Hey all. So, from July 1480-September 1481, the Ottoman Empire captured and occupied the Italian city of Otranto, then part of the Principality of Taranto. Otranto was intended to be a beachhead for an Ottoman conquest of the Italian peninsula; having taken Constantinople, Sultan Mehmed II intended to conquer Rome as well, and thus establish the Ottomans as the undisputed heirs to the Roman Empire. However, this obviously never came to pass. Pope Sixtus IV called for a crusade to drive the Turks from Europe which, while mostly unsuccessful, did force them to abandon Otranto.
In 1537, the famous corsair Barbarossa recaptured Otranto as well as a number of other nearby cities and fortresses, and conducted many successful raids around the Habsburg Kingdom of Naples, even threatening the city of Naples itself. For a brief time, ports and fortifications around Italy were captured by Barbarossa, including Capri, Ortobello, and the island of Giglio; however, these holdings hardly remained in Ottoman hands after Barbarossa's death in 1546, and the Ottomans would never launch a serious campaign in Italy after the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

However, it isn't unthinkable that the Ottomans could have held the city as a foothold in Italy. It's not even beyond the realm of possibility that all of Apulia could have come under Ottoman dominion. Centuries before the Ottomans, Muslim dynasties (generally Moorish or North African) had established themselves in Sicily and southern Italy, until they were conquered by the Normans; by the 1550s, the Ottomans had established themselves over North Africa, and had the eastern Tyrrhenian coast as well. Otranto is close enough to Constantinople and the rest of the Ottoman Empire that it could potentially have been integrated into the Ottoman core; this isn't like that that time when the Ottomans captured Iceland for a hot second.

If the Ottomans had managed to establish naval supremacy over Venice in the late 1400s, or if they had won the Battle of Lepanto, I think Otranto could very well have become a corsair state, like Algiers or Tripolitania. Many of the famous Barbary Corsairs were either of Albanian or Greek origin (like Barbarossa) or were of Moorish/North African origin, some of whom sought revenge for the Reconquista (like Sayyida al-Hurra). Otranto is geographically very close to Greece and Albania, and is not far from North Africa; I imagine enterprising corsairs and privateers would flock to the Regency of Otranto. Maybe a permanent foothold in Apulia could lead to greater conquests in Italy, including Venice, Naples, Sicily, and/or Rome.

So, what do you all think? How could an Ottoman presence in Otranto come to last? How would this affect the course of history? What would happen in the rest of Italy? Would the Renaissance or the Protestant Reformation follow the same course, now that the Turks are always at the gates of Rome? What about Spain and Portugal -- the two states founded through the Reconquista, who became two of the greatest naval powers of the time? What about Venice -- once the preeminent naval power in Italy, now trapped in the Tyrrhenian Sea by the Turks? What about France -- historically one of the Ottomans' greatest allies in Christendom, especially during the campaigns of Barbarossa, but who have their own ambitions in Italy and for Catholicism?

Cheers, all!
 
Hey all. So, from July 1480-September 1481, the Ottoman Empire captured and occupied the Italian city of Otranto, then part of the Principality of Taranto. Otranto was intended to be a beachhead for an Ottoman conquest of the Italian peninsula; having taken Constantinople, Sultan Mehmed II intended to conquer Rome as well, and thus establish the Ottomans as the undisputed heirs to the Roman Empire. However, this obviously never came to pass. Pope Sixtus IV called for a crusade to drive the Turks from Europe which, while mostly unsuccessful, did force them to abandon Otranto.
In 1537, the famous corsair Barbarossa recaptured Otranto as well as a number of other nearby cities and fortresses, and conducted many successful raids around the Habsburg Kingdom of Naples, even threatening the city of Naples itself. For a brief time, ports and fortifications around Italy were captured by Barbarossa, including Capri, Ortobello, and the island of Giglio; however, these holdings hardly remained in Ottoman hands after Barbarossa's death in 1546, and the Ottomans would never launch a serious campaign in Italy after the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

However, it isn't unthinkable that the Ottomans could have held the city as a foothold in Italy. It's not even beyond the realm of possibility that all of Apulia could have come under Ottoman dominion. Centuries before the Ottomans, Muslim dynasties (generally Moorish or North African) had established themselves in Sicily and southern Italy, until they were conquered by the Normans; by the 1550s, the Ottomans had established themselves over North Africa, and had the eastern Tyrrhenian coast as well. Otranto is close enough to Constantinople and the rest of the Ottoman Empire that it could potentially have been integrated into the Ottoman core; this isn't like that that time when the Ottomans captured Iceland for a hot second.

