Una diferente ‘Plus Ultra’ - the Avís-Trastámara Kings of All Spain and the Indies (Updated 11/7)

Spain is still fighting for control in North Africa! Here's Torbald's map from 1577
Okay - I admit that I was in a hurry. In the timelines to which I referred to this time period, the African sultanates were already liquidated (in Plus Ultra Tlemcen was liquidated in 1571, in 1572 the last "independent" states in Morocco were conquered, and in 1578 Tunisia. In the Victory at Bosworth, the Portuguese conquered Morocco in 1580. Tunisia was finally liquidated in 1559, Tlemcen - 1560, Kabylia was integrated in 1590, but the local emirs were generally loyal to the Spanish Crown).
As for Italy, to be honest, it seemed to me that the author exaggerated the capabilities of the Turks. But I decided not to raise this topic, because the deed is done and nothing can be done more.
 
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Then there's the idea that the Ottomans are weak and Egypt is ripe for the taking! Seriously read the last updates again. The Ottomans explicitly have competent leaders in this time, and the infrastructure of their heartland was untouched, just the peripheral regions of Epirus and parts of Greece were impacted by the subsequent counter-invasion. Meanwhile, the rather important kingdom of Naples is going to be crippled for 20 years, and heavily impacted for 50 years. Additionally, while the state coffers were emptied by the Great Turkish War, it probably helped the economy, which means finances will be doing just fine in a decadk or k4oe or two, which coincidentally is how long it will take to clean up North Africa.

Your knowledge is pretty incredible. Are you an academic on the subject?

The one thing I'm not sure what your meaning is is the part about the Great Turkish war probably helping the Turkish economy. Surely the sheer hundreds of thousands of young Turkish soldiers, conscripts, sailors that perished have trained the lifeblood out of the economy for a while, the amount of material squandered for ships and weapons and rations, the Spanish now threatening trade, etc. have swung the pendulum far in the direction of dearly harming it, instead? Is there something I'm missing? I hope you arent referring to the Keynesian (?) trope that wars in general help the economy when history has so clearly shown they dont.
 
Your knowledge is pretty incredible. Are you an academic on the subject?

The one thing I'm not sure what your meaning is is the part about the Great Turkish war probably helping the Turkish economy. Surely the sheer hundreds of thousands of young Turkish soldiers, conscripts, sailors that perished have trained the lifeblood out of the economy for a while, the amount of material squandered for ships and weapons and rations, the Spanish now threatening trade, etc. have swung the pendulum far in the direction of dearly harming it, instead? Is there something I'm missing? I hope you arent referring to the Keynesian (?) trope that wars in general help the economy when history has so clearly shown they dont.
No I am nowhere near an academic on any historical subject. I'd love to study history more formally, but economic reality forced me to be a chemical engineer.

About the Turkish economy, I admit that I was exaggerating when I said it would support the overall Ottoman economy. The loss of so many soldiers is clearly a negative to the economy, and the loss of naval control over parts of the eastern Mediterranean for a brief period was also quite damaging. Though a naval war has certain benefits a purely land war doesn't. The Ottomans had to greatly develop their shipbuilding industry, expand ports, build infastructure to transport large quantities of wood and other naval construction materials to the coast. All these things set the Ottomans up for a rebound in trade post-war. Especially if they can construct more advanced models of ship once they have breathing room.

The expansion of ports on the Red Sea, and especially the upcoming canal, will do wonders for improving Ottoman acess to the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asian. This particular move should not be underestimated in the least! The Middle East, and by extension Italy, suffered greatly by being cut off from the increasingly Atlantic global economy, but a canal 2 centuries early would pre-empt this relative decline to some degree, though the impact would be limited as the Ottomans will likely only allow Muslim trade to pass through, limiting Hindu and East Asian trade.

Alright I finished re-reading the middle sea transformed update and I fully take back what I said about the economy. The sack of Thesaloniki would be devastating along with all the other raiding in the early 1580s. There would be some help from large numbers of urban, educated Muslims fleeing from North Africa to the lands held by the Ottomans but that would only be a bandage.

So while the actual war was deeply harmful to the economy, I will still argue that the military and political reform the war forced to occur, and which are being competently handled (by a Vizar literally called 'The Great'), means that the Ottomans will probably be in a better position 20 or 30 years later than if there was no war.
 
To add my two cents, I would agree that a spanish conquest of the Egypt and Levant, even large swathes of the Balkans is not plausible.

From what I gather of the well-crafted timeline so far, Spain seems to have two centers of gravity: one is in Lisbon and Seville, that connects the metropole with the riches of the Americas and the Incian Ocean Trade and one in the Western Mediterranean Basin. The latter consists of Iberia, South Italy and Maghreb. In the absense of corsair raids, I expect significant synergies to develop, both economic and demographic. The western Mediterranean as a whole will be significantly richer and more populous than in OTL. I honestly believe that this alone would alter the balance of power in Europe in the coming two centuries, even if all the TTL butterflies from the rest of the world suddenly disappear.

Having said that, Spain has little to none incentive to expand in the eastern Mediterranean, other than trade outposts and bastions to protect the very valuable south Italy. However, there has been a tectonic change in TTL that I expect to produce a very different 17th and 18th century for the Ottoman Empire: the shatterzone between the Spanish and Ottoman Empires has moved from the western Mediterranean and the maghrebi littoral to the Balkans. In OTL the Ottomans held forts in western Mediterranean and worked with local elites/political entities to weaken the Spanish Empire there. Now, it is the Spanish that hold Durazzo and Avlona and work with local elites to weaken the Ottomans. A question though @Torbald: what are the current venetian holdings in the region ?

