Historical OverviewThe Stato da Màr or Domini da Màr ("State/Domains of the Sea") was the name given to the Republic of Venice's maritime and overseas possessions, including Istria, Dalmatia, Negroponte, the Morea (the "Kingdom of the Morea"), the Aegean islands of the Duchy of the Archipelago, and the islands of Crete (the "Kingdom of Candia") and Cyprus. It was one of the three subdivisions of the Republic's possessions, the other two being the Dogado, i.e. Venice proper, and the Domini di Terraferma in northern Italy.
The Early Ottoman Turkish Empire had started sea campaigns against Venice as early as 1423, and the intermittent war with the Ottomans resumed from 1499 to 1503. In 1499, Venice allied itself with Louis XII of France against Milan, and in the same year, the Ottoman sultan moved to attack Lepanto by land. The Turks once again sacked Friuli. Preferring peace to total war both against the Turks and by sea, Venice surrendered the bases of Lepanto, Durazzo, Modon and Coron.
Venice's attention was diverted from its usual maritime position by the delicate situation in Romagna, then one of the richest lands in Italy. Eager to take some of Venice's lands all neighbouring powers joined in the League of Cambrai in 1508 under the leadership of Pope Julius II. The pope wanted Romagna; Emperor Maximilian I: Friuli and Veneto; Spain: the Apulian ports; the king of France: Cremona; the king of Hungary: Dalmatia, and each of the others some part. The offensive against the huge army enlisted by Venice was launched from France.
On 14 May 1509, Venice was crushingly defeated at the battle of Agnadello in the Ghiara d'Adda. French and Imperial troops were occupying Veneto, but Venice managed to extricate itself through diplomatic efforts as Pope Julius II recognized the danger brought by the eventual destruction of Venice (then the only Italian power able to face kingdoms like France or empires like the Ottomans).
Gritti recaptured Padua in July 1509 for Venice, successfully defending it against the besieging Imperial troops. Spain and the Pope broke off their alliance with France, and Venice regained Brescia and Verona from France also. These events of 1509 marked the end of the Venetian expansion.
In 1489, the first year of Venetian control of Cyprus, Turks attacked the Karpasia Peninsula. Fearing the ever-expanding Ottoman Empire, the Venetians had fortified Famagusta, Nicosia, and Kyrenia, but most other cities were easy prey. In the summer of 1570, the Turks struck again, but this time with a full-scale invasion rather than a raid. About 60,000 troops, including cavalry and artillery, under the command of Mustafa Pasha landed unopposed near Limassol on July 2, 1570, and laid siege to Nicosia.
The fall of Famagusta marked the beginning of the Ottoman period in Cyprus. Two months later, the naval forces of the Holy League, composed mainly of Venetian, Spanish, and Papal ships under the command of Don John of Austria, defeated the Turkish fleet at Battle of Lepanto. The victory over the Turks, however, came too late to help Cyprus, and the island remained under Ottoman rule for the next three centuries.
The latter half of the 17th century saw also prolonged wars with the Ottoman Empire: in the Cretan War (1645–1669), after a heroic siege that lasted 24 years, Venice lost its major overseas possession, the island of Crete, while it made some advances in Dalmatia. In 1684 however, taking advantage of the Ottoman involvement against Austria in the Great Turkish War, the Republic initiated the Morean War, which lasted until 1699 and in which it was able to conquer the Morea peninsula in southern Greece
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