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Fall of Constantinople - The Islamic Encyclopedia, History, People, Places

Fall of Constantinople

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Conquest of Constantinople 857
Ulubatli Hasan.jpg
"Ulubatli Hasan" as represented in the movie "Battle of two Empires". Hasan was the first who raised the Ottoman flag high over the walls of Constantinople. This was considered to be the turning point of the battle.
Date 857 A.H.-1453 C.E.
Location Constantinople (present-day Istanbul)
Result Decisive Ottoman Muslim victory;
End of the Roman Empire
Belligerents
Ottoman Empire Eastern Roman Empire,
Republic of Genoa,
Republic of Venice[1],
Papal forces from Italy[1],
Small Catalonian forces[1],
Spanish forces[1],
Small Cretan forces[1],
Turkish traitors (like Orkhan and his men)[2]
Commanders and leaders
Mohammed II Constantine XI
Giovanni Giustiniani
Loukas Notaras
Orkhan
Strength
80,000
70 ships
60-70,000[1]
30 ships
Casualties and losses
unknown Very heavy[3],
* Constantine XI, Giovanni Giustiniani, Orkhan, and Loukas Notaras were killed[4].
* None of peaceful civilians were hurt by the Muslim conquerors[5]

Mohammed -The Messenger of Allah- (PBUH) heralded:

   
Fall of Constantinople
"Konstantiniyyah will definitely be conquered one day. The commander who conquers it is a blessed (and wonderful) commander. His soldiers are blessed (and wonderful) soldiers."

Narrated by Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal.

   
Fall of Constantinople

Preparation for the conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul today) started in 1452. Huge cannons that were necessary for the great siege were molded in Hungary, Rumeli Castle on the European side was constructed to control the Bosphorus[6], a mighty fleet of 16 galleys was formed, the number of soldiers was doubled, the supply routes to Romans were taken under control. In April 1453, the first Ottoman frontier forces were seen in front of the city, the siege began. Here is a chronological dateline of the important points of the conquest:

Contents

Chronology

Thursday, 26 Rabi' Al-Awwal 857, 6 April 1453

Mohammed "The Conqueror" and his Blessed Army

Sultan Mehmed pitched his imperial tent by the door of St. Romanus in Topkapi neighborhood. The same day the city was besieged from the Golden Horn to the Marmara Sea from the land.

6-7 April 1453

First cannons fired. Some of the fortresses in Edirnekapi neighborhood were destroyed.

9 April 1453

Baltaoglu Suleyman Bey launched the first attack to enter the Golden Horn inlet.

9-10 April 1453

Some of the fortresses on Bosphorus were taken. Baltaoglu Süleyman Bey seized the Marmara Islands.

11 April 1453

The big walls were bombarded by cannon fires. Holes and cracks were opened here and there. Serious destruction inflicted by ceaseless bombardment.

12 April 1453

The Ottoman fleet attacked the ships protecting the Golden Horn. The victory of the Christian ships decreased the morale of the Ottoman army. At the order of Sultan Mehmed, the Roman ships were pounded by mortar fire, and one galley was sunk.

18 April 1453, Night

The Sultan gave his first crucial order. The attack lasted four hours but it was scattered.

20 April 1453

A naval skirmish took place close to Yenikapi neighborhood between the Ottoman fleet and four Roman warships with three supply ships full of food and weapons sent by the Papacy. The Sultan came to the shore himself and ordered Baltaoglu Süleyman Pasha to sink those ships by any means possible. The Ottoman fleet could not stop enemy's ships. With this failure, the Ottoman army lost its morale and showed the signs of defeat. Ottoman soldiers started defecting from the army. Soon, the Roman Emperor wanted to take advantage of this situation and offered peace.

The offer was supported by the Vizier Çandarli Halil Pasha, but was rejected by Sultan Mehmed. The siege and bombardment of the fortresses with cannons continued.

During this chaos and widespread feeling of defeat, a letter from the Sultan's spiritual teacher Aksemseddin promised good news about the conquest. Encouraged by this spiritual support, Fatih Sultan Mehmed escalated the attack and decided to add an element of surprise: the Ottoman fleet anchored in Dolmabahçe bay would be moved to the Golden Horn by land.

22 April 1453

It was a miracle. No one heard about this before. No one saw like this before.

In early hours of the morning, Romans were shocked and horrified when they saw Ottoman galleys moving down on the hills of the harbor. Seventy ships carried by cows and balanced by hundreds of soldiers via ropes were slid over slipways. By the afternoon, the ships were inside the well protected bay[7].

The surprise appearance of the Ottoman fleet in the bay created panic among Roman defenders of Constantinople. The wall on the shore of the Golden Horn became a vulnerable spot and some of the Roman forces were moved there. This weakened the defense of the land walls.

28 April 1453

The attempt to burn the Ottoman ships in the bay was prevented by heavy cannon fire. A bridge was constructed between Ayvansaray and Sutluce neighborhoods to attack the walls located on the shore of the bay.

