Why did the Turks take Constantinople only in 1453?

The Seljuk Turks came to Asia Minor in the middle of the 11th century, conquered the central part of the peninsula, leaving the coast to the Christians, and then their empire quickly collapsed under its own weight. Those specific possessions that arose on its fragments did not cause any particular problems to anyone, and this is exactly how they were perceived in the then international politics.

The Ottoman beylik, which gained independence at the beginning of the 14th century, did not cause any fear at first either, and even when in 1352 the Turks crossed over to Europe and captured the Byzantine fortress of Tsimpu, the Christian monarchs of the Balkans continued to consider them just a regional horror story. which only the Greeks should fear.

True, they were quickly convinced of this. With Constantinople, weakened and not posing a threat, in the rear, the Ottomans dealt with truly strong opponents in several decades and conquered the southern part of the Balkan Peninsula. From the Byzantine possessions, only the capital with its surroundings and the Peloponnese, fenced off by a wall, remained, which, however, was far away, not crowded and obeyed from time to time.

The Bulgarians, due to the feudal fragmentation of their forces, did not particularly have to resist, and the Serbs, after the defeat in 1389 in the Kosovo field, were forced to submit, pay tribute and supply auxiliary contingents to the Ottoman army. And in 1396, near Nikopol, the Turks defeated the united Christian army, after which no one dared to challenge their power.

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All this time, their capital was the ancient and glorious Roman city of Adrianople in Eastern Thrace, but they almost immediately realized that they could rule the great empire they were building without getting off their horses only from the shores of the Bosphorus. But for this the heart of Byzantium still had to be conquered.

But they delayed it until the very last. Constantinople, despite the fact that it decayed and depopulated, had high walls on which thousands of janissaries could find death. And since the Greeks did not pose any danger, it was possible to wait a while with the capture of the great city.

And if the Byzantines themselves did not put a spoke in their wheels, their capital could last even longer. Yes, only they constantly supported the Turkish princes in their struggle for power, which caused legitimate discontent among the rulers who had established themselves on the throne.

The Turks tried to capture Constantinople a total of four times. They first attacked the city in 1394 under Sultan Bayezid. But it was nothing serious – just a test of strength.

The second siege occurred during the interregnum of 1402-1413, when the Ottomans lost the war with Tamerlane and the very existence of their state was threatened. The Byzantine emperor Manuel Palaeologus supported Prince Suleiman, and later his son Orhan, during the civil war, and himself provoked the campaign of another challenger, Shehzade Musa in 1411. The siege was short-lived – Musa lost the war to his brother Mehmed, who became the sultan.

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During the reign of Sultan Murad II, the Byzantines again intervened in Ottoman dynastic politics, which triggered a siege in 1422, which was also unsuccessful. And finally, Mehmed II in 1453 took the city, where his rival for power over the Ottoman Empire Shehzade Orhan, who fought for the Greek kingdom to the end, took refuge.

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