The moving of the shatterzone is such a significant event for two reasons: We know that according to the literature there is an increased chance of new political entities emerging in the shatterzone between empires. The second reason is due to the nature of the empires in question: the shatterzone is far away from the spanish centers of gravity and the Spanish have little incentive to use a heavy hand, but greater incentive to support local elites and form satelite statelets (the same as the OTL Maghreb policy of the Ottomans). In contrast, the Balkans is the center of gravity of the Ottomans. Moreover, the nature of the ottoman rule in the Balkans is a typical colonial empire: large populations that are second class subjects who exist to increase the wealth of the empire. And as with basically all colonial/imperial rules in history, the status quo depends on the cooperation of the local elites.

Said local elites find themselves now in a very different position: instead of being the heartland of an empire, they now live in a "frontline" between two rival empires. From one hand the Spanish do not care much for direct control, just to preserve the security of Italy and weaken their regional rival. They offer opportunities to the Christians (Greeks, Albanians, Serbians, Dalmatians) as military settlers in Maghreb and they prefer to influence the region via proxies. On the other hand, the imperial center of the Ottomans is very close and because of that they have a very heavy-handed approach since their economy depends on taxes levied on Christians. This is a huge paradigm shift over OTL. The internal situation of the Balkans and even the Aegean Sea has been dramatically altered.
 
aid local elites find themselves now in a very different position: instead of being the heartland of an empire, they now live in a "frontline" between two rival empires. From one hand the Spanish do not care much for direct control, just to preserve the security of Italy and weaken their regional rival. They offer opportunities to the Christians (Greeks, Albanians, Serbians, Dalmatians) as military settlers in Maghreb and they prefer to influence the region via proxies. On the other hand, the imperial center of the Ottomans is very close and because of that they have a very heavy-handed approach since their economy depends on taxes levied on Christians. This is a huge paradigm shift over OTL. The internal situation of the Balkans and even the Aegean Sea has been dramatically altered.
Agree and also, should be noted, too, that ITTL,the Ottoman Eastern Mediterranean coasts would probably be subjects to the same or similar kind of raids and piratical state backed activity that were suffered by the Christian settlements and comercial traffic in the Western Mediterranean. Which,I think that would be safe to assume that, iTTL, situation, 'd have been similar economically and populationallly consequences for the Libyan/Egyptian, Anatolian and even perhaps for the Syrian/Palestinian ones. While on top of the past war, disastrous human and material losses, without a fleet worth of its name and trained/experienced crews... The E. Med. would surely, at hands of the Military Orders, the Italian commercial Republics and 'privateers/' corsairs/pirates') comercial and economical activity disruption . would be one of such extent that would surely affect the Ottoman fiscal capacity. One that would already being affected by the increase on the Empire tax base (subjected populations) fiscal/tax pressure.
Also. besides that, IMO, at least, this disruption plus the more than probably land war that,even if at best, with intermittences the Empire would be facing in their Balkans borders against both the Pol-Lith Commonwealth and the Austrian ... lt would only be delaying and hampering the Ottoman recovery efforts and the Empire would be forced to accelerate the fleet rebuilt and to start a major redeployment of their military assets to protect the now endangered coasts and islands as well as where it'd be needed to fortifying the most important ones.
 
Agree and also, should be noted, too, that ITTL,the Ottoman Eastern Mediterranean coasts would probably be subjects to the same or similar kind of raids and piratical state backed activity that were suffered by the Christian settlements and comercial traffic in the Western Mediterranean. Which,I think that would be safe to assume that, iTTL, situation, 'd have been similar economically and populationallly consequences for the Libyan/Egyptian, Anatolian and even perhaps for the Syrian/Palestinian ones. While on top of the past war, disastrous human and material losses, without a fleet worth of its name and trained/experienced crews... The E. Med. would surely, at hands of the Military Orders, the Italian commercial Republics and 'privateers/' corsairs/pirates') comercial and economical activity disruption . would be one of such extent that would surely affect the Ottoman fiscal capacity. One that would already being affected by the increase on the Empire tax base (subjected populations) fiscal/tax pressure.
I very much agree.

After Tunisia is secured, there is little reason for the Knights of St John to be in Malta. Even Tripoli would be a sub-optimal base, since there is little muslim trade for christian pirates. With the utter devastation of the ottoman fleets - much much greater than OTL Lepanto, I expect the Knights to return to the Aegean. Spain can purchase back Rhodes from Venice or the Knights can establish themselves in another island. Then they will become again a major menace for ottoman trade.

But it won't be just the Knights of St John. Moving the shatterzone to the Balkans will have ramifications at the Aegean. Even in OTL when the naval frontier was at the western Mediterranean, the Maniots were unruly, rebellious and their rocky peninsula was a superb rebel stronghold. For much of their history they were notorious pirates. With the current circumstances, I expect the Maniots to basically form another pirate state. Of course, in contrast to the Knights of St John they won't be preying just upon muslim ships, but all targets of opportunity at the Aegean. In any case, they would add to the instability of trade in the Aegean.

Naturally the Venetians from their strongholds in Crete and Rhodes would prefer trade with the Ottomans as in OTL. Even so, I expect to have Venetian-Ottoman Wars, same as in OTL. When said wars happen, then trade will be completely paralyzed.

