Today in European history: the Siege of Candia ends (1669)

I’m not going to be around to write an update today, but I think many of you will approve of my excuse. Anyway, to tide you over here’s my look at the 21+ (!) year long 17th centuy Siege of Candia, wherein the Ottomans took the island of Crete from Venice.

The Ottoman Empire in the 17th century is a land of many contrasts. I know that sounds like the opening to a bad high school essay, but it’s not wrong. The 17th century ended with the Ottomans signing the first disadvantageous treaty they’d ever signed, and while reports of Ottoman decline in this period are greatly exaggerated, I think it’s fair to say that this was a sign of relative, if not absolute, Ottoman decline. In other words, their enemies were catching up to them. On the other hand, the mid-century (1645-1669) Cretan War, or the Fifth Ottoman-Venetian War if you prefer, brought the empire to its largest territorial extent, even if you have to fudge a little to get there–the Ottomans didn’t have a whole lot of day-to-day control over, say, Algeria in this period, but Algeria is still considered part of the empire. The siege we’re talking about today was the centerpiece of that war and, as it so happens, one of the longest sieges in recorded history at a whopping 21 years and almost five months.

Source: Today in European history: the Siege of Candia (finally) ends (1669)


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