The battle of Mohács in 1526. Hungarian National Museum, Budapest
Though Hunyadi’s campaigns against the Ottomans ultimately failed to recover any territory, they did revitalize and provide leadership for the resistance of the Balkan peoples fighting against the Turks, encouraging Skander Beg (George Kastriota) to renounce Ottoman suzerainty and launch the Albanian-Turkish wars for independence.
In 1463 Mehmed II invaded and occupied Bosnia, prompting a winter counterattack by Hunyadi’s son, Matthias Corvinus, who recaptured the strategic fortress of Jajce. From 1464–1466 the Hungarians and Ottomans fought ineffectually in Bosnia, eventually dividing the kingdom between themselves.
Subsequently, Matthias focused on strengthening the line of fortresses established by King Sigismund along the southern borders of Transylvania and Slavonia through Bosnia to the Adriatic while the Ottomans consolidated their Balkan conquests. The following 50 years were marked by repeated border incursions and raids from both sides, over time weakening the fortress system. A large raid by Ali Beg of Smederevo in 1479 was followed by a campaign by Matthias into Wallachia, Serbia, and eastern Bosnia in 1480, capturing Srebrenica and briefly restoring the frontier defenses.
After Matthias’s death, the Hungarians successfully repulsed an attack on Belgrade in 1494,but by the first decades of the sixteenth century Ottoman raiders were penetrating deeper into the frontier zone and inflicting defeats on Hungarian counterattacks inside Croatia and Hungary, notably at Sinj (1508), Knin (1511), and Dubica (1520). The recurrent raids devastated the frontier regions, leaving the fortresses isolated and unsupported in the deserted land. Srebrenica was recaptured by the Ottomans in 1512, completing the Turkish conquest of Bosnia. The border defenses were fatally breached with the capture of Belgrade by Süleyman I in 1521 and the fall of Orsova and Knin the following year.
With the lower Danube firmly in his control, Süleyman invaded Hungary in force, defeating the Hungarian army in the Battle of Mohács (1526), at which King Louis II was killed. Louis’s death marked the end of the medieval Hungarian kingdom, which was subsequently divided among the Ottomans, Austrian Habsburgs, and the dependent principality of Transylvania.
References and further reading:Sugar, Peter. Southeastern Europe under Ottoman Rule: 1389–1814. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1977. Szakály, Ferenc.“Phases of Turco-Hungarian Warfare before the Battle of Mohács.” Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 33 (1979): 65–111.