Military Wiki
Long War
Fifteen Years' War of Hungary
Part of the Ottoman-Habsburg wars
Battle of Mezőkeresztes 1596.jpg
Date1591 / 1593 – 1606
LocationHungary, Wallachia, Balkan Peninsula
Result Peace of Zsitvatorok

 Holy Roman Empire

  • Kingdom of Bohemia Crown of Bohemia
  •  Electorate of Saxony
  •  Austria

Coat of arms of Hungary (1918-1919).svg Kingdom of Hungary[1]
Croatia, Historic Coat of Arms, first white square.svg Kingdom of Croatia[1]
Flag of Transylvania before 1918.svg Transylvania
Flag of the Cossack Hetmanat.svg Zaporozhian Host
Serbian Cross.svg Serbian hajduks
 Papal States
 Republic of Venice
Medici Flag of Tuscany.png Tuscany
Flag of Shah Tahmasp I.svg Persia
Cross Order of Saint Stephanus.jpg Knights of St. Stephen
Coat of arms of the House of Este (1471).svg Duchy of Ferrara
Coat of arms of the House of Gonzaga (1433).svg Duchy of Mantua
Republic of Dubrovnik Flag.png Republic of Ragusa

 Duchy of Savoy
 Ottoman Empire
Crimean Tatar tamga icon (blue and gold).svg Crimean Khanate
Nogai Khanate
Commanders and leaders
Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor
Hermann Christof von Russwurm
Karl von Mansfeld
Giorgio Basta
István Bocskai
Michael the Brave
Starina Novak
95,000[2][3] 160,000–180,000[2][3]
Casualties and losses
Unknown, heavy Unknown, heavy

The Long Turkish War or Thirteen Years' War was an indecisive land war between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire and the client states of Wallachia, Transylvania and Moldavia.[4] It was waged from 1593 to 1606 but in Europe is sometimes called the Fifteen Years War, reckoning from the 1591-92 Turkish campaign that captured Bihać.

In the series of Ottoman wars in Europe it was the major test of force between the Ottoman–Venetian War (1570–73) and the Cretan War (1645–69). The next of the major Ottoman-Habsburg wars was the Great Turkish War of 1683-99. Overall, the conflict consisted in a great number of costly battles and sieges, but with very little result for either side.


The major participants of this war were the Habsburg Monarchy, the Principality of Transylvania, Wallachia and Moldavia opposing the Ottoman Empire. Ferrara, Tuscany, Mantua and the Papal State were also involved to a lesser extent.



Skirmishes along the border intensified from 1591. In 1592, the fort of Bihać in what was central Croatia at the time fell to the Ottomans.


In the spring of 1593, Ottoman forces from the Eyalet of Bosnia laid siege to the city of Sisak in Croatia, starting the Battle of Sisak which eventually ended in a victory for the Christian forces on June 22, 1593. That victory marked the end of the Hundred Years' Croatian–Ottoman War (1493-1593).

The war started on July 29, 1593, when the Ottoman army under Sinan Pasha launched a campaign against the Habsburg Monarchy and captured Győr (Turkish language: Yanıkkale) and Komarom (Turkish language: Komaron).

In early 1594, the Serbs in Banat rose up against the Ottomans.[5] The rebels had, in the character of a holy war, carried war flags with the icon of Saint Sava.[6] The war banners were consecrated by Patriarch Jovan Kantul, and the uprising was aided by Serbian Orthodox metropolitans Rufim Njeguš of Cetinje and Visarion of Trebinje.[7] In response, Ottoman Grand Vizier Koca Sinan Pasha demanded that the green flag of the Prophet Muhammed be brought from Damascus to counter the Serb flag and ordered that the sarcophagus containing the relics of Saint Sava be removed from the Mileševa monastery and transferred to Belgrade via military convoy.[6] Along the way, the Ottoman convoy killed all the people in its path as a warning to the rebels.[6] The Ottomans publicly incinerated the relics of Saint Sava on a pyre atop the Vračar plateau on April 27, 1595, and had the ashes scattered.[6]

In 1595, an alliance of Christian European powers was organized by Pope Clement VIII to oppose the Ottoman Empire (the Holy League of Pope Clement VIII); a treaty of alliance was signed in Prague by the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II and Sigismund Báthory of Transylvania. Aron Vodă of Moldavia and Michael the Brave of Wallachia joined the alliance later that year.

The Ottomans' objective of the war was to seize Vienna,[citation needed] while the Habsburg Monarchy wanted to recapture the central territories of the Kingdom of Hungary controlled by the Ottoman Empire.

Control over the Danube line and possession of the fortresses located there was crucial. The war was mainly fought in Royal Hungary (mostly present day western Hungary and southern Slovakia), Transdanubia, Royal Croatia and Slavonia, the Ottoman Empire (Rumelia – present day Bulgaria and Serbia), and Wallachia (in present-day southern Romania).

In 1595, the Christians captured Győr, Esztergom and Visegrád, strategic fortresses on the Danube, but they did not engage in the siege of the key fortress of Buda. The Ottomans launched a siege of Eger (Turkish language: Eğri), conquering it in 1596.

