Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Italian Who Saved Austria

It was on this day in 1664 that the decisive battle of Saint Gotthard was fought between the Turkish Ottoman Empire and the allies of the League of the Rhine, including forces from France, the Netherlands and the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. The primary allied commander was Raimondo, Count of Montecucculi from the Duchy of Modena. He had previously served the Duke of Modena against Pope Urban VIII before fighting the French, the Swedes and in defense of Hungary against the ruler of Transylvania. During his later career he would also defeat in battle the brilliant French commander the Vicomte de Turenne and Louis II, the "Great Conde". However it was at the battle of St. Gotthard that he defeated the forces of the Ottoman Empire and saved Austria from a Turkish invasion. The allied forces could likely have followed up the victory with the liberation of Hungary but the Emperor held them back, fearful of a Hungarian rebellion. However, his victory over the Turks at St Gotthard was so complete that it forced the Ottoman Sultan to come to terms with the Emperor and established peace between the two great powers for the next twenty years.

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