Algiers expedition (1541)

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Algiers expedition
Part of the Ottoman-Habsburg wars
Siege of Algiers 1541.jpg
Siege of Algiers in 1541. Engraving of 1555.
DateOctober – November 1541
Location
Result Ottoman victory
Belligerents

Charles V Arms-personal.svg Empire of Charles V:

Flag of the Order of St. John (various).svg Order of Saint John
Flag of Genoa.svg  Republic of Genoa
Flag of the Papal States (pre 1808).svg  Papal States

Contents

Kingdom of Kuku [1]
Regency of Algiers
Commanders and leaders
Charles V
Navy: Andrea Doria
Army: Duke of Alba [2]
Including:
Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg Ferrante I Gonzaga
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg Hernán Cortés
Flag of Genoa.svg Gianettino Doria
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg Bernardino de Mendoza
Flag of the Order of St. John (various).svg Nicolas Durand de Villegaignon
Hasan Ağa
Strength
Total of 80 galleys
Total of 500 ships. [2]
12,000 sailors. [2]
24,000 soldiers. [2]
Including:
Charles V Arms-personal.svg 100 transports. [2]
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg 50 galleys. [2]
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg 100 transports. [2]
Flag of Genoa.svg 14 galleys
Flag of the Papal States (pre 1808).svg 8 galleys
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg Bandiera del Regno di Sicilia 4.svg 150 transports. [2]
Flag of the Order of St. John (various).svg 700 knights.
800 soldiers
5,000 Moors. [2] [3]
Casualties and losses
300 officers. [2]
17,000 men. [2]
17 galleys
130 carracks. [2]
light

The 1541 Algiers expedition occurred when Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire attempted to lead a fleet against the Ottoman Empire's stronghold of Algiers, in modern Algeria. Lackluster planning and unfavourable weather meant that the expedition was a failure.

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor 16th-century Holy Roman Emperor

Charles V was Holy Roman Emperor from 1519, King of Spain from 1516, and ruling prince of the Habsburg Netherlands from 1506. Head of the rising House of Habsburg during the first half of the 16th century, his dominions in Europe included the Holy Roman Empire extending from Germany to northern Italy with direct rule over Austria and the Low Countries, and a unified Spain with its southern Italian kingdoms of Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia. Furthermore, his reign encompassed both the long-lasting Spanish and short-lived German colonizations of the Americas. The personal union of the European and American territories of Charles V was the first collection of realms labelled "the empire on which the sun never sets".

Holy Roman Empire Varying complex of lands that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe

The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.

Ottoman Empire Former empire in Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa

The Ottoman Empire, historically known to its inhabitants and the Eastern world as Rome (Rûm), and known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. Although initially the dynasty was of Turkic origin, it was thoroughly Persianised in terms of language, culture, literature and habits. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.

Background

Algiers had been under the control of the Ottoman Emperor Suleiman the Magnificent since its capture in 1529 by Barbarossa. Barbarossa had left Algiers in 1535 to be named High Admiral of the Ottoman Empire in Constantinople, and was replaced as Governor by Hassan Agha, a eunuch and Sardinian renegade. [2] Hassan had in his service the well-known Ottoman naval commanders Dragut, Sālih Reïs and Sinān Pasha. [2]

Suleiman the Magnificent Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Suleiman I, commonly known as Suleiman the Magnificent in the West and Kanunî Sultan Süleyman in his realm, was the tenth and longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1520 until his death in 1566. Under his administration, the Ottoman state ruled over at least 25 million people.

Hayreddin Barbarossa Ottoman admiral

Hayreddin Barbarossa, or Barbaros Kheireddin Pasha, born Khizr or Khidr, was an Ottoman admiral of the fleet who was born on the island of Lesbos and died in Istanbul, the Ottoman capital. Barbarossa's naval victories secured Ottoman dominance over the Mediterranean during the mid 16th century, from the Battle of Preveza in 1538 until the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

Constantinople capital city of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, the Latin and the Ottoman Empire

Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire (1204–1261) and of the Ottoman Empire (1453–1923). In 1923 the capital of Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, was moved to Ankara and the name Constantinople was officially changed to Istanbul. The city is located in what is now the European side and the core of modern Istanbul. The city is still referred to as Constantinople in Greek-speaking sources.

Charles V made considerable preparations for the expedition, wishing to obtain revenge for the recent siege of Buda, [4] However the Spanish and Genoese fleets was severely damaged by a storm, forcing him to abandon the venture. [5] [6]

Siege of Buda (1541) Siege during Little War in Hungary

The Siege of Buda ended with the capture of the city of Buda, Hungary by the Ottoman Empire, leading to 150 years of Ottoman control of Hungary. The siege, part of the Little War in Hungary, was one of the most important Ottoman victories over the Habsburg Monarchy during Ottoman–Habsburg wars in Hungary and the Balkans.

