By: Mir M.Hosseini
The Battle of Torches was fought continuously between 8th & 11th of May, 1583, between the Ottoman and Safavid armies. The name of the battle refers to torches used during night clashes.
In the first phase of the war the Ottomans had been able to conquer most of the Caucasus. Osman Pasha was appointed the governor of the newly conquered territories. The capital of his province was Darband at the Caspian coast. However, after the Ottoman army returned to its main base in Istanbul, the Persians under Imam Gholi began to regain some of their former territories. Although an army from the Crimean Khanate (which was an Ottoman vassal) under Mehmet Giray was sent to Caucasus in summer 1579 as a reinforcement, they returned to Crimea in the autumn, leaving Osman Pasha alone. Consequently, Osman Pasha had to retreat to North Caucasus. In 1582, the Ottoman Porte sent a second reinforcing force under Jafar Pasha, the governor of Jaffa, to restore Ottoman dominance in the area.
The 50,000-strong Persians under Imam Gholi, together with Georgian irregulars, attacked again in the spring of 1583. In a first clash by the vanguard units of both armies, the Ottomans were defeated on Apr, 25, 1583). The main clash occurred in Bashtepe near Darband on May, 9, 1583. On the Ottoman side, Osman Pasha was placed in the center, Jafar Pasha was at the left flank and Haydar Pasha, the governor of Sivas, was at the right flank. On the Persian side, Imam Gholi was in the center, Rostam Khan was at the right and Borhaneddin at the left. The result of the battle was inconclusive at the end of the first day, but the battle continued during the night, both sides using torches. In the second day, there was a momentary pause in the combat. But in the third day, an Ottoman general attack marked the end of the battle. The Persian army was defeated and the Persian prisoners of war exceeded 3000.
By this victory, the Ottomans were able to establish control over all of the Caucasus. After further Ottoman victories in the south (conquest of Tabriz) both sides agreed to conclude peace. By the Treaty of Istanbul of 1590, Persians acknowledged Ottoman gains in the Caucasus and modern Azerbaijan as well as West Iran. But these gains were not long lasting, as they were reversed in the next Ottoman - Safavid War.