Peace of Karlowitz Jan 26th, 1699

#OTD, January 26th 1699 the Great Turkish war ended when the Sublime Porte, the Holy Roman Empire, the Republic of Venice, the Tsar of Russia and the Kingdom of Poland signed the peace of Karlowitz.

The peace of Karlowitz marks a turning point in European history, bringing over 200 years of Ottoman expansion into Europe to an end. In 1683 the Turkish army had besieged Vienna and without the help of the Poles led by King John III, Sobiesky, the city would have fallen. After the siege of Vienna had ended war raged mostly in Hungary.

In July 1697 after years and years of inconclusive fighting the emperor appointed Prince Eugene of Savoy to be the new commander in chief. Within a mere three months Eugene delivered the most comprehensive victory over a Turkish army seen to this date.

At Zenta the Turkish army was crossing the river Tisza thinking the enemy was still a long way away. Their artillery was on a pontoon bridge and hence useless, allowing Eugene’s troops to overrun the position on the shore. Imperial troops also managed to occupy sandbanks in the river allowing them to attack the Ottoman rear. 25,000 Turkish soldiers fell, the entire artillery was lost, as were the supplies.

As a consequence Sultan Mustafa II (1695-1703) had to sue for peace. In the negotiations at Karlowitz the Habsburgs gained Hungary, parts of Croatia and Transylvania, Poland received Ukraine and other areas back that had been occupied by the Turks and Venice gained the Peloponnese.

The Turkish army never really recovered from this defeat and was in constant retreat until World War I. Eugene of Savoy became the most famous military figure in Europe and built himself the marvellous Belvedere Palace in Vienna, where he lived alone as “Mars without Venus”.

And the Habsburgs began building their empire in South-Eastern Europe. The Bavarians and other German states who had sent troops received the emperors eternal gratitude and plunder, but no land or positions.

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