Siege of Castelnuovo

The Siege of Castelnuovo was an engagement during the Ottoman-Habsburg struggle for control of the Mediterranean, which took place in July 1539 in the walled town of Castelnuovo, present-day Herceg Novi, Montenegro. Castelnuovo had been conquered by elements of various Spanish tercios the year before during the failed campaign of the Holy League against the Ottoman Empire in Eastern Mediterranean waters. The walled town was besieged by land and sea by a powerful Ottoman army under Hayreddin Barbarossa, who offered an honorable surrender to the defenders. These terms were rejected by the Spanish commanding officer Francisco de Sarmiento and his captains even though they knew that the Holy League's fleet, defeated at the Battle of Preveza, could not relieve them.[6] During the siege Barbarossa's army suffered heavy losses due to the stubborn resistance of Sarmiento's men. However, Castelnuovo eventually fell into Ottoman hands and almost all the Spanish defenders, including Sarmiento, were killed. The loss of the town ended the Christian attempt to regain control of the Eastern Mediterranean. The courage displayed by the Old Tercio of Naples during this last stand, however, was praised and admired throughout Europe and was the subject of numerous poems and songs.[8][9]


Battle of Preveza (1538)
Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha defeats the Holy League of Charles V under the command of Andrea Doria at the Battle of Preveza (1538). Painting from 1866 by Ohannes Umed Behzad.

In 1538 the main danger to Christianity in Europe was the expansion of the Ottoman Empire. The armies of the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent had been stopped at Vienna in 1529.[11] In the Mediterranean, a Christian offensive attempted to eliminate the danger of the great Turkish fleet in 1535, when a strong armada under Don Álvaro de Bazán and Andrea Doria captured the port of Tunis, expelling Ottoman admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa from the waters of the Western Mediterranean.[11] The Ottoman admiral was then required to return to Constantinople, where he was appointed commander of a great fleet to conduct a campaign against the Republic of Venice's possessions in the Aegean and Ionian Seas. Barbarossa captured the islands of Syros, Aegina, Ios, Paros, Tinos, Karpathos, Kasos, Naxos, and besieged Corfu.[11] The Italian cities of Otranto and Ugento and the fortress of Castro, in the province of Lecce, were also looted.[11]

Emperor charles v
Portrait of Charles V with a Baton. Copy by Rubens of a portrait by Titian.

The Republic of Venice, frightened by the loss of their possessions and the ruin of their trade, conducted a vigorous campaign for the creation of a "Holy League" to recover the lost territories and expel the Ottomans from the sea.[11] In February 1538, Pope Paul III succeeded in creating a league which united the Papacy itself, the Republic of Venice, the Empire of Charles V, the Archduchy of Austria and the Knights of Malta.[7] The Allied fleet for the campaign was supposed to consist of 200 galleys and another 100 auxiliary ships, and the army of about 50,000 infantry and 4,500 cavalry. But only 130 galleys and an army of around 15,000 infantry, mostly Spaniards, were all that could be gathered.[7][12] The command of the fleet was given nominally to the Genoese Andrea Doria, but Vicenzo Capello and Marco Grimaldi, commanding officers of the Papal and Venetian fleets respectively, had almost twice as many ships as Doria.[7] The commander of the army was unquestionably Hernando Gonzaga, Viceroy of Sicily.[7]

Differences among the commanders of the fleet diminished its effectiveness against an experienced opponent like Barbarossa. This was seen in the Battle of Preveza, fought in the Gulf of Arta. But the Holy League fleet provided support to the land forces that landed on the Dalmatian coast and captured the town of Castelnuovo.[13] This small town was a strategic fortress between the Venetian possessions of Cattaro and Ragusa in the area known as Venetian Albania. Venice therefore claimed ownership of the city, but Charles V refused to cede it. This was the beginning of the end of the Holy League.[13][14]

The town of Castelnuovo was garrisoned with approximately 4,000 men.[13] The main force was a tercio of Spanish veteran soldiers numbering about 3,500 men under the experienced Maestro de Campo Francisco Sarmiento de Mendoza y Manuel. This tercio, named Tercio of Castelnuovo, was formed by 15 flags (companies) belonging to other tercios, among them the Old Tercio of Lombardy, dissolved the year before after a mutiny for lack of pay.[15] The 15 captains in charge of the flags were Machín de Munguía, Álvaro de Mendoza, Pedro de Sotomayor, Juan Vizcaíno, Luis Cerón, Jaime de Masquefá, Luis de Haro, Sancho de Frías, Olivera, Silva, Cambrana, Alcocer, Cusán, Borgoñón and Lázaro de Coron.[16] The garrison also included 150 light cavalry soldiers, a small contingent of Greek soldiers and knights under Ándres Escrápula, and some artillery pieces managed by 15 gunners under captain Juan de Urrés.[16] The chaplain of Andrea Doria, named Jeremías, also remained in Castelnuovo along with 40 clerics and traders and was appointed bishop of the town.[16]

