12 September 1683: The siege of Vienna is lifted

On this day in 1683, the Ottomans were forced to lift their siege on Vienna and abandon their designs on Austria following a fierce battle.

A turning point for the Ottoman Empire

After destroying the Byzantine Empire in 1453, the Ottoman Empire turned its attention toward Europe, aiming to take advantage of upheaval caused by various European conflicts.

The Turks employed two strategies: using their navy to attack the Mediterranean and invading central and eastern Europe with their land armies.

Despite some brief successes, their attempt to gain naval supremacy would effectively be ended by a crushing defeat at the battle of Lepanto in 1573. But by the middle of the 16th century, they controlled Serbia, Albania, Croatia, Bosnia and even parts of Hungary.

Advertisement - Article continues below

However, an attempt to extend their territory deeper into Europe ultimately met with failure. The Ottoman forces launched an attack on the rest of Hungary and Austria in 1682, and by the summer of 1683 they had besieged Vienna. In response, troops from Poland and the Holy Roman Empire attempted to relieve the city.

A day after the coalition arrived outside the city gates, the two forces clashed. In the resulting battle, which involved one of the largest cavalry charges in history, the Ottomans were routed, despite having greater numbers.

The battle proved to be a turning point. By 1699, the Ottomans not only had to abandon their designs on Austria, but also had to relinquish their Hungarian possessions. They would continue to make occasional attempts to expand westwards during the 18th century and their empire would not be wound up until 1922.

But most historians date its decline from that day outside the gates of Vienna. Certainly, it would never again pose a serious threat to Europe.




How long can the good times roll?

Despite all the doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently en…
19 Dec 2019

Are we back on the road to serfdom?

The coronavirus crisis has led to levels of state intervention unprecedented in peace time. The Austrian School reminds us of the challenges, say Dan …
22 May 2020

MoneyWeek's quiz of the week, 16-22 May

Test your recollection of the events of the last seven days with MoneyWeek's quiz of the week
22 May 2020
UK Economy

What are negative interest rates and could they happen here?

Negative interest rates – where banks pay you to borrow money – now exist in many parts of the world. John Stepek explains why they are a terrible ide…
18 May 2020

Most Popular

UK Economy

What bounce back loans can tell us about how we’ll pay for all this

The government will guarantee emergency "bounce back loans" for small businesses hit by Covid-19. Inevitably, many businesses will default. And there'…
1 Jun 2020

This looks like the biggest opportunity in today’s markets

With low interest rates and constant money-printing, most assets have become expensive. But one major asset class hasn’t. John Stepek explains why com…
2 Jun 2020

These seven charts show exactly why you must own gold today

Covid-19 is accelerating many trends that were already in existence. The rising gold price is one such trend. These seven charts, says Dominic Frisby,…
3 Jun 2020