Military Wiki
Hundred Years' Croatian–Ottoman War
Part of the Croatian–Ottoman Wars
Sisak Fortress2.JPG
Sisak Fortress, site of the Battle of Sisak.
Date1493 to 1593
LocationMediaeval Kingdom of Croatia, Habsburg Kingdom of Croatia
Result Battle of Sisak, Ottoman Empire conquered large areas of Croatian Kingdom, Croatian Kingdom managed to survive
CoA of the Kingdom of Croatia.svg Mediaeval Kingdom of Croatia
Habsburg Kingdom of Croatia
Armoiries Hongrie ancien.svg Kingdom of Hungary
Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg Holy Roman Empire
Flag of the Ottoman Empire (1453-1517).svg Ottoman Turks and various allies
Commanders and leaders
Croatian Ban
various Croatian feudal lords
Ottoman Sultan

The Hundred Years' Croatian–Ottoman War (Croatian: Stogodišnji hrvatsko-turski rat ,[1][2] Stogodišnji rat protiv Turaka,[3][4] Stogodišnji rat s Osmanlijama[5]) is the name for a sequence of conflicts, mostly of relatively low-intensity, ("Small War", Croatian: Mali rat[2]) between the Ottoman Empire and the mediaeval Kingdom of Croatia (ruled by the Jagiellon and Zápolya dynasties), and the later Habsburg Kingdom of Croatia.

Time span

There are several different variations about the exact length of the war. According to one group of historians, the war began with the Battle of Krbava Field in 1493, and ended with the Battle of Sisak in 1593.[6]

According to the other group of historians, the war lasted from the second half of the 15th century and into the entire 16th century.[7]

A third group of historians mark the Peace of Zsitvatorok in 1606 as the end of the war. The war was won by the Ottoman's defeat upon their advance on the Kupa river border, with the remainder of Croatia's territory consisted of only 16,800 km².[8]

In light of the human and territorial loss, the 15th and 16th centuries were known as the "Two centuries of Croatia in mourning" (Latin: Plorantis Croatiae saecula duo carmine descripta) in the lyric-epic poem of Pavao Ritter Vitezović from 1703.[9]


The battlefields were concentrated in the central-eastern areas of the Kingdom of Croatia, stretching from the eastern border from the pre-Turkish times to the eastern border of the "reliquiae reliquiarum olim inclyti regni Croatiae" ("remnants of the remnants of the once great kingdom of Croatia").

After the 1493 loss at Krbava, the Ottomans started the occupation of significant forts: Knin and Skradin fell in 1522.[10] The Battle of Mohács happened in 1526. Jajce fell in 1528, Požega in 1536, Klis fell in 1537, Nadin and Vrana in 1538, moving the Croatian-Ottoman border to the line, roughly, Požega-Bihać-Velebit-Zrmanja-Cetina.[10]

By the end of 1540, the Ottoman Empire occupied the Croatian possessions between Skradin and Karin, eliminating them as a buffer zone between the Ottoman and Venetian territory in Dalmatia.[11] By 1573, the remainder of the Dalmatian hinterland, now largely controlled by the Venetian cities, was even further reduced by Ottoman advances.[12]

Kingdom of Croatia (pale brown), Republic of Dubrovnik (yellow), possession of Republic of Venice on Croatian coast (orange), and Ottoman Empire's Pashalik of Bosnia (green) in 1606.

International impact

Although the Croatian Kingdom suffered major defeats in battles, it remained in existence, keeping its identity, religion and culture under the Habsburg Monarchy. In addition, some Croats in the territories lost to the Ottomans remained because the Porte embraced ethnic diversity.

The Croatian combat against the Ottomans did not remain unnoticed in the political circles of European states. Copious amounts of information from the war was written in Monumenta Hungariae Historica, Codex diplomaticus partium Regno Hungariae adnexarum from 1903 (over 600 documents).

Type of conflicts

During those 100 years (or 150 years, depending on criteria), the war on the territory of Kingdom of Croatia was overall a series of smaller armed conflicts ("small war") over the long duration of the war (in other words, armies were not always in constant battle.)