The reason for the garrison's large size was that Castelnuovo was projected to be the beachhead for a great offensive against the heart of the Ottoman Empire.[13][17] However, the fate of the troops who were in the fortress depended entirely on the support of the fleet, and this had been defeated by Barbarossa at Preveza before the capture of Castelnuovo. Moreover, in a short time Venice withdrew from the Holy League after accepting a disadvantageous agreement with the Ottomans.[18][19] Without Venetian ships, the Allied fleet had no chance to defeat the Ottoman fleet commanded by Barbarossa, who was by this time supported by another experienced officer, Turgut Reis.[19]


First maneuvers

Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha
Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha, 16th century contemporary painting, Louvre Museum, Paris.

Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent ordered Barbarossa to reorganize and rearm his fleet during the winter months to have it ready for the battle in the spring of 1539. 10,000 infantry soldiers and 4,000 Janissaries were embarked aboard the warships to reinforce the troops of the galleys.[19] According to the orders received, Barbarossa's army, numbering about 200 ships with 20,000 fighting men aboard, would blockade Castelnuevo by sea while the forces of the Ottoman governor of Bosnia, a Persian named Ulamen, would besiege the fortress by land in command of 30,000 soldiers.[19] Sarmiento, meanwhile, used the peaceful months prior to the siege to improve the defenses of the town, repairing walls and bastions and building new fortifications. In the event he could not do much due to a lack of available means, as there was no plan to fortify the town since it was supposed to function as a beachhead.[19] Captain Alcocer was sent to Spain with instructions to call for help; Pedro de Sotomayor was sent to Sicily and Captain Zambrana to Brindisi, all in vain.[20] Andrea Doria, who was in Otranto with 47 Imperial and 4 Maltese galleys, received news of Castelnuovo's situation, but given the inferiority of his fleet he sent a message to Sarmiento recommending him to surrender.[21]

In June Barbarossa sent 30 galleys to block the entrance of the Gulf of Cattaro.[20] The vessels reached Castelnuovo on 12 June and disembarked a thousand soldiers with the aim of finding water and capturing Spanish soldiers or local civilians to gain information.[20] Once the Spanish were warned of their enemy's presence, Sarmiento dispatched three companies under Captain Machín de Munguía and the cavalry under Lázaro de Corón to attack them before lunchtime.[20] After a fierce fight the Ottoman landing party was forced to re-embark, although it returned in the afternoon. Then it was beaten by Francisco de Sarmiento in person, who was waiting for a new attempt together with Captains Álvaro de Mendoza, Olivera and Juan Vizcaíno, and 600 soldiers. Three hundred Ottomans were killed during the battle, and another 30 captured.[22] The remainder escaped to their ships.[22]

Portrait of Suleiman the Magnificent attributed to Titian. c.1530.

On 18 July Barbarossa arrived with the main force and immediately began to land troops and artillery while waiting for the arrival of Ulamen, who came along with his army a few days later.[23] The Ottoman pioneers spent five days digging trenches and building ramparts for 44 heavy siege guns carried aboard Barbarossa's fleet or by Ulamen's troops, and even smoothed the fields around Castelnuovo to facilitate maneuvers.[23] Castelnuovo was also bombarded by sea, as ten pieces had been previously embarked aboard the galleys.[23] The Spanish, meanwhile, undertook several sorties to obstruct the siege works. These raids inflicted many casualties, among them Agi, one of Barbarossa's favorite captains.[23] Another sortie by a Spanish force of 800 men surprised several units of Janissaries who were attempting to storm the walls of Castlenuovo, killing most of them and leaving the field strewn with corpses. When Barbarossa was informed about the setback, he severely reprimanded his officers, as the losses of the Ottoman elite corps were difficult to replace. He gave orders forbidding skirmishes to avoid a repeat of the defeat.[22]

