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|Battle of Maritsa|
|Part of the Ottoman wars in Europe |
Domain of King Vuka?in Mrnjav?evi? and Despot Jovan Uglje?a before the Battle of Maritsa (in 1371).
|Serbian Empire||Ottoman Empire|
|Commanders and leaders|
Vuka?in Mrnjav?evi? † |
Uglje?a Mrnjav?evi? †
Alexander Komnenos Asen †
Lala ?âhin Pa?a|
|50,000-70,000 men||800 up to 4,000 men.|
|Casualties and losses|
heavy combat losses|
The Battle of Maritsa, or Battle of Chernomen (Serbian: Mari?ka bitka/ ? , Turkish: Çirmen Muharebesi, ?kinci Meriç Muharebesi in tr. Second Battle of Maritsa) took place at the Maritsa River near the village of Chernomen (today Ormenio in Greece) on 26 September 1371 between Ottoman forces commanded by Lala ?ahin Pasha and Evrenos, and Serbian forces commanded by King Vuka?in Mrnjav?evi? and his brother Despot Jovan Uglje?a.
In 1354, the Ottomans acquired Gallipoli. From there, they expanded into Thrace, taking the important city of Adrianople in 1369. They reached the borders of Ugljesa's lands. Ugljesa realized the danger and tried to create a coalition against the Turks. His idea was to drive them out of Europe instead of trying to defend fortresses and cities. He failed to secure support from the Byzantines and the Bulgarians. Most of the Serbian lords were occupied fighting each other and didn't realize the extent of the danger. The only Serbian lord who supported Uglje?a's ideas was his brother Vuka?in.
In the summer of 1371, Vuka?in marched to Zeta, to support his relative ?ura? Bal?i? in was against Nikola Altomanovi?. His army was in Skadar, waiting for naval support from the Republic of Ragusa. Uglje?a received information that the majority of Ottoman forces left Europe and marched to Anatolia. He decided it is a good time to execute his offensive plans and asked Vuka?in for help. Vuka?in left Skadar with his army and joined Uglje?a. They marched against Adrianople.
The Serbian army numbered 50,000-70,000 men. Despot Uglje?a wanted to make a surprise attack on the Ottomans in their capital city, Edirne, while Murad I was in Asia Minor. The Ottoman army was much smaller,Byzantine Greek scholar Laonikos Chalkokondyles and different sources give the number of 800 up to 4,000 men, but due to superior tactics, by conducting a night raid on the Serbian camp, ?âhin Pa?a was able to defeat the Serbian army and kill King Vuka?in and despot Uglje?a. Thousands of Serbs were killed, and thousands drowned in the Maritsa river when they tried to flee. After the battle, the Maritsa ran scarlet with blood.
Parts of Macedonia and Thrace fell under Ottoman power after this battle. The battle was a part of the Ottoman campaign to conquer the Balkans and was preceded by the Ottoman capturing of Sozopol in modern Bulgaria and succeeded by the capture of the cities of Drama, Kavála, and Serrai in modern Greece. The battle preceded the later 1389 Battle of Kosovo, and was one of many in the Serbian-Turkish wars.