The Fall of Constantinople

Teacher: Bradley Fish Jr.
RPC 7th grade History

Built by Constantine the great, Constantinople was the capital of the Byzantine empire for many years.  Weakened by the devastating Black Plague, (which took the lives of almost half of Constantinople’s population) the Ottoman Empire saw Constantinople’s weakness. So, they took advantage and attacked. Although the Byzantines gave a fight, the Ottoman troops were eventually victorious.

In 1451, a new Ottoman sultan was coming into power. The 19-year-old Mehmed bin Murad Khan.  He was tall, strong, fair, and just. To surrounding empires and countries, the young man was not seen as a very large threat.  He was young and inexperienced, right?  They were going to be proven very wrong.  The new sultan was a big threat.  Mehmed was later known as Mehmed the Conqueror.

Constantinople was slowly declining in power and strength. It had been under almost constant attack for years, and the black death had wiped out nearly half of its population.  By 1451, the Byzantine empire was barely still intact,  made up of just a few cities.  In all honesty, the last thing Constantinople needed was to be attacked again.

When the leaders of Constantinople heard that the Ottoman army was heading their way, they tried to send to different parts of the empire for reinforcements. Due to schisms in the church, it was extremely hard to find allies.  When the two forces met, there were about 7,000 Byzantines, and 50-80,000 Ottomans.  Mehmed’s army also had a fleet of 100 ships and many super powerful cannons.  The most powerful one was named the “Basilica”. It could launch a 600-pound stone ball over a mile!   The men of Constantinople did their absolute best, and it is said that the Ottomans suffered greatly from losses.  Still, there were so many more Ottomans than Byzantines, that the city was taken.

The beautiful city of Constantinople was looted by the Ottomans for 3 days, but then Mehmed commanded it to stop, and for the inhabitants to resume as normal of a life as they could.  The former Byzantines were now considered citizens of the Ottoman empire.  Mehmed even restored some of the people their ranks in the city.

After Mehmed conquered the city, Constantinople was renamed to a more Ottoman-like name.  They called it Istanbul.  You can still go to Istanbul today if you want to. It is one of the most populated cities in Turkey.


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