On the eastern front of the war, Michael the Brave, prince of Wallachia, started a campaign against the Ottomans in the autumn of 1594, conquering several castles near the Lower Danube, including Giurgiu, Brăila, Hârşova, and Silistra, while his Moldavian allies defeated the Ottoman armies in Iaşi and other parts of Moldova.[8] Michael continued his attacks deep within the Ottoman Empire, taking the forts of Nicopolis, Ribnic, and Chilia [9] and even reaching as far as Adrianople.[10] At one point his forces were only 24 kilometres (15 mi) from the Ottoman capital, Constantinople.

The conflict continued with the Battle of Călugăreni, considered one of the most important battles between the Ottomans and Wallachians (Romanians).[citation needed] Although the Wallachians emerged victorious from the battle, Michael was forced to retreat with his troops and wait for aid from his allies, Prince Sigismund Báthory of Transylvania and Emperor Rudolf of Austria. The war between Wallachia and the Ottomans continued until late 1599, when Michael was unable to continue the war due to poor support from his allies.

The turning point of the war was the Battle of Mezőkeresztes, which took place in the territory of Hungary on October 24–26, 1596. The combined Habsburg-Transylvanian force of 45–50,000 troops was defeated by the Ottoman army. The battle turned when Christian soldiers, thinking they had won the battle, stopped fighting in order to plunder the Ottoman camp.[citation needed] Despite this victory, the Ottomans realized for the first time the superiority of Western military equipment over Ottoman weapons.[citation needed] This battle was the first significant military encounter in Central-Europe between a large Christian army and the Ottoman Turkish Army after the Battle of Mohács.


In August 1601, at the Battle of Guruslău, Giorgio Basta, and Michael the Brave defeated the Hungarian nobility led by Sigismund Báthory, who accepted Ottoman protection. After the assassination of Michael the Brave by mercenary soldiers under Basta's orders,[citation needed] the Transylvanian nobility, led by Mózes Székely, was again defeated in 1603 at the Battle of Braşov by the Habsburg Empire, and Wallachian troops led by Radu Şerban. Hence, the Austrians seemed to be able to win a decisive victory.

The last phase of the war (from 1604 to 1606) corresponds to the uprising of the Prince of Transylvania Stephen Bocskay. When Rudolf – mostly based on false charges[citation needed] – started prosecutions against a number of noble men in order to fill up the court's exhausted treasury, Bocskay, an educated strategist, resisted. He collected desperate Hungarians together with disappointed members of the nobility to start an uprising against the Habsburgs ruler. The troops marched westwards, supported by the Hajduk of Hungary, won some victories and regained the territories that had been lost to the Habsburg army until Bocskay was first declared the Prince of Transylvania (Târgu Mureș, February 21, 1605) and later also to Hungary (Szerencs, April 17, 1605[Clarification needed]). The Ottoman Empire supported Bocskay with a crown that he refused (being Christian). As Prince of Hungary he accepted negotiations with Rudolf II and concluded the Treaty of Vienna (1606).


The Long War ended with the Peace of Zsitvatorok on November 11, 1606, which meagre territorial gains for the two main empires - the Ottomans won the fortresses of Eger, Esztergom and Kanisza but gave the region of Vác, that they had occupied since 1541, to Austria. The treaty confirmed the Ottomans' inability to penetrate further into Habsburg territories. It also demonstrated that Transylvania was beyond Habsburg power. Though Emperor Rudolf had failed in his war objectives, he nonetheless won some prestige thanks to this resistance to the Turks and by presenting the war as a victory. For the first time, he was also recognized as an Emperor by the Ottomans. The treaty stabilized conditions on the Habsburg-Ottoman frontier. Also, while Bocksay managed to retain his independence, he also agreed to give up the title of "king of Hungary".


Battle of Goroszló


  1. 1.0 1.1 Csorba, Csaba; Estók, János; Salamon, Konrád (1998). Magyarország Képes Története. Budapest: Hungarian Book-Club. ISBN 963-548-961-7.  62.-64. p.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ervin Liptai: Magyarország hadtörténete I. 1984. ISBN 963-326-337-9
  3. 3.0 3.1 Zsigmond Pach: Magyarország története 1526–1686, 1985. ISBN 963-05-0929-6
  4. Cathal J. Nolan (2006). The age of wars of religion, 1000–1650: an encyclopedia of global warfare and civilization. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 846. Retrieved 2012-03-23. 
  5. Rajko L. Veselinović (1966). (1219-1766). Udžbenik za IV razred srpskih pravoslavnih bogoslovija. (Yu 68-1914). Sv. Arh. Sinod Srpske pravoslavne crkve. pp. 70–71. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Nikolaj Velimirović (January 1989). The Life of St. Sava. St. Vladimir's Seminary Press. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-88141-065-5. 
  7. Editions speciales. Naučno delo. 1971. 
  8. Constantin C. Giurescu, Istoria Românilor. Bucharest: Editura All, 2007 (Romanian), p. 183.
  9. Coln, Emporungen so sich in Konigereich Ungarn, auch in Siebenburgen Moldau, in der der bergischen Walachay und anderen Oerten zugetragen haben, 1596
  10. Marco Venier, correspondence with the Doge of Venice, 16 July 1595

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