The Siege of Venetian Famagusta, which lasted over a year and ended in Ottoman victory, was a critical loss for the Christian world. The merciless siege and subsequent horrific death of Marco Antonio Bragadin threw the entire Mediterranean into shock and hatred towards the viciousness of the Ottoman Empire.
Thus, on the 25th of May 1571, a league between the Catholic maritime states was arranged by Pope St. Pius V in order to deal with the Ottomans’ control over the Mediterranean. The Holy League’s members were the Papal States, Habsburg, Sicily, Naples, the republics of Venice and Genoa, and the duchies of Savoy, Parma, Urbino, and Tuscany. The Holy League also included the famous Knights Hospitallers of Malta.
The Holy League’s force was under the supreme command of Don Juan de Austria, who was the illegitimate son of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, and the brother of King Philip II of Spain.