Great assault

By 23 July, Barbarossa's army was ready to begin a general assault and his artillery prepared to break down the walls of Castelnuovo. Enjoying a vast numerical superiority over the Spanish garrison, which was completely isolated and unable to receive support or supplies, Barbarossa offered an honorable surrender to the Spanish.[20] Sarmiento and his men would be granted a safe passage to Italy, the soldiers retaining their weapons and flags. Barbarossa added to his offer the incentive of giving each soldier 20 ducats.[20] His only demand to Sarmiento was the abandonment of his artillery and gunpowder. Two squad corporals of Captain Vizcaino's company, Juan Alcaraz and Francisco de Tapia, managed to return to Naples and write their version of events many years later.[20] They recorded the answer given to Barbarossa that "the Maestro de Campo consulted with all the captains, and the captains with his officers, and they decided that they preferred to die in service of God and His Majesty."[20]

Cannon battery at the Siege of Esztergom 1543
Ottoman siege guns at the Siege of Esztergom, 1543. Painted by Sebastian Vrancks, 17th century.

The great assault on the city was launched shortly after, and lasted all day.[24] It was costly in lives, as the Ottomans employed both infantry and artillery at the same time to assault and bombard Castelnuovo, resulting in heavy casualties among the Ottomans themselves due to both friendly fire and Spanish defending.[24] During the night the Spanish improved their defenses and plugged the gaps opened in the walls. When the attack was resumed the next morning, Saint James Day, Bishop Jeremías remained with the soldiers, encouraging them and confessing those who were mortally wounded along the attacked perimeter. About 1,500 Ottoman soldiers were killed in the bloody assault, while the Spanish suffered only 500 killed; although the number of men who died from their wounds was probably large.[16]

Encouraged by the successful defense, several Spanish soldiers decided to conduct a surprise raid on the Ottoman camp with the approval of Sarmiento.[25] Thus, one morning, 600 men took the unprepared besiegers by surprise. In some places the assault could not be stopped, and panic spread among the Ottomans. Many troops broke and ran, including some Janissaries who fled throughout their own camp breaking down the tents, including that of Barbarossa.[25] The Admiral's personal guard feared for the safety of its lord, and, ignoring his protests, took him to the galleys along with the standard of the Sultan.[25]

Battle of Vienna.SultanMurads with janissaries
Ottoman janissaries.

During the following days most of the artillery concentrated its fire on a fort in the upper town. Barbarossa thought that it was the key point of Castelnuovo's fortifications and proposed to capture it.[25] The remaining cannons, meantime, continued firing at the fragile walls of the town. On 4 August, Barbarossa ordered an assault against the ruins of the fort, which was now completely shattered, with its casemates ruined. As a major point of the defense, Sarmiento had reinforced the garrison and removed the wounded in the preceding days. The assault began at dawn and the battle lasted all day. Captain Machín of Munguía distinguished himself in the fight, leading the defenders with great courage.[25] By nightfall the remnants of the Spanish garrison retreated to the walls of the town with their wounded, leaving the ruined castle in Barbarossa's hands. The day was very costly in lives. Of the Spanish officers defending the castle only Captains Masquefá, Munguía, Haro, and a corporal surnamed Galaz survived.[25] The remainder had been killed in the battle. Among the very few survivors that the Ottomans captured, they found three deserters. These were immediately brought to Barbarossa and encouraged the admiral to continue with the assaults, reporting that the Spanish had suffered heavy casualties, lacked gunpowder and shot, and were mostly injured and exhausted.[25]

Ottoman capture

Pierre Mortier - Golfo di Cattaro
Castelnuovo's view in the early 18th century, by Pierre Mortier (1661–1711), circa 1700.

On 5 August a new attack was launched against the walls. Barbarossa, after the report of the Spanish deserters, was sure that he could soon capture Castelnuevo. All the Janissaries took part in the action, and the cavalry was ordered to dismount to join the general assault.[26] Despite the overwhelming numerical superiority of the Ottoman troops, the Spanish defense was successful, as no more than a tower of the wall fell to the besiegers that day.[26] Sarmiento ordered his sappers to prepare a mine to destroy the tower, but the attempt failed when an unexpected burst of the gunpowder killed the soldiers who were working in the mine.[26] At dawn on the following day a heavy downpour ruined the matchlocks of the harquebuses, the few remaining pieces of artillery, and the last gunpowder. The fight was therefore sustained only with swords, pikes and knives, and the wounded Spanish soldiers were forced to take up arms and help defend the walls.[26] Only the dying men remained in the hospital. Surprisingly, the few surviving Spanish managed to repel the assault.[27]

