III. The Postclassical Period, 500–1500 > B. The Middle East and North Africa, 500–1500 > 2. The Muslim Middle East and North Africa, c. 945–1500 > d. The Ottoman Empire > 2. Defeat, Recovery, and Imperial Expansion > 1428
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
The Ottomans absorbed the principality of Germiyan in southwestern Anatolia.  1
Rebellion in southern Albania. After the Ottomans occupied the area of Janina and sought to impose their direct rule, the Albanians rose in a major revolt, with secret Venetian help, under the leadership of George Skanderbeg (Castriotes). He continued the resistance for many years.  2
Campaigns in Europe. Murad led a military expedition against Transylvania and Hungary (See 1440–44) that ravaged those areas (1438). He then conquered Serbia, made the ruler of Bosnia an Ottoman tributary (1439), and laid an unsuccessful siege to Belgrade (1440). A counteroffensive led by the governor of Transylvania, John Hunyadi, inflicted defeats on the Ottoman armies in Hungary in 1441–42, and then, with allied European support, captured most of southern Serbia as well as Sofia in an advance on the Ottoman capital (1443). Fear of a renewed European attack after the winter prompted Murad to sign a ten-year truce with Hungary at Adrianople (June 12, 1444), according to which the kingdom of Serbia was restored (See 1427–56) and Ottoman suzerainty in Bulgaria and Wallachia recognized.  3
1444, Aug
Murad concluded a peace treaty with the principality of Karaman, his main adversary in the east.  4
SULTAN MEHMED II (FIRST REIGN). Having secured the Ottoman frontiers in both Europe and Anatolia, Murad renounced the throne in favor of his 12-year-old son, Mehmed, and retired to Bursa (Aug. 1444). Mehmed failed to win the support of leading notables and the Janissaries, who engineered his father's return to the throne (May 1446).  5
1444, Nov. 10
The Battle of Varna. A Crusader army organized by Hungary, Venice, and the pope launched a new offensive against the Ottomans, despite the peace recently signed at Adrianople. Murad, called out of retirement, met the European force near Varna and defeated it.  6
1448, Oct. 17–19
The second Battle of Kosovo, in which Murad crushed another Crusader army led by Hunyadi and thus dashed European hopes of pushing the Ottomans out of the Balkans.  7
SULTAN MEHMED II (SECOND REIGN). Upon his accession (Feb. 18, 1451) Mehmed inherited a revived empire that he proceeded to expand and reorganize with extraordinary vigor. He is best known for his extensive conquests in Europe and Anatolia, for which he became known as the Conqueror (Fatih). His drive to build a centralized state with himself as absolute ruler prompted him to reduce the power of the leading Turkish families (partly by confiscation of their landed property) and to promote members of his slave (devshirme) elite to positions of power, including the office of grand vizier. Mehmed was the first Ottoman ruler known to codify state legislation, which he had compiled in two major codes (kanunnames) that dealt with the rules governing state organization, penal law, and the relations of the state with the subjects. Despite his impressive feats domestically and abroad, however, his period of rule was accompanied by economic problems and discontent, due to the periodic debasement of the currency, the increases in taxes, the confiscations of property, and other unpopular measures used to raise revenue.  8
1453, May 29
CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE. The heavily fortified Byzantine capital, long coveted by the Ottomans, fell to Mehmed's troops after a siege lasting 54 days. Constantine, the last Byzantine emperor, died in the fighting, and his seat of power became the new Ottoman capital, now called Istanbul. The city was in a neglected state, with its population reduced to some 50,000 people, and the Ottomans launched a major official drive to repopulate and rebuild it. Thousands of new residents were encouraged or forced to resettle in the capital, and the infrastructure—roads, bridges, walls, markets, and water supply—was restored and expanded. By order of the sultan, high government officials founded hundreds of schools, mosques, water fountains, and other public facilities endowed with substantial private property to pay for their long-term upkeep. The city soon emerged as the largest and most glamorous urban center in the Middle East. Its population reached some 400,000 before the 19th century, about 45 percent of it Christians and Jews.  9
1454, Jan
Sultan Mehmed reinstalled the Greek Orthodox Church with all its traditional privileges, while banning all Latin Catholic organizations from his domain.  10
Conquest of Serbia. In several major campaigns, the Ottomans occupied the southern part of Serbia (1454–55), mounted an unsuccessful siege of Belgrade (1456), and then annexed the rest of the country with the exception of Belgrade (1459).  11
Conquest of the Morea. Conflicts between the two Byzantine rulers of the Morea, and their failure to continue the payments of tribute to the sultan, led to Ottoman military intervention and the annexation of the peninsula, including Athens.  12
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.