Today in European history: the Siege of Thessaloniki ends (1430)

The city of Thessaloniki (formerly Thessalonica) always struck me as one of the ultimate urban runners up in history. It became the most important city in Macedonia…right before the Romans showed up. It became an important Roman city…because it was a way point on the main route from Rome to Byzantium. When the Roman Empire … Continue reading Today in European history: the Siege of Thessaloniki ends (1430)

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Today in Middle Eastern history: the Fall of Baghdad (1917)

Forewarning: this post is mostly outsourced. For background you’ll want to read Michael Collins Dunn’s account of the Second Battle of Kut from late February. April 1916’s First Battle of Kut, as we know, was a complete Ottoman victory and one of the low points for Britain in the whole war. Following that disaster, the British … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Fall of Baghdad (1917)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Massacre at the Citadel (1811)

Because the Mamluk dynasty wasn’t a “dynasty” in the traditional sense, when the Ottomans toppled it in 1516-1517, there were a lot of important mamluk aristocrats and officials still running around Egypt and Syria who had no particular loyalty to the sultan (Tuman Bey) who had just been overthrown. It was much simpler for the … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Massacre at the Citadel (1811)

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, … Continue reading Today in European history: the Skirmish at Bendery (1713)

Today in European history: the Treaty of Karlowitz (1699)

(Actually yesterday in European history, but oh well) You know that old joke about how the “Holy Roman Empire” was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire? Here’s another one for you: the 1683-1699 Great Turkish War was neither great (especially if you were in the Ottoman army), nor “Turkish” (Turkish nationalism was still more than … Continue reading Today in European history: the Treaty of Karlowitz (1699)

Today in Caucasian history: the Battle of Sarikamish ends (1915)

Russia’s victory in the Battle of Sarikamish was so overwhelming that it put the Russians on the offensive in World War I’s Caucasian Theater for good–or, uh, until Russia quit the war following its 1917 revolution. And so its military impact is a little mixed, despite the lopsided outcome. Had the Ottomans been able to … Continue reading Today in Caucasian history: the Battle of Sarikamish ends (1915)