Last but not least, I expect there is somewhat smaller trade volume in eastern Mediterranean for another reason: The Spanish control Aden. The flourishing OTL Indian Ocean trade with Aden in ottoman hands won't be happening in TTL.

To sum up, I think you are absolutely correct: the Ottomans will experience something comparable to the OTL Spanish experience, even if in somewhat smaller scale.

Also. besides that, IMO, at least, this disruption plus the more than probably land war that,even if at best, with intermittences the Empire would be facing in their Balkans borders against both the Pol-Lith Commonwealth and the Austrian ... lt would only be delaying and hampering the Ottoman recovery efforts and the Empire would be forced to accelerate the fleet rebuilt and to start a major redeployment of their military assets to protect the now endangered coasts and islands as well as where it'd be needed to fortifying the most important ones.
Even after OTL Lepanto, Epirus, Albania and the Peloponnese were left basically devoid of ottoman garrisons. Now in contrast to OTL, the Ottomans have lost basically most of their field army as well. There is little chance to regain control of Albania and Epirus. The new border will be fluid along the imposing mountain ranges of Albania and Pindus. Martial highlanders, armed by the Spanish will raid and counter raid. Thessaly and large parts of Macedonia will experience a lot of raiding in the coming decades. These were rich provinces that even in the 19th century had relatively high GDP per capita (for ottoman standards). Suddenly, the Ottomans have to deal with a new frontier, one that Spain can maintain on the cheap, by just (occasionally) providing pikes, swords and muskets.

Let me provide an example of potential long-term effects: the rich plains of Thessaly were parceled into large estates of Muslim landowners. By the late 18th century there were around 400 of them. These estates were worked by christian serfs. The semi-feudal landowners would then provide cavalry to the Empire formed by themselves and their retainers. If there is anarchy produced by Epirote and Albanian highlanders raiding the rich plains, the landowners will be safe inside the fortified towns but the serfs/sharecroppers will have little incentive to stay. They would do what was normal at the era, migrate towards the safety of the mountains. Therefore, a rich province that provided grain, cavalry and taxes would provide much less of them. Compound such effects over decades and then you have political instability. The remaining hard pressed serfs would revolt when the landowners demand their tithe.

There is also the matter of butterflying the islamization of large parts of Albania. This is very significant on the long term, because of its OTL importance. Albania was always a backwater of minimal to zero economic importance. However, its partial islamization provided a significant source of muslim soldiers and irregulars for the Ottoman Empire. Its martial clans provided a lot of manpower over the centuries. The Ottomans would Anatolian troops in the Balkans mostly in major campaigns by the field army. Their regular strength in the Balkans depended on local Muslims. Therefore, by the changes made already, both the demographic future of the region and the imperial rule, have departed from their OTL path.
 
With the current circumstances, I expect the Maniots to basically form another pirate state. Of course, in contrast to the Knights of St John they won't be preying just upon muslim ships, but all targets of opportunity at the Aegean. In any case, they would add to the instability of trade in the Aegean.
Also, ITTL, with the above noted situation and absent the opportunities that IOTL, were provided by the Spanish Caribbean for all those adventurers either fleeing from Europe or seeking to make fortune there... Seems that ITTL, would be the chance that the Eastern Mediterranean would take its place with the Mani Peninsula, turned in ITTL Mediterranean version of Tortuga island...

The semi-feudal landowners would then provide cavalry to the Empire formed by themselves and their retainers. If there is anarchy produced by Epirote and Albanian highlanders raiding the rich plains, the landowners will be safe inside the fortified towns but the serfs/sharecroppers will have little incentive to stay. They would do what was normal at the era, migrate towards the safety of the mountains. Therefore, a rich province that provided grain, cavalry and taxes would provide much less of them. Compound such effects over decades and then you have political instability. The remaining hard pressed serfs would revolt when the landowners demand their tithe.
The thing it's that beside of the possible economically and social consequences that as you noted would have for so rich regions, to be turned from a quiet rearguard/core region into a border region like OTL the south of Hungary and parts of Croatia. Given that I'd think that the only way for the Ottomans to keep the lands farmed and/or producing tax income, would be either to keep manu military to the serfs living and working there -(turning them in slaves in all but the name) or to replace them with farmers and/or muslim serfs from other regions of the Empire and keep a substantial military force deployed permanently there. Also, I think worth to note,that IMO, one of the Empire priorities after the rebuilding of the fleet would be to organize a major campaign to attempt to dislodge/expel the Spanish from Durazzo and Vlorë... Cause, these positions aside of the effects that you noted, these positions posed an strategic menace as possible base of operations against not only the Ottoman Greece but they are in the direct route to Constantinople. Given that, and aside of the reals capacities of their enemies to even start to planning such kind of campaign, it would be one that any Sultan can not risk to overlook or disesteem given its potential risk for the Empire core... So, the Ottomans would be forced to reinforce their garrisons and reinforce or built new fortifications through Greece, Macedonia and Thrace, while keeping a major (for Ottoman standard) standing/reserve Army able not only to keep control of the raiding but to be deployed as the age, rapid reaction force equivalent to deal with any major Spanish and/or rebel incursion or if necessary to stall any possible Spanish invasion/attack, until the Sultan would have the army readied and sent to face the attack.
 
