Austro-Turkish Wars of the 16th-18th Centuries

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Austro-Turkish Wars of the 16th-18th Centuries


The 1520’s saw an intensification of the struggle between the Austrian Hapsburgs and the Ottoman Empire for hegemony in southeastern and Central Europe. As a result of their forays into Hungary, the Turkish troops occupied Belgrade in 1521. After that, they routed the Hungarian and Czech troops in the Battle of Mohács of 1526 and in September-October 1529 unsuccessfully besieged Vienna. After abortive Austro-Turkish peace negotiations (1530), the Austro-Turkish War of 1532–33 began. During the war, Emperor Charles V’s troops checked the advance of the Turkish forces. The peace treaty at Istanbul (July 23, 1533) gave the lands to the west and northwest of the Kingdom of Hungary to Austria, which in return pledged to pay an annual tribute to the sultan.

During the Austro-Turkish War of 1540–47, Turkish troops occupied Buda in 1541 and Esztergom in 1543. According to the Treaty of Adrianople of 1547, the western part of the Kingdom of Hungary remained under Hapsburg rule and the central part, under the control of the sultan’s vicegerents. The rulers of the eastern part were considered Turkish vassals.

The wars of 1551–62 and 1566–68 were fought over Transylvania and did not bring about any substantial changes. The war of 1592–1606 (according to the Treaty of Zsitvatörök of Nov. 11, 1606) resulted in the release of Austria from her obligation to pay annual tribute to the sultan.

The war of 1660–64 began with a Turkish offensive. However, in the Battle of Saint Gotthard (Aug. 1, 1664), the Turkish army of the grand vizier, Fazyl Ahmed Köprülü, was defeated by the troops of the Austrian field marshal, Montecuccoli. According to the Peace of Vasvar (Aug. 10, 1664), the Turkish troops were withdrawn from Transylvania, which remained, however, under the supreme authority of the sultan.

The war of 1683–99 began with the Turkish invasion of Austria and the siege of Vienna, which began on July 14, 1683. On Sept. 12,1683, the Turkish forces were routed by the army of Austria’s ally, John Sobieski. This defeat initiated the gradual retreat of the Turks from Central Europe. After the formation of the “Holy League” in 1684 against Turkey, the Austrian army occupied Buda and in 1687–88 seized eastern Hungary, Slavonia, and Banat and occupied Belgrade. Russia’s joining of the “Holy League” in 1686 and her campaign against Turkey (Azov Campaigns of 1695–96) alleviated Austria’s struggle against Turkey. On Sept. 11, 1697, the Austrian troops under the command of Eugene of Savoy defeated the Turkish army at Zenta. As a result of the war Austria gained a larger part of Hungary, Transylvania, Croatia, and almost all of Slavonia.

In the war of 1716–18, Austria campaigned against Turkey in accordance with the 1716 Austro-Venetian treaty of alliance. As a result of the victories of Eugene of Savoy’s Austrian army, which occupied Temesvar on Oct. 15, 1716, and defeated the Turkish troops near Belgrade on Aug. 16, 1717, Austria obtained northern Serbia—including Belgrade—part of Walachia, northern Bosnia, and other territories (the Passarowitz Peace Treaty of 1718). The Austro-Turkish War of 1737–39 began with a campaign against Turkey by Austria as Russia’s ally in the Russo-Turkish War of 1735–39. Austria suffered defeat and returned the territories in Serbia and Walachia to Turkey (Peace of Belgrade, Sept. 1, 1739).

The war of 1788–90 also began with an Austrian campaign, in accordance with the Russo-Austrian Treaty of 1781. At first the military operations went poorly for Austria, but the victories of the Russian army in the Russo-Turkish War of 1787–91 allowed the Austrian forces to occupy Bucharest, Belgrade, and Craiova. However, under the influence of Great Britain and Prussia, who on the one hand were interested in weakening Russia and on the other wanted to lure Austria into the anti-French coalition, Austria withdrew from the war. In the separate Peace of Sistova (Aug. 4, 1791), Austria returned to Turkey all the territories she had seized in that war except for the Khotin Fortress and the surrounding area. These were returned to Turkey after the end of the Rus so-Turkish War.


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.