|Fall of Gallipoli|
|Part of the Byzantine-Ottoman wars|
The Byzantine and Ottoman Empires within a year of the occupation of Gallipoli
|Byzantine Empire||Ottoman Turks|
|Commanders and leaders|
The fall of Gallipoli to the Ottomans occurred in March 1354. After suffering a half-century of a string of defeats at the hands of the Ottomans, the Byzantines had lost nearly all of their possessions in Anatolia. Access to the Aegean and Marmara meant that the Ottomans could now implement the conquest of the Peloponnese, Greece and further north into Serbia and Hungary.
During the Byzantine civil war of 1352–1357, Turkish mercenaries allied to the emperor John VI Kantakouzenos plundered most of Byzantine Thrace and around 1352 were granted the small fortress of Tzympe near Gallipoli. On 2 March 1354, the area was struck by an earthquake which destroyed hundreds of villages and towns in the area. Nearly every building in Gallipoli was destroyed, causing the Greek inhabitants to evacuate the city. Within a month, Suleyman Pasha seized the site, quickly fortifying it and populating it with Turkish families brought over from Anatolia.
John VI offered cash payments to the Ottoman sultan Orhan I to vacate the city, but was refused. The sultan said he had not taken the city by force and could not give up something which had been granted to him by Allah. Panic spread throughout Constantinople as many believed that the Turks would soon be coming for the city itself. Because of this, Kantakouzenos's position became unstable, and he was overthrown in November of 1354.
Gallipoli was to become the major bridgehead into Europe through which the Ottomans would facilitate further expansion into Europe. In less than ten years, nearly all of Byzantine Thrace had fallen to the Turks, including Adrianople.
- Nicolle, David and Hook, Adam. Ottoman Fortifications 1300–1710. Osprey Publishing, 2010. Accessed 3 Sept 2011.
- Goffman, Daniel. The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe. Cambridge University Press, 2002. Accessed 3 Sept 2011.
- Ostrogorsky, George. History of the Byzantine State, pp. 530–537. Rutgers University Press (New Jersey), 1969.
- Norwich, John. A Short History of Byzantium, p. 348. Alfred A. Knopf (New York), 1997.
- Vasiliev, Alexander. History of the Byzantine Empire, 324–1453, 2nd ed, p. 622. (Madison), 1952.
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