The Ottoman Empire was a large and prosperous empire that was born out of the fall of Rome and lasted until after the first World War. Maybe it gets ignored in Western Civilization classes because it’s too far east or because professors would rather focus on the million different little spats that France and England got into over the years. That doesn’t mean that the Ottoman Empire wasn’t interesting, or didn’t have it’s own million little spats in different parts of its territory over the six and a half centuries of its existence.
During one of its periods of growth, culture was flourishing and its military was victorious. Suleiman the Magnificent (so called because he was pretty awesome), was a great leader to his people and his troops, and under his rule, the Ottoman Empire expanded rapidly.
|Ottoman troops in Hungary|
This day in history seemed to be a good one for Suleiman’s magnificent victories.
In 1521, the city of Nándorfehérvár was captured. It would not be the last time that the Ottomans had to take the place that is today Belgrade; it passed back and forth from their hands to Hapsburg control and back several times in later years.
The Battle of Mohács was won on this day in 1526. As a result, the Jagiellonian dynasty, a royal family that had ruled different parts of Europe for centuries, was ended.
Twice, Suleiman laid siege to Vienna: once in 1529 and again in 1532, but he must not have been campaigning in the end of August, as both attempts to take the city failed.
After taking most of Hungary in the victory in 1526, the Ottomans again attacked the Kingdom of Hungary in 1541, and took its capitol, Buda, on this day in history.
Since August 29th seems to have been a day of great military victory for them, I think it’s only fitting that we remember the Ottoman Empire today: its rise to greatness and its defeated fall, its drawbacks and its achievements.
And if you ever gain possession of a time machine, make sure not to arrive in the sixteenth century on August 29th, because if you do, it’s pretty likely you’ll be conquered by the Ottomans.