Constantinople was one of the last remnants of the ever-glorious Roman Empire. It was ruled by Constantine XI, the last emperor of the Byzantine Empire. The city had a mixed population of Greeks, Slavic, Hungarians and the people answered to the Patriarch of Constantinople and not the Holy Roman Church. The city of Constantinople was an important trade route for the European countries and allowed access to the Black Sea. The city served as a link for goods to be transported from the Silk Route.
The fall of the city was the result of the attack of the Ottomans. The city was not able to guard itself because of several reasons that led to the fall of the city. The fall of Constantinople had far-reaching effects.
Causes of the Fall of Constantinople
There were several causes for the fall of the city. Some of these included:
- The Byzantine Empire had a very small population and army that could not put up a fight against the Ottomans. Most of the population of the empire had been lost to the Fourth Crusade and the Black Plague. Additionally, the number of ships to block the Turkish navy was only 26. In essence, neither the army nor the navy of the Byzantine Empire was strong enough to prevent the fall of Constantinople. On the other hand, the Ottomans had a very large army as well as a large fleet of ships.
- The people of Constantinople were answerable to Patriarch and not the Holy Roman Church. Therefore, the plea for help to the Holy Roman Church fell on deaf ears.
- The Byzantines also depended on the walls that surrounded the city to hold off the enemies. These walls were the primary defense of the city against all invaders and enemies.
The Ottomans were easily able to defeat the Byzantines and the fall of Constantinople also had various impacts.
Effects of the Fall of Constantinople
The Ottomans were the followers of the caliphate. Therefore, the major impact of the fall of Constantinople was the change in the religious state. A church called Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque and this had a huge impact on Christianity and led to the rise of Islam. Islam soon spread to North Africa as well.
The name of the capital was changed from Constantinople to Istanbul to reflect the political as well as cultural changes in the empire. The Turks were able to gain a foothold on European soil and slowly established their base in the European countries. The trade was also affected, especially the trade links between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Even the European countries lost a lot of trade opportunities who depended on the route to trade with China and the East.
Greek Christians from Turkey moved to Italy and brought their culture and knowledge to Italy. This also sparked what is known as the Renaissance. The fall of the city of Constantinople led to the closure of the Silk Route and marked the beginning of the Age of Discovery and the end of the Middle Ages. Many explorers were encouraged to voyage and discover new places. John Cabot found the New World and this also led explorers like Christopher Columbus to find countries like India and new trade routes.
Thus, the city of Constantinople, once a glorified city was now ruled by the Turks.