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Given that I'd think that the only way for the Ottomans to keep the lands farmed and/or producing tax income, would be either to keep manu military to the serfs living and working there -(turning them in slaves in all but the name) or to replace them with farmers and/or muslim serfs from other regions of the Empire and keep a substantial military force deployed permanently there.
I agree! However, moving farmers be they christian or muslim from region to region was not a very common practice of the Ottoman Empire. I have in mind only one such example with moving muslim peasants to Silistria at the Danube. What was more common, was the relocation of Turkmen tribes with their flocks. Such move would increase the military footprint at e.g. the plains of Thessaly or the valleys of Vardar and Pelagonia in Macedonia. Not to mention that it would be very cheap military reinforcements compared to building fortresses and station there regulars. However, even such a tactic will have major drawbacks: if they turn the economy of Thessaly from being agriculture-based to pasture for flocks, then there is much less grain, cotton and taxes. Moreover, the local Christians (be they displaced serfs or Vlach/Sarakatsani pastoralists) will be even more rebellious.

Overall, there won't be "good" choices to be made, they would just need to pick the least harmful.

Also, I think worth to note,that IMO, one of the Empire priorities after the rebuilding of the fleet would be to organize a major campaign to attempt to dislodge/expel the Spanish from Durazzo and Vlorë... Cause, these positions aside of the effects that you noted, these positions posed an strategic menace as possible base of operations against not only the Ottoman Greece but they are in the direct route to Constantinople
I would expect the same. I think Durazzo and Avlona will hold though. Even in OTL there was panic in Spain for a potential invasion even though there were no actions to justify said panic. In TTL the ottoman invasion of South Italy, Sicily and Sardinia with the Thirty Year's War levels of devastation, has inflicted a major and lasting trauma. Durazzo and Avlona were the bases from were to launch the last invasion, so their defence will be the top priority of the Viceroy in Naples.

When the Ottomans invade, the albanian tribes will bleed them in the mountain passes and then they will retreat to their mountain fastness. Even when the Ottomans arrive at Durazzo, they have lost their edge in naval warfare: the last war showed the might of the galleon. Even when it comes to galley fleets, having lost their access to maghrebi ships and crews, controlling fewer seafaring greek coastal areas compared to OTL and having suffered greater losses than Lepanto mean that they cannot hope to reach their OTL 1600 strength. So they will have to lay siege to bastion forts that are resupplied by sea, while their supply route through the mountains would be subject to albanian raids. I agree they will try to reclaim the cities and I think they will fail.
 
However, even such a tactic will have major drawbacks: if they turn the economy of Thessaly from being agriculture-based to pasture for flocks, then there is much less grain, cotton and taxes.
There is also such a thing that overgrazing can lead to an ecological disaster - the greenery will no longer be suitable for use.
 
On the new Shatterzone

Very interesting discussion recently on the more academic understanding of the movement of the area of imperial competition to the Eastern Mediterranean from the West. It could be a natural result that the sort of depredation that the west suffered due to the actions of the Ottomans and their allies on the coasts of Iberia and Italy could be repeated in the Levant and Egypt.

That thought might make sense on the surface, but I’d argue there are a few fundamental differences that would limit this impact. First of all the Iberian monarchy has less use for slaves compared to the slave driven economies of the North African ports in this period. That might seem like a crazy statement considering the importation of millions of slaves to the Americas, but that market would be entirely closed to slaves from the Muslim Mediterranean, simply due to the fact that Spain would never, ever allow large populations of Muslims to move to the Americas. They have extensive experience with Moriscos and how difficult they were to monitor and eliminate in Iberia itself. The lack of rapid reliable communication with the colonies means that the holy orders of his majesty’s Inquisition would have little chance to control a large population of Muslim slaves and ensure their conversion and orthodoxy. That’s not even getting into the fact that the local power that be in the Americas would have little interest in allowing the Inquisition or greater government oversight at all across the Atlantic. They would have to make a more honest and comprehensive effort to give proper religious and general education to their native not-slaves, while the Inquisition would probably be outraged over abusive treatment of the large number of honest and fervent Christian converts across the Americas.

Then there’s the maritime states of Italy, and while they would have an interest in a relatively large number of slaves, much larger than their population would suggest, in order to fill out their galley fleets, they have another interest that’s even more important. Good trade relations with the Ottoman Empire. Simply put, the Italians know that it would cost more to lose trade and connections in the Ottoman state than it would cost to acquire their galley-rowers through some other methodology. That’s not even getting into the fact that the galley has a limited lifespan left in the Mediterranean. I’d argue that a greater and more consistent Spanish naval presence east of the straits of Gibraltar would force the Ottomans to focus on sail-powered vessels in the the medium term, and that the Italian states would have no choice but to follow along, as they would be outcompeted militarily and in terms of trade otherwise.

The exception to this would be the previously mentioned Knights of St. John who would be exceedingly active in raiding activities, if not slaving in particular, and would probably be given forward naval bases around the Peloponnese or the Cyclades by the Venetians in return for protecting their trade in the region.

Now there’s the land situation in the Balkans. What has been stated above has a large degree of truth. In the prior European updates we see that there’s basically a semi-anarchic zone between the 3 prime ports of Albania, which are under firm Spanish control at the moment, and the rest of Albania, extending into Epirus. There are no de-jure independent states, but de-facto the area is semi-independent, though heavily influenced by the Ottoman Empire. The Spanish do not formally claim it as they are not interested in being obligated to defend it from Turkish incursions, meanwhile the Ottomans can make no moves that are too bold, as they could easily drive the population away into either the 3 port cities, or worse over the sea. There is probably a similar situation in the Peloponnese but with it being the Venetians instead of the Spanish.

