Naval Battle of Diu 1509

The Battle of Diu

Naval Battle of Diu

  • The Battle of Diu is one of the decisive naval battles in Islamic history, which is no less important than the Battle of Dhat al-Sawari and the Battle of Lepanto.
  • If the first was the beginning of the Islamic naval power, then the Battle of Diu is like Lepanto, the beginning of the gradual decline of Islamic power at the international level.

Portuguese Islamic conflict

Prince Henry the Navigator
  • Portugal's orientation to the Atlantic Ocean and their attempt to circumvent the Islamic world was motivated primarily by ferocious Crusader motives against Muslims, as Portugal considered itself to be the protector and primary defender of Christianity and to raise the banner of Christians against Muslims, as it considered fighting Muslims an urgent and strict necessity and saw Islam as the sworn enemy that must be fought everywhere.

  • At that time, Europe began the era of geographical discoveries, and Portugal was at its beginning thanks to Prince Henry the Navigator, who cared a lot about developing his country’s maritime capabilities, and striving to discover new sea routes and the new world, so explorations began to follow, so that King Manuel I of Portugal announced the goals of the Portuguese campaigns, saying: “ The purpose of discovering the sea route to India is to spread Christianity and obtain the riches of the East".

  • Thus, it appears that the religious motive for the Portuguese discoveries was one of the most important factors that prompted Portugal to go to the seas and circumvent the Islamic world.
The pirate Vasco de Gama discovered the way to the Cape of Good Hope

  • The economic motive in the second degree was an influential factor in the course of the Portuguese geographical discoveries. The discovery of the Cape of Good Hope route in 1497 AD by Vasco de Gama facilitated the arrival of Far Eastern products to European markets without the need to pass through Egypt.

  • Portugal began to gradually expand from West Africa to East Africa and establish its ports in the Arabian Peninsula, and they established a series of commercial centers on the Indian coast between the years 1500 AD and 1505 AD.

  • They also seized the Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Persian Gulf in 1507 AD and from there Portugal turned to western India to establish its trading capitals and begin to change the international trade map suddenly.

Cape of Good Hope Road

Cape of Good Hope Road

  • Meanwhile, the Mamluks in Egypt were in a state of chaos and mismanagement, and at that time they were in an unenviable position, as they were afflicted with economic and political weakness, and the sultans were preoccupied with their internal problems, confronting the Ottoman Empire, and suppressing the activity of the Spartan knights in the eastern Mediterranean.

  • That is why the population in the African coast, the Gulf and Yemen faced their own fate, so they attacked the Portuguese garrisons everywhere in East Africa, in Muscat, Bahrain, Qurayyat and Aden, but to no avail due to the difference in the balance of power.

  • The Mamluks were also dependent on the important commercial role of Egypt in the international trade route, and on its traditional alliance with the important trading republics in Italy, led by Venice, which at that time accepted and traded the Egyptian currency due to the commercial interdependence with Egypt, as the eastern trade passed through India. And from there to the Red Sea, and then through camels to the ports of the Mediterranean, and then to Europe.

  • But trade became in great danger after the Portuguese discovered the Cape of Good Hope road, and sought to make it the main route for the passage of silk and spice trade to Europe, and the Mamluk state in Egypt became in great strategic danger, especially after the Portuguese seized the city of Sumatra at the entrance to the Red Sea, and their trade became in danger.

  • But the Mamluks were not the only ones threatened by these developments. Rather, the young Ottoman state, which was preparing to inherit the Islamic caliphate, was also affected by the hypothesis of changing the course of international trade. Because the new route threatens the traditional land route of trade itself from China to Europe.

  • Here, the interests of the Ottoman Empire converged with the Mamluk state at the beginning of the sixteenth century, along with the European commercial republics, as well as the Republic of Gujarat in northeastern India, which began to suffer from Portuguese marginalization after its trade was flourishing, and it seemed necessary to find a settlement for this real problem that threatened them all.

Islamic Coalition Against Portugal

Sultan Qansuh al-Ghawri

  • The Mamluks felt responsible despite the problems their state was experiencing, and they did everything they could to limit the Portuguese's access to the holy places. The only solution for those Islamic forces was union, especially after Venice sent its messengers to build this alliance and showed great willingness to contribute to military activity to get rid of the Portuguese threat. The new warships were sent to Egypt with the help of Venice and the Ottoman Empire. Indeed, the ships reached the Mediterranean ports and were dismantled, and from there to the Red Sea.
  • Sultan Qansuh al-Ghawri, Sultan of the Mamluks, prepared a large naval campaign against the Portuguese and entrusted the leadership to Hussein al-Kurdi Or as the Portuguese called it "Mirocem" the deputy sultan in Jeddah.

