Battle of Lepanto, naval engagement fought on
October 7, 1571,
in the Gulf of Lepanto (now Gulf of Corinth) between an Ottoman fleet and that of the Holy League, an alliance of Spain, Venice, Genoa, and the Papal States formed by Pope Julius II in 1511. Both sides sustained heavy casualties, but the Holy League won decisively, capturing more than 100 galleys and freeing thousands of Christian slaves. The battle was the first major victory of the Christians against the Ottoman Empire, and as such it was psychologically important. It was of small practical impact, however, for the Ottomans retained supremacy on land and quickly renewed their fleet.