The Ottoman Empire, also called Osmanic Empire or Osmanian Empire (1299-1922), Late Ottoman and Modern Turkish: Osmanli Devleti or Osmanli Imparatorlugu), was a multi-ethnic and multi-religious Turkish-ruled state.
The state was known as the Turkish Empire or Turkey by its contemporaries; see the other names of the Ottoman State. It was succeeded by the Republic of Turkey, which was officially proclaimed in 1923.
At the height of its power (16th - 17th century), it spanned three continents, controlling much of Southeastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, stretching from the Strait of Gibraltar (and, in 1553, the Atlantic coast of Morocco beyond Gibraltar) in the west to the Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf in the east, from the edge of Austria, Slovakia and parts of Ukraine in the north to Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia and Yemen in the south. The Ottoman Empire contained 29 provinces, in addition to the tributary principalities of Moldavia, Transylvania, and Wallachia.
The empire was at the centre of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for six centuries. The Ottoman Empire was in many respects an Islamic successor to earlier Mediterranean empires namely the Roman and Byzantine empires.
With the demise of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, Turkish Anatolia was divided into a patchwork of independent states, the so-called Ghazi emirates.
By 1300, a weakened Byzantium had seen most of its Anatolian provinces lost among some ten Ghazi principalities.
One of the Ghazi emirates was led by Osman I (from which the name Ottoman is derived), son of Ertugrul in the region of Eskisehir in western Anatolia. According to tradition, as Ertugrul migrated across Asia Minor leading approximately four hundred horsemen, he chanced upon a battle between two armies. Having decided to intervene, he chose the side of the losing army and turned the battle in their favour to secure victory. The troops he supported happened to be those of a Seljuk Sultan who rewarded him with territory in Eskisehir.
Following Ertugrul's death in 1281, Osman became chief, or Bey, and by 1299 declared himself a sovereign ruler from the Seljuk empire.
Osman I extended the frontiers of Ottoman settlement towards the edge of the Byzantine Empire. He moved the Ottoman capital to Bursa, and shaped the early political development of the nation.
Given the nickname "Kara" (Turkish for black) for his courage, Osman I was admired as a strong and dynamic ruler long after his death, as evident in the centuries-old Turkish phrase, "May he be as good as Osman." His reputation has also been burnished by the medieval Turkish story known as "Osman's Dream", a foundation myth in which the young Osman was inspired to conquest by a prescient vision of empire.
This period saw the creation of a formal Ottoman government whose institutions would remain largely unchanged for almost four centuries. The government utilized the legal entity known as the millet, under which religious and ethnic minorities were able to manage their own affairs with substantial independence from central control.
In the century after the death of Osman I, Ottoman rule began to extend over the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans. After defeat in Battle of Plocnik, the Turkish victory at the Battle of Kosovo effectively marked the end of Serbian power in the region, and paved the way for Ottoman expansion into Europe. With the extension of Turkish dominion into the Balkans, the strategic conquest of Constantinople became a crucial objective. The empire controlled nearly all of the former Byzantine lands, the Greeks gained a temporary reprieve when Tamerlane invaded Anatolia in 1402, taking Sultan Bayezid I prisoner.
The capture of Bayezid I threw the Turks into disorder. The state fell into a civil war which lasted from 1402 to 1413, as Bayezid's sons fought over succession. It ended when Mehmet I emerged, and then restored the Ottoman power, after the Interregnum.
His grandson, Mehmet the Conqueror, reorganized the structure of both the state and military, and demonstrated his martial prowess by capturing Constantinople on 29 May 1453, at the age of 21. The city became the new capital of the Ottoman Empire, and Mehmet II assumed the title of Kayser-i Rûm (Roman Emperor). To consolidate this claim, Mehmet II aspired to gain control over the Western capital, Rome, as well; and Ottoman forces occupied parts of the Italian peninsula, starting from Otranto and Apulia on July 28, 1480.
But after Mehmet II's death on May 3, 1481, the campaign on Italy was canceled and the Ottoman forces retreated.
The Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453 cemented the status of the empire as the preeminent power in southeastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean. During this time, the Ottoman Empire entered a long period of conquest and expansion, extending its borders deep into Europe and North Africa. Conquests on land were driven by the discipline and innovation of the Ottoman military; and on the sea, the Ottoman navy established the empire as a great trading power. The state also flourished economically thanks to its control of the major overland trade routes between Europe and Asia.
The Empire prospered under the rule of a line of committed and effective sultans.
Sultan Selim I (1512-1520) dramatically expanded the empire's eastern and southern frontiers by defeating Shah Ismail of the Safavid Persia, in the Battle of Chaldiran.
Selim's successor, Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566), further expanded upon Selim's conquests. After capturing Belgrade in 1521, Suleiman conquered the Kingdom of Hungary and established Ottoman rule in the territory of present-day Hungary and other Central European territories, after his victory in the Battle of Mohács in 1526.
He then laid siege to Vienna in 1529, but failed to take the city after the onset of winter forced his retreat.
During the reign of Suleiman, Transylvania, Wallachia and, intermittently, Moldavia, became tributary principalities of the Ottoman Empire, but never became parts of it. In the east, the Ottomans took Baghdad from the Persians in 1535, gaining control of Mesopotamia and naval access to the Persian Gulf.
Battle of Mohács (1526) and the Ottoman conquest of Hungary.Under Selim and Suleiman, the empire became a dominant naval force, controlling much of the Mediterranean Sea.
The exploits of the Ottoman admiral Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha, who commanded the Turkish navy during Suleiman's reign, led to a number of military victories over Christian navies.
Among these were the conquest of Tunis and Algeria from Spain; the evacuation of Muslims and Jews from Spain to the safety of Ottoman lands (particularly Salonica, Cyprus, and Constantinople) during the Spanish Inquisition; and the capture of Nice from the Holy Roman Empire in 1543.
This last conquest occurred on behalf of France as a joint venture between the forces of the French king Francis I and those of Barbarossa.
France and the Ottoman Empire, united by mutual opposition to Habsburg rule in southern and central Europe, became strong allies during this period. The alliance was economic as well as military, as the sultans granted France the right of trade within the empire without levy of taxation. In fact, the Ottoman Empire was by this time a significant and accepted part of the European political sphere, and entered into a military alliance with France, England and the Netherlands against Habsburg Spain, Italy and Habsburg Austria.
Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha defeated the Holy League of Charles V under the command of Andrea Doria at the Battle of Preveza in 1538.As the 16th century progressed, Ottoman naval superiority was challenged by the growing sea powers of western Europe, particularly Portugal, in the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean and the Spice Islands. With the Ottomans blockading sea-lanes to the East and South, the European powers were driven to find another way to the ancient silk and spice routes, now under Ottoman control. On land, the empire was preoccupied by military campaigns in the Austria and Persia, two widely-separated theaters of war.
The strain of these conflicts on the empire's resources, and the logistics of maintaining lines of supply and communication across such vast distances, ultimately rendered its sea efforts unsustainable and unsuccessful.
The overriding military need for defense on the western and eastern frontiers of the empire eventually made effective long-term engagement on a global scale impossible.
