IV. The Early Modern Period, 1500–1800 > C. The Middle East and North Africa, 1500–1800 > 2. The Middle East, 1501–1808 > a. The Ottoman Empire > 1. The Rise to World Empire > c. 1570
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
c. 1570
Death of Pir Sultan Abdal, one of the most renowned of the Anatolian ashiks (minstrels). A Shi’ite (Alevi), he participated in pro-Safavid agitation around Sivas and was executed by the Ottoman authorities. His verses express protest as well as the themes of love and natural beauty, and are still sung today.  1
The conquest of Cyprus. Famagusta, the last major stronghold of the Venetians on the island, fell after a siege lasting about a year (Aug. 1571). Venice recognized the conquest in a peace signed on March 7, 1573.  2
1571, Oct. 7
The Battle of Lepanto (See 1571, Oct. 7), between the Ottoman fleet (230 galleys) and an allied European armada of more than 200 vessels under the command of Don John of Austria. The Ottoman fleet was almost totally destroyed in this naval battle, the greatest ever fought on the Mediterranean.  3
Lepanto proved less decisive than it first appeared. While Europe celebrated the victory, the Ottomans speedily rebuilt their fleet and soon restored their naval supremacy in the eastern Mediterranean. Their new navy was able to ravage the coasts of Sicily and southern Italy in 1573 and to capture Tunis from the Spaniards a year later.  4
Death of Rabbi Isaac Luria (b. 1534), the most famous student of Jewish mysticism, the cabala. He spent his last years in Safed, in Palestine, teaching his esoteric doctrines, which were published and amplified by his disciple and successor Hayim Vital (1542–1620). Their ideas spread throughout the Jewish world, especially among those expelled from Spain.  5
Death of Nigari, or Reis Haydar (b. c. 1492), a naval officer famous for his artistic talent. He left fine color portraits of Suleyman the Magnificent, Selim II, and the admiral Barbarossa.  6
Death of Ebussuud Efendi (b. 1490), one of the greatest Ottoman legal scholars. He served as sheik ul-islam (chief jurisconsult of the empire) for 29 years and issued thousands of legal opinions interpreting the law and reconciling Islamic codes with state legislation.  7
SULTAN MURAD III. Selim's eldest son, who took over after his father's death in late 1574, was the last of the sultans to possess some field experience before assuming the throne. The influence of palace women, especially Murad's mother, became pervasive, and after the execution of Mehmed Sokullu in 1579 grand vezirs changed almost annually, according to shifts in court politics. Murad captured substantial territories from Iran, but they were lost just ten years after his death.  8
Death in Safed of Rabbi Joseph Karo (b. 1488), one of the greatest of Jewish legal scholars. His work Shulhan Arukh (printed in 1550–59), in which he codified the laws and precepts of Judaism in a clear and simple manner, remains the most authoritative handbook of Jewish law to this day.  9
War with Iran. The Ottomans initiated the war in the hope of conquering the Caucasus and Azerbaijan permanently. The campaigns dragged on for years but the Ottomans were able to capture new territories, bringing under their direct rule Azerbaijan and the Caucasus as far as the Caspian. In the peace treaty concluding the war (March 21, 1590), Iran confirmed all these conquests and pledged to end all Shi’ite propaganda in Ottoman territory and the persecution of Sunnis in Iran.  10
A Hebrew press was established in Safed by Eliezer and Abraham Ashkenazi. It remained in operation for a decade and was the first press of any kind east of Istanbul and west of China.  11
Death of Don Joseph Nasi, a wealthy Jewish businessman (born as a Marrano in Portugal) who moved to Istanbul from Europe in 1554 and gained much influence by financing the rise to power of Selim II. He represented the sultan in diplomatic missions and was appointed duke of Naxos. He worked closely with his aunt Doña Gracia Mendes (1510–68), an enterprising Jewish woman who settled in Istanbul in 1553 and gained considerable economic power and political influence. They donated generously to Jewish causes and in the 1560s invested in the rebuilding of Tiberias, in Palestine, as part of a project to revive the town as a center for Jewish learning.  12
1580, Jan
Destruction of the astronomical observatory in Istanbul by the sultan's order, following objections by religious leaders to the scientific activity there.  13
Treaty of commerce between the Ottoman Empire and England, the first capitulatory agreement between the two governments (ratified in Istanbul, May 3, 1583). England acquired privileges formerly limited to France and Venice. The Ottomans broadened English extraterritorial rights by successive renewals and expansions (in 1603, 1606, 1624, 1641, 1662, and 1675).  14
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.