Holy League (1571)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Standard of the Holy League.

The Holy League of 1571 was concluded in Rome on May 20, 1571 between Pope Pius V , Spain , Venice and Genoa in order to break the Ottoman supremacy in the Mediterranean and its expansionist efforts. In addition, the duchies of Savoy , Florence , Parma and Urbino as well as the Knights of Malta belonged to it.

Neither the Holy Roman Empire nor France and Portugal showed any interest in this alliance. The Holy Roman Empire preferred to maintain its separate peace with the Ottoman Empire, France preferred its active alliance with the Sultan against Spain, and Portugal was too preoccupied with its own campaign in Morocco . In addition, the Portuguese could not raise any further forces for another campaign in the Mediterranean, as they were already actively involved with the Ottomans in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf .

Originally, the League's fleet was supposed to bring relief troops to the then Venetian Cyprus, as this was conquered under Lala Mustafa in August 1571 (see also Cyprus' conquest by the Ottomans ). For various reasons - not least because of serious differences of opinion among the commanders of the various contingents - it did not come to that. Instead, and also because strong Ottoman naval units were operating in the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas , the League's ships ultimately gathered in Messina , from where they then sailed to the east coast of the Adriatic . On October 7th, 1571 there was then the naval battle of Lepanto south of the small Greek island of Oxia , in which the League's fleet under the command of Juan de Austria destroyed the Ottoman fleet under Ali Pascha . After Venice had concluded a separate peace with Constantinople in 1573 and formally recognized the loss of Cyprus, the league was dissolved.