The last and definitive attack took place the next morning. Francisco de Sarmiento, on horseback, was wounded in the face by three arrows, but he continued to encourage his men.[28] Demolished by heavy gunfire, the ruins of the walls became indefensible. Sarmiento then ordered the 600 Spanish survivors to retreat. His idea consisted of defending a castle in the lower city where the civilian population of Castelnuovo had taken refuge.[28] Although the withdrawal was made in perfect order and discipline, Sarmiento and his men found that the doors of the castle were walled at their arrival.[28] Sarmiento was offered a rope to raise him to the walls,[28] but refused and responded "Never God wants that I was saved and my companions were lost without me".[10][28] After that he joined Machín de Munguía, Juan Vizcaíno and Sancho Frias to lead the last stand. Surrounded by the Ottoman army, the last Spanish soldiers fought back to back until none were able to fight. At the end of day, Castelnuovo was in Ottoman hands.[29]


Héroes gloriosos, pues el cielo
os dio más parte que os negó la tierra,
bien es que por trofeo de tanta guerra
se muestren vuestros huesos por el suelo.
Si justo es desear, si honesto celo
en valeroso corazón se encierra,
ya me parece ver, o que sea tierra
por vos la Hesperia nuestra, o se alce a vuelo.
No por vengaros, no, que no dejastes
A los vivos gozar de tanta gloria,
Que envuelta en vuestra sangre la llevastes;
Sino para probar que la memoria
De la dichosa muerte que alcanzastes,
Se debe envidiar más que la victoria

— Sonnet 217 of Gutierre de Cetina (1520–57) entitled: “A los huesos de los españoles muertos en Castelnuovo”.[29]

Almost all of the Janissaries and 16,000 from the other Ottoman units were killed in the assault. According to rumor, Turkish losses amounted to 37,000 dead.[9][10] Of the Spanish troops only 200 survived, most of them wounded. One of the prisoners was the Biscayan Captain Machín de Munguía. Barbarossa, upon learning this, offered Munguía freedom and a place in his army. The admiral greatly admired him for his actions in the battle of Preveza, where the Spaniard had successfully defended a sinking Venetian carrack against several Ottoman warships.[30] Munguía refused to accept and was therefore beheaded on the spur of the admiral's galley.[9] Half of the prisoners and all the clerics were also slaughtered to satisfy the Ottoman soldiers, who were angry at the great losses which they had suffered in capturing the city.[9] The few survivors were taken as slaves to Constantinople. Twenty-five of them managed to escape from prison six years later and sailed to the port of Messina.[9]

Despite the failure of Sarmiento to retain the fortress, Castelnuovo's defense was sung by numerous contemporaneous poets and praised all over Christian Europe.[9] The Spanish soldiers who participated in the unequal engagement were compared with mythological and classical history heroes, being considered immortal due the magnitude of their feat.[9] Only the enemies of Charles V, such as the Paduan humanist Sperone Speroni, rejoiced at the annihilation of the Tercio of Castelnuovo.[31]

The siege of Castelnuovo ended the failed campaign of the Holy League against the power of the Ottoman Empire in the Eastern Mediterranean. Charles V began negotiations with Barbarossa to attract him to the imperial ranks but in vain, and turned all his efforts in a great expedition against Algiers to destroy the Ottoman sea power.[32] This expedition, known as the Journey of Algiers, ended in a disaster as a storm scattered the fleet and the army had to be reembarked having suffered heavy losses.[33] A truce between Charles V and Suleiman the Magnificent was signed in 1543. Castelnuovo remained in Ottoman hands for almost 150 years. It was recovered in 1687, during the Morean War, by the Venetian Captain-General at sea Girolamo Cornaro, who in alliance with Montenegrins under Vuceta Bogdanovic, won a great victory over the Turks near the town and put the fortress under Venetian rule.[34]