On the Maniots, they would likely be the explicitly independent of the not-states of the Balkans, and would raid into Attica and those areas of the Peloponnese under firmer Ottoman control, but as far as I know, they don’t have much a naval history or culture, which would exclude them from the more devastating and lucrative naval raiding paradigm.

So all these things are very negative for the Ottomans right? In fact they might seem very reminiscent of another historical period. In the early 19th century, the Barbary wars ripped control of Maghreb states away from the Porte’s control. There were major uprisings in Greece, Albania, and Serbia, that ultimately resulted in Greek independence and the ceding of autonomy verging on independence for the others. This period saw an overall decline in Ottoman fortunes, influence and territory being permanently lost, from which the Ottoman Empire would never recover, despite decent reform in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

People see a similar beginning and predict a similar ending, that the Ottoman Empire would slowly be cut to pieces over the next century until it collapses within 100 years.

That is a tempting but deeply flawed analysis. The historical situation is so vastly different as to be almost unrelated. The Ottoman Empire in the 19th century had come out of an era of failed reform, where entrenched interests defeated modernizing impulses, and these forces remained strong enough to be either shackles or handcuffs for the rest of the existence of the Empire. In the 19th century the Empire had fallen behind technology, bureaucratically, and institutionally. That is simply not the case in alt-1580.

What we have instead is an Empire that has not just competent, diligent rulers, but also has successfully started a period of internal reform. Once you get started, over the violent resistance of entrenched interests, it’s a lot easier to keep going. We saw the taming of the Janissary corps, which is an almost inestimably immense change. The corruption of the Janissaries was, by the 1600s, arguably the largest single problem in the entire damn Empire. They violently opposed any military reform, which by 1700 was needed, and became deeply involved in the economic and political life of the areas were they were stationed for long periods (Yerliyya) which weakened Ottoman administration across the empire.

Here’s a relevant example. Would it have been possible to pass the Union of Arms in alt-Spain if the Revolt of the Grandees had been successful? Obviously not. Similarly reform in many areas was impossible in the Ottoman Empire due to the successful coups and revolts of the Janissaries. This is no longer a factor, which is probably worth losing Italy or even half the Balkans over.

Furthermore we know sultan Mustafa is not a traditionalist. He eschewed the traditional Harems of the Sultans and instead took a single consort, and gave her significant influence. Meleksima is also an Italian, while Mustafa himself is half Italian from his mother’s side. It’s entirely possible that we will see reforms in the Ottoman Empire that make conditions more tolerable for the Orthodox inhabitants, as the Sultan is a clear reformist both politically and personally, is married to an Italian woman, was raised by an Italian woman, and the most Jihadi wing of the Ottoman government is either dead or discredited due to the results of the Great Turkish war.

That’s the correct move obviously from Mustafa’s perspective. Weaken the power of the Islamic establishment in the Empire, gain the loyalty of his Balkan subjects, and further concentrate power into himself and the state overall. The Ottoman Empire, I would argue from 1700 or so, was to an increasing degree crippled by it’s intense provincialism, that allowed periphery power holders far too much influence, while relying on increasingly backwards and disloyal institutions to keep the whole Empire glued together, institutions which were also explicitly discriminatory towards the Empire’s balkan subjects!

Torbald has constructed a situation where the Empire has been pushed into institutional crisis in the 1570s and 1580s, while simultaneously granting it 3 highly competent rules (Sultan Mustafa, Consort Meleksima, Vizier Sinan), all of which are reform minded and innovative. Will the Ottoman Empire suffer losses by 1600? Yes, and they already have, such as fortresses and islands including”Parga, Preveza, Missolonghi, and the island of Kythira by the Venetians, and of Ulcinj and Castelnuovo by the Spanish”, along with Corfu. That’s your answer for Ottoman losses @X Oristos , and it does not include Rhodes.

Here’s my prediction for the future. I think the next 20-30 years will see significant reform in the Ottoman Empire. Military reform to be less reliant on a limited number of elite Janissaries (luckily they might even keep a militarily functional Janissary corp unlike OTL), to be less reliant on semi-feudal Sipaphi cavalry, instead have a more regular army with a larger infantry core. Religious and political reform, to centralize power and authority in the Sultan, and using that power to improve the situation of the Orthodox in the Balkans so that the corrosive influence of Spanish-encouraged revolt and raids can be limited. Economic reform to access the Eastern trade to a greater degree, and make sure the Porte’s coffers can last through even 20 years of brutal war. And furthermore, I believe that the Ottoman Empire has been gifted the leaders who can make this happen. The Ottomans are going to be the Spanish’s forever rivals in the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean, and will not begin to fall off compared to the rest of Europe in the 1700s, and might even strike some painful blows against Spain when it entered it’s next period of relative decline.

That’s my full analysis on the Turkish front, I’d be happy to discuss it further if anyone has disagreements.
 
it would be interesting to know if the king of spain has any plans for Athens which was an Aragonese possession in the past.
 
On the Maniots, they would likely be the explicitly independent of the not-states of the Balkans, and would raid into Attica and those areas of the Peloponnese under firmer Ottoman control, but as far as I know, they don’t have much a naval history or culture, which would exclude them from the more devastating and lucrative naval raiding paradigm.
It is well-established in the literature that Mani had a persistent tradition in piracy. Basically every book that addresses piracy at the Archipelago mentions the Maniots. Even Wagstaff when he analyzes the economy of the Mani peninsula, states that piracy was a pillar of the economy on account of the poor rocky soil of the mountainous peninsula. There is no reason for Maniots to raid at Attica, since Attica is a very poor province at the time.