If the Ottomans had managed to establish naval supremacy over Venice in the late 1400s, or if they had won the Battle of Lepanto, I think Otranto could very well have become a corsair state, like Algiers or Tripolitania. Many of the famous Barbary Corsairs were either of Albanian or Greek origin (like Barbarossa) or were of Moorish/North African origin, some of whom sought revenge for the Reconquista (like Sayyida al-Hurra). Otranto is geographically very close to Greece and Albania, and is not far from North Africa; I imagine enterprising corsairs and privateers would flock to the Regency of Otranto. Maybe a permanent foothold in Apulia could lead to greater conquests in Italy, including Venice, Naples, Sicily, and/or Rome.

So, what do you all think? How could an Ottoman presence in Otranto come to last? How would this affect the course of history? What would happen in the rest of Italy? Would the Renaissance or the Protestant Reformation follow the same course, now that the Turks are always at the gates of Rome? What about Spain and Portugal -- the two states founded through the Reconquista, who became two of the greatest naval powers of the time? What about Venice -- once the preeminent naval power in Italy, now trapped in the Tyrrhenian Sea by the Turk? What about France -- historically one of the Ottomans' greatest allies in Christendom, especially during the campaigns of Barbarossa, but who have their own ambitions in Italy and for Catholicism?

Cheers, all!
Well, for anything related to Barbarossa and Franco-Ottoman alliance, Otranto has to be in the Ottoman hands for half of a century. Which can be problematic because tom the early stage of the Italian Wars this would go against both French and Aragonian (backed up by the rest of Spain) interests. Actually, this would provide Charles VIII was a considerable and unwavering support of the Italian states because, as bad as the French were, they were much better than the Ottomans in their practices (*) and, after all, they were Catholics. In OTL Charles was planning a crusade after conquest of the Naples and here he has a ready one right in the area he claims. Of course, he is a lousy general but the French already have a powerful field artillery and Swiss infantry. Then Aragon comes into the picture and, if anything, de Córdoba was a great general. In other words, the area would be under almost a constant attack by various enemies and, while the Ottoman ability to “bottle” Venice is just questionable, combination of the Venetian, Spanish and Portuguese fleets would be extremely hard to deal with.

A need of constantly maintaining a military effort in the Southern Italy is going to restrict ability to advance elsewhere: after all, the Ottomans had very limited numbers of the elite infantry (between 1480s and 1530s strength of the Janissary corps was 7-8,000, only after 1547 it raised above 10,000 and only by the end of the XVI century it reached 20,000) and their cavalry was much lighter then its Western counterparts.



________
(*) Of course, we are talking about practices toward nobility. You could do pretty much whatever you wanted to the lower classes but the nobles had to be treated fairly. No skinning alive, no impaling, no cutting to pieces and no other nice things Mehmed was so fond of.
 
Could have interesting implications for the Italian wars.

For one thing an invasion of Naples, by one side or another might be considered a crusade if it's able to gain papal blessing.
 
While I think the odds would be stacked against the Ottomans, especially since they don't have a very powerful navy yet (IIRC it was developed by Selim I), I wouldn't count them out completely since their army was of top notch quality.
 
I think the best POD for a lasting Ottoman foothold in Italy would be a victory over Timur at Ankara, which should be doable since according to Wikipedia Bayezid made several mistakes. Constantinople falls 50 years ahead of schedule as a result of no Interregnum, freeing the Ottomans to expand in other directions while the Western Schism is still a thing and France is busy fighting the Hundred Years' War. If they invade Naples in 1420 or so Austris won't be able to intervene either, thanks to the Hussite Wars.
 
The religious implications of the scenario would be fascinating. The last holdouts of the Sicilian Muslims was in that region too if I remember correctly. Their support of the ottoman invasion was the last hammer in the nail otl.
 
Could have some very interesting implications for the Balkans and Hungary.
No doubts. Scenario in which Otranto (and even better, the whole Southern Italy) is turning into a long-term black hole sucking up a considerable part of the Ottoman resources is realistic and may have serious domino effects.
 
I imagine Venetian empire would undergo an earlier decline thanks to the Ottomans blocking access to the Mediterranean.
 
No doubts. Scenario in which Otranto (and even better, the whole Southern Italy) is turning into a long-term black hole sucking up a considerable part of the Ottoman resources is realistic and may have serious domino effects.
Besides consuming Ottoman resources Southern Italy under Sultan's rule there is no French-Ottoman alliance and instead France may be Hungary's useful ally instead just declaring support for anti-Ottoman crusade from time to time.
 
The religious implications of the scenario would be fascinating. The last holdouts of the Sicilian Muslims was in that region too if I remember correctly. Their support of the ottoman invasion was the last hammer in the nail otl.
Incorrect (though used in Italian-language ATLs). Sicilian Muslims in Apulia lived relatively far from Otranto, so they would not have been able to support anything anyway. But they had already been killed, expelled or forcibly converted since many generations by 1480.
 
Top