Revolts and revival (1566-1683) in Ottoman Empire History:
Suleiman's death in 1566 marked the beginning of an era of diminishing territorial gains. The rise of western European nations as naval powers and the development of alternative sea routes from Europe to Asia and the New World damaged the Ottoman economy. The effective military and bureaucratic structures of the previous century also came under strain during a protracted period of misrule by weak Sultans. But in spite of these difficulties, the empire remained a major expansionist power until the Battle of Vienna in 1683, which marked the end of Ottoman expansion into Europe. European states initiated efforts at this time to curb Ottoman control of overland trade routes. Western European states began to circumvent the Ottoman trade monopoly by establishing their own naval routes to Asia. Economically, the huge influx of Spanish silver from the New World caused a sharp devaluation of the Ottoman currency and rampant inflation. This had serious negative consequences at all levels of Ottoman society. Sokullu Mehmet Pasha, who was the grand vizier of Selim II, created the projects of Suez Channel and Don-Volga Channel to save the economy but these were cancelled as well. In southern Europe, a coalition of Catholic powers, led by Philip II of Spain, formed an alliance to diminish Ottoman naval strength in the Mediterranean Sea. Their victory over the Ottomans at the naval Battle of Lepanto (1571) hastened the end of the empire's primacy in the Mediterranean. In fact, Lepanto was considered by some earlier historians to signal the beginning of Ottoman decline. By the end of the 16th century, the golden era of sweeping conquest and territorial expansion was over. Nevertheless, within six months of the defeat a new Ottoman fleet of some 250 sail including eight modern galleasses had been built, with the harbours of Constantinople turning out a new ship every day at the height of the construction. In any case Lepanto was a mere "revenge attack" since Cyprus had been taken from the Venetians before the two navies engaged in 1571. In discussing with a Venentian minister, the Turkish Grand Vizier commented "In capturing Cyprus from you we have cut off one of your arms; in defeating our fleet you have merely shaved off our beard". The Sultan himself said, "the infidel has only singed my beard. It will grow again." Second Siege of Vienna in 1683.The Habsburg frontier in particular became a more or less permanent border until the 19th century, marked only by relatively minor battles concentrating on the possession of individual fortresses. This stalemate was partly a reflection of simple geographical limits: in the pre-mechanized age, Vienna marked the furthest point that an Ottoman army could march from Istanbul during the early-spring to late-autumn campaigning season. It also reflected the difficulties imposed on the empire by the need to maintain two separate fronts: one against the Austrians, and the other against a rival Islamic state, the Safavids of Persia. On the battlefield, the Ottomans gradually fell behind the Europeans in military technology as the innovation which fed the empire's forceful expansion became stifled by growing religious and intellectual conservatism. Changes in European military tactics caused the once-feared Sipahi cavalry to lose military relevance. Discipline and unit cohesion in the army also became a problem because of relaxations in recruitment policy and the growth of the Janissary corps at the expense of other military units. Mura IV (1612-1640), who recaptured Yerevan (1635) and Baghdad (1639) from the Safavids, is the only example in this era of a sultan who exercised strong political and military control of the empire. Notably, Murad IV was the last Ottoman emperor who led his forces from the front. The Jelali revolts (1519-1610) and Janissary revolts (1622) caused widespread lawlessness and rebellion in Anatolia in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, and toppled several governments. However, the 17th century was not simply an era of stagnation and decline, but also a key period in which the Ottoman state and its structures began to adapt to new pressures and new realities, internal and external. The Sultanate of women (1530s-1660s) was a period in which the political impact of the Imperial Harem was unchallenged, as the mothers of young sultans exercised power on behalf of their sons. Hürrem Sultan, who established herself in the early 1530s as the successor of Nurbanu, the first Valide Sultan, was described by the Venetian Baylo Andrea Giritti as 'a woman of the utmost goodness, courage and wisdom' despite the fact that she 'thwarted some while rewarding others'. The last prominent women of this period were Kösem Sultan and her daughter-in-law Turhan Hatice, whose political rivalry culminated in Kösem's murder in 1651. This period gave way to the Köprülü Era (1656-1703), during which the Empire was controlled first by the powerful members of the Imperial Harem, and later by a sequence of Grand Viziers. The relative ineffectiveness of the successive sultans and the diffusion of power to lower levels of the government have characterized the Köprülü Era.
