We can say that the first encountering between the Ottomans and the English began with the Battle of Nicopolis, but this encounter cannot be mentioned as a direct contact because of a small English force fighting the Ottomans in Nigbolu. Actually, the exact date of the Ottoman – English relations at the state level was at the beginning of the 1580s and lasted until 1914. During these years, Britain was both friendly and hostile to the Ottoman Empire, therefore; it is understandable that Britain often changed sides.
Commercial and political relations, started in the second half of the sixteenth century, between the Ottomans and the English based on mutual interesets of both countries. The Queen of England who wanted to benefit from the enmity of the Ottomans against the Spanish, Elizabeth approved to set the Ottomans against the Spanish and also she wanted to strengthen the trade of England.
The English Queen Elizabeth ,who got in bad with the Philip, Spanish king, because of the opposition of his beliefs and politics in 1579, managed to obtain Sultan Murad III’s friendship and she tried to become ally of the Ottomans in order to protect the British Isles from any treat. For this purpose, two merchants, Edward Osborne and Richard Staper, were sent to learn the oppurtunities of trading with Ottoman. This process led to correspond between the Queen Elizabeth and Murat III so that Ottoman Empire didn’t refuse the England’s request and helped England by occupying the Spanish ships. Later on, William Harborne was appointed to Istanbul in 1583 as a British ambassador although Ottoman had already sent permanent ambassadors to England much earlier. Untill the death of Elizabeth I, relations was friendly, However, during the time of King James I, relations between the two countries came to a standstill because King James I supported the catholics.