When the line of contact/clash between Great Powers was at the western Mediterranean, for most of its history Mani was de facto independent from the Porte. Now that the line of contact is much further east, then it makes sense that the OTL centrifugal powers are stronger. At least this is what usually happens in the literature.

There are other examples as well: a bit northern from the strategic town of Monemvasia that @Xenophonte mentioned, Tsakonia lies. Its society was partially militarized, even though not in the extent of Mani. They had a tradition as warriors and seafarers and for centuries found employment at Monemvasia. They would participate in most anti-ottoman uprisings. The same applies to the Arcadian Highlands, another hotbed for revolts. The same case can be made for the mountain regions of central Greece and Thessaly, e.g. Agrafa, Valtos etc. There is a pattern here: the mountains were always a source of turmoil. They were difficult to pacify and were the refuge for christians fleeing Ottoman landlords. That was the case in all Balkans basically. And with mountains offering poor subsistence, the issues multiplied to brigandage and revolts. That was the case when the shatterzone was west. What about now?


That thought might make sense on the surface, but I’d argue there are a few fundamental differences that would limit this impact.
Oh yes, I agree. I don't think that anybody in this thread expected suddenly to have the OTL Barbary Slave Trade in reverse. What was mentioned was specifically piracy. Raids against shipping being the common condition with the OTL western Mediterranean. The main difference is that what makes sense - based on OTL history after all, is political turmoil. An example: Sicily and the Balearids were at the border of the OTL shatterzone. They experienced economic and demographic impacts. But due to the nature of the two empires clashing there were no centrifugal forces. The local elites did not think to distance themselves from the Spanish Crown and seek to become either independent or clients of the Porte. Can we say the same about the christians of the Ottoman Empire and particularly those in regions where geography allows wiggle room?

It doesn't automatically translate into new political entities. However, I maintain that it translates into an erosion of ottoman imperial power. Said erosion might mean different things for different regions. For example, it might mean a potential inability of the Ottomans to project power outside of their core empire, for example the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. It might also mean that examples of nominal suzerainty of OTL are more common. We know the example of Montenegro and Mani in OTL. I could see for example to have an ATL Montenegro in Herzegovina after a series of uprisings (in OTL there was for example the 1596-97 revolt). It might also mean more revolts in the heartland (e.g. Thessaly) even though these would be crashed compared to the periphery. The aforementioned situations compound.

There are no de-jure independent states, but de-facto the area is semi-independent, though heavily influenced by the Ottoman Empire.
How are they influenced by the Ottoman Empire? At this point in the 16th century the highlands are christian. The Ottomans demand taxes and to enforce suzerainty, the Spanish leave them alone and give opportunities for mercenaries, settlers in Italy and military settlers in North Africa.

The Spanish do not formally claim it as they are not interested in being obligated to defend it from Turkish incursions, meanwhile the Ottomans can make no moves that are too bold, as they could easily drive the population away into either the 3 port cities, or worse over the sea.
I do not believe the Ottomans can depopulate the mountain fastness of Albania and Pindus. This is easier said than done. The OTL Montenegro was the same, with Venetians holding a fort or two at the coastline and mountain clans raiding and being de facto independent. And Montenegro was much much smaller than the mountain ranges we are talking about. And have in mind, the example of Albania is just that- an example out of a widespread OTL situation. They didn't manage it in OTL under much better circumstances for them.

When it comes to spanish obligations, indeed that's the great thing for Spain: they have none obligations. They don't need to expend blood and treasure, other than creating a very few fortresses. They can maintain their influence extremely cheap. We know from OTL the needs of revolting locals, because they begged the christian powers for arms. Being cynical I would guess that they would try to inflate their lists of needed equipment. If anything, after the invasion, the Viceroy at Naples would be glad to provide a few hundred firearms and a few thousand pikes.

After the OTL Lepanto there were rebellions in: Mani (southern Peloponnese), northern Peloponnese, Central Greece (Parnassus, Agrafa etc), Western Greece (Xiromero) and of course Epirus. Widespread rebellions, even though the Ottoman Army was intact. In TTL, unless the Ottoman Army has been significantly larger than OTL, basically all the field army has been lost and needs to be rebuilt.

That is a tempting but deeply flawed analysis. The historical situation is so vastly different as to be almost unrelated. The Ottoman Empire in the 19th century had come out of an era of failed reform
I think all the examples I am providing are from either post-Lepanto or in general of the 17th century. I do not think there is a debate at all that refers to the 19th century.

That’s not even getting into the fact that the galley has a limited lifespan left in the Mediterranean. I’d argue that a greater and more consistent Spanish naval presence east of the straits of Gibraltar would force the Ottomans to focus on sail-powered vessels in the the medium term, and that the Italian states would have no choice but to follow along, as they would be outcompeted militarily and in terms of trade otherwise.
That's very true. And actually this is what happened in OTL. And "medium term" is spot on. That paradigm shift cannot happen quickly, you need several decades. That was the case in OTL after all. The Ottoman Empire needs to develop a different kind of maritime tradition and not to mention the galleons are much more expensive than galleys. The Greeks and Maghrebis manning the OTL Ottoman fleet in peacetime operate xebecs and fustas. After all, the Cretan War was fought mostly with galleys.