An offer of unconditional surrender was delivered to the Emperor through the Genoese. If he surrendered he could have gone wherever he wanted and the life and property of his people would have been spared. The Emperor rejected this offer.

7 May 1453

A three hour long attack was launched on the stream of Bayrampasa with a 30,000 strong force; but it was failed.

12 May 1453

An attack made towards the point between Tekfur Palace and Edirnekapi was defeated by the Roman defence.

16 May 1453

When the underground tunnel dug in the direction of Egrikapi intersected the Roman underground tunnel, an underground skirmish erupted.

The same day, an attempt to cut the big chain blocking the entrance of the Golden Horn failed. The following day the attack was repeated, but again ended with failure.

18 May 1453

Ottoman forces launched another attack from the direction of Topkapi neighborhood by using a wooden mobile tower. The Romans burned the tower at night and emptied the trenches that were filled by Ottomans.

Over the following days, bombarding of the land walls was continued.

25 May 1453

Fatih Sultan Mehmed, sent Isfendiyar Beyoglu Ismail Bey as an ambassador offering the Emperor to surrender for the last time. According to this offer, the Emperor and his followers could take their wealth and go anywhere they wished. The people who decided to stay could keep their belongings and estates. This offer too was rejected.

26 May 1453

According to rumors, European countries and especially Hungarians were planning to mobilize their troops to help the Romans unless the siege was ended. Upon hearing these rumors Sultan Mehmed gathered his war council. In the meeting Candarli Halil Pasha and his party defended their previous position, that is, of putting an end to the siege. Sultan Mehmed with his tutor Zaganos Pasha, his teachers Aksemseddin, Molla Gürani and Molla Hüsrev opposed the idea of quitting.

They decided to continue the war and Zaganos Pasha was commissioned for preparations.

27 May 1453

The general attack was announced to the Ottoman army.

28 May 1453

The army spent the day by resting and preparing for the next day's attack. There was a complete silence among soldiers. Sultan Mehmed inspected the army and encouraged them for the great attack.

On the other side, a religious ceremony was held in Hagia Sophia Church. The Emperor urged people to participate in the defense. This would be the last Roman ceremony.

Tuesday, 20 Jamada I 857, 29 May 1453

"Mohammed II, Entering to Constantinople", painted by Fausto Zonaro

Platoons positioned for the assault. Sultan Mehmed gave the order to attack at midnight. Inside Constantinople, while the soldiers positioned for war, people filled the churches.

The Ottoman army launched its final assault. The first assault was performed by Muslim infantry, who shouted loudly "Allah Akbar" and stormed the city, then they were followed by Anatolian soldiers. When 300 Anatolian soldiers were killed, the lionhearted Janissaries started their attack. With the presence of Sultan Mehmed, the Ottoman army was motivated and hand to hand fights started. A young soldier, Ulubatli Hasan, who first erected the Ottoman flag on Roman land wall, was martyred. Upon the entrance of the Janissaries from Belgradkapi neighborhood and the surrender of the last defenders in Edirnekapi front, the Roman defense collapsed. The Emperor was killed by an Arabian man during street skirmishes.

Muslim forces entered from every direction and crushed the Roman defense completely. Towards noon Sultan Mehmed entered the city. He went directly to Haghia Sophia Church and ordered to convert it into a Masjid[8].


Consequences of the Conquest

The conquest of Constantinople has had such a historical impact in the world, some historians even marked the end of the Middle Ages.

After the conquest, Ottoman Muslims were to take dynamic roles in shaping international politics. Up until that point European Christendom has kept Muslims from Asia Minor away, with Istanbul functioning as a border station for the Crusaders. But After the conquest, the sovereignty of the Muslims was assured, and they were no longer threatened by the Crusaders. Indeed Muslims would eventually begin European campaigns.

The Arabian Champion

Ulubatli Hasan

The source book –of the following translated quotation- is: "Al-Tuhfah Al-Halimiyah Fi Tarikh Al-Dawlah Al-'Aliyah", which was written by a man called “Ibrahim Halim” more than 100 years ago. It was republished and renamed in 2002 C.E. by "World of books -Alam Al-Kutub- publishing house" in Beirut-Lebanon.

The author (Ibrahim Halim) wrote [Pages: 91-92]:

((On Tuesday, 20 Jumada I [“Jumada I” is the fifth month of the 12 lunar months in the Islamic calendar], in 857 A.H. [Latin: Anno Hegirae], Muslims troops attacked Constantinople and conquered it after 54 days of sieging. The Emperor Constantine -with his forces- got out from Tekfur Sarayi -Palace of the Porphyrogenitus- to defend the city. He and his forces attacked some Muslims. The Emperor saw a wounded Arabian man, so he wanted to behead him, but the wounded Arabian man –even though being wounded! - was faster than Constantine. He -the wounded Arabian champion- stroke Constantine XI with the sword on his neck and beheaded him. The conquest of Constantinople, therefore, was completed. After the war, Orkhan was executed because he betrayed Muslims and helped Romans during the siege. The Emperor Constantine XI was buried in the Ancient House –in Arabic, AlManzil AlAtiq- in the square of Wafa in accordance with Christian rites))[9] [note: the book (Al-Tuhfah Al-Halimiyah Fi Tarikh Al-Dawlah Al-'Aliyah) is in Arabic language].

