Key developments of 1552

Quite the year, 1552 CE! Conquistadores doing their thing, while back home in Europe their King/Emperor almost got captured by hostile forces. Ottomans, Portuguese, Ivan the Terrible, the dreadful Ming emperor. Imperial roiling as usual:

  • In Chile, veteran conquistador Pedro Gutiérrez de Valdivia founded not one but two new settler towns, Valdivia and La Imperial. (The following year there would be a big uprising of indigenous Araucanians who would overpower him and his fighting force and kill him in a most grisly way.)
  • But back in Europe, the King/Emperor Charles was not very concerned with imperial governance. In 1552 war broke out (again!) between him and France. In April, he invaded the Duchy of Lorraine. Then in May, he was almost captured in Innsbruck by the Protestant “Elector of Saxony”, Maurice, a wily character who had betrayed a pact with Charles and sided with the French. Charles and Maurice extricated themselves from conflict by concluding the Peace of Passau which apparently allowed for religious tolerance in Germany. (But we’re nowhere near the Thirty Years’ War over that very matter, yet!)
  • While Charles was busy in the West European heartland, the Ottomans advanced up into Hungary, taking Drégely Castle in April but being repulsed  by Hungarian patriots in Eger in September. (Above is a 16th-century representation of Eger Castle.)
  • Movement of the Ottoman fleet 1552, from Salih Özbaran (1994)

    Meanwhile, at the eastern end of the Arabian Peninsular, the Ottoman Navy out of Suez captured the fort the Portuguese had recently completed at Muscat, in today’s Oman. English-WP tells us: “The recently built Fort Al-Mirani was besieged for 18 days with one piece of Ottoman artillery brought on top of a ridge. Lacking food and water, the 60 Portuguese garrison and its commander, João de Lisboa, agreed to surrender, only to be taken as captives. The fort was captured and its fortifications destroyed. Soon however the Ottomans departed. Ultimately, they managed to occupy and control the coasts of Yemen, Aden, and Arabia, as far north as Basra, so as to facilitate their trade with India and block the Portuguese from attacking the Hijaz.

  • In October, troops of the recently crowned Tsar of Russia, Ivan the Terrible, seized control of the Khanate of Khazan, which had been one of the successor states of the Western portion of the Mongol Empire.
  • In the Ming Empire, Tümed Mongols defeated Ming forces at Datong and “pirate” raids continued on coastal areas of Zhejiang. And what was the Jiajing Emperor himself up to? Going the full Jeffrey Epstein, in 1552 he “selected 800 girls between the ages of 8 and 14 for palace service.”