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Fall of Constantinople

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The fall of Constantinople was a major turning point in history and its effect can still be felt today. The fall of the empire affected trade , influenced the Renaissance and gave the Ottoman Empire a strong political influence within Europe . The fall of Constantinople was an event that occurred when the Ottoman Turks led by Sultan Mehmed II besieged and finally managed to take the city of Constantinople , the capital of the Byzantine Empire.

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  • When was it:  04/06/1453 – 05/29/1453
  • Where was it:  Constantinople

What was the fall of Constantinople?

The fall of Constantinople into the hands of the Ottoman Turks was a historical event that managed to mark the end of the Middle Ages in and is also considered Europe’s last trace of the Eastern Roman Empire .

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Many historians mark this as the end of the Roman Empire . From April 6 to May 29, 1453, the Ottoman army constantly bombarded the walls of Constantinople until finally entering the city on May 29 . Upon entering the city, the Sultan and his army massacred many and named the city Istanbul and made it the capital of the Ottoman Empire.

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What was the fall of Constantinople?

The fall of Constantinople began when Mehmed assembled an army of professional Turkish fighters and recruits captured in previous campaigns, mercenaries , adventurers , Anatolian volunteers, the Bashhi-bazuks, and Christian renegades . At the beginning of 1452, a Hungarian artillery engineer named Orbón had offered his services to the Sultan and Mehmed left him the task of installing the cannons in his new fortress and also making an immense nine meter long cannon which they called the great bombard , which was brought to the vicinity of Constantinople.

The direct attack of the cannon took place at the beginning of April 1453 and lasted for a month of constant bombardment until they managed to make the wall give way and the attackers were able to enter through the gap and took the city after overcoming the resistance. and thousands of defenders.

Historic context

The Turks who were of Persian origin had invaded the empire from the second and third centuries and developed over the course of two centuries on the borders of the empire until they managed to besiege the city; they had tried to take it several times but they were impregnable by traditional site systems .

Constantinople was in serious decline since 1200, when it was conquered by the crusaders who came to defend Christianity from its leaders against the Muslims . Since then, the attack of the Turks was seen coming and the West showed no interest in the historic capital . The inhabitants of the city were tired of asking for help and the attempt of Emperor John VIII to put an end to the differences between the two churches caused serious disturbances in the city.

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The fall of Constantinople occurred by the assault on the city on May 29, 1453 after consulting the astrologers who had prophesied a disastrous day for the infidels. Mehmed launched an offensive on the walls and for more than two hours, they attacked without defeating the Byzantine resistance .

For this reason they gave way to the great cannon that opened a hole in the wall , where the Turks concentrated the attack, because Constantine had the breach repaired, while Mehmed made use of the Janissaries to climb the wall with ladders. The mistake of the Byzantines to leave one of the gates of the wall open was the key for the army of Janissaries to enter the city.

Constantine X I died on the battlefield and Mehmed entered the city to order that the Cathedral of Saint Sophia in Constantinople be consecrated as a mosque . For three days the city was looted and all the Byzantines were offered to stay in the city under the command of the theologian Genadius II in order to ensure that there were no more revolts. Since then, Constantinople is called Islambul , which is now Istanbul , and which became the new capital of the Ottoman Empire.

Characteristics of the fall of Constantinople

The main characteristics of the fall of Constantinople were:

  • The city had built walls to resist attacks .
  • It was attacked with a giant cannon that destroyed the wall.
  • There was a lack of unity on the part of those who defended the wall.
  • There were religious discussions during the time.
  • Constantinople was one of the most important cities in the world.
  • The fall marked the end of the Middle Ages in Europe and of the Byzantine Empire .

Causes

Among the internal causes we can mention that the Byzantine army had been reduced to few combatants because most of the population had died due to the Black Death . There was a large number of Greek and Latin population so the religion was based on Orthodox teaching instead of the Roman Church, which caused the excommunication of the country from the holy church.

Among the internal causes it can be mentioned that the Byzantines were very dependent on the walls that surrounded them since it was the main defense against the enemies but the Ottomans had a larger army that included ships and soldiers.

Consequences of the fall of Constantinople

Some consequences of the fall of Constantinople were the following:

  • It was thought to be the beginning of the end of Christianity .
  • The trade between Europe and Asia declined suddenly.
  • Europe started projects to establish alternative trade routes .
  • Several Greek sages fled to the Italian courts of the time, which favored the Renaissance.
  • The Hellenism was hidden in Eastern Europe for more than four years.
  • The Orthodox Christianity had privileges and Byzantine religious customs remained intact.
  • The Roman Empire had definitively fallen.
  • Christendom was divided into the western , free to establish its ways of life and general rebirth, and the eastern , under Turkish rule, served the Ottoman empire, and existed only under its authority.

Characters

Some important characters of the fall of Constantinople were:

  • Mehmed I:  was the Ottoman sultan from 1413 until his death. Son of Beyazid I Yıldırım. He was recognized sultan of the entire Empire in 1413.
  • Murad II – Ruled as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1421 to 1451 and his reign was marked by a long war against the Balkan Christians and the Turkish emirates in Anatolia.
  • Constantine XI: he  was the last Byzantine emperor who died defending Constantinople.

Importance

Constantinople was a key city in the European control of the Asian, Mediterranean, European and Levant trade routes , as well as being a very important port due to its strategic location. Owning this place meant having command in war , politics, and commerce on the continents. For this reason it was of utmost importance to conquer the city.

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