Battle of Nish (1443)

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Battle of Niš
Part of Crusade of Varna
Date early November 1443
Location Niš, Ottoman Empire
Result Victory for the Christian contingent[1]
Belligerents
Coa Hungary Country History (15th century).svg Kingdom of Hungary
POL Przemysł II 1295 COA.svg Kingdom of Poland
SLazarevic Coat of Arms.png Serbian Despotate
Fictitious Ottoman flag 1.svg Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
POL Przemysł II 1295 COA.svg Władysław III of Poland
Coa Hungary Country History (15th century).svg John Hunyadi
SLazarevic Coat of Arms.png Đurađ Branković
Fictitious Ottoman flag 1.svg Kasim Pasha[2]
* Fictitious Ottoman flag 1.svg Turakhan Beg[3]
* Fictitious Ottoman flag 1.svg Isak-Beg[4]
* Fictitious Ottoman flag 1.svg Skanderbeg[5]
Strength
20,000 Hungarian soldiers and mercenaries
5,000 Polish soldiers[6]
8,000 Serbs[7]
  • 12,000 sipahi cavalry under direct command of Kasim Pasha[8]
  • frontier army of unknown number
Casualties and losses
Unknown Skanderbeg along with 300 Albanian cavalrymen deserted

At the Battle of Niš (Battle of Nish) (early November, 1443), crusaders[9] led by John Hunyadi,[10] captured the Ottoman stronghold of Nish (now Niš, Serbia) and defeated three armies of the Ottoman Empire. The Battle of Niš was part of Hunyadi's expedition known as the long campaign. Hunyadi, at the head of the vanguard, crossed the Balkans through the Gate of Trajan, captured Niš, defeated three Turkish pashas, and after taking Sofia, united with the royal army and defeated Sultan Murad II at Snaim (Kustinitza). The impatience of the king and the severity of the winter then compelled him (in February 1444) to return home, but not before he had utterly broken the Sultan's power in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Albania.

Background[edit]

In 1440 John Hunyadi became the trusted adviser and most highly regarded soldier of king Władysław III of Poland. Hunyadi was rewarded with the captaincy of the fortress of Belgrade and was put in charge of military operations against the Ottomans. King Władysław recognized Hunyadi's merits by granting him estates in Eastern Hungary. Hunyadi soon showed and displayed an extraordinary capacity to marshal his defences with the limited resources at his disposal. He was victorious in Semendria over Isak-Beg in 1441. Not far from Nagyszeben in Transylvania he annihilated an Ottoman force and recovered for Hungary the suzerainty of Wallachia. In July 1442 at the Iron Gates he defeated a massed Ottoman formation of 80,000 men led by Sehabbedin. These victories made Hunyadi a prominent enemy of the Ottomans and renowned throughout Christendom, and were prime motivators for him to undertake in 1443, along with King Władysław, the expedition which became known as the long campaign with the Battle of Niš as one of the battles of this campaign. Hunyadi was accompanied by Giuliano Cesarini during this campaign.[11]

Battle[edit]

The battle for Niš was not one battle, but five different battles. The first engagement was a battle against a small garrison in Niš and the capture of the town. This was followed by three different battles against three different Ottoman armies advancing on Niš. Finally there was a battle against the remnants of the three Ottoman armies.

The last battle took place on the plain between Bolvani and Niš on 3 November 1443.[12] Ottoman forces were led by Kasim Pasha, the beglerbeg of Rumelia, Turakhan Beg and Isak-Beg.[4] After the Ottoman defeat, the retreating forces of Kasim Pasha and Turakhan Beg burned all of the villages between Niš and Sofia.[13] The Ottoman sources explain the Ottoman defeat as due to a lack of cooperation between the different Ottoman armies which were led by different commanders.[14]

Aftermath[edit]

According to Chalcocondyles, "Weary after Hunyadi forced the Ottomans to retreat in the Balkans in 1443, the old lords hurried on all sides to regain possession of their fathers' fields".[15] One of them was George Kastrioti Skanderbeg who deserted the Ottoman army along with his nephew Hamza Kastrioti and 300 loyal Albanians and after capturing Krujë started a twenty-five-year-long struggle against the Ottoman Empire.[16][17]

