The Battle of Vrpile or Battle of Vrpile Gulch (Croatian: Bitka u klancu Vrpile), also known as the First Battle of Krbava Polje (Croatian: Prva krbavska bitka), was fought between the Kingdom of Croatia and the Ottoman Empire in early September 1491 at the Vrpile pass in central Croatia, near Korenica in Krbava. The Croatian army, led by Ban Ladislav of Egervár and Knez (Prince) Bernardin Frankopan, defeated the Ottomans who were on their way back from a raid into Carniola, to the Sanjak of Bosnia, carrying booty and Christian captives to be sold into slavery.
|Battle of Vrpile|
|Part of the Ottoman wars in Europe|
Hundred Years' Croatian-Ottoman War
|Ottoman Empire||Kingdom of Croatia|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Mihaloğlu Hasan Bey||
Ladislav of Egervár|
Ivan Frankopan Cetinski
Mihovil Frankopan Slunjski
Irregular light cavalry
|Casualties and losses|
With the death of King Matthias Corvinus in 1490 the 7-year truce with Sultan Bayezid II ended and the Ottomans renewed their raids into Croatia and southwestern Hungary. Since the 14th century the Ottomans regularly plundered Croatian and other lands further west. Their light cavalry troops undertook plundering raids, capturing its inhabitants and taking them into slavery. One such raid started in 1491 when Mihaloğlu Hasan Bey from the Sanjak of Bosnia crossed the Una River and led an army consisting of around 10,000 light cavalrymen, known as the Akıncı, across Croatia into lower Carniola. They intended to reach deep into the lands of the Holy Roman Empire, but their advance was stopped by the floods of the Kupa and Krka rivers. They ravaged the countryside near Zagreb, Krško, and Novo Mesto. The Ottomans spent almost a month in Carniola, plundering and taking captives.
After they plundered Carniola, the Ottoman army was returning towards the Sanjak of Bosnia on their traditional route, Vrhovine – Homoljac – Korenica – Vrpile – Krbava field, leading with them a huge number of prisoners. Since the Ottomans had to go through the narrow Vrpile pass, the Croatian leadership decided to make an ambush there. The Croatian army was led by ban of Croatia Ladislav of Egervár, Count Bernardin Frankopan, and Mihovil Frankopan Slunjski. Ivan Frankopan Cetinski also participated in the battle. The Croatians let most of the Ottoman army enter the valley and then closed the passageway, deploying the main part of the army in 4 rows. The Ottoman army was heavily defeated and had around 1,500 killed and 1,500 imprisoned in the battle, while their captives were released. Later historical records mentioned that 18,000 Christian captives were saved.
King Vladislaus II granted Ban Ladislav the town of Steničnjak in Kordun as a reward for the victory and the 120 Ottoman captives sent to the king. This defeat forced the Ottomans to halt their raids and attacks during the following year, 1492. The Ottomans started their campaigns again in 1493 with the election of Hadım Yakup Paşa as the sanjak-bey of the Sanjak of Bosnia. This defeat was the cause of the 1493 raid into Croatia, resulting in the Battle of Krbava Field on 9 September 1493.
- Oreskovich 2019, p. 38.
- Vjekoslav Klaić: Povijest Hrvata od najstarijih vremena do svršetka XIX. stoljeća, Knjiga četvrta, Zagreb, 1988, p. 225
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- Dragutin Pavličević: Krbavska bitka i njezine posljedice, 1997, p. 77
- Anđelko Mijatović: Bitka na Krbavskom polju 1493. godine; Školska knjiga, Zagreb, 2005, p. 146
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- Anđelko Mijatović: Bitka na Krbavskom polju 1493. godine; Školska knjiga, Zagreb, 2005, p.41
- Rudolf Horvat: Povijest Hrvatske I. (od najstarijeg doba do g. 1657.)/Hrvatska god. 1491.—1495.
- Hrvoje Kekez: Bernardin Frankapan i Krbavska bitka: je li spasio sebe i malobrojne ili je pobjegao iz boja?, Modruški zbornik, Vol.3 No.3, 2009, p. 79
- Anđelko Mijatović: Bitka na Krbavskom polju 1493. godine; Školska knjiga, Zagreb, 2005, p. 42
- Oreskovich, J.R. (2019). The History of Lika, Croatia: Land of War and Warriors. Lulu.com. ISBN 978-0-359-86419-5.