One claimant survived the civil wars, Mahomet I, an exceptionally humane and just ruler
The city was overwhelmed, the soldiers slaughtered, the civilians enslaved, and the women raped
King Sigismund of Hungary sent envoys to France to plead for protection against the Islamic invaders and, since there was a break in the 100 years war, French knights were happy to head off to Hungary with the blessing of the Pope. The purpose of the expedition of this great force of knights (~10,000) was to re-take Nicopolis on the Bulgarian side of the Danube, but they brought no siege equipment, trusting on their courage to route the Turks. Instead, Nicopolis held, waiting for reinforcements, which Bajazet duly brought. Against the advice of Sigismund the French knights rushed to meet the enemy and fell straight into an elementary trap of multiple rows of sharpened stakes planted in the ground so that the French were forced to dismount or disembowel their horses. Rendered helpless on the ground in their heavy armour, the French were massacred, Bulgaria became an Ottoman vassal, and Hungary remained in danger. One of the surviving French knights returned to France and brought a small force to assist in the siege of Constantinople. For a time the French forced the Turks to lift the siege by land and sea, but the eventual fall of Constantinople was really delayed by the invasion of the Mongol Timurlane who was leading his troops across Asia from Samarkand to defeat Bajazet and establish himself as sultan.
The Ottoman empire quickly degenerated into a 4-sided civil war. The Serbs foolishly sided with a prince who was defeated and they were massacred in their thousands for their folly. Eventually only one claimant survived the civil wars, Mahomet I, an exceptionally humane and just ruler. He signed peace treaties with Venice and Constantinople but his son, Murad II, resumed the invasion of Europe. In the Balkans he had been facing two resistance movement, one lead by Janas Hunyadi of Hungary and the other led by John Castriot of Albania, and Murad was eager to make up his lack of prestige.
In 1443 the Hungarians, Poles, Serbs, Wallachians, and Germans united under the Hungarian king Ladislaus and went out to face the advancing Turkish army. The vastly outnumbered 'Christians' defeated the Turks but, inexplicably, within sight of the Turkish capital, King Ladislaus pulled back and signed a treaty with Murad. A year later the Hungarians changed their mind and started the war again (shades of George 'Dubya' Bush and his almost as dull father), this time marching as far as Varna, where they were supposed to receive aid from Venetian ships which never arrived, and resulting in the 'Christian' forces being soundly defeated by a renewed Muslim force.
In 1453 Constantinople fell, unaided by any European ally except a few hundred troops from Genoa. Beset by internal quarrels, the European states did not take action until it was too late and, before they woke up, Turkey was the most powerful state in Europe. At this time Suleiman the Magnificent was far more powerful than his contemporaries, Elizabeth of England, Charles V of Austria, or Francois I of France. Europe feared the Turks for centuries and the main concern of all the European nations, and every European man and woman, was the terror of the Turks. If you wonder why so many Turks hate Europeans so much it is because they were top dogs for so many centuries and knew that Europe feared the Muslim Turks much more than they ever feared the Nazi Germans or the Communist Russians, and for a greater period of history. While the Nazi peril lasted only 10 years and Soviet imperialism lasted 70 years, the Turkish threat lasted 500 years!
Since its founding, in 658 A.D., Constantinople had been besieged 29 times, frequently by the Muslims (during the initial Arab conquests and then it became a frequent Ottoman activity) but, occasionally, by Catholic 'Christians' who sacked the Orthodox city en route to the Holy Land on the crusades. Mahomet II determined to take Constantinople and the few hundred square miles remaining of the once glorious Roman empire. First he besieged the city, and waited to make a treaty with the Catholic Hungarian Janas Hunyadi to ensure peace on his northern front. Mahomet was not a pious man (rather he was fond of blaspheming the prophet and guilty of murder and homosexual activity) and this war barely pretended to be a jihad, but was rather straightforward imperialism. The Turks attacked the city relentlessly from 6 April to 29 October and, despite determined resistance and the addition of the Genoese troops, the city walls fell. On the night of 28 October the remaining citizens crowded into St. Sophia's Cathedral for a final service. The next day the city was overwhelmed, the soldiers slaughtered, the civilians enslaved, and the women raped (beginning with the convent). St. Sophia was transformed into a mosque, as it has remained to this day and the Ottomans made long term arrangements for the surviving 'Christians' throughout the empire, most of whom refused to convert, so they commanded the remaining Orthodox priests to appoint a new patriarch, who could shepherd his little flock - but at the will of the Sultan!Selim I . . . devout Sunni . . . hated the Shi'a nearly as much as Christians and his strong sadistic streak left a record of hundreds of thousands of executions
After the fall of Constantinople, Mahomet II set his sights on Rome and turned his army north toward the Balkans. In the next few years he conquered 12 kingdoms and 200 cities, first Peloponnese, the remaining part of Greece, then Bosnia. At its surrender the king and heir were promised their lives, but shortly afterwards they were executed as the Grand Mufti, in behaviour originated by the 'prophet' Muhammad, argued that agreements with unbelievers were invalid. The population generally converted to Islam so as to avoid the same fate, a crime for which the Serbs, who remained Orthodox, have never forgiven them. Serbia fell next but, for a time, Albania held out under the leadership of John Castriot (a.k.a. Skanderbeg) until 1468. Hungary, still with Janos Hunyadi at the head of the army, stood firm and called for a crusade to protect Belgrade resulting in Hunyadi's victory which proved a major setback to the Ottomans.
