The Rise Of The Ottomans

The Ottoman state was born in 1301 when Osman I, a leader of warriors who were fighting for the Muslim faith on the eastern frontier of the Byzantine Empire, declared his independence.

The new state quickly expanded and in 1326 captured Prusa (modern day Bursa), which became its capital.

The judicious piety of the Ottomans soon won them the support of the general population of their territories, and even of some Christian brotherhoods.

Ottoman Capture of Constantinople

Ottoman Capture of Constantinople

Meanwhile, a professional core of Janissaries was created to add stability to an army which was otherwise too dependent on Turkic and renegade volunteer cavalry.

By 1362, with the Ottoman capture of Adrianople (Edirne), Byzantium had been reduced to the city-state of Constantinople and a few minor outposts, isolated within Ottoman domains.

Only a Mongol incursion in 1402 delayed the Ottoman invasion of Constantinople itself. In 1422 the Ottoman army made its first attack on the city's colossal land walls.

As the threat increased, the Byzantine emperor made a last ditch effort to win the support of the Latin West in 1439. The Hungarians alone answered his call for help, forming a 25,000 strong crusade.

However, in 1444 they were defeated en route by the Ottomans at the Battle of Varna on the Black Sea.

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