The “Skirmish at Bendery” (known in Swedish as the Kalabaliken i Bender, from the Turkish word kalabalık or “crowd”) is a relatively silly affair, but it shows that, even in 1713 when they were supposedly in “decline,” the Ottomans were still capable of the occasional muscle flexing in Europe. It’s the climax of a chapter in the 1700-1721 Great Northern War, which otherwise didn’t involve the Ottomans at all and was fought between Charles XII’s (d. 1718) Swedish Empire and a coalition of opponents, led by Tsar Peter (the Great) of Russia (d. 1725). Sweden had spent most of the 17th century amassing a sizable empire around the Baltic Sea, which left it holding, among other things, Russia’s former Baltic ports. Peter allied with Denmark-Norway and the German state of Saxony (whose elector also happened to be the king of Poland), both of which had also suffered from Sweden’s expansion.
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