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Battle of Szigetvár
The Battle of Szigetvár was a monumental battle in the small fort of Szigetvár in Hungary in 1566 between the defending forces of the Kingdom of Hungary under the leadership of Croatian ban Nicholas Šubić Zrinski, and the invading army of the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.
The entrenched Croatian forces of Zrinski, "...two thousand and three hundreds of them", held off a vast Ottoman army (more than 90,000 men and 300 cannons) for several weeks. Despite being undermanned and greatly outnumbered, the imperial army would not send any reinforcements from Vienna.
After many days of exhausting and bloody struggle, the defenders retreated into the Old City; with the majority of Croats already dead, their last stand. Turks have tried to lure Zrinski into submission, offering him rule over all of Croatia (of course, under their suzerainty). To no avail: "...nobody will point his finger on my children in contempt." In the morning, September the 7th, the all-out attack by the Turks began: fireballs, "Greek fire", concentrated cannonade, fusillade. Soon, the last Croat stronghold within Siget was set ablaze. The entire Turkish army swarmed against the Old City, drumming and yelling, "..their flags darkening the skies." Zrinski prepared for the last charge, addressing his brothers-in-arms: "..Let us go out from this burning place into the open and stand up to our enemies. Who dies - he will be with God. Who dies not - his name will be honoured. I will go first, and what I do, you do. And God is my witness - I will never leave you, my brothers and knights!" In the last decisive battle Zrinski was first wounded, then killed. Only seven defenders managed to get through Turkish lines. Historians consider that the Turks lost 18,000 cavalrymen and 7,000 elite janissaries. The jannissary corps was decimated.
The huge Ottoman army, the best Suleyman the Magnificent (who died during the siege) could gather, suffered heavy losses and was ultimately stopped in its tracks.
The battle was immortalized in the epic poem The Peril of Sziget (Szigeti Veszedelem in Hungarian) (1664) by Zrinski's great-grandson, Nicholas Zrinski, also a ban of Croatia. This was one of the first such epics in the Hungarian language.
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