See also


  1. ^ "...Admiral Khair-ed-Din Barbarossa led a costly siege which eventually recovered the port". Jaques, Tony: Dictionary of Battles and Sieges. Vol. I: A-E. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2007. ISBN 9780313335372, p. 210.
  2. ^ Pardo Molero states that Barbasossa endured an "extremely hard siege campaign" and later the admiral assured to the imperial agent Pedro Sánchez that "...what happened in Castelnuovo was the greatest feat among all he had seen or heard about". Pardo Molero, Juan Francisco: La defensa del Imperio: Carlos V, Valencia y el Mediterráneo. Madrid: Sociedad Estatal para la Conmemoración de los Centenarios de Felipe II y Carlos V, 2001. ISBN 9788495146687, p. 328.
  3. ^ "At no time can one say without exaggeration that a stronghold had been defended with more heroism". Preveden, Francis Ralph: A history of the Croatian people from their arrival on the shores of the Adriatic to the present day. New York: Philosophical Library, 1962. OCLC 949507306, p. 193.
  4. ^ "When the Turks entered Castelnuovo over the rubble and the Spanish corpses, Barbarossa had to admit that their losses amounted to more than nineteen thousand". Santiago, Vicente: Carlos I de España. Barcelona: Mateu, 1959. OCLC 19218641, p. 158.
  5. ^ Fernández Álvarez, p. 583
  6. ^ a b c Fernández Álvarez, p. 229
  7. ^ a b c d e Arsenal/Prado, p. 23
  8. ^ a b c Martínez Laínez, p. 116
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Arsenal/Prado, p. 33
  10. ^ a b c De Sandoval, p. 377
  11. ^ a b c d e Arsenal/Prado, p. 22
  12. ^ Fernández Duro, p. 234
  13. ^ a b c d Arsenal/Prado, p. 24
  14. ^ Fernández Duro, p. 269
  15. ^ 6 flags of the Tercio of Florence, 3 of the Tercio of Lombardy, 2 of the Tercio of Naples, one of the Tercio of Nice and three new flags. Fernández Álvarez, Carlos V, el César y el hombre, p. 579
  16. ^ a b c d De Sandoval, p. 375
  17. ^ Fernández Duro, p. 228
  18. ^ Levin, p. 159
  19. ^ a b c d e Arsenal/Prado, p. 25
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h Arsenal/Prado, p. 27
  21. ^ Fernández Duro, p. 247
  22. ^ a b c De Sandoval, p. 374
  23. ^ a b c d Arsenal/Prado, p. 26
  24. ^ a b Arsenal/Prado, p. 28
  25. ^ a b c d e f g Arsenal/Prado, p. 29
  26. ^ a b c d Arsenal/Prado, p. 30
  27. ^ Arsenal/Prado, p. 31
  28. ^ a b c d e Arsenal/Prado, p. 32
  29. ^ a b Arsenal/Prado, p. 34
  30. ^ Fernández Duro, p. 244
  31. ^ Croce, p. 317
  32. ^ Martínez Ruiz/Giménez, pp. 145-146
  33. ^ Martínez Ruiz/Giménez, p. 146
  34. ^ Jaques, p. 210


  • Arsenal, León; Prado, Fernando (2008). Rincones de historia española (in Spanish). EDAF. ISBN 978-84-414-2050-2.
  • Croce, Benedetto (2007). España en la vida italiana del Renacimiento (in Spanish). Editorial Renacimiento. ISBN 978-84-8472-268-7.
  • Fernández Álvarez, Manuel (2001). El Imperio de Carlos V (in Spanish). Taravilla: Real Academia de la Historia. ISBN 978-84-89512-90-0.
  • Fernández Álvarez, Manuel (1999). Carlos V, el César y el hombre (in Spanish). Espasa-Calpe. ISBN 84-239-9752-9.
  • Fernández Duro, Cesáreo (1895). Armada Española desde la unión de los reinos de Castilla y Aragón (in Spanish). I. Madrid, Spain: Est. tipográfico "Sucesores de Rivadeneyra".
  • Jacob Levin, Michael (2005). Agents of empire: Spanish ambassadors in sixteenth-century Italy. New York: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-4352-7.
  • Jaques, Tony (2007). Dictionary of Battles and Sieges: A Guide to 8,500 Battles from Antiquity Through the Twenty-first Century. 2. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-33538-9.
  • Martínez Laínez, Fernando; Sánchez de Toca Catalá; José María (2006). Tercios de España: la infantería legendaria (in Spanish). Madrid: EDAF. ISBN 978-84-414-1847-9.
  • Martínez Ruiz, Enrique; Giménez, Enrique (1994). Introducción a la historia moderna (in Spanish). Ediciones Akal. ISBN 978-84-7090-293-2.
  • De Sandoval, Prudencio (1634). Historia de la vida y hechos del emperador Carlos V (in Spanish). Bartolomé París (Pamplona), Pedro Escuer (Zaragoza).

Coordinates: 42°27′10″N 18°31′52″E / 42.45278°N 18.53111°E

Conquest of Tunis (1535)

The Conquest of Tunis in 1535 was an attack on Tunis, then under the control of the Ottoman Empire, by the Habsburg Empire of Charles V and its allies.

