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The Fall of Constantinople (Byzantine Greek: Ἅλωσις τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, romanized: Hálōsis tē̂s Kōnstantinoupóleōs; Turkish: İstanbul'un Fethi, lit. 'Conquest of Istanbul') was the capture of the Byzantine Empire's capital by the Ottoman Empire. The city fell on 29 May 1453,[5] the culmination of a 53-day siege which had begun on 6 April 1453.

The attacking Ottoman army, which significantly outnumbered Constantinople's defenders, was commanded by the 21-year-old Sultan Mehmed II (later called "the Conqueror"), while the Byzantine army was led by Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos. After conquering the city, Mehmed II made Constantinople the new Ottoman capital, replacing Adrianople.

The Fall of Constantinople marked the end of the Byzantine Empire, and effectively the end of the Roman Empire, a state which dated back to 27 BC and lasted nearly 1,500 years.[6] The capture of Constantinople, a city which marked the divide between Europe and Asia Minor, also allowed the Ottomans to more effectively invade mainland Europe, eventually leading to Ottoman control of much of the Balkan peninsula.

The conquest of Constantinople and the fall of the Byzantine Empire[7] was a key event of the Late Middle Ages and is sometimes considered the end of the Medieval period.[8] The city's fall also stood as a turning point in military history. Since ancient times, cities and castles had depended upon ramparts and walls to repel invaders. However, Constantinople's substantial fortifications were overcome with the use of gunpowder, specifically in the form of large cannons and bombards.[9]

State of the Byzantine Empire

Constantinople had been an imperial capital since its consecration in 330 under Roman emperor Constantine the Great. In the following eleven centuries, the city had been besieged many times but was captured only once before: the Sack of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in 1204.[10]:304 The crusaders established an unstable Latin state in and around Constantinople while the remainder of the Byzantine Empire splintered into a number of successor states, notably Nicaea, Epirus and Trebizond. They fought as allies against the Latin establishments, but also fought among themselves for the Byzantine throne.

The Nicaeans eventually reconquered Constantinople from the Latins in 1261, reestablishing the Byzantine Empire under the Palaiologos dynasty. Thereafter, there was little peace for the much-weakened empire as it fended off successive attacks by the Latins, Serbs, Bulgarians and Ottoman Turks.[10][page needed][note 1]
5,000–10,000 Janissaries
Various cannon and bombards
20 horse transports

Naval forces:
31 Galleys

Byzantines

Land forces: 7,000–10,000

600 Ottoman defectorsLand forces: 7,000–10,000

600 Ottoman defectors[1]

200 Papal archers[2]


Naval forces: 26 ships

The Fall of Constantinople (Byzantine Greek: Ἅλωσις τῆς Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, romanized: Hálōsis tē̂s Kōnstantinoupóleōs; Turkish: İstanbul'un Fethi, lit. 'Conquest of Istanbul') was the capture of the Byzantine Empire's capital by the Ottoman Empire. The city fell on 29 May 1453,[5] the culmination of a 53-day siege which had begun on 6 April 1453.

The attacking Ottoman army, which significantly outnumbered Constantinople's defenders, was commanded by the 21-year-old Sultan Mehmed II (later called "the Conqueror"), while the Byzantine army was led by Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos. After conquering the city, Mehmed II made Constantinople the new Ottoman capital, replacing Adrianople.

The Fall of Constantinople marked the end of the Byzantine Empire, and effectively the end of the Roman Empire, a state which dated back to 27 BC and lasted nearly 1,500 years.[6] The capture of Constantinople, a city which marked the divide between Europe and Asia Minor, also allowed the Ottomans to more effectively invade mainland Europe, eventually leading to Ottoman control of much of the Balkan peninsula.

The conquest of Constantinople and the fall of the Byzantine Empire[7] was a key event of the Late Middle Ages and is sometimes considered the end of the Medieval period.[8] The city's fall also stood as a turning point in military history. Since ancient times, cities and castles had depended upon ramparts and walls to repel invaders. However, Constantinople's substantial fortifications were overcome with the use of gunpowder, specifically in the form of large cannons and bombards.[9]