In 1565, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent dominated the Mediterranean, with intentions of not only taking Sicily, Sardinia, Majorca, and southern Spain, but Rome itself.
The only thing standing in his way was the small rocky island of Malta just south of Sicily, defended by the Knights of Malta.
In March of 1565, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent sent Algerian Admiral Dragut to Malta with 200 ships and 40,000 Muslim soldiers, including 6,500 elite Janissary troops.
"Unless you have smoked out this nest of vipers, you can do no good anywhere."
Queen Elizabeth I of England is said to have remarked:
"If the Turks should prevail against the Isle of Malta, it is uncertain what further peril might follow to the rest of Christendom."
The Knights of Malta were led by a 70 year old Frenchmen, Jean Parisot de la Valette.
Pleas for reinforcements went out across Europe, but defense seemed futile.
La Valette addressed his men:
"A formidable army composed of audacious barbarians is descending on this island. These persons, my brothers, are the enemies of Jesus Christ..."
La Valette continued:
"Today it is a question of the defense of our faith -- as to whether the Gospels are to be superseded by the Koran. God on this occasion demands of us our lives, already vowed to his service. Happy will be those who first consummate this sacrifice."
attacked again and again, even reducing one of their fortresses to rubble, but the Knights kept fighting, resolved to save Western Civilization.
Finally, Dragut was killed and the Muslims sailed away on SEPTEMBER 11, 1565.
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Another major event was in 1683.
Sultan Mehmed IV sent over 138,000 Muslim Ottoman Turks
to surround Vienna, Austria, led by General Mustafa Pasha.
For two months they had starved the 11,000 Hapsburg-Austrian defenders.
Sultan Mehmed IV sent the message to Austrian King, Leopold I:
"Await us in your residence...so we can decapitate you."
Polish King Jan Sobieski gathered 81,000 Polish, Austrian and German troops and on SEPTEMBER 11, 1683, led a surprise attack.
In one of the largest charges in history, 38,350 cavalry and dragoons, with many wearing wings which made a thunderous sound, caused the Turks to flee in confusion.
Upon entering the abandoned Turkish tents, Sobieski found bags of beans - coffee beans - revealing how Turks could fight day and night.
The beans came from Ethiopia, the one African country which stayed Christian, and the Muslims called them infidels or "kafir," from which the word "coffee" was derived.
The legend is that Pope Clement VIII was petitioned to declare coffee "the drink of the devil" due to its association with Muslims, but the Pontiff tasted it and stated:
"This devil's drink is so good, we should cheat the devil by baptizing it."
Shortly after the victory of Vienna, Polish General Kulczycki opened Vienna's first coffeehouses and coffee quickly spread across Europe.
The Pope and European leaders hailed Jan Sobieski as the "Savior of Western Civilization."
The humiliated Muslim army beheaded General Mustafa Pasha and sent his head back to Sultan Mehmed IV in a velvet bag.
Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953) wrote in The Great Heresies (1938):
"Less than 100 years before the American War of Independence a Mohammedan army was threatening to overrun and destroy Christian civilization...
Vienna was almost taken and only saved by the Christian army under the command of the King of Poland on a date that ought to be among the most famous in history - SEPTEMBER 11, 1683."
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Muslim Ottoman Turks
dominated Belgrade, Serbia, since 1521. In 1691, Austria helped free Belgrade, but Muslim Ottoman Turks recaptured it and razed the city's buildings to the ground.
The Serbian Orthodox Patriarch led thousands to flee to the Austrian Hapsburg Empire in the first "Great Serbian Migration."
Habsburg Prince Eugene of Savoy led the Holy League to counter-attack.
Losing 500 men, they killed 30,000 Turks in one of the Ottoman Empire's worsts defeats in history - the Battle of Zenta, SEPTEMBER 11, 1697.