On 7 October 1571 The Holy League’s

joint naval squadrons bested the Turkish fleet in the Gulf of Patras near Greece. In the battle the Turks

lost almost all of their nearly 300 ships and most of their sailors. The Holy League included seaman and

soldiers from Spain, Sicily, Naples, Venice and other Italian city-states. The western fleet was

commanded by Don Juan of Austria. This victory at sea enabled the West to keep the Muslim World

from dominating the Mediterranean allowing the West to continue trade and resupply operations. The

famous Spanish author Cervantes lost a hand in this battle. Pope Pius V who had raised money for the

western fleet and who had helped cobble together the coalition which defeated the Turks commerated

7 October as a Catholic feast day.