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Stagnation and reform (1699-1827) in Ottoman Empire History:
During the stagnation period much territory in the Balkans was ceded to Austria. Certain areas of the empire, such as Egypt and Algeria, became independent in all but name, and subsequently came under the influence of Britain and France. The 18th century saw centralized authority giving way to varying degrees of provincial autonomy enjoyed by local governors and leaders. A series of wars were fought between the Russian and Ottoman empires from the 17th to the 19th century. The long period of Ottoman stagnation is typically characterized by historians as an era of failed reforms. In the latter part of this period there were educational and technological reforms, including the establishment of higher education institutions such as Istanbul Technical University; Ottoman science and technology had been highly regarded in medieval times, as a result of Ottoman scholars' synthesis of classical learning with Islamic philosophy and mathematics, and knowledge of such Chinese advances in technology as gunpowder and the magnetic compass. By this period though the influences had become regressive and conservative. The guilds of writers denounced the printing press as "the Devil's Invention", and were responsible for a 43-year lag between its invention by Johannes Gutenberg in Europe in 1450 and its introduction to the Ottoman society with the Gutenberg press in Istanbul that was established by the Sephardic Jews of Spain in 1493. Sephardic Jews migrated to the Ottoman Empire as they escaped from the Spanish Inquisition of 1492. The Tulip Era (or Lâle Devri in Turkish), named for Sultan Ahmed III's love of the tulip flower and its use to symbolize his peaceful reign, the empire's policy towards Europe underwent a shift. The region was peaceful between 1718 and 1730, after the Ottoman victory against Russia in the Pruth Campaign in 1712 and the subsequent Treaty of Passarowitz brought a period of pause in warfare. The empire began to improve the fortifications of cities bordering the Balkans to act as a defense against European expansionism. Other tentative reforms were also enacted: taxes were lowered; there were attempts to improve the image of the Ottoman state; and the first instances of private investment and entrepreneurship occurred. Ottoman military reform efforts begin with Selim III (1789-1807) who made the first major attempts to modernize the army along European lines. These efforts, however, were hampered by reactionist movements, partly from the religious leadership, but primarily from the Janissary corps, who had become anarchic and ineffectual. Jealous of their privileges and firmly opposed to change created a Janissary revolt. Selim's efforts cost him his throne and his life, but were resolved in spectacular and bloody fashion by his successor, the dynamic Mahmud II, who massacred the Janissary corps in 1826.
Decline and modernization (1828-1908) in Ottoman Empire History:
Russian Empire preparing to let slip the Balkan "Dogs of War" to attack the Ottoman Empire, while policeman John Bull (Britain) warns Russia to take care. Supported by Russia, Serbia and Montenegro would declare war on the Ottoman Empire one day later.The period of Ottoman decline (loss of huge territories) is typically characterized by historians also as an era of modern times. The empire lost territory on all fronts, and there was administrative instability because of the breakdown of centralized government, despite efforts of reform and reorganization such as the Tanzimat. The rise of nationalism swept through many countries during the 19th century, and the Ottoman Empire was not immune. A burgeoning national consciousness, together with a growing sense of ethnic nationalism, made nationalistic thought one of the most significant Western ideas imported to the Ottoman empire, as it was forced to deal with nationalism-related issues both within and beyond its borders. There was a significant increase in the number of revolutionary political parties. Uprisings in Ottoman territory had many far-reaching consequences during the 19th century and determined much of Ottoman policy during the early 20th century. Many Ottoman Turks questioned whether the policies of the state were to blame: some felt that the sources of ethnic conflict were external, and unrelated to issues of governance. While this era was not without some successes, the ability of the Ottoman state to have any effect on ethnic uprisings was seriously called into question. Greece declared its independence from the Empire in 1829 after the end of the Greek War of Independence. Reforms did not halt the rise of nationalism in the Danubian Principalities and Serbia, which had been semi-independent for almost 6 decades; in 1875 Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Wallachia and Moldova declared their independence from the Empire; and following the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, independence was formally granted to Serbia, Romania and Montenegro, and autonomy to Bulgaria, with the other Balkan territories remaining under Ottoman control. Mahmud II started the modernization of Turkey by preparing the Edict of Tanzimat in 1839 which had immediate effects such as European style clothing, European agricultural innovations, western weapons, architecture, legislation, institutional organization and land reformDuring the Tanzimat period (from Arabic Tanzîmât, meaning "reorganization") (1839-1876), a series of constitutional reforms led to a fairly modern