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Rise of the Ottomans, European Raids

Gelibolu, Battle of Kosovo, Bulgarian army, Thrace, southeastern Europe

Ottoman expansion into Europe began late in Orhanís reign. Ottoman soldiers were hired as mercenaries by leading Byzantines, including John VI Cantacuzene, who was thus able to secure himself the Byzantine throne in 1347. In return, Ottoman soldiers were allowed to raid Byzantine territories in Thrace and Macedonia, and the emperorís daughter was given to Orhan in marriage. The Ottoman raiders soon began to camp in the Gallipoli (Gelibolu) Peninsula and to mount continuous raids on the remaining Byzantine possessions in Europe.

The transformation of the Ottoman principality into a vast empire, covering southeastern Europe, Anatolia, and the Arab world, was accomplished in three major campaigns between the 14th and 16th centuries. The early Ottoman Empire, stretching from the Danube to the Euphrates, was created by Murad I and Bayazid I. Murad concentrated mainly on Europe in a series of campaigns that extended as far as the Danube, culminating in the Battle of Kosovo (1389), in which an allied Serbian, Bosnian, and Bulgarian army was routed. Murad himself was killed, but his son Bayazid completed the victory. During the next decade Bayazid broke with tradition and conquered most of the Anatolian Turkmen principalities, thus bringing the early empire to its peak.

Article key phrases:

Gelibolu, Battle of Kosovo, Bulgarian army, Thrace, southeastern Europe, Euphrates, Murad, mercenaries, Bosnian, Danube, Arab world, Peninsula, peak, marriage, victory, centuries, transformation, Macedonia, tradition, Europe


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