Conquest of Tunis (1574)

The Conquest of Tunis in 1574 marked the final conquest of Tunis by the Ottoman Empire over the Spanish Empire. This was an event of great significance as it decided that North Africa would be under Muslim rather than Christian rule and ended the Spanish Conquista of Northern Africa started under Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. The capture of Tunis in 1574 "sealed the Ottoman domination of the eastern and central Maghreb".

Cusco School

The Cusco School (Escuela Cuzqueña) or Cuzco School, was a Roman Catholic artistic tradition based in Cusco, Peru (the former capital of the Inca Empire) during the Colonial period, in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. It was not limited to Cuzco only, but spread to other cities in the Andes, as well as to present day Ecuador and Bolivia.There are high amount of Cusco School's paintings preserved, currently most of them are located at Cusco, but also currently there are in the rest of Peru and in museums of Brazil, England and United States.

Herceg Novi

Herceg Novi (Montenegrin Cyrillic: Херцег Нови; pronounced [xěrtseɡ nôʋiː]) is a coastal town in Montenegro located at the entrance to the Bay of Kotor and at the foot of Mount Orjen. It is the administrative center of the Herceg Novi Municipality with around 33,000 inhabitants. Herceg Novi was known as Castelnuovo ("New castle" in Italian) between 1482 and 1797, when it was part of Ottoman Empire and the Albania Veneta of the Republic of Venice. It was a Catholic bishopric and remains a Latin titular see as Novi. Herceg Novi has had a turbulent past, despite being one of the youngest settlements on the Adriatic. A history of varied occupations has created a blend of diverse and picturesque architectural style in the city.

Hernán Venegas Carrillo

Hernán Venegas Carrillo Manosalvas (c.1513 – 2 February 1583) was a Spanish conquistadorfor who participated in the Spanish conquest of the Muisca and Panche people in the New Kingdom of Granada, present-day Colombia. Venegas Carrillo was mayor of Santa Fe de Bogotá for two terms; in 1542 and from 1543 to 1544.

Holy League (1538)

The Holy League of 1538 was a short-lived alliance of Christian states arranged by Pope Paul III at the urging of the Republic of Venice.

In 1537 the Ottoman admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa, Pasha of Algiers, had nearly captured the Venetian stronghold of Corfu and ravaged the coasts of Calabria. In the face of this threat Pope Paul succeeded in February 1538 in organizing the Holy League which consisted of the Papal States, the Republic of Venice, the Maltese Knights and Spain with her vassal states of Naples and Sicily.

To confront Barbarossa and his roughly 120 galleys and fustas, the League assembled a fleet of about 300 ships (162 galleys and 140 sailing ships) in September 1538 near Corfu. Its supreme commander was the Genoese admiral Andrea Doria, who was then in the service of Emperor Charles V.

The two fleets met on 28 September 1538 in the Battle of Preveza, and Barbarossa decisively defeated the numerically superior Christian alliance. Doria's leadership in the battle was less than vigorous and is widely believed to have been a major contributing cause to the League's defeat. His hesitation to bring his own ships into full action (he personally owned a number of them) and to sacrifice them for the good of Venice, the traditional rival of his home town of Genoa, are generally considered to explain his actions at Preveza.

Lacandola Documents

The term "Lacandola Documents" is used by Philippine Historiographers to describe the section of the Spanish Archives in Manila which are dedicated to the genealogical records (cuadernos de linaje) of the "Manila aristocracy" from the period immediately following European colonial contact. As of 2001, only one bundle of twelve folders (containing eleven distinct sets of documents) remains in the archive, the rest having been lost, misplaced, or destroyed by various events such as the Japanese Occupation of Manila during World War II. The surviving bundle is labeled "Decendientes de Don Carlos Lacandola" (Descendants of Don Carlos Lakandula), and scholars use the term "Lacandola Documents" as an informal shortcut.Scholars specializing in the noble houses of Rajah Matanda, Rajah Sulayman, and Lakandula mostly use these documents in conjunction with the Archivo General de Indias (General Archive of the Indies) in Seville, Spain in studying the genealogies of these "noble houses." Other primary sources frequently referred to by historiographers are the Silsila or Tarsilas of Sulu, Maguindanao, and Brunei, and local records (usually Catholic parish registers) of towns where descendants of the three houses may have moved.