conscripted army, banking system reforms, and the replacement of guilds with modern factories. In 1856, the Hatt-i Hümayun promised equality for all Ottoman citizens irrespective of their ethnicity and confession, widening the scope of the 1839 Hatt-i Serif of Gülhane. The Christian millets gained privileges; such as in 1863 the Armenian National Constitution (Ottoman Turkish:"Nizâmnâme-i Millet-i Ermeniyân") was Divan approved form of the "Code of Regulations" composed of 150 articles drafted by the "Armenian intelligentsia", and newly formed "Armenian National Assembly". The reformist period peaked with the Constitution, called the Kanûn-i Esâsî (meaning "Basic Law" in Ottoman Turkish), written by members of the Young Ottomans, which was promulgated on 23 November 1876. It established freedom of belief and equality of all citizens before the law. The empire's First Constitutional era (or Birinci Mesrûtiyet Devri in Turkish), was short-lived; however, the idea behind it (Ottomanism), proved influential as a wide-ranging group of reformers known as the Young Ottomans, primarily educated in Western universities, believed that a constitutional monarchy would provide an answer to the empire's growing social unrest. Through a military coup in 1876, they forced Sultan Abdülaziz (1861-1876) to abdicate in favour of Murad V. However, Murad V was mentally ill, and was deposed within a few months. His heir-apparent Abdülhamid II (1876-1909) was invited to assume power on the condition that he would accept to declare a constitutional monarchy, which he did on 23 November 1876. However, the parliament survived for only two years. The sultan suspended, not abolished, the parliament until he was forced to reconvene it. The effectiveness of Kanûn-i Esâsî was then largely minimized. During this time, the Empire faced challenges in defending itself against foreign invasion and occupation. Egypt was occupied by the French in 1798. Following defeat in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, Cyprus was loaned to the British in 1878 in exchange for Britain's favors at the Congress of Berlin. The empire ceased to enter conflicts on its own and began to forge alliances with European countries such as France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Russia. As an example, in the Crimean War the Ottomans united with the British, French, and others against Russia. Econonically, the empire had difficulty in repaying the Ottoman public debt to European banks, which caused the establishment of The Council of Administration of the Ottoman Public Debt. Despite the empire's label as the "Sick man of Europe", the empire's actual weakness did not reside in its developing economy, but the cultural gap which separated it from the European powers. The empire's troubled socioeconomics during the Ottoman reformation era were, in fact, the result of an inability to deal with the new problems created by the conflict between external imperialism and rising internal nationalism.
Dissolution (1908-1922) in Ottoman Empire History:
The Second Constitutional Era (or Ikinci Mesrûtiyet Devri in Turkish) marks the period of the Ottoman Empire's final dissolution. This era is dominated by the politics of the Committee of Union and Progress (or Ittihâd ve Terakkî Cemiyeti in Turkish), and the movement that would become known as the "Young Turks" (or Jön Türkler in Turkish). The Young Turk Revolution began on 3 July 1908 and quickly spread throughout the empire, resulting in the sultan's announcement of the restoration of the 1876 constitution and the reconvening of parliament. The constitutional era had a lapse between Countercoup (1909) and counter-revolution 31 March Incident that ended with the sultan Abdulhamid II deposed and sent to exile in Selanik, and replaced by his brother Mehmed V Resad. Profiting from the civil strife within the Ottoman Empire during the Young Turk Revolution, Austria-Hungary officially annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908, having occupied it following the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878) and the Congress of Berlin (1878). Bosnia and Herzegovina was still de jure Ottoman territory until 1908. During the Italo-Turkish War, the Balkan League, which was composed of Serbia, Montenegro, Greece and Bulgaria, declared war against the Ottoman Empire, which lost most of its Balkan territories during the Balkan Wars (1912-1913). The wars in Libya and the Balkan peninsula posed the first major tests for the Committee of Union and Progress. However, Libya was lost following the Italo-Turkish War, which was also the first war in history where airplanes were used on the battlefield. The new Balkan states which were formed at the end of the 19th century sought additional territories from the Ottoman provinces of Albania, Macedonia, and Thrace, on the grounds of ethnic nationalism. Initially, with Russia acting as an intermediary, agreements were concluded between Serbia and Bulgaria in March 1912, and between Greece and Bulgaria in May 1912. Montenegro subsequently concluded agreements between Serbia and Bulgaria in October 1912. The Serbian-Bulgarian agreement specifically called for the partition of Macedonia, which was the chief casus belli of the First Balkan War. The main causes of the Second Balkan War were the disputes between the former Balkan allies over their newly gained territories; this then gave the Ottomans an opportunity to regain lost territories in Thrace. The political repercussions of the Balkan Wars led to the coup of 1913, and the subsequent rule of the Three Pashas.