All historical books of Muslims indicate that none of the civilians were killed nor executed by Muslims in Constantinople. You can check this Arabic book as an example ((“The Conqueror of Constantinople, Sultan Mohammed Al-Fatih”, written by Dr. Ali Mohammed Mohammed Al-Sullabi, and published in 2006 C.E. by the Islamic publishing house in Cairo, Egypt. “The first edition”)).

According to that book too, 30 lionhearted Muslim knights -led by the hero Ulubatli Hasan- were the first who raised the Ottoman flag over the walls of Constantinople.

On the early morning of the last day of the siege, after the Dawn prayer, Ottoman infantry shouted loudly "Allah Akbar" and the city was stormed. Ulubatlı Hasan was among the first to climb the walls of Constantinople followed closely by thirty of his friends. He carried only a sword, a small shield and the Ottoman Flag. He climbed the wall, under showers of arrows, stones, spears and bullets. He reached the top and he placed the flag, which he defended until his 12 remaining friends arrived. After that he was martyred with 27 arrows still in his body. Seeing the Ottoman flag inspired the Ottoman troops and kept their spirits up until they had conquered Constantinople.


See also

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Çimen, Ali. Göknur Göğebakan. Tarihi Değiştiren Savaşlar. ISBN-10: 9752634869, 2nd Edition. pp. 166
  2. Al-Tuhfah Al-Halimiyah page92
  3. ((“The Conqueror of Constantinople, Sultan Mohammed Al-Fatih”, written by Dr. Ali Mohammed Mohammed Al-Sullabi, and published in 2006 C.E. by the Islamic publishing house in Cairo, Egypt. “The first edition”))
  4. ((“The Conqueror of Constantinople, Sultan Mohammed Al-Fatih”, written by Dr. Ali Mohammed Mohammed Al-Sullabi, and published in 2006 C.E. by the Islamic publishing house in Cairo, Egypt. “The first edition”))
  5. ((“The Conqueror of Constantinople, Sultan Mohammed Al-Fatih”, written by Dr. Ali Mohammed Mohammed Al-Sullabi, and published in 2006 C.E. by the Islamic publishing house in Cairo, Egypt. “The first edition”)) Page: 139
  6. "Fatih Al-Konstantiniyyah, Sultan Mohammed "The Conqueror" ", written by Dr. Ali Mohammed Al-Sullabi. Published by "Dar Al-Iman" publishing house in Al-Iskanderria, Egypt. Page 109
  7. "Fatih Al-Konstantiniyyah, Sultan Mohammed "The Conqueror" ", written by Dr. Ali Mohammed Al-Sullabi. Published by "Dar Al-Iman" publishing house in Al-Iskanderria, Egypt. Page 120
  8. "Fatih Al-Konstantiniyyah, Sultan Mohammed "The Conqueror" ", written by Dr. Ali Mohammed Al-Sullabi. Published by "Dar Al-Iman" publishing house in Al-Iskanderria, Egypt. Page: 137
  9. "Al-Tuhfah Al-Halimiyah Fi Tarikh Al-Dawlah Al-'Aliyah", which was written by a man called “Ibrahim Halim” more than 100 years ago. It was republished and renamed in 2002 C.E. by "World of books -Alam Al-Kutub- publishing house" in Beirut-Lebanon. Pages 91-92

Bibliography

  • "Fatih Al-Konstantiniyyah, Sultan Mohammed "The Conqueror" ", written by Dr. Ali Mohammed Al-Sullabi. Published by "Dar Al-Iman" publishing house in Al-Iskanderria, Egypt.
  • "Al-Tuhfah Al-Halimiyah Fi Tarikh Al-Dawlah Al-'Aliyah", which was written by a man called “Ibrahim Halim” more than 100 years ago. It was republished and renamed in 2002 C.E. by "World of books -Alam Al-Kutub- publishing house" in Beirut-Lebanon.
  • "History of Konstantiniyyah", published by Sadir publishing house in Beirut Lebanon. "The first edition" in 1887 C.E ."The second edition" in 1995 C.E .
  • "History of Eastern Roman Empire", written by Dr. Mohammed Mohammed Morsi Al-Sheikh, published by Dar Al-Marifa Al-Jameiyah in Al-Iskanderia-Egypt.
  • "History of the Ottoman Empire in the Middle ages", written by Dr. Mahmoud Mohammed Al-Howairi. "First edition" published in 2002 C.E., by "Al-Maktab Al-Masri" publishing house.
  • "Sultan Mohammed Al-Fatih (hero of the Islamic conquests in Eastern Europe)", written by Dr. Saiyed Rudwan Ali. "First edition", 1402 A.H, published by the Saudi publishing house.
  • "Tarihi değiştiren savaşlar", by Ali Çimen, Göknur Akçadağ Göğebakan. Second Edition. ISBN-10: 9752634869
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