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Ottomans Capture Caucasia

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August, 9, 1578 A.D.:
Ottomans Capture Caucasia

By: Mir M.Hosseini

The peace between the Ottoman Empire and Persian Empire after the treaty of Amasya continued from 1555 to 1578. When Sultan Murat III of the Ottoman Empire ascended to throne in 1574, As a gesture of goodwill, Shah Tahmasp 1 of Persia sent presents to Murat III. But before the Persian delegation left Istanbul, the Ottoman capital, Tahmasp died (1576). The new shah was Ismail 2. who changed the peaceful policy towards Ottomans and began hostilities in the border area. Meanwhile the governor of Lorestan, a part of Persia took refuge in Ottoman lands which further created tension between the two empires. Shah Ismail 2. soon died and during the chaos following his death, Ottoman Porte decided to invade the Iranian territory after 23 years of peace.
In April 1578, The Ottoman army invaded Caucasia and in multiple battles captured around 590,000 km.sq of the Iranian territory. The main confrontation between the two armies was around a small fort named Childir in North east Anatolia. The commander of the Ottoman army was Lala Mustafa Pasha and the commander of the Persian army was Tokmak Khan who had represented Persia in Istanbul after Murat III’s accession. He also had a Georgian army under his command. (Georgia was the vassal of Persian Empire and there was a family bond by marriage between the royal families of Persians and Georgians.) Tokmak Khan tried to encircle the Ottoman army and he was about to succeed when Ozdemiroglu Osman Pasha of Ottoman side intervened and defeated Tokmak Khan.
Although Persians tried to attack Ottoman supply units after the battle, they were forced to retreat and when a bridge was wrecked during this retreat they further lost troops. These defeats left Caucasus to Ottoman conquest. Lala Mustafa Pasha soon conquered Tbilisi, the Georgian capital. The next step was the conquest of Darband (present Republic of Daghestan in Russia). By this conquest Ottomans were able to reach the Caspian Sea.
The war continued until the Peace Treaty of Istanbul in 1590.

KEY TERMS:Amasya , Anatolia , Caspian , Caspian Sea , Caucasia , Caucasus , Childir , Daghestan , Darband , Georgia , Iran , Iranian , Istanbul , Khan , Lor , Lorestan , Osman Pasha , Ottoman , Ottoman Empire , Persia , Persian , Russia , Shah , Shah Ismail , Shah Tahmasp , Sultan , Tahmasp , Tbilisi

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