Battle of Klis (1596)

The Battle for Klis was a battle between Venetian irregulars from Split supported by Uskoks and relief Habsburg and Venetian Empire forces, and an Ottoman garrison, over the control of the fortress of Klis.

Battle for Klis
Part of Long Turkish War
Klis 0807 3.jpg
Klis fortress in 2007
Date6 April — 30 May 1596
Result Klis quickly recaptured by the Ottomans
Coat of arms of Croatia 1495.svg Kingdom of Croatia  Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders

Irregular Christian forces from Split:
Giovanni Alberti
Francesco Antonio Bertucci
Nikola Cindro

voivode Nikola Lasinović
Ivo Senjanin

Poljice forces:
Pavao Papić

Nikola Suđić

sanjakbey Mustafa Pijadepašić

Ibrahim-aga, captain of the Klis garrison
Units involved

30 Venetian irregulars from Split
300 Uskoks
200 men from Poljice

unknown number of Joint Habsburg-Venetian relief forces

2,000 Sanjak of Klis

three other Ottoman Sanjaks in Bosnia – 6,000 men (Sanjak of Krka)
600[1] 8,000 men
Casualties and losses

At least 400 members of Klis garrison were killed

at least 210 Muslim civilians were killed


The fortress of Klis had a significant strategic position because its position was at the main entrance from the northeastern Adriatic coast into the territory of Ottoman-held Bosnia. The capture of Klis would leave this key entrance into Bosnia unguarded.[2] Since the mid-16th century Klis slowly lost its prestige to Livno, where the sanjakbey of Klis resided, while the fortress of Klis was guarded by a garrison of 400 men commanded by a captain.[3]

The heart of 1596 plans for the uprising in the eastern Adriatic region was Francesco Antonio Bertucci.[4] According to some suggestions, the main reason for his anti-Ottoman activities were his plans to recapture the Priory of Vrana from the Ottomans.[4] According to Bertucci's plan, the rebels (including Uskoks) would first capture Klis, Herceg Novi and Scutari from the Ottomans.[5] That would trigger a large Ottoman naval expedition on the Adriatic northwards and draw the Venetians, who otherwise refused to join the crusade, to join the alliance against the Ottomans.[4] Bertucci initially established the seat of the anti-Ottoman conspiracy in Ragusa. The Ragusans were worried because of the anti-Ottoman actions of Ragusan Jesuits. According to some rumours, the Republic of Ragusa was ready to expel Aleksandar Komulović because the Ottomans offered them some benefits if they did.[6] The seat of anti-Ottoman conspiracy was then moved to Split.[7] A member of Split Venetian nobility, Giovanni Alberti decided to capture Klis.[8] Alberti argued with his brother Mateja over the preparations for the attack and Mateja informed the Ottomans about it.[8]


Christian capture of KlisEdit

Ivo Senjanin was one of the commanders of Uskok forces.[9] Two Mihnić brothers and four Milošević brothers (Luka, Vujica, Martin and Matej) from Klis were among the people from Klis who helped the Christian forces to recapture Klis.[10]

The capture began late at night on 6 April 1596 when group of 30 citizens of Split with some help from inside of the fortress, attacked and killed all the guards of the fortress.[11] Early on 7 April 1596 a group of Uskoks who were Habsburg citizens and about thirty Venetian citizens captured the Ottoman-held fortress of Klis with the support of some members of the Ottoman garrison.[4]

In the dawn this small group received substantial reinforcements when 300 Uskoks led by Nikola Lasinović, Ivan Vlatković and Bijanki came to help them.[12][13] The reinforced Christian forces attacked Ottomans who retreated to several houses in the lower part of the town, burning one granary during this attack.[14] With all those reinforcements, the irregulars from Split managed to capture all of the fortress[15] except tower Oprah where some 210 civilians found shelter.[16] The Oprah tower was captured a day later, on 8 April 1596. Uskoks were concerned that they would not be able to hold the fortress against the Ottoman counterattack they expected.[8] Therefore, in the evening of 8 April 1596 they loaded food and prisoners on a boat in Žrnovnica to be transported to Senj.[8] This left the garrison in Klis without food and made their position during the expected Ottoman siege much more difficult.[8] According to some sources, the boat with food and prisoners was captured by Venetians near Šibenik.[8]