Last stand

A last stand is a military situation in which a body of troops holds a defensive position in the face of overwhelming odds. The defensive force usually takes very heavy casualties or is completely destroyed. Troops may make a last stand due to a perceived duty; because they are defending a tactically crucial point; to buy time to enable a trapped army to escape, due to fear of execution if captured; or to protect their ruler or leader. Last stands loom large in history, as the heroism and sacrifice of the defenders exert a large pull on the public's imagination. Some last stands have become a celebrated part of a fighting force's or a country's history.

List of cities conquered by the Ottoman Empire

The list of major cities conquered by the Ottoman Empire is below. Since it is impossible to include all cities, only the most populous cities, capitals and the cities with strategical or historical importance are shown.

List of sieges

A siege is a prolonged military assault and blockade on a city or fortress with the intent of conquering by force or attrition. A chronological list of sieges follows.

List of wars involving Spain

This is a list of wars fought by the Kingdom of Spain or on Spanish territory.

Ottoman–Venetian War (1537–1540)

The Third Ottoman Venetian War (1537–1540) was the second of three Ottoman Venetian wars which took place during the 16th century. The war arose out of the Franco-Ottoman alliance between Francis I of France and Süleyman I of the Ottoman Empire against the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. The initial plan between the two had been to jointly invade Italy, Francis through Lombardy in the North and Süleyman through Apulia to the South. However, the proposed invasion failed to take place.

In what became known as the Italian War of 1536–1538, Francis’s invasion of Piedmont, having made modest territorial gains, was halted by Genoa, an ally of Charles V. Furthermore, he was not able to put all his resources against the city as he also had to fend off Charles V’s invasion of Provence. At the same time, Süleyman was not yet ready to engage in a large-scale invasion of the Kingdom of Naples thus not giving Francis any relief. Ottoman troops were landed in Otranto from their encampment in Valona on July 23, 1537 but these were pulled out within a month when it became clear that Francis was not going to invade Lombardy. However, the landing and raiding of Ottoman soldiers in Apulia and the presence of the large Ottoman fleet in the Strait of Otranto did generate considerable fear in Rome that a large-scale invasion would follow.

At the same time, crisis in Venetian-Ottoman relations was developing during the siege of Klis - last Habsburg stronghold in Dalmatia, that fell in March 1537. Venetian government feared that Turkish forces will attack Dalmatian cities and resorted to diplomatic efforts in order to avoid the war.

This fears were further strengthened when following a skirmish with Andrea Doria, the Ottomans suddenly laid siege to the Venetian Island of Corfu in the Adriatic (Siege of Corfu 1537), thus breaking the peace treaty signed with Venice in 1502. On Corfu, the Ottomans faced formidable resistance and defenses specifically designed to counter Ottoman artillery. The siege lasted less than two weeks, and afterward Süleyman withdrew his forces and returned east to spend the winter in Adrianople.

These events resolved Pope Paul III of the need to form a Holy League (1538) to combat and to deter the Ottoman assaults that were expected in the next year. Through intense diplomacy the Pope stopped the war between Charles V and Francis I with the Truce of Nice and secured Charles’s support. Venice also joined the league but only reluctantly and after much debate in the senate.

The Ottoman fleet had grown greatly in size as well as in competence over the course of the 16th century and was now headed by the former corsair turned admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa Pasha. In the summer of 1538 the Ottomans turned their attention to the remaining Venetian possessions in the Aegean capturing the islands of Andros, Naxos, Paros, and Santorini, as well as taking the last two Venetian settlements on the Peloponnese Monemvasia and Navplion. The Ottomans next turned their focus to the Adriatic. Here, in what the Venetians considered their home waters, the Ottomans, through the combined use of their navy and their army in Albania, captured a string of forts in Dalmatia and formally secured their hold there. The most important battle of the war was the Battle of Préveza. After taking Kotor, the supreme commander of the League’s navy the Genoese Andrea Doria managed to trap Barbarossa’s navy in the Ambracian Gulf. This was to Barbarossa’s advantage however as he was supported by the Ottoman army in Préveza while Doria, unable to lead a general assault for fear of Ottoman artillery, had to wait in the open sea. Eventually Doria signaled a retreat at which time Barbarossa attacked leading to a major Ottoman victory. The events of this battle, as well as the events of the Siege of Castelnuovo (1539) put a stop to any Holy League plans to bring the fight to the Ottomans in their own territory and coerced the League to begin talks to end the war. The war was particularly painful to the Venetians as they lost most of the rest of their foreign holdings as well as showing them that they could no longer take on even the Ottoman navy alone.

A treaty or "Capitulation" was signed between Venice and the Ottoman Empire to end the war on 2 October 1540.

