The Battle of Lepanto, painting by an unknown artist.
On 7 October 1571, the naval battle of Lepanto cleaned the Mediterranean sea from Ottoman corsairs, which so much terror and suffering had caused throughout Europe by constant slaughtering, plundering and preying mercilessly in the chase of booty and Christian slaves. But the objective underlying was much more aggressive regarding warfare. By disrupting maritime communications, they sealed any possibility of commerce in the Mediterranean coasts and at sea. Severe famine and widespread poverty meant a high death rate to the terrorised Europeans with a Mediterranean trade so brutally disrupted.
The retaliation to so much terror came from the Pope Pius V and the Spanish King Felipe II, who sent his brother Juan de Austria, commanding a coalition of European Catholic maritime states. Mostly financed by the Spanish Empire. The battle of Lepanto decisively defeated the fleet of the Ottoman Empire for good and meant a gasp of fresh air for Christianity in Europe. The way of Islam conquering Europe; this time from the Mediterranean Sea, had been locked again. Only the Balkans remained as an open gate for the Ottomans entering Europe. The only opportunity left for the Islamic troops conquering Europe remained now from Istambul through the Carpathians to Viena.