Expedition

Charles V embarked very late in the season, on 28 September 1541, delayed by troubles in Germany and Flanders. [2] [7] The fleet was assembled in the Bay of Palma, at Majorca. [2] It had more than 500 sails and 24,000 soldiers. [2]

Kingdom of Germany 10th-century kingdom of Germany

The Kingdom of Germany or German Kingdom developed out of Eastern Francia, the eastern division of the former Carolingian Empire, over the 9th to 11th centuries. East Francia was formed by the Treaty of Verdun in 843, and was ruled by the Carolingian dynasty until 911, after which the kingship was elective. The initial electors were the rulers of the stem duchies, who generally chose one of their own. After 962, when Otto I was crowned emperor, East Francia formed the bulk of the Holy Roman Empire along with Italy; it later included Bohemia and Burgundy.

County of Flanders French fiefdom and historic territory in the Low Countries

The County of Flanders was a historic territory in the Low Countries.

After enduring difficult weather, the fleet only arrived in front of Algiers on 19 October. [8] The most distinguished Spanish commanders accompanied Charles V on this expedition, including Hernán Cortés, the conqueror of Mexico, though he was never invited to the War Council. [7]

Hernán Cortés Spanish conquistador

DonHernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro Altamirano, Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of what is now mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century. Cortés was part of the generation of Spanish colonizers who began the first phase of the Spanish colonization of the Americas.

Mexico Country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometers (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fourth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 129 million people, Mexico is the tenth most populous country and the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states plus Mexico City (CDMX), which is the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the country include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana, and León.

Troops were disembarked on 23 October, and Charles established his headquarters on a land promontory surrounded by German troops. [7] German, Spanish, and Italian troops, accompanied by 150 knights of Malta, began to land while repelling Algerine opposition, soon surrounding the city, except for the northern part. [2]

The fate of the city seemed to be sealed, however the following day the weather became severe with heavy rains. Many galleys lost their anchors and 15 were wrecked onshore. Another 33 carracks sank, while many more were dispersed. [9] As more troops were attempting to land, the Algerines started to make sorties, slaughtering the newly arrived. Charles V was surrounded, and was only saved by the resistance of the Knights of Malta. [10]

Andrea Doria managed to find a safer harbour for the remainder of the fleet at Cape Matifu, 5 miles east of Algiers. He enjoined Charles V to abandon his position and join him in Matifu, which Charles V did with great difficulty. [11] From there, still oppressed by the weather, the remaining troops sailed to Bougie, still a Spanish harbour at that time. Charles could only depart for the open sea on 23 November. [12] Throwing his horses overboard, Charles abandoned his army and sailed home. [13] He finally reached Cartagena, in southeast Spain, on 3 December. [14]

Losses amongst the invading force were heavy with 17 galleys and 130 carracks lost, plus large numbers of sailors and soldiers. [15] A Turkish chronicler confirming that the Berber tribes were massacring the 12.000 men of invading forces [16] So many of Charles' troops were taken captive that there was a glut of slaves on the market in Algiers, so that 1541 was said to be the year when Christians were sold for the price of an onion per head. [17]

Aftermath

The disaster considerably weakened the Spanish, and Hassan Agha took the opportunity to attack Mers-el-Kebir, the harbour of the Spanish base of Oran, in July 1542. [18]

Notes

  1. Berber Government: The Kabyle Polity in Pre-colonial Algeria, p191
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 The Story of the Barbary Corsairs by Stanley Lane-Poole p.114ff
  3. Handbook for travellers in Algeria and Tunis, Algiers, Oran, Constantine ... by John Murray (Firm),Sir Robert Lambert Playfair p.38
  4. Garnier, p.201
  5. European warfare, 1494–1660 by Jeremy Black p.177
  6. E.J. Brill's first encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913–1936 by Martijn Theodoor Houtsma p.258
  7. 1 2 3 Garnier, p.202
  8. Garnier, p.203
  9. Garnier, p.204ff
  10. Garnier, p.204
  11. Garnier, p.205
  12. Garnier, p.207
  13. Roger Crowley, Empires of the Sea, faber and faber 2008 p.73
  14. Garnier, p.206
  15. Garnier, p.208
  16. Garcés, María Antonia (2005). Cervantes in Algiers: A Captive's Tale (illustrated, revised ed.). Vanderbilt University Press. p. 24. ISBN   0826514707 . Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  17. Roger Crowley, Empires of the Sea, faber and faber 2008 p. 73
  18. A history of the Maghrib in the Islamic period by Jamil M. Abun-Nasr p.155 ff

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References