Battle of Kosovo

Battle of Kosovo
Part of the Ottoman wars in Europe and Serbian-Ottoman Wars
Petar Lubarda Kosovski boj 1953 Svecana Sala Novi Dvor Beograd.jpg
Petar Lubarda's Kosovski Boj
DateJune 15,[A] 1389
Location
Result
Belligerents
Ottoman EmpireCoat of arms of Moravian Serbia.svg Moravian Serbia
Coat of arms of Branković family (small).svg District of Branković
Coat of arms of Kingdom of Bosnia.svg Kingdom of Bosnia
Commanders and leaders
Sultan Murad I 
Bayezid I
Yakub Çelebi Executed
Coat of arms of Moravian Serbia.svg Prince Lazar 
Coat of arms of Branković family (small).svg Vuk Branković
Coat of arms of Kingdom of Bosnia.svg Vlatko Vuković
Cross of the Knights Hospitaller.svg John of Palisna
Strength
~ 27,000–40,000[B]~ 12,000–30,000[B]
Casualties and losses
Sultan Murad I and most of the troops[1][2]Prince Lazar and most of the troops[1][2]

The Battle of Kosovo took place on 15 June 1389[A] between an army led by the Serbian Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović and an invading army of the Ottoman Empire under the command of Sultan Murad Hüdavendigâr. The army under Prince Lazar consisted of his own troops, a contingent led by Serbian nobleman Vuk Branković, and a contingent sent from Bosnia by King Tvrtko I, commanded by Vlatko Vuković.[7] Prince Lazar was the ruler of Moravian Serbia and the most powerful among the Serbian regional lords of the time, while Vuk Branković ruled District of Branković located in Kosovo and other areas, recognizing Lazar as his overlord. The battle was fought on the Kosovo field in the territory ruled by Branković, in what is today Kosovo.[a] Its site is about 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) northwest of the modern city of Pristina.

Reliable historical accounts of the battle are scarce. The bulk of both armies were wiped out in the battle, and both Lazar and Murad were killed. Although the Ottomans managed to annihilate the Serbian army, they also suffered huge casualties that delayed their progress. The Serbs were left with too few men to effectively defend their lands, while the Turks had many more troops in the east. Consequently, one after the other, the Serbian principalities that were not already Ottoman vassals became so in the following years.

Background

Emperor Stefan Uroš IV Dušan "the Mighty" (r. 1331–55) was succeeded by his son Stefan Uroš V "the Weak" (r. 1355–71), whose reign was characterized by the decline of central power and the rise of numerous virtually independent principalities; this period is known as the fall of the Serbian Empire. Uroš V was neither able to sustain the great empire created by his father nor repulse foreign threats and limit the independence of the nobility; he died childless on 4 December 1371, after much of the Serbian nobility had been destroyed by the Ottomans in the Battle of Maritsa earlier that year. Prince Lazar, ruler of the northern part of the former empire of (Moravian Serbia), was aware of the Ottoman threat and began diplomatic and military preparations for a campaign against them.

After the defeat of the Ottomans at Pločnik (1386) and Bileća (1388), Murad I, the reigning Ottoman sultan, moved his troops from Philippoupolis to Ihtiman (modern Bulgaria) in the spring of 1388. From there they traveled across Velbužd and Kratovo (modern R. Macedonia). Though longer than the alternative route through Sofia and the Nišava Valley, this led the Ottoman forces to Kosovo, one of the most important crossroads in the Balkans. From Kosovo they could attack the lands of either Prince Lazar or Vuk Branković. Having stayed in Kratovo for a time, Murad and his troops marched through Kumanovo, Preševo and Gnjilane to Priština, where he arrived on June 14.[8]

While there is less information about Lazar's preparations, he gathered his troops near Niš, on the right bank of the South Morava. His forces likely remained there until he learned that Murad had moved to Velbužd, whereupon he moved across Prokuplje to Kosovo. This was the best place he could choose as a battlefield, as it gave him control of all the routes that Murad could take.[8]

Reliable historical accounts of the battle are scarce; however, a critical comparison with historically contemporaneous battles (such as Ankara or Nikopolis) enables reliable reconstruction.[8]

Other Languages
العربية: معركة قوصوه
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Бітва на Косавым полі (1389)
български: Косовска битка
bosanski: Kosovska bitka
한국어: 코소보 전투
Bahasa Indonesia: Pertempuran Kosovo
latviešu: Kosovas kauja
lietuvių: Kosovo mūšis
македонски: Косовска битка
português: Batalha do Kosovo
Simple English: Battle of Kosovo
српски / srpski: Косовска битка
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Bitka na Kosovu
татарча/tatarça: Косово бәрелеше
Tiếng Việt: Trận Kosovo