Why didn't the Ottomans retake Goa?

Nov 2013
725
Texas
One could say that they couldn't; but as amazing as the renaissance Iberian warrior was; the Ottomans has (in some form or fashion) defeated him before (Surely the Ottomans beat the Spanish or Portuguese in at least one battle, right?),

As amazing as the Portuguese warrior was; I dare suggest that Portugal was not organized enough for their military system to be rated as fundamentally better than the Ottomans (in any event, the Ottomans had the resources to make up for it. )

More to the point; if the Ottomans were able to bludgeon their way in to Europe (as in, despite a crude military record; they were more or less on the offensive until their botched siege of Vienna in 1683), wouldn't a conquest of Goa be much easier (a city closer to the Islamicate sphere of influence than Portugals?) Couldn't an alliance with Persians, Arabs, or even Iberia's enemies secure a conquest of Goa? When the Portuguese navy beat the Ottoman navy on their way to Goa; it was because the Portuguese navy was actually larger (in other words, it's no great stretch to assume that the Ottomans had the resources to take Goa. Although not the best siegemasterrs, even naval superiority over the Portuguese is not an impossible task.)

Why should Goa be so much harder to take or vassalize than the Crimean Khanate?

Even IF the Ottoman navy wasn't up to the task, surely there was a way to move their troops over there. Even if Ottoman siegemastery was not up to the task; then why not just buy some Indian or even European artillery?

Goa allowed the Portuguse to circumvent the silk road (and admittedly, this was not the only means of doing so. Even so, the failure of the Ottomans to obstruct the Portuguese conquest of Goa seems pretty humiliating to an Empire that had actually had a pretty good martial record.).

Why didn't the Ottomans retake Goa?
 
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Nov 2013
725
Texas
Ottoman c

Did I miss something? Did Ottomans have the 'hots' for Goa?
No, but shouldn't they have? (while admitting that it wasn't the only way for the west to circumvent the silk road?) .

Why would an expansionist empire, whose prosperity depends upon the silk road, just let the west set up shop in the Indian Ocean?
 

kandal

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,813
USA
Muslim naval forces were trounced by the Portuguese from the Arabian sea within a few years of their arrival. Ottomans and other Muslim powers tried from time to time to get back their trade routes, but to no avail.

Arabian sea was too distant from Istanbul, and Persia was on the way, and its hold on other areas came too late and remained too shaky.
 
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Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,793
New Delhi, India
I wonder why China did not take Goa during the rule of Ming emperors? :)
I suppose that they were busy elsewhere. Even Kublai Khan did not rule over the whole world.
 
Oct 2014
1,260
California
Maybe, like Hong Kong and Macau, it made the region or host country too much money to ruin a good thing?
 
Nov 2013
725
Texas
I wonder why China did not take Goa during the rule of Ming emperors? :)
I suppose that they were busy elsewhere. Even Kublai Khan did not rule over the whole world.
Macau was in China's interest (China got a trade commission, and Macau helped western knowledge, especially agriculture, make it's way to China.)

Goa was not against China's interest (they were more offended by the Portuguese conquest of Malacca in 1511.)

I don't think Ming China was interested in Overseas expansion (where as the Ottoman Empire clearly was; hence their siege of Malta.)

I don't see how Goa was in the Ottoman Empire's interest (arguably more expansionist than Ming China, insofar as I can tell. Or perhaps more expansionist WRT to overseas conquest. ). It seems to me that an expansionist Empire would clearly take a city that it is in their interest to take, even/especially if it involves fighting Europeans. The Ottomans were not naval hacks (although another poster was right to point out that it was probably easier to build a fleet out of Istanbul than on the Indian Ocean).

Why would Suleiman invest his efforts in a siege of Vienna, when it might be more profitable, or even easier to secure Goa, and maintain it as an Islamicate sphere of influence?

I mean, it's just a city (not a capital like Vienna). It's in Asia, or even the Islamicate (not sure why the Ottomans were so hot on Europe, or islands such as Malta. Harder territory that's actually not that wealthy.)

Portugal secured Goa because it was committed to it; not because the Portuguese navy was invincible.
 
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,024
Portugal
Piccolo,

I think the question would be a bit more correct if it was “Why didn’t the Ottomans take Goa?” since they couldn’t not retake what they did never took, if the memory doesn’t fail me. Even in this manner would be mostly a speculative question.

But answering to the question, and assuming that you are talking about the 16th century, I would say that several Muslim powers (sometimes allied, including with the Ottomans) really tried to take down the Portuguese hegemony in the Indian Ocean and they failed.

The Portuguese lost their hegemony first in the Atlantic for Castile (Spain), and much later, when the Iberian monarchies had already the same king, they lost the hegemony in the Indian Ocean for the Dutch.

So, in the 16th century, with the dominion of the Indian Sea in the hands of the Portuguese an attack to Goa by the Ottomans would be quite difficult.

But the Ottomans tried to combat that hegemony. And attacked Portuguese possessions in India with allies. Not Goa, but Diu, for instance in 1509. Goa was attacked several times (and even lost and retaken by the Portuguese), but not for Ottomans, even if it was possible their instigation.
 

nuclearguy165

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
4,822
Ohio, USA
Macau was in China's interest (China got a trade commission, and Macau helped western knowledge, especially agriculture, make it's way to China.)

