Thursday, September 30, 2021

The Battle of Chaldiran

Sultan Selim I (Selim the Excellent or Brave) had deposed his father, Bayezid II in 1512. He set about turning the attention of the Ottoman Empire from the West to the East by embarking on a campaign to overcome the threat posed to Sunni Islam by the Shia Islamic Safavid Persian Empire.

In 1502 the threat increased when the head of the Safavid family, Ismail, proclaimed himself shah and quickly built an empire directly to the east of the Ottoman frontier. Ismail's success depended on his followers' belief that his descent from Muhammad's son in-law `Ali made him the true and only legitimate successor to the Prophet.
When Ismail invaded eastern Ottoman territory in 1513, war seemed inevitable. Selim assembled a huge army—more than 100,000 strong—and marched into Iran. He massacred many thousands in eastern Asia Minor and on 23 August 1514 after a long Mach across Turkey, the Ottoman army of Selim I finally encountered the Persian troops of Shah Ismail on the plain of Chaldiran, north-east of Lake Van.

It was culmination of a great military campaign, successfully conducted by Selim in Chaldiran, with the decisive support of the artillery, the Ottoman were able to defeat their enemy opening their way to Tabriz.

The Ottoman then marched on Tabriz, Ismail's new capital. Selim took Tabriz, though he later left the city and did not pursue his conquest of the Persian territories further. The result was a stand-off, each ruler remaining supreme within his own frontiers.

With the Battle of Chaldiran that ended with a decisive victory, the Ottoman Empire interrupted the Safavid Empire’s search for influence, albeit for a while and took control of Erzincan and Erzurum, which were of strategic importance.
The Battle of Chaldiran

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