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Ottoman invasion of the Balearic Islands

Ottoman invasion of the Balearic Islands

In this video, we will be covering the last major incursion by the Ottoman Empire into Western Europe. This being the Ottoman invasion of the balearic islands.

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For centuries, control over who would be the dominate power of the Mediterranean was waged between the Ottoman Empire and the nations of Europe. Throughout this centuries long power struggle, there would be many, now long forgotten instances of Ottoman encroachment into European held land. In this episode, We will be looking at the balearic islands, and the long forgotten Ottoman invasion of the chain.

The Ottomans had already attacked the island chain multiple times in the 16th century. The first happening in 1501 following the first Rebellion of the Alpujarras, which saw them transporting refugees to North Africa, as well as raiding the Spanish Coast. They would continue to engage a number of raids along the coast throughout the rest of the century. Sacking Pollença in 1531 and 50. Mahón in ’35. Alcúdia ’51, and Valldemossa ’52. On 30 December 1557, Henry II of France, who had continued an alliance with the Ottomans started by his predecessor, would call on the Ottomans to send 150 vessels with 15,000 men and station them in the western Mediterranean. Here, it was hoped that their fleet would be able to stem the flow of Spanish reinforcements in Italy.

The Ottoman armada left Constantinople in April 1558. Reaching southern Italy in June, here they would sack Sorrento, and take some lightly protected holdings within Sicily, taking 3,000 captives. The fleet would then head west to attempt to assist the French in Corsica, but the loss of coastal holdings altered that plan, and instead, the fleet was to conduct raiding operations along the Spanish coast, causing what harm that they were able.

Early July they would arrive off the coast of the island of Menorca, capturing Mahón with limited resistance, a counterattack by 400 locally raised Spanish would be repulsed, and by July 9th, the Ottomans, under Piyale Pasha and The so called Drawn Sword of Islam, Turgut Reis would arrive at the gates of Ciutadella on the flip side of the island, putting the city under siege for eight days.

All of Ciutadella’s 3,100 inhabitants who had survived the siege, along with a large section of the populace outside of the city, were sold into slavery back in Constantinople, totaling over 4,000. The rest of the islands would be raided and ravaged, but as the summer was nearing its end. The fleet would sail back home, leaving their French allies to their fate in Corsica, and ending their temporary occupation of the balearic islands, and would be one of their last major attacks in the Western Mediterranean.



  1. Dear viewers, Thank you for taking the time to watch the video. If you like the video, please share it with your friends. Please consider donating on my patreon page if you wish to further assist in helping this channel grow: https://www.patreon.com/Tipsyfishs

  2. Looks like everyone had it in for Spain during that period.

  3. I still don't understand why people go to war for furniture

  4. Nerja, in Andalucia, was abandoned for two centuries, because of these slave raids.

  5. I knew about the Ottoman invasion of southern Italy, but I didn't knew they also reached the Balearic Islands. Awesome video 🙂

  6. Cool and interesting video! Muslim slave raids were common up to the 18th century all over Europe.

  7. Thanks for sharing these interesting and not well known bits of history.

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