The Ottoman tactic consisted of persistent loot and scorching raids whose aim was to intimidate and demoralize the local civil inhabitants, to exhaust the economic opportunities and disable the normal economic life on the frontier areas. On the other side, Croatian and allied Christian forces implemented counterattacks, especially in the first phases of war, when they were still able to apply the counterattacking or the offensive tactics. Despite these destructive tactics, the armies did sometimes clash. Sometimes the local armies intercepted or pursued the raiders in their return from the raid. There was also more intense military actions, such as the Battle of Krbava Field or the battles for Sisak.

Zones of war peril

The war-endangered areas can be classified in three zones:

The first zone was the territory of Kingdom of Croatia, that had no effective control by both sides, as well as the parts of Kingdom of Croatia that were heavily struck by the Ottoman military and paramilitary operations. This zone was up to 50 km deep in the Croatian territory. It mostly covered the areas along the border and the later-formed Military Frontier. The infrastructure and the supra-structure became ruined and devastated, and the economic life suffered. This zone had high rate of emigration, mostly to the second and the third zones, along with emigrations abroad.

The second zone was from time to time exposed to the raids of the Ottoman regular and irregular forces. The area was controlled by the Croatian authorities and the economic life was still somewhat functioning. Population level was steady and received a continuous inflow of displacees from the first zone. The Croatian nobles used this zone as the support point and the base for the defense or for the attempts of retaking of their estates in the first zone. These areas lived as economic support of the armies.

The third zone was mostly Ottoman raid-safe zone, in which the majority of the zone had no Ottoman raids, although few areas were subjected to Ottoman raids.[13]


  • Milan Kruhek: Granice Hrvatskog Kraljevstva u međunarodnim državnim ugovorima, Povijesni prilozi 10/1991, p. 37-79, ISSN 0351-9767
  • Ferdo Šišić: Pregled povijesti hrvatskog naroda 600.-1526.
  1. (Croatian) Hrvatska znanstvena bibliografija Mirko Valentić: Stogodišnji hrvatsko-turski rat (1493-1593) - Od kraja 15. st. do kraja Prvoga svjetskog rata, Školska knjiga, Zagreb, 2005, ISBN 953-0-60577-3
  2. 2.0 2.1 (Croatian) Kraljevina Hrvatska i Kraljevina Ugarska Kratka politicka i kulturna povijest Hrvatske
  3. (Croatian) Filozofski fakultet u Mostaru Kolegij Hrvatska povijest srednjega vijeka]
  4. (Croatian) Deseta gimnazija Ivan Supek, Zagreb Zbirka zadataka za 2. razred
  5. (Croatian) ARHiNET arhivski informacijski sistem
  6. (Croatian) Hrvatski studiji Studij povijesti
  7. (Croatian) Mladen Ančić: Hrvatski ulog u Bosni, 2. prosinca 2009.
  8. (Croatian) Milan Kruhek: Granice Hrvatskog Kraljevstva u međunarodnim državnim ugovorima, Povijesni prilozi 10/1991., str.37-39, ISSN 0351-9767
  9. (Croatian) ARHiNET arhivski informacijski sistem Pavao Ritter Vitezović
  10. 10.0 10.1 Raukar, Tomislav (October 1990). "Hrvatska na razmeđu XV i XVI. stoljeća" (in Croatian). Senj, Croatia: City Museum Senj - Senj Museum Society. p. 10. ISSN 0582-673X. Retrieved 2012-07-08. 
  11. Bogumil Hrabak (September 1986). "Turske provale i osvajanja na području današnje severne Dalmacije do sredine XVI. stoleća" (in Serbian). University of Zagreb, Faculty of Philosophy, Zagreb. ISSN 0353-295X. Retrieved 2012-07-08. 
  12. Raukar, Tomislav (November 1977). "Venecija i ekonomski razvoj Dalmacije u XV i XVI stoljeću" (in Croatian). Zagreb, Croatia: Faculty of Philosophy, Zagreb. p. 221. ISSN 0353-295X. Retrieved 2012-07-08. 
  13. Ivan Jurković (September 2003). "Klasifikacija hrvatskih raseljenika za trajanja osmanske ugroze (od 1463. do 1593.)" (in Croatian). Classification of Displacees Among Croats During the Ottoman Peril (from 1463 till 1593). Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies. pp. 147–174. ISSN 1333-2546. Retrieved 5 November 2011. 

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