After 15 years of fighting in the Balkans, Mahomet II decided to try a sea assault against Italy but plans went awry when he announced his plans to keep the plunder for himself and his Janissaries refused to attack. Mahomet died before leaving Asia Minor and the pope called for a crusade to protect southern Italy.
Mahomet II's death triggered a power struggle between his two sons, Bayazid and Djem. Bayazid won, exiled his brother and established the Ottoman navy as a significant power in the Mediterranean. Muslim-Christian fighting had very much died down in Spain and only Grenada and a few sea ports remained in Muslim hands, but Morocco sent a stead supply of soldiers so that the Spaniards decided to re-take the last of these towns, but the effort was half-hearted (partly through distractions such as the 100 years war between France and England) and took over a century. In 1461 A.D., Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile married and together unified Spain. 1480 A.D. heralded the beginning of the serious campaign against Grenada resulting in the final conquest in 1492 A.D.
Slavery was considered to have Koranic sanction
After the fall of Grenada, Hungary plunged into civil war and the aristocracy brutally oppressed the peasantry which rebelled and then were crushed. But the Ottomans were busy elsewhere for the time being and missed their golden opportunity to take Hungary. Selim I (1512-1520 A.D.) built up the navy and nearly doubled the size of the empire through conquests in Asia and Africa. He took for himself the title 'caliph' which vastly increased his religious prestige. A devout Sunni, he hated the Shi'a nearly as much as Christians and his strong sadistic streak left a record of hundreds of thousands of executions and a catalogue of ghoulish torture.
Suleiman the Magnificent succeeded his father Selim in 1520. Although he fought three wars against his main Muslim enemy, Persia, the general focus of his imperial policy was west, toward Europe. His navy moved to retake the island of Rhodes, which was defended by the Knightly order of St. John of Jerusalem. It fell in 1522 and Suleiman permitted the surviving knights to leave Rhodes unharmed, a gesture he bitterly repented when they moved to Malta and repulsed his attacks 43 years later.
Previous jihad campaigns destroyed Serbia, Bulgaria, Wallachia, Bosnia, Albania and Greece leaving only Hungary, which Suleiman was determined to destroy. Wracked by internal dissent and ruled by a foolish playboy (Louis II), Belgrade fell in 1521 when Louis rushed to meet the enemy rather than waiting for reinforcements. The armies met at Mohacs, and the outnumbered Hungarians were destroyed by Turkish guns. During the next two centuries the Ottomans de-populated Hungary from its original 4 million by exporting ~3 million Hungarians as slaves and hunting others like game.
In 1529 Suleiman moved on Vienna only to find that, to his disgust, both Charles V and his brother Ferdinand were elsewhere and so, after 3 weeks of vile weather which prevented the use of Turkish guns, Suleiman decided the effort and time needed to take the city wasn't worth the satisfaction of defeating the unimportant general in charge, so he returned to Istanbul.
The Muslim fishermen of Grenada established a thriving piracy business from bases in North Africa where the chief commodity was Christian slaves from Spain and Italy. The pirates considered their actions to be jihad, citing Sura IX: 5-6: 'kill those who join other gods with God wherever ye shall find them; and seize them, besiege them, and lay wait for them with every type of ambush.' Slavery was considered to have Koranic (and therefore divine) sanction. In comparison, Christianity, has tolerated slavery only as long as freedom could not be obtained without massive bloodshed (cf. the struggles of Spartacus) and history proves that the Christian nations were the first to abolish slavery while the Islamic nations are the last - and it remains a massive trade in the Middle East. The pirate Barbarossa, based in Algiers, brought the territory he controlled into the Ottoman Empire and then became head of Suleiman's navy. In 1535 A.D., Charles V sacked Tunis and his occupying army committed atrocities worthy of the Turks. Generally speaking, the Europeans were too preoccupied with fighting each other to spend too much effort on the Ottomans.
