Russo-Turkish War (1568–70)

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Russo-Turkish War (1568–1570)
Part of the Russo-Turkish Wars
Date 1568–1570
Location Astrakhan and Azov
Result Ottoman military defeat[1]
Ottoman commercial victory[2]
Russia destroys their fort on the Terek River
Russia allows Muslim traders access through Astrakhan
Russian Empire Tsardom of Russia

Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire

Commanders and leaders
Ivan IV of Russia
Prince P. Serebrianyi
Sokollu Mehmet Paşa
Devlet I Giray
Kasim Paşa
30,000 men[3] 20,000 Turks
50,000 Tatars[3]

The Russo–Turkish War (1568–1570) or Don Volga-Astrakhan campaign of 1569[4] (which is referred to in the Ottoman sources as the Astrakhan Expedition) was a war between the Tsardom of Russia and the Ottoman Empire. The casus belli was the Astrakhan Khanate. It was the first of twelve Russo-Turkish wars ending with World War I in 1914-18.

In 1556 the Astrakhan Khanate was conquered by Ivan the Terrible, who had a new fortress built on a steep hill overlooking the Volga.[5] In 1568 the Grand Vizier Sokollu Mehmet Paşa, who was the real power in the administration of the Ottoman Empire under Selim II, initiated the first encounter between the Ottoman Empire and her future northern rival. The results presaged the many disasters to come. A plan to unite the Volga and Don by a canal was detailed in Constantinople and in the summer of 1569 a large force under Kasim Paşa of 20,000 Turks and 50,000 Tatars were sent to lay siege to Astrakhan and begin the canal works, while an Ottoman fleet besieged Azov.

But a sortie of the garrison under Knyaz Serebrianyi, the military governor of Astrakhan drove back the besiegers; a Russian relief army of 30,000 attacked and scattered the workmen and the Tatar force sent for their protection. On their way home up to 70% of the remained soldiers and workers froze to death in the steppes or became victims of Circassian attacks. The Ottoman fleet was destroyed by a storm.

The Ottoman Empire, though militarily defeated, insisted on safe passage for Muslim pilgrims and traders from Central Asia as well as the destruction of the Russian's fort on the Terek River.[6]


  1. ^ Janet Martin, Medieval Russia:980-1584, (Cambridge University Press, 1996), 356.
  2. ^ Janet Martin, Medieval Russia:980-1584, 356.
  3. ^ a b Николай Шефов. Битвы России. Военно-историческая библиотека. М., 2002
  4. ^ DeVries, Kelly Robert (2014-05-01). "The European tributary states of the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries". Choice. 51 (09): 51–5179. doi:10.5860/CHOICE.51-5179. ISSN 0009-4978. 
  5. ^ Janet Martin, Medieval Russia:980-1584, 354.
  6. ^ Janet Martin, Medieval Russia:980-1584, 356.
  • Attila Weiszhár and Balázs Weiszhár: Lexicon of Wars, Atheneaum publisher, Budapest 2004.
  • Finkel, Caroline, Osman's Dream, (Basic Books, 2005), 57; "Istanbul was only adopted as the city's official name in 1930..".