In the 14th century Lithuania became a major European power under the leadership of Algirdas, his brother Kęstutis, and their respective sons Jogaila and Vytautas (pictured), This episode describes Lithuania and her relations with the Teutonic Knights leading up to the Battle of Grunwald 1410
Struggle for Pomerania and Danzig/Gdansk between the native population, Teutonic knights and Kingdom of Poland. Teutonic knights move base to Marienberg. King Casimir the Great of Poland. Dynastic union of Poland and Lithuania in 1390’s. Includes quotes from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Picture: Marienberg/Malbork fortress (courtesy of visitmalbork.pl)
Background to the Battle of Nicopolis 1396. The rise of the Ottomans in the 1300’s at the expense of the Byzantine Empire, and then their expansion into the Balkans. Brief description of the geography of the Balkans and (Blue) Danube, and histories of 14th century Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Romania – a golden age in the minds of some nationalists.
In 1396 a large crusader army assembled, made up of numerous nationalities- French, German and Burgundian knights, together with soldiers from Hungary and Romania (Wallachia), plus a fleet from Venice, Genoa and Rhodes. The aim was to drive back the Ottomans, who had already conquered much of the Balkans and now threatened central Europe. The crusaders were confronted by an Ottoman army led by Sultan Bayezid at the strategic city of Nicopolis, on the lower Danube. Pictured: John Count of Nevers, King Sigismund of Hungary, Sultan Bayezid
Map of Balkans
The story of Europe from the Ancient Greeks to the First World War