What we have instead is an Empire that has not just competent, diligent rulers, but also has successfully started a period of internal reform. Once you get started, over the violent resistance of entrenched interests, it’s a lot easier to keep going. We saw the taming of the Janissary corps, which is an almost inestimably immense change. The corruption of the Janissaries was, by the 1600s, arguably the largest single problem in the entire damn Empire. They violently opposed any military reform, which by 1700 was needed, and became deeply involved in the economic and political life of the areas were they were stationed for long periods (Yerliyya) which weakened Ottoman administration across the empire.
What kind of reforms?

Furthermore we know sultan Mustafa is not a traditionalist. He eschewed the traditional Harems of the Sultans and instead took a single consort, and gave her significant influence. Meleksima is also an Italian, while Mustafa himself is half Italian from his mother’s side. It’s entirely possible that we will see reforms in the Ottoman Empire that make conditions more tolerable for the Orthodox inhabitants, as the Sultan is a clear reformist both politically and personally, is married to an Italian woman, was raised by an Italian woman, and the most Jihadi wing of the Ottoman government is either dead or discredited due to the results of the Great Turkish war.
In actual history there were multiple Sultans that had wives and mothers of Orthodox origin. A lot of them were very influential. Such an example was Rabia Gülnuş Sultan. How come they didn't change the fundamental nature of the Ottoman Empire?

I think it is intellectually flawed to expect a single Great Man to change the fundamental nature of societies. Food for thought: in actual history when the Ottoman Empire was experiencing a crisis, the position of the christian subjects became worse rather than better. In all reformation attempts of the Ottoman Empire, throughout its history, the main "weaknesses" were never addressed. Let me provide one of the many examples: If you are an empire with mixed population (muslims and non-muslims) you need to have both halves of the population interacting financially. However, if non-muslims cannot testify in a court against muslims, then by definition they would prefer to do business with other non-muslims. That was a structural issue of the ottoman economy and society. Yet it was not even considered as a problem in (at least according to my knowledge) all reform attempts.

Yes, and they already have, such as fortresses and islands including”Parga, Preveza, Missolonghi, and the island of Kythira by the Venetians, and of Ulcinj and Castelnuovo by the Spanish”, along with Corfu. That’s your answer for Ottoman losses @X Oristos , and it does not include Rhodes.
Thank you for the reply! I had forgotten about Missolonghi. In OTL post-Lepanto there were revolts on all mountainous regions surrounding the town, both to the east and north-west. The latter region of the Acarnanian Mountains are both teeming with rebels and are sandwiched between the venetian fortresses of Preveza and Missolonghi.

I was under the impression that Venetians took Rhodes from the Knights some decades ago.

Here’s my prediction for the future. I think the next 20-30 years will see significant reform in the Ottoman Empire. Military reform to be less reliant on a limited number of elite Janissaries (luckily they might even keep a militarily functional Janissary corp unlike OTL), to be less reliant on semi-feudal Sipaphi cavalry, instead have a more regular army with a larger infantry core.
There is a reason for the timariot system being the core of the ottoman military of the era. It is extremely expensive to have a large regular army that is being paid a salary with the ottoman economy being what it is. Even countries that had both way more developed institutions, more dense population and a MUCH more monetized economy had trouble fielding large numbers of regulars. It took France - Europe's juggernaut, almost a century of centralization and reforms in order to field a large regular army in 1672. And France started in a much better situation than the Ottomans. Even the Spanish with having all the silver in the world were struggling to keep large regular armies.

After all, even without the recent defeat, TTL's Ottoman Empire has significantly smaller trade volume and thus specie than its OTL counterpart. In OTL, they controlled Aden. The volumes of Indian Ocean Trade reaching Europe+ Mediterranean Basin via Egypt were comparable to the volume hauled in portuguese ships (source: The Portuguese Empire in Asia 1500-1700). The Ottomans also lack the great treasure brought by the Barbary Corsairs. It is not just the value of the ships, their cargos and the many many slaves. There was a constant supply of specie for ransoms of captured christians. These were not small sums. As Davis states: "Big redemptions required massive amounts of money to pull off: some. times 50,000 or even 100,000 scudi, zecchini, or pieces of eight, all in coins that had to be physically transported to Barbary".

Lastly, the Ottomans do not control Hungary. That means a lot of lost taxes. A lot. Just for comparison: the revenue from the Buda Eyalet (that did not correspond to all Ottoman Hungary) was 29,4 million akce in 1578. In comparison, Egypt provided of 31,2 million in 1582.

Even in OTL, the condition of the ottoman economy was that bad that the akce had to be devalued in 1585. The state was struggling to pay salaries even in OTL under incredibly better circumstances.

Sources:
The Ottoman Monetary Crisis of 1585 Revisited
Some Notes on Ottoman Tax Farming in Hungary
Economic Life in Ottoman Empire
 
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I wonder if Spain could ask Persia to get involved in fighting the Ottomans. Or at least attack the Ottomans when they’re busy with Persia.

And as for piracy, I imagine the Spanish might be more careful here knowing there are Christian subjects in the Ottoman Empire and that the last thing they want to do is to get them caught up in the attacks. I imagine the Spanish seriously considering taking in Christians from parts of the Ottoman Empire. But I doubt the Ottomans would let that happen.

