Mehmed the Conqueror (1432-1481)

Mehmed the Conqueror

1432 On the 30th of March Mehmed II was born at Edirne (Adrianople). Ottoman Turks were members of nomadic nation native of Central Asia. He had already conquered large territories in the Eastern side of Mediterranean shore and in Balkans. He was the fourth son of Murad II and of a slave.

1444-1446 Mehmed was crowned first time when he was only 12 years old.

1451-1481 Mehmed was crowned for the second time. This time he ruled until he died. During all this period Mehmed had the ambition to conquer Constantinople, a fortress strategically built on the shores of two seas, point of intersections of roads that cross two continents. The city was the capital of Eastern Roman Empire since it was founded in 324 by Constantine the Great and housed Eastern Christian Church’s center of power. Ottoman capital was a small town, Edirne (Adrianople), 320 km North-West far of Golden City.

1456 At the age of 24, the Sultan prepared the fortress attack and siege; he had an extraordinary ambition and with remarkable skills he strengthened the army, “bought” Hungary and Venice offering them advantageous treaties. He built a fortress close to great walls of the city, founded the biggest towers and built a fleet in order to control Bosphorus strait.

In the end, neither the huge towers, nor the view of impaled Christians defeated the resistance of besieged people. But Mehmed ordered to his soldiers to land the fleet’s ships behind Perea, inside the Golden Horn. It was a thoroughfare measure because the besieged city did not have a harbour. During the final attack day, Mehmed himself led shock troops’ soldiers, janissaries, through one of the wall’s cracks. The city was robbed that is why the chronicles of that age were speaking about “rivers of blood”. The last Roman Emperor, Constantine IX, died during the battle; it was the end of Roman Empire. Mehmed himself went directly to St. Sophia Cathedral, Eastern Christianity’s emblematic church and turned it into a mosque.

Constantinople’s seize brought to Mehmed immensurable fame and glory; he was Islam’s knight, successor of Alexander the Great and of Cesar, Padisah,“ruler of the two lands and of two seas”. In turn, Mehmed increased Constantinople’s fame turning it into a real cosmopolitan and multinational one where both Jewish people and Christian were accepted. He built mosques and schools, codified laws and opened the city’s gates for foreign traders, educated people and for artists and artisans from all around the world, so succeeding to change Byzantine imperial traditions, native from Greek and Roman culture into an Ottoman reality.

During his reign, Ottoman Empire continued its expansion by many successful military campaigns that happened from Crimea to the South of Italy.

1473 He strengthened Ottoman domination over Anatolia and Balkans by victory gained against Uzun Hasan, Turkmen’s leader, during Baskent battle.

1481 He died on the 3rd of May. He was going to attack Italy when he passed away.

Even if he was cruel and known because of bloody punishments he ordered (he was considered an educated tyrant), Mehmed was a very educated and open minded man. He read a lot of books and wrote poems.

Mohammed’s janissaries were elite infantry, shock troops that helped him to establish Ottoman Empire. The word comes from Turkish – yeni ceri mean “new troops”.[1]

 

 

Bibliography:

    1. Mohamed al II-lea (1432-1481), ro.biography.name

 

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