Ottoman Empire

Meanwhile, the Turks, with an estimated fleet of 250 ships and 80,000 men, had taken over the whole island of Cyprus with the fall of Nicosia and in particular, that of Famagusta (August 4, 1571). Baia Ali, commander of Turkish forces, coveted something bigger than just capturing the ports of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Had in mind actually win the European mainland, determined mainly by the Ottoman navy in those days, the world's strongest. To start the offensive, had been collected the entire fleet in the Gulf of Lepanto, off the town of Nafpaktos (misnamed Lepanto), located between the Peloponnese and Epirus in mainland Greece. The Turkish forces gathered a total of 210 galleys, 63 galleys and 92,000 fighters, of which 34,000 were soldiers, 13,000 and 45,000 slaves crews Great master Selim II, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Ali ordered his commander put to sea in search Christians and fight where to find them. Shortly before dawn on October 7, the Christian League met the Turkish fleet anchored in the harbor of Lepanto.

Seeing the Turks to the Christians, strengthened his troops and went in order of battle. The battle line was 2 km away. A Christian naval movements made it difficult by rocks and reefs that stand out from the coast and a strong wind was against him seemed to demoralize them. The Turkish fleet, much larger, despite its size was ease of movement in the wide gulf and greatly favored by the wind. While the two forces facing each other, the struggle was inevitable.