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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

January 11th, 1648 - The Siege of Candia

Conflict: Venetian-Turkish Wars

Combatants: Greco-Venetians vs. Ottoman Turks

Location: Heraklion, Crete

Outcome: Turkish victory


In 1645, Maltese corsairs operating out of Venetian-controlled ports on Crete captured the wives of Ibrahim I, the ruler of the Ottoman Empire. Despite the waning power of his empire, Ibrahim launched a war against the Venetians to recapture the island of Crete; lost to the Venetians since the Fourth Crusade. The Ottoman Turks, with some Greek auxiliaries, quickly captured Canea in that same year and Retino in 1646.


Portrait of Doge Francesco Morosini (1619–1694), half-length, in armour by Giovanni Carboncino

In 1648, Ibrahim began the siege of the port city of Candia. Candia was defended by a combined force of Venetians and Greeks under the command of General Francesco Morosini. The superiority of the Venetian navy afforded periodic resupply and reinforcement by sea. Venetian warships simultaneously harassed the Turkish supply lines, making the maintaining of siege lines extremely difficult for the Ottomans. Ibrahim was overthrown in that same year and replaced by his seven-year-old son, Mohammed IV.


Sea battle during the siege of Candia, 1648 - 1669 by an unknown artist

After eight years of siege, the Venetian navy managed to close the sea lanes supplying both Crete and Constantinople (the Turkish capitol), but the Ottomans did not abandon the operation. Another thirteen years passed, and despite some aid from the French, Morosini at last surrendered the city to the Turks.


Siege of Candia in 1669 by an unknown artist

Points of Interest:

  • Although the seven-year-old Mohammed IV was the official head of the Ottoman Empire, Kosum Sultan, the mother of Ibrahim, wielded the political power. She was murdered in 1651 at the behest of Turhan Sultan, Mohammed IV's mother.

  • The Siege of Candia, lasting twenty-one years, is one of the longest military sieges in recorded history. With its fall, Venice lost all but three small ports on Crete.

Kosem Sultan by an unknown artist

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Sources:

Dupuy, R. Ernest & Dupuy, Trevor N. (1993). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military History. New York: HarperCollins.


Eggenberger, David (1985). An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

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