Today in Mediterranean history: the Battle of Lepanto (1571)

and that's the way it was

The Battle of Lepanto is the mother lode of naval turning points. It broke the Ottoman Empire’s domination of the eastern Mediterranean and, indeed, marked a turning of the tide in the long-simmering conflict between the European powers (chiefly the Habsburgs) and the Ottomans. It signified the rise of Western Europe as a legitimate military force and gave European Christians the confidence that they could stand up to the feared Ottomans and actually come away with a victory.

Well, kind of. I mean, it did those things, more or less, but not suddenly and not even very apparently in the years immediately following the battle. Lepanto had far-reaching impacts that later Western historians have tended to approach with a notable lack of nuance or any sense that, on some fronts, the battle’s fallout actually took years to really become clear. And one of its most far-reaching impacts actually had much…

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