Vienna, Siege of

(July 17–Sept. 12, 1683) Attempted capture of Vienna by Ottoman Turkey.

On appeal from the Hungarian Calvinists to attack the Habsburg capital, the Turkish grand vizier, Kara Mustafa (1634–83), and his army of 150,000 laid siege to Vienna in July 1683, after capturing its outer fortifications. Pope Innocent XI convinced John III Sobieski of Poland to lead a combined army of 80,000 to relieve the siege. On Sept. 12, 1683, Sobieski, aided by Charles of Lorraine, led the attack from the surrounding hills and after 15 hours drove the Turks from their trenches around the city. Thousands were slaughtered or taken prisoner. The event marked the beginning of the decline of Turkish domination in eastern Europe.

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Europe [1683]
      (July 17–Sept. 12, 1683), expedition by the Turks against the Habsburg Holy Roman (Holy Roman Empire) emperor Leopold I that resulted in their defeat by a combined force led by John III Sobieski of Poland. The siege marked the beginning of the end of Turkish domination (Ottoman Empire) in eastern Europe.

      The leader of the Hungarian Calvinists, Imre Thököly (Thököly, Imre), appealed to the Turkish grand vizier, Kara Mustafa (Kara Mustafa Paşa, Merzifonlu), to attack the Habsburg capital. With the tacit support of the Hungarian army, 150,000 Turks laid siege to Vienna, succeeded in capturing the outer fortifications, and began to tunnel to the inner walls. The emperor fled the city. Pope Innocent XI (Innocent XI Blessed) tried unsuccessfully to induce Louis XIV of France to aid Leopold against the Turks and then appealed to Poland with a large subsidy. Although Sobieski and the emperor had made a pact of alliance earlier that year, Sobieski was reluctant to come until Innocent persuaded Charles of Lorraine (Charles IV (or V) Leopold) to join a combined army with the electors of Saxony and Bavaria as well as 30 German princes. The 80,000 troops of this relieving army formed along the top of the Vienna hills, and, on the morning of September 12, Lorraine's and Sobieski's forces attacked the Turks. By this point, the Turks had made serious inroads into the city's defenses and are generally believed to have come closer to taking Vienna than they were in 1529. The battle raged for 15 hours before the Turkish invaders were driven from their trenches. The red tent of the grand vizier was blown up, but he escaped while thousands of members of his routed army were slaughtered or taken prisoner. Reports stated that it took the armies and the Viennese a week to collect the booty that was left behind in the Turkish camp.

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Universalium. 2010.

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