THE HOLY FLEET
(The naval battle between the Christians and Ottomans fought in the strait between the gulfs of Pátrai and Corinth, off Lepanto (Návpaktos), Greece)
By the 1500s the Ottoman Empire’s naval fleet had become very powerful. They controlled most of the Mediterranean and often attacked parts of the Spanish and Italian coastlines, forcing the Christian inhabitants into slavery in North Africa.
On Sunday, October 7, 1571 The fleet of the Holy League, a group of naval forces from Spain, Naples, Sicily, Venice and Genoa, led by Don Juan of Austria, met the Ottoman forces in the Gulf of Lepanto, off of Western Greece.
The Holy fleet (about 200 galleys, not counting smaller ships) consisted mainly of Spanish, Venetian, and papal ships and of vessels sent by a number of Italian states. It carried approximately 30,000 fighting men and was about evenly matched with the Ottoman fleet. The battle ended with the virtual destruction of the Ottoman navy (except 40 galleys, with which Uluç Ali escaped). Approximately 15,000 Turks were slain or captured, some 10,000 Christian galley slaves were liberated, and much booty was taken. The victors, however, lost over 7,000 men.
Lepanto was the first major Ottoman defeat by the Christian powers, and it ended the myth of Ottoman naval invincibility. It did not, however, affect Ottoman supremacy on the land, and a new Turkish fleet was speedily built by Sokollu, grand vizier of Selim II. Nevertheless, the battle was decisive in the sense that an Ottoman victory probably would have made the Ottoman Empire supreme in the Mediterranean.
Among the allied wounded was Cervantes, (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra) who lost the use of his left arm. Cervantes’ own ship, the Marquesa, was part of the Christian fleet..
Yes the known Cervantes of the famous Don Quixote….
(Don Quixote is considered the most influential work of literature from the Spanish Goleden Age and the entire Spanish literary canon. As a founding work of modern Western literature, and one of the earliest canonical novels, it regularly appears high on lists of the greatest works of fiction ever published. It has had major influence on the literary community, as evidenced by direct references in Alexandre Dumas "The Three Musketeers" (1844) and Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884). In a 2992 list, Don Quixote was cited as the "best literary work ever written")