In 1565 a shipload of Ottoman luxury goods was captured and taken to Malta and investors in the enterprise, including several of the sultan's wives, stood to lose heavily, so they pleaded with Suleiman to attack Malta instead of launching a second attack on Vienna. So the Ottoman fleet set out for Malta in galleys rowed by Christian slaves to fight a pseudo-'holy war'. The battle started at St. Elmo, defended by Neapolitan knights who used 'Greek fire' and boiling oil against guns and canons. After a month-long bombardment, the fortress fell and the siege of Malta continued for 2½ months after the fall of St. Elmo until the island reached breaking point, with even women and children joining the battle to defend their 1500 year old faith, first brought to the island by St. Paul. At last reinforcements arrived from Sicily and the Ottomans lifted the siege and returned to Istanbul. The losses were massive and 30,000 Moors and Turks died, while 8,000 of the 9,000 knights of Malta died, as did 5,000 civilians. The legacy of the struggle can still be seen in Malta today where crypts store the mountains of piled up bones of those who gave their lives to resist this Islamic pseudo-jihad. Tellingly, the Ottomans never attempted to attack Malta again.
As Suleiman marched the largest ever Ottoman army north through the Balkans, he was irritated by the Hungarians who stubbornly and repeatedly rebelled against their Turkish overlords. Suleiman looked on these rebellions as an affront not only to his personal majesty, but also to God, who had given him the right to rule Hungary. The rebels were brutally slaughtered, but the march to Vienna did not continue, as Suleiman died of a heart attack and was succeeded by his son Selim.
70 years after the fall of Grenada, 100,000 Muslims still lived in Spain, dreaming of the day Islam would return to rule al-Andalus. Now they were to be persecuted by the Roman Catholic cult's Inquisition. A secret resistance movement formed, stockpiling arms to aid an eventual invasion from North Africa. Revolt broke out in the mountains of Grenada, and King Philip II petitioned the Pope for assistance. The Spanish force (for a time led by Don John) beat back the Moriscos, eventually completely uprooting them from Grenada and scattering them all over Spain.
In 1570 A.D., Suleiman's son, Selim, launched an invasion of Cyprus to get a hold of the vineyards and when, after a year, the defence finally collapsed, the Ottoman general Lala Mustafa had the governor of Cyprus, Bragadino, flayed to death.
In 1571 A.D., Pope Pius V founded 'the Holy League' in an attempt to unite Europe against the Muslim invaders. Commander-in-Chief was 25-year- old Don John of Austria (who was actually a Spaniard) and, in 1572, the league sent out a navy of 316 ships which met the Ottoman navy at Lepanto where a mammoth battle took place. The result was a 'Christian' victory that annihilated the Muslim fleet, but bad weather prevented a follow up attack on Istanbul.
Turkey was still the first major colonial power (100 years before Spain achieved this status). But, following the victory at Lepanto, the 'Holy League' fell into disarray, its members once again pre-occupied with quarrelling with each other ( e.g. Elizabeth of England and Philippe of Spain). Selim II had fallen down in a drunken stupor and fractured his skull, so he was soon succeeded by Murad III who didn't encourage jihad and allowed the Janissaries to degenerate. Revolts broke out in Transylvania, Moldavia, and Wallachia, the Janissaries rebelled several times and engaged in widespread corruption, and the next ruler, Mahomet III, also led a relatively uneventful reign. His son Ahmed I became sultan at age 14 and, aside from a brief excursion into Hungary, pretty much focussed on Persia. Othman II (1618 A.D.) was jailed and strangled by his own Janissaries (it was during his reign that a British envoy first described the Ottoman Empire as the 'sick man of Europe') and Murad IV (1623 A.D.) who became Sultan at the age of 11, restored order by executing 100,000 men - which rapidly quelled mutinies by the army and the Janissaries. An alcoholic and sadist (killing appears to have been looked upon as sport by him), he did a few incidental kind deeds, e.g., ending the tribute in children which had been demanded of Christian villages, and this forced the Janissaries to find a new source of manpower. Ibrahim, (brother of Murad IV) resumed the jihad in Europe against the Cossacks, assisted by the Tatars. He also broke a treaty with Venice and attacked Crete. The siege of Candia lasted 20 years, when the Venetians in turn besieged Istanbul and the irritated populace and the Janissaries overthrew the sultan. Mahomet IV (installed in 1648 A.D., age 10) briefly restored the Ottoman empire to its former greatness and sent an army against the 'Holy' Roman (i.e. Austrian) Empire and defeated the 'Christian' force at the Battle of St. Gothard. In 1672, the Ottomans defeated the Poles and Russians, intervening at the request of the Cossacks but, in 1681, the war turned around and the Poles and Russians retook all the land lost to them, and made inroads into Ottoman territory.