Today in European history: the Battle of Vaslui (1475)

Anyway, this is all to explain why Stephen III of Moldavia (d. 1504) is today known as a national hero and great military leader in both Moldova and Romania–though maybe not very much outside of those two countries, which is a bit of a shame. Stephen III, who ruled Moldavia from 1457 until his death … Continue reading Today in European history: the Battle of Vaslui (1475)

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Today in European history: the Skirmish at Bender (1713)

and that's the way it was

The Ottoman Empire of 1713 wasn’t the Ottoman Empire of 1513 or even 1613, but it was still a formidable enough power that it could play an active role in European affairs. The so-called “Skirmish at Bendery” (known in Swedish as the Kalabaliken i Bender, from the Turkish word kalabalık or “crowd”) shows that the Ottomans were still capable of the occasional muscle flexing. It’s actually a chapter in the 1700-1721 Great Northern War, which otherwise didn’t involve the Ottomans at all, but 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 significant empire around the Baltic Sea, which left it holding Russia’s former Baltic Sea ports. Peter allied with Denmark-Norway and the German state of Saxony (whose elector also happened to be the…

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Today in European history: the Skirmish at Bendery (1713)

The so-called “Skirmish at Bendery” (known in Swedish as the Kalabaliken i Bender, from the Turkish word kalabalık or “crowd”) shows that, even in 1713, the Ottomans were still capable of the occasional muscle flexing in Europe. It’s actually a chapter in the 1700-1721 Great Northern War, which otherwise didn’t involve the Ottomans at all, but 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 Sea 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.

Source: Today in European history: the Skirmish at Bendery (1713)

and that's the way it was

The Ottoman Empire of 1713 wasn’t the Ottoman Empire of 1513 or even 1613, but it was still a formidable enough power that it could play an active role in European affairs. The so-called “Skirmish at Bendery” (known in Swedish as the Kalabaliken i Bender, from the Turkish word kalabalık or “crowd”) shows that the Ottomans were still capable of the occasional muscle flexing. It’s actually a chapter in the 1700-1721 Great Northern War, which otherwise didn’t involve the Ottomans at all, but 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 significant empire around the Baltic Sea, which left it holding Russia’s former Baltic Sea ports. Peter allied with Denmark-Norway and the German state of Saxony (whose elector also happened to be the…

View original post 742 more words

Today in European history: the Battle of Vaslui (1475)

and that's the way it was

“Moldavia” as it existed back in the late Middle Ages isn’t really a thing anymore. Its successor, I suppose, is the Republic of Moldova, but they’re not entirely the same thing. Moldova is the direct successor state to the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldavia, but historical Moldavia was bigger than the Soviet state, encompassing parts of modern Romania and Ukraine. It’s actually possible, although I don’t know this for certain, that more of historical Moldavia is now in Romania than in Moldova. For example, the Moldova River runs entirely through modern Romania, not once touching (nor coming particularly close to) the territory of the country named for it. And the battle we’re talking about today took place near a village that’s now in eastern Romania. It’s still a matter of debate whether “Moldovans” and “Romanians” are separate ethnic groups. It’s all kind of complicated and messy, as national borders and…

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Today in European History: the Russians capture Plevna (1877)

and that's the way it was

If you think the state of Russo-Turkish relations is bad these days…well, actually it’s kind of good lately. But historically that hasn’t always been the case. Consider that the Russian Empire, one of the precursors of modern Russia, and the Ottoman Empire, the precursor of modern Turkey, fought a whopping 12 wars against one another between the second half of the 16th century and World War I (which, of course, brought about the end of both empires). The Russians, who were on the ascendance for most of this period, won most of these wars, while the Ottomans, who were not so ascendant, needed help from Britain and France to win their biggest victory against the Russians, in the Crimean War.

By 1877, both empires were in pretty steep decline. What was on the rise was Balkan nationalism. All those Christian and/or European provinces and peoples that had been part…

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Today in European history: the Mongols sack Kiev (1240)

and that's the way it was

The successful Mongol siege of Kiev in 1240 is generally identified as the final end of the Kievan Rus’ federation (I’m going to use “Kiev” here to describe both the city and the federation, but I think you’ll be able to figure out when I mean one or the other), but this is a little too convenient for historical terms. For nearly two centuries, the balance of power in the federation had been shifting gradually from the central authority to the individual principalities, who fought each other for supremacy as much as they fought any external enemies in self-defense. Its ruling Rurik Dynasty began to fragment, as uncles contested with nephews for succession and local princes refused to be governed by the Grand Prince of Kiev. The federation was the kind of political entity whose cohesion depended in large part on the strength of any given Grand Prince, and so…

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Today in European history: the Skirmish at Bender (1713)

The Ottoman Empire of 1713 wasn't the Ottoman Empire of 1513 or even 1613, but it was still a formidable enough power that it could play an active role in European affairs. The so-called "Skirmish at Bendery" (known in Swedish as the Kalabaliken i Bender, from the Turkish word kalabalık or "crowd") shows that the … Continue reading Today in European history: the Skirmish at Bender (1713)