Sulejman Velicanstveni

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Sulejman velicanstveni

Upon succeeding his father, Suleiman began a series of military conquests, eventually suppressing a revolt led by the Ottoman-appointed governor of Damascus in 1521. Suleiman soon made preparations for the conquest of Belgrade from the Kingdom of Hungary—something his great-grandfather Mehmed II had failed to achieve. Its capture was vital in eliminating the Hungarians who, following the defeats of the Serbs, Bulgarians, Byzantines and Albanians, remained the only formidable force who could block further Ottoman gains in Europe. Suleiman encircled Belgrade and began a series of heavy bombardments from an island in the Danube. With a garrison of only 700 men, and receiving no aid from Hungary, Belgrade fell in August 1521.

Suleiman as a young man

News of the conquest of one of Christendom’s major strongholds spread fear across Europe. As the ambassador of the Holy Roman Empire to Constantinople was to note, “The capture of Belgrade was at the origin of the dramatic events which engulfed Hungary. It led to the death of King Louis, the capture of Buda, the occupation of Transylvania, the ruin of a flourishing kingdom and the fear of neighbouring nations that they would suffer the same fate…”

The road to Hungary and Austria lay open, but Suleiman diverted his attention to the Eastern Mediterranean island of Rhodes, the home base of the Knights Hospitaller. In the summer of 1522, taking advantage of the navy he inherited from his father, Suleiman dispatched an armada of some 400 ships while personally leading an army of 100,000 across Asia Minor to a point opposite the island. Following a siege of five months with brutal encounters, Rhodes capitulated and Suleiman allowed the Knights of Rhodes to depart. They eventually formed their new base in Malta. Sulejman Velicanstveni

As relations between Hungary and the Ottoman Empire deteriorated, Suleiman resumed his campaign in Eastern Europe and on 29 August 1526, he defeated Louis II of Hungary (1506–26) at the Battle of Mohács. In its wake, Hungarian resistance collapsed and the Ottoman Empire became the pre-eminent power in Eastern Europe. Upon encountering the lifeless body of King Louis, Suleiman is said to have lamented: “I came indeed in arms against him; but it was not my wish that he should be thus cut off while he scarcely tasted the sweets of life and royalty.”

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