  • Hussein al-Kurdi sailed at the head of his force in 1505 AD to start monitoring the Portuguese, and in 1508 AD Sultan Qansuh al-Ghuri made an alliance with Mahmud Bagharha, Sultan of Gujarat ( Republic of Gujarat ) to eliminate Portuguese interference in trade between India and the Red Sea.

Battle of Saul "Goa Naval Battle"

the Portuguese governor Francisco de Almeida

  • The naval expedition sent by Sultan Qansuh al-Ghawri, led by Husayn al-Kurdi, consisted of thirteen ships with one thousand five hundred men on board. The initial tidings were positive for the Mamluk fleet, as Al-Kurdi headed to Malabar on the coast of India and anchored his ships in the port of Diu, then Husayn al-Kurdi searched for the Portuguese ships. He met her on the city of Goa on the Malabar coast.

  • The Mamluk fleet entered into a very important battle with the Portuguese, historically known as the Battle of Chaul, or the battle of Goa, west of India, overlooking the Arabian Sea in the west, in the year 1508 AD.

  • The result was the defeat of the Portuguese naval force, which was led by Lorenzo, the son of the Portuguese governor Francisco de Almeida, who was killed in the battle, which made his father determined to avenge him at all costs to the extent that prompted him to reject the decision of the King of Portugal to change him and put a new Portuguese ruler instead of him, until revenge for his son.

Naval Battle of Diu

Naval Battle of Diu 1509

  • After the victory in the Battle of Saul, Prince Hussein al-Kurdi returned to the port of Diu Island, located in the Indian Ocean, on the western Indian coast northwest of Bombay, and resided there, wanting the end of the rainy season to return to Egypt.

  • But the Portuguese, led by Francisco de Almeida, occupied a number of Islamic sites on the Indian coast in the beginning of 1509 AD, including Goa and Dabol.

  • In February 1509 AD, Francisco discovered the presence of the Mamluk fleet and the Islamic alliance near Diu, so they launched an immediate attack that led to the destruction of the Islamic fleet, so Prince Hassan Al-Kurdi was forced to return to Jeddah with those who stayed with him.

  • This Portuguese victory had the greatest impact on their landing on the coasts of India and their seizure of the city of Dhofar, knowing that the Portuguese fleet continued to pursue the Mamluk fleet to Jeddah.

  • In fact, the battle was settled in favor of the Portuguese, despite the relative superiority in the number of ships and fighters in favor of the Mamluks, because the Portuguese were more advanced in building ships and naval tactics than their Egyptian counterparts or their allies from the Indians and the Ottomans.

  • Also, the Mamluk navy did not have the ability to have tactical superiority due to the absence of heavy artillery for reasons related to the size and structure of the ships, which gave the Portuguese complete superiority, especially after the Mamluks resorted to trying to stay near the shore, depending on the artillery cover provided by the military base of Diu port in the face of Portuguese supremacy.
  • However, this made the Mamluk fleet lose the ability to maneuver and left it prey in the hands of Almeida, who took advantage of the circumstances strongly by carrying out maneuvers that allowed him to land his forces in the port of Diu, defeat the allied forces, capture as many Mamluks as he could, burn them and abuse them in revenge for the death of his son.

  • Then he seized the city, but he refused to subject it to his rule because of the high cost of maintaining it, but he created an ally from it after he kept a military formation in it, but he took from it nearly 300 thousand pieces of gold as a price for defeat.

After the naval battle of Diu

Prince Hussein al-Kurdi

  • The heavy defeat in the naval battle of Diu led to great international results. The Portuguese took possession of the new trade route, allowing them to extend their influence from Japan in the east to Brazil in the west, and took control of the Asian trade route after the prices of Asian spices and silk textiles supplied to Europe fell.

  • This also resulted in the beginning of the collapse of European commercial powers, led by Venice and the Republic of Ragusa, which is the port of Dubrovnik today, while the power of the Ottomans was confined to the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe.

  • As for Egypt, this defeat hastened the fall of the Mamluk state and represented the end of the role played by Egypt at the international level as a great power, after which it was no longer an international power.

  • After the Muslim prisoners were killed in retaliation for the killing of the son of de Almeida, and Prince Hussein al-Kurdi fled with the few remaining forces with him, the Mamluk naval fleet was completely destroyed, the state was exhausted and on the verge of collapse, and so it did not pass more than 8 years until the Ottoman Sultan controlled the exhausted state after the two battles Marj Dabiq in 1516AD and Al-Raydaniyah in 1517AD.

Font Size
lines height