Murad II signed a treaty for ten years, and abdicated in favour of his son Mehmed II. When the peace was broken the next year, Murad returned to the Balkans and won the Battle of Varna in November 1444.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Riley-Smith, Jonathan, The Crusades: A History, (Continuum International Publishing Group, 1987), 275.
  2. ^ Skënderbeu: Jeta dhe vepra by Kristo Frashëri, p. 130.
  3. ^ Houtsma, Martijn Theodoor (1993), First encyclopaedia of Islam: 1913-1936, VIII, Netherlands: E.J. Brill and Luzac and Co., p. 466, "In the beginning of November 1443, Turakhan Beg commanded one of the Ottoman corps in the battle against John Hunyadi. 
  4. ^ a b Babinger, Franz (1992), Mehmed the Conqueror and His Time, Princeton University Press, p. 25, ISBN 978-0-691-01078-6, The combined host met Ottoman forces first on November 3, 1443, between the castle of Bolvan (near Aleksinac) and the city of Niš. Here Kasim Bey, then governor of Rumelia, Ishak Bey and other standard bearers were defeated. 
  5. ^ Sir Hamilton Alexander Rosskeen Gibb; Bernard Lewis; Charles Pellat; Joseph Schacht (1973). The Encyclopaedia of Islam. Brill. p. 139. ... Iskender, feeing from the camp of Kasim, the beglerbey of Rumeli... 
  6. ^ Setton, Kenneth; Harry W. Hazard; Norman P. Zacour (1989), A history of the crusades : Volume VI: The impact of the crusades on Europe, Madison, Wis. : The University of Wisconsin Press, p. 270, ISBN 978-0-299-10740-6, OCLC 475548809, The whole army estimated to consist of 25,000 men, included an important mercenary force hired with funds given by Serbian despot, and in addition, a contingent of 8,000 Serbs and 5,000 Polish soldiers 
  7. ^ Babinger, Frank and Ralph Manheim, William C. Hickman, Mehmed the Conqueror and His Time, (Princeton University Press, 1978), 25.
  8. ^ Konstantin Mihailović (1975). Memoirs of a Janissary. Published under the auspices of the Joint Committee on Eastern Europe, American Council of Learned Societies, by the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan. p. 214. 
  9. ^ Riley-Smith, 275.
  10. ^ Hupchick, Dennis P., The Balkans: From Constantinople to Communism, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 117.
  11. ^ Babinger, Franz (1992), Mehmed the Conqueror and His Time, Princeton University Press, p. 25, ISBN 978-0-691-01078-6, John Hunyadi accompanied by the cardinal-legate Giuliano Cesarini. 
  12. ^ Setton, Kenneth; Harry W. Hazard; Norman P. Zacour (1989), A history of the crusades : Volume VI: The impact of the crusades on Europe, Madison, Wis. : The University of Wisconsin Press, p. 270, ISBN 978-0-299-10740-6, OCLC 475548809, the most important battle of the whole campaign took place at Bolvani, in the plain of Nish on November 3, 1443 
  13. ^ Imber, Colin (2006), The Crusade of Varna, 1443-45, Aldershot ; Burlington (Vt.) : Ashgate, cop., p. 16, ISBN 978-0-7546-0144-9, OCLC 470458159, In the course of their flight Kasim and Turahan burned all villages between Niš and Sofia. 
  14. ^ Imber, Colin (2006), The Crusade of Varna, 1443-45, Aldershot ; Burlington (Vt.) : Ashgate, cop., p. 270, ISBN 978-0-7546-0144-9, OCLC 470458159, The Ottoman sources in general emphasize the disagreement and lack of cooperation between frontier Ottoman forces under Turakhan and sipahi army under Kasim 
  15. ^ İnalcık, Halil (1995), From empire to republic : essays on Ottoman and Turkish social history, Istanbul: Isis Press, p. 88, ISBN 978-975-428-080-7, OCLC 34985150, retrieved 4 January 2012, Comme nous le dit Chalcocondy- las après la retraite des Ottomans dans les Balkans en 1443 devant l'Hunyade, les anciens seigneurs se dépêchèrent de tous les côtés à rentrer en possession des domaines de leurs pères....(As Chalcocondyles tells us, "Weary after Hunyadi forced the Ottomans to retreat in the Balkans in 1443, the old lords hurried on all sides to regain possession of their fathers' fields".) 
  16. ^ Encyclopaedia of the Muslim World, Ed. Taru Bahl, M.H. Syed, (Anmol Publications, 2003), 45.
  17. ^ Dialogue, Volume 5, Issues 17-20. Dijalog. 1996. p. 78. Retrieved 27 March 2012. Posle bitke kod Pirota, Skenderbeg zajedno sa sinovcem Hamzom, sinom svog starijeg brata Staniše ... 
  18. ^ The Historians' History of the World By Henry Smith Williams - Page 439

Further reading[edit]