World War I in Ottoman Empire History:
The Baghdad Railway under German control became a source of international tension and played a role in the origins of World War I. The Ottoman Empire took part in the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I, under the terms of the Ottoman-German Alliance. The Ottomans won several important victories in the early years of the war, such as the Battle of Gallipoli and the Siege of Kut; but there were setbacks as well, such as the disastrous Caucasus Campaign against the Russians. The Russian Revolution of 1917 gave the Ottomans the opportunity to regain lost ground and Ottoman forces took Azerbaijan in the final stages of the war, but the Empire was forced to cede these gains at the end of World War I. A significant event in this conflict was the creation of an Armenian resistance movement in the province of Van, in response to large scale deportations of Armenians, in which many hundreds of thousands perished, by Turkish Deportation Officials, Ottoman Soldiers, and Kurdish warlords. The core Armenian resistance group formed an independent provisional government in May 1915, prompting the Ottoman government to accuse the Armenians of being in collaboration with the invading Russian forces in eastern Anatolia against their native state because of the Armenian volunteer units in the Russian Army. At the end of 1917 the Armenian Revolutionary Federation formed the Democratic Republic of Armenia, consisting mostly of refugees of the Armenian Genocide. The eventual Ottoman defeat came from a combination of coordinated attacks on strategic targets by British forces commanded by Edmund Allenby and the Arab Revolt of 1916-18. Given the fact that Turkish peasantry of Anatolia dropped to 40% of the pre-war levels, regardless of the method used in calculations, the Ottoman Empire's casualties during this time were significant. The Arab Revolt was a major cause of Ottoman Empire's defeat. The campaigns of the Arab Revolt started with the Battle of Makkah by Sherif Hussain of Mecca with the help of Britain in June 1916 and ended with the Ottoman surrender of Damascus. Fakhri Pasha the Ottoman commander of Medina showed stubborn resistance during more than two and half years long Siege of Medina. Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire happened in the aftermath of World War I. The empire was forced to submit to a complete partition. The process began with the signing of the Armistice of Mudros on 30 October 1918, followed 13 days later with the occupation of Istanbul; under the shadow of Turkish Courts-Martial of 1919-20 and the Malta exiles followed by the subsequent Treaty of Sèvres. Partition of its Middle Eastern territories under the mandates of Britain and France, cede the Turkish Mediterranean coast to Italy, the Turkish Aegean coast to Greece, cede the Turkish Straits and Sea of Marmara to the Allied powers as an international zone, and recognize the Wilsonian Armenia, an extension of Democratic Republic of Armenia in eastern Anatolia (the historic homeland of Armenians but which at the time was mostly inhabited by Turks and Kurds). Britain obtained virtually everything it had sought under the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement it had made with France in 1916 for the partitioning of the Middle East. The other powers of the Triple Entente, however, soon became entangled in the Turkish War of Independence. Occupation of Istanbul along with the occupation of Izmir mobilized the establishment of the Turkish national movement, and led to the Turkish War of Independence and the foundation of the Republic of Turkey. The Turkish national movement, under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) resulted in the creation of the Grand National Assembly in Ankara on 23 April 1920, which refused to recognize the Ottoman government in Istanbul and the invading forces in Turkey. Turkish revolutionaries raised a "people's army" and expelled the invading Greek, Italian and French forces. They reclaimed the Turkish provinces which were given to the Republic of Armenia with the Treaty of Sèvres, and threatened the British forces controlling the Straits. Turkish revolutionaries eventually reclaimed the Straits and Istanbul, and abolished the Ottoman sultanate on 1 November 1922. The last sultan, Mehmed VI Vahdettin (1861-1926), left the country on 17 November 1922, and the Republic of Turkey was officially declared with the Treaty of Lausanne on 24 July 1923. The Caliphate was constitutionally