Whilst any immediate invasions in the eastern Mediterranean are impossible as of now, I imagine Venice is making plans to take back Cyprus. If Spain doesn’t beat them to it.
 
The janissaries - reduced to less than 4,000 - were downsized and reformed by Mustafa, partially as a punishment: the janissary corps would be opened to Turkish volunteers, no more than 3,000 janissaries would be present in Konstantiniyye at any given time, and the remaining janissaries would be garrisoned at Edirne in Thrace and Eskişehir in Anatolia.
I had forgotten to comment on this huge butterfly. From what I gather, he made a grievous mistake that will undermine both his rule and the ottoman military capabilities. Even better for the Spanish Empire.

Modern historiography has shown the social role of the Janissaries in Constantinople and their institutional role in the context of an islamic empire. Janissaries and the ones in-training (acemi oglan) were not just soldiers. They were also laborers, merchants, artisans and bureaucrats. Modern research has estimated that at the beginning of the 17th century the population of Constantinople was 300k out of which 35k were Janissaries and a large number of acemi oglans (in one year there were 12k). Even if we exclude the acemis, the Janissaries constituted a large part of the capital's labor. If we take into account that women had extremely limited participation in the economy of the era and we exclude the elderly, very young or clerics (be they musilm, christian or jewish), the Janissaries were a huge part of the economy, be they state war industry workers or shoemakers. Their revolts had been something akin to the urban revolts in Europe, when the presumed contract between state and people was broken. The Janissaries depending on their stratification were urban poor, laborers. burghers or bureaucrats. In the islamic institutions they were kul, slaves of the Sultan and members of the imperial household. In their revolts of the era they had the support of muftis and huge part of the faithful, since in many cases their demands were considered lawful. A great source for their role is the work of Gulay Yilmaz of Akdeniz University.

What has happened here is that Constantinople lost a lot of its lower and middle class and a great deal of labor. Everything from artillery production to providing necessities for the city and palace/administration has been disrupted. The Janissaries were relatively cheap. How do we know it? Well, the ones whose income was just their salary were living below the poverty line. The well-off Janissaries got most of their income from their side-hustles as merchants and artisans. A proper regular army at that era is ASB for the Ottoman Empire of the era for a myriad of reasons, cost being the most prominent. What are the Porte's options? Sekban- temporary mercenaries, notoriously ill-disciplined and prone to loot ottoman provinces. Even in OTL when they constituted 7-8% of the army they managed to destabilize Anatolia. The other option is greater reliance on sipahi cavalry.

I imagine the Spanish seriously considering taking in Christians from parts of the Ottoman Empire. But I doubt the Ottomans would let that happen.
I think this is basically what the author has described with a trickle of christian settlers utilized by the Spanish Crown. Indeed it is a very plausible move, since MA Cook's research indicated an overpopulation of the balkan highlands during the 16th century.

Whilst any immediate invasions in the eastern Mediterranean are impossible as of now, I imagine Venice is making plans to take back Cyprus. If Spain doesn’t beat them to it.
I think it would make more sense for the Venetians to regain Cyprus, since the Spanish just want to secure their italian holdings.

I think in TTL the transformation of the venetian economy has been accelerated due to the butterflies. Spanish Aden has destroyed the venetian spice trade. In OTL there was a shifting of focus and investements from trade to land and industry (e.g. glass making). In that context the value of the large colonies of Crete and Cyprus is indeed very great. So, they might want their estates and plantations back. There is also the case that now that the spice trade is over, Cyprus lies in the route of the last inter-regional trade of importance for Venice: persian silk arriving at levantine ports. So, the butterflies have increased Cyprus' importance to Venice. Last but not least, they have the naval power to take it back, since they have 9 galeasses and 130 galleys (source: A Companion to Venetian History, 1400-1797).
 
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I think this is basically what the author has described with a trickle of christian settlers utilized by the Spanish Crown. Indeed it is a very plausible move, since MA Cook's research indicated an overpopulation of the balkan highlands during the 16th century.


I think it would make more sense for the Venetians to regain Cyprus, since the Spanish just want to secure their italian holdings.

I think in TTL the transformation of the venetian economy has been accelerated due to the butterflies. Spanish Aden has destroyed the venetian spice trade. In OTL there was a shifting of focus and investements from trade to land and industry (e.g. glass making). In that context the value of the large colonies of Crete and Cyprus is indeed very great. So, they might want their estates and plantations back. There is also the case that now that the spice trade is over, Cyprus lies in the route of the last inter-regional trade of importance for Venice: persian silk arriving at levantine ports. So, the butterflies have increased Cyprus' importance to Venice. Last but not least, they have the naval power to take it back, since they have 9 galeasses and 130 galleys (source: A Companion to Venetian History, 1400-1797).
That's true. Though I just can't see the Ottomans letting this all happen under their watch and they will do everything they can to stop the flow.

My guess is that Venice will also want Cyprus to use as a place to further attack the Ottoman Empire. Spain will want that so they can station their ships this far east in the Mediterranean.
 
On the matter of the janniseries, I once read somewhere that it is after they invited turkic people into the organization that they actually became rebellious and political, so is it possible that the sultan may actually have weakened the foundation of sultan authority?
 
Unrelated question...
I was thinking back on ITTL Iberian presence and increased missionary activity in the East Indies/Maritime Southeast Asia... When the thought struck me that perhaps the conditions would possibly be given for that could appear there some kind of aq TTL Christian version of Mansa Musa to do a visit/peregrination travel to Rome...
 
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