In the period between the start of the Second Ottoman–Venetian War in 1499 and the end of this war in 1540, the Ottoman Empire made significant advances in the Dalmatian hinterland – it didn't occupy the Venetian cities, but it took the Kingdom of Hungary's Croatian possessions between Skradin and Karin, eliminating them as a buffer zone between the Ottoman and Venetian territory. The economy of the Venetian cities in Dalmatia, severely impacted by the Turkish occupation of the hinterland in the previous war, recovered and held steady even throughout this war.

Quito School

The Quito School (Escuela Quiteña) is a Latin American artistic tradition that constitutes essentially the whole of the professional artistic output developed in the territory of the Royal Audience of Quito — from Pasto and Popayán in the north to Piura and Cajamarca in the south — during the Spanish colonial period (1542-1824). It is especially associated with the 17th and 18th centuries and was almost exclusively focused on the religious art of the Catholic Church in the country. Characterized by a mastery of the realistic and by the degree to which indigenous beliefs and artistic traditions are evident, these productions were among of the most important activities in the economy of the Royal Audience of Quito. Such was the prestige of the movement even in Europe that it was said that King Carlos III of Spain (1716–1788), referring to one of its sculptors in particular, opined: "I am not concerned that Italy has Michelangelo; in my colonies of America I have the master Caspicara".


A tercio (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈteɾθjo] "third") or tercio español ("Spanish third") was a powerful Spanish infantry division during the time of Habsburg Spain known for its victories on European battlefields in the early modern period.

The tercio was an administrative unit with command of up to 3,000 soldiers, subdivided originally into 10, later 12 compañías, made up of pikemen, swordsmen and arquebusiers or musketeers. These companies were deployed in battle and were further subdivided into units of 30 soldiers. These smaller units could be deployed individually or brought together to form what were sometimes called Spanish squares. These powerful infantry squares were also much used by other European powers, especially the Imperial Army of the Holy Roman Empire.

The care that was taken to maintain a high number of "old soldiers" (veterans) in the units, and their professional training, together with the particular personality imprinted on them by the proud hidalgos of the lower nobility that nurtured them, made the tercios for a century and a half the best infantry in Europe. Moreover, the tercios were the first to efficiently mix pikes and firearms. Tercio companies dominated European battlefields in the sixteenth century and the first half of the 17th century and are seen by historians as a major development of early modern combined arms warfare.


A trebuchet (French trébuchet) is a type of catapult, a common and powerful type of siege engine which uses a swinging arm to throw a projectile.

The traction trebuchet, also referred to as a mangonel at times, first appeared in Ancient China during the 4th century BC as a siege weapon. It spread westward, probably by the Avars, and was adopted by the Byzantines in the mid 6th century AD. It uses manpower to swing the arm.

The later counterweight trebuchet, also known as the counterpoise trebuchet, uses a counterweight to swing the arm. It appeared in both Christian and Muslim lands around the Mediterranean in the 12th century, and made its way back to China via Mongol conquests in the 13th century.

War of the Holy League

There were several wars of the Holy League in European history:

The part of the War of the League of Cambrai from 1511 to 1514

War of the Holy League (1538-1540) centered on the Battle of Preveza (1538) and Siege of Castelnuovo (1539)

Part of the Fourth Ottoman-Venetian War from 1570 to 1573 centered on the battle of Lepanto

The Great Turkish War from 1683 to 1699

Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca

Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈalβaɾ ˈnũɲeθ kaˈβeθa ðe ˈβaka]; Jerez de la Frontera, c. 1488/1490/1492 – Seville, c. 1557/1558/1559/1560) was a Spanish explorer of the New World, and one of four survivors of the 1527 Narváez expedition. During eight years of traveling across the US Southwest, he became a trader and faith healer to various Native American tribes before reconnecting with Spanish civilization in Mexico in 1536. After returning to Spain in 1537, he wrote an account, first published in 1542 as La relación y comentarios ("The Account and Commentaries"), which in later editions was retitled Naufragios ("Shipwrecks"). Cabeza de Vaca is sometimes considered a proto-anthropologist for his detailed accounts of the many tribes of Native Americans that he encountered.

In 1540, Cabeza de Vaca was appointed adelantado of what is now Argentina, where he was governor and captain general of New Andalusia. He worked to build up the population of Buenos Aires, where settlement had declined due to poor administration. Cabeza de Vaca was transported to Spain for trial in 1545. Although his sentence was eventually commuted, he never returned to the Americas. He died in Seville.

Ottoman Empire Major sieges by the Ottoman Empire by century

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