A New Battle Fleet: The evolution of the Ottoman sailing navy, 1650–1718, revealed through Venetian sources

By Guido Candiani, published February 2018


Between 1650 and 1718 the Ottoman navy developed a new fleet of sailing warships in response to similar developments in the Venetian navy. The Venetian government was kept informed of Ottoman naval developments through ambassadors’ reports from Constantinople and accounts from admirals during wartime. The files in the Archivio di Stato di Venezia therefore preserve a rich documentation relating to the new Ottoman navy that has previously been overlooked. It provides unique evidence of the significant stages in the development of the Ottoman sailing fleet and reveals that its introduction was much earlier than previously supposed. This provides an opportunity to rectify previous perceptions of the Ottoman navy, which have led to its importance being devalued and overshadowed by its sixteenth-century successes. The Ottoman fleet was not an old-fashioned organization with its eyes turned only on the past, but embraced new weapons, technology and tactics. This article demonstrates that the navy played an important role in the development of sailing ship warfare in the Mediterranean and was one of the most modern of the Ottoman institutions.

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Filed under: Other (Early Modern) | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Battles & Tactics | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design | Strategy & Diplomacy

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