]

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