Goa was not against China's interest (they were more offended by the Portuguese conquest of Malacca in 1511.)

I don't think Ming China was interested in Overseas expansion (where as the Ottoman Empire clearly was; hence their siege of Malta.)

I don't see how Goa was in the Ottoman Empire's interest (arguably more expansionist than Ming China, insofar as I can tell. Or perhaps more expansionist WRT to overseas conquest. ). It seems to me that an expansionist Empire would clearly take a city that it is in their interest to take, even/especially if it involves fighting Europeans. The Ottomans were not naval hacks (although another poster was right to point out that it was probably easier to build a fleet out of Istanbul than on the Indian Ocean).

Why would Suleiman invest his efforts in a siege of Vienna, when it might be more profitable, or even easier to secure Goa, and maintain it as an Islamicate sphere of influence?

I mean, it's just a city (not a capital like Vienna). It's in Asia, or even the Islamicate (not sure why the Ottomans were so hot on Europe, or islands such as Malta. Harder territory that's actually not that wealthy.)

Portugal secured Goa because it was committed to it; not because the Portuguese navy was invincible.
Simple: The Ottoman navy wasn't committed to the Indian Ocean. At the time that Goa was originally taken, Ottoman naval forces in the area were minimal and the main Muslim naval power in the area was Gujerat, with the Ottomans only contributing a small contingent. What they had was largely cleared off by Portuguese naval forces anyway, particularly at Diu, in 1509.

As that battle proves anyway, Portuguese open-seas combat vessels were superior to anything found in the Muslim world, and it would have been a MAJOR investment for the Ottomans to have tried to re-take that post (which wasn't even directly theirs to begin with, and it's not like Muslim powers are all some homogeneous entity, always committed against Christendom, as they have their own problems/rivalries most of the time), especially when even local Indian powers were unable to do so. We're also talking hundreds, if not thousands, of miles from the nearest Ottoman ports, and for ships that need port support more so than the Portuguese ships.
 
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Jan 2016
1,637
India
What do you mean by 'retake Goa'? Goa never was occupied by the Ottomans in the first place. It was actually conquered from a regional Indian sultanate of Bijapur which along with Gujarat received support of an Ottoman expeditionary force in order to defend their ports against the Portuguese. The latter were recklessly expanding in the Indian Ocean and clearly could not be beaten by any Indian or Muslim power on sea.

But this question is still very much valid since the Ottomans might indeed have prolonged their conflict against the Portuguese in the Arabian sea. As for why the Ottomans decided to let Portuguese go away with taking Goa, I can think of a variety of reasons.

First of all, the Ottoman naval expansion in Europe, particularly in the eastern Mediterranean, was based on their huge galley fleets which were effective only in inland seas. Therefore it was simply impossible for the Ottomans to project their naval power into open oceans such as the Indian and Atlantic. While being relatively good in the inland seas such as the Mediterranean, although ultimately becoming obsolete even there, the galley fleets of the Ottomans were at a serious disadvantage against the western European powers such as Spain, Portugal and later, the Netherlands and England, which all commanded impressive fleets of huge ocean-going carracks. Carracks made it easier to deploy gun at sea and were also better at blockading, besieging, and resistance against onshore batteries. The failure of the Ottomans (also also the Italian cities) to build a significant number of ocean-going vessels is one of the primary reasons of the ascension of naval powers like Spain, Portugal, and the shifting of the world's centre of naval technology and innovation from the eastern Mediterranean to the English Channel and the Iberian coast.

Secondly, and probably more importantly, the Ottomans had much more important geo-political interests to divert their naval resources to. This was a time when the struggle with Venice had just been concluded with the Venetian submission but the naval strength of the Ottoman empire needed more time to reach full capacity. Meanwhile, the Mamluk threat from Cairo and the Spanish who now possessed south Italy presented a tough challenge. Also, the maritime towns of the Balkans and the Black Sea coast required naval resources to be fully integrated into the Ottoman enterprise. The Ottoman conquest and integration of Egypt and Syria (1517), subsequently, occupied the major interest of the Porte. The Ottomans made a conscious and also wise decision of not prolonging their efforts in the Indian Ocean for the sake of more immediate and vital interests. While the Portuguese expansion in the Indian Ocean did start the encircling of the Islamic World by the Christians, any major involvement of the Ottomans in the affairs of this region would simply have meant over-extension of their resources. Contrary to the popular opinion, the Ottomans at this time were not some exceptionally consolidated leviathan able to field hundreds of vessels anywhere; therefore it required much restraint and forbearance on part of the Ottoman Sultan to give only a measured response to affairs of more distant concern. As a result of this policy, the Ottoman investement in the Indian Ocean was very little when compared to the Europeans. Indeed, even as late as 1538, the Ottoman expeditionary fleet in the India Ocean was one third the size of 200 vessel strong Ottoman fleet at Battle of Preveza, where they destroyed a formidable Christian alliance.
 
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