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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