The count of Poljice Pavao Papić and Nikola Suđić together with 200 men from Poljice[17] came to reinforce the Christian garrison after Klis has already been captured.[8]

When the Christian forces captured Klis they killed all members of its garrison.[1]

Ottoman counterattackEdit

Ibrahim-aga, the captain of the Klis fortress, was in Solin when he received news about the Christian capture of Klis.[18] He rushed with his forces to recapture the fortress, but his attack was repulsed, and he had to retreat to Livno.[19]

The Ottomans quickly organized strong forces and besieged Klis.[20][author missing] The sanjakbey of the Sanjak of Klis Mustafa Pijadepašić quickly mobilized 600 men, both Muslims and Christians and on 12 April 1596 besieged Klis.[21] The forces of three other Ottoman sanjaks joined them on 22 April[8] and the number of men in the Ottoman forces rose to 8,000 in total.[22]

The Ottoman besieging forces were supplied by the governor of the Venetian-held Split who warned the Ottomans that Uskoks were preparing for the capture of Klis earlier that year.[23] Based on the instructions of the Venetian Senate to maintain good relations with the Ottomans, Venetian provveditore Benedetto Moro used every opportunity to help them.[23] Some members of the besieged Christian forces who knew well the surrounding of the fortress, sneaked from the fortress during the night and went to Adriatic coast to meet with their friends and send desperate requests for help.[24] On 24 April Uskok voivode Ivo Senjanin, Nikola Sugić and Ivan Matulić wrote to captain of Senj a letter in which they described the situation in Klis as desperate, the Christian garrison starving and requested help.[25]

The joint Habsburg and Papal State troops, led personally by Antonio Bertucci, were sent to reinforce the weak Christian garrison in the newly captured fortress.[4] The relief troops were supplied from the port of Senj.[26] The Ottoman forces first defeated reinforcement troops and then reoccupied Klis.[4] The Habsburg general who was supposed to lead the relief troops blamed Bertucci for this defeat.[4] Bertucci was captured during this battle and briefly held in Ottoman captivity until he was ransomed.[4]

On 31 May 1596 the besieged Christian forces had to retreat from Klis to Senj and Klis again fell into Ottoman hands.[20] Many members of the Christian forces were killed while some of them were captured by the Ottomans and later ransomed from the Ottoman hands. Imprisoned and later ransomed Christian officers include Ivan Senjanin, Radič Miho, Stipanović Gašpar and Pavao Miovčić.[27]


Both Venetian and Ottoman forces organized numerous actions against Uskoks during next couple of years.[28] The Ottomans plundered Christian population in Poljice, Klis and its surrounding which caused a wave of Christian emigration from this part of Dalmatia.[29]

For his merits during this battle Ivo Senjanin was awarded with two mills in Žrnovnica by Austrian archduke Ferdinand.[20] In next couple of years Uskoks undertook numerous attacks on caravans and ships of Ottoman Empire, Venice and Ragusa.[30]

The Christian defeat had negative influence to his further attempts to convince Balkan Christian rulers to rebel against the Ottomans.[4] The effects of the Battle of Klis to local population were much bigger than its actual historical importance.[31]

Klis remained part of the Ottoman Empire until 1648 when the Venetians recaptured it.[20]


In April 1996 the scientific simposium in honor of the 400th year since the Battle of Klis was held in Klis. The result of simposium was a 90-page publication about the battle.[32]


  1. ^ a b (Фрейденберг 1984, p. 136): "В апреле 1596 г. около 600 ускоков тайно проникли в крепость Клис, запирающую проход в среднюю Далмацию, и изрубили турецкий гарнизон."
  2. ^ (hAnnracháin 2015, p. 160): "The capture of Klis which commanded the sole pass into Bosnia, ..."
  3. ^ umjetnosti, Jugoslavenska akademija znanosti i (1962). Starine. p. 347. Od druge polovice XVI stoljeca Klis kao da gubi vaznost u poredbi s Livnom. Otada pocinje sandzak-beg kliski stanovati u Livnu. Sama gradska posada u Klisu jos je jaka, broji do 400 ratnika.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i (Krokar 1973, p. 30)
  5. ^ umjetnosti, Jugoslavenska akademija znanosti i (1962). Starine. p. 360.
  6. ^ Zlatar, Zdenko (1 January 1992). Our Kingdom Come: The Counter-Reformation, the Republic of Dubrovnik, and the Liberation of the Balkan Slavs. East European Monographs. p. 269. ISBN 978-0-88033-239-2. The latter was rumoured to be ready to expel Komulovic, "due to its (Ragusan government's) benefits derived from the Turks
  7. ^ (zadruga 1993, p. 304)
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h (Marasović 2016, p. 145)
  9. ^ (Sivric 1982, p. 41): " Senjanin is first mentioned in 1596, in connection with the battle for Klis against the Turks. We know that he was a commander, but not how many men he led."
  10. ^ (Klaić 1911, p. 412): "I zaista je 27. veljače 1596.. na sam pokladni utorak, stiglo na otok Čiovo tik Trogira više uskočkih vojvoda (Nikola Lasinović. Biankini i drugi), s kojima je Alberti utanačio, kada i kako će nahrupiti na Klis. Odabran bi veliki ponedeljak. naime 8. travnja 1596.. a izvesti će se navala s pomoću nekih Klišana. naime dvoje braće Mihnića (Lovre i Pavla) i četvorice Miloševića (Luke, Vujice, Martina i Mateja). od kojih se potonjih bijaše jedan poturčio. Medjutim 6. travnja — u subotu pred ..."
  11. ^ (Vrsalović 1968, p. 146): "Pošto su svi skupa poubijali straže, ušli su u Klis i osvojila ga noću od 6. na 7. travnja 1596. "
  12. ^ (Vrsalović 1968, p. 146): "Pošto su svi skupa poubijali straže, ušli su u Klis i osvojila ga noću od 6. na 7. travnja 1596. U zoru su im stigla znatna pojačanja od 300 uskoka pod vodstvom Nikole Lasinovića, Ivana Vlatkovića i Bijankinija, 200 Polji- čana pod vodstvom poljičkoga kneza Pavla Papića i još neki drugi, pa su Splićani, "
  13. ^ (Pera 1988, p. 78): "U pothvatu su sudjelovali Nikola Suđić i veliki knez Pavao Papić s četom od dvjesta ljudi."
  14. ^ Glasnik Zemaljskog muzeja u Bosni i Hercegovini. Zemaljska štamparija. 1903. p. 258. U ponedjeljak u 2 sata izjutra dogjoše Nikola Lasinović, Ivan Vlatković i Kiankini sa 300 uskoka, i s njima se poene jurišati na nekoliko kuća u predgragju i u donjem gradu, u koje se mnogi Turci povukoše; tom prigodom izgorje žalibože i jedna
  15. ^ (Vrsalović 1968, p. 146): " su Splićani, ojačani tim dobrovoljcima, uspjeli potpuno osvojiti to tursko uporište."
  16. ^ Glasnik Zemaljskog muzeja u Bosni i Hercegovini. Zemaljska štamparija. 1903. p. 258.
  17. ^ (Vrsalović 1968, p. 146)
  18. ^ Djela. Akademija nauka i umjetnosti Bosne i Hercegovine. 1954. p. 125. Po imenu su mi poznata samo dva kliska kapetana: Ibrahim i Alija, i oba su age. Ibrahim-aga se spominje 1596, kada su uskoci na kraće vrijeme zauzeli Klis. U to vrijeme boravio je on u Solinu i kad je čuo da su uskoci ...
  19. ^ umjetnosti, Jugoslavenska akademija znanosti i (1962). Starine. p. 347. Ibrahim se spominje 1596. kad su Uskoci za krace vrijeme zauzeli Klis. U to je vrijeme bio u Solinu i pohitao je, da preotme grad, ali je bio odbijen i povukao se prema Livnu.
  20. ^ a b c d Matica: časopis Hrvatske matice iseljenika. Hrvatska matica iseljenika. 1996. p. 39. I bez mletačke pomoći, splitski plemići Alberti i Cindro s Kaštelanima i uskocima to uspješe na Cvjetnicu, 7. travnja 1596. Turci su se brzo organizirali i višestruko nadmoćnom vojskom držaše u opsadi hrabre uskoke, koji su se morali povući iz utvrde 3 1 . svibnja iste godine. Kliski branitelji ponovno dolaze u Senj, ponijevši sa sobom ključe utvrde. Klis dolazi pod mletačku upravu 1648. kada deset tisuća mletačkih vojnika s generalom Foscolom zauvijek potjeraše Turke iz utvrde, ali je ...
  21. ^ (Tomić 1908, p. 106)
  22. ^ (Klaić 1911, p. 412): "Medjutim nijesu mirovali ni Turci. Oporavivši se od prvoga preneraženja pregnuli su svima silama, da izgubljeni Klis opet osvoje. Prvi je pohitao kliško-hlivanjski sandžak Mustafa Pijalepašić sa 600 ljudi, da opaše tvrdinju. Od 12. do 18. travnja narasla je turska vojska pod Klisom do 2000 momaka, a do 24. travnja došla su još tri bosanska sandžaka sa svojim četama, tako da je čitava podsadna vojska brojila 8000 momaka. "
  23. ^ a b Letopis matice srpske. Novi Sad: Matica srpska. 1901. p. 22.
  24. ^ (Tomić 1908, p. 117): "Одлучнији и окрет- нији, и вични сваком куту у оном крају, излазили су ноћу из града и силазили у Приморје, где су се налазили с пријатељима и преко њих слали на разне стране поруке за помоћ,...
  25. ^ (Tomić 1908, p. 117): "...а 24 априла ускочке војводе : Иван Влатковић, Никола Сугић и Иван Матулић писаше сењском капетану за помоћ. То писмо као и оне друге поруке изнесе из Клиса један од тамошњих. У писму се стање у Клису описивало као очајно. Тамо, вели се, нема хране нити ...
  26. ^ (Krokar 1973, p. 31)
  27. ^ Senjski Zbornik. 1969. p. 358.
  28. ^ (Ćorović 1989, p. 182): "У ово време било је и великог исељавања из средње Далмације. За време борби око Клиса 1596. године и после њих околном становни- штву светили су се и Турци и Млечани. "
  29. ^ Bulletin de géographie. Geografsko društvo Hrvatske. 1962. p. 42.
  30. ^ Istorija srpskog naroda: knj. Od najstarijih vremena do Maričke bitke (1371). Srpska književna zadruga. 1993. p. 307. Ускоци су, ипак, наставили свој крвави посао. Али обруч око њих био је већ стегнут. У првим годинама после узимања и пада Клиса, 1596. 1597. и 1598, није било броја ускочким нападима на Турке, Млечане и Дубровчане.
  31. ^ (zadruga 1993, p. 301)"
  32. ^ Adrias Zavoda za znastveni i umjetnički rad Jugoslavenske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti u Splitu. Zavod. 2004. p. 223. U travnju 1996. na Klisu je održan znanstveni skup u povodu 400-te obljetnice oslobođenja Klisa od turske vlasti u travnju 1596. godine. Priopćenja, pročitana na znanstvenom skupu, objavljena su u ovom zborniku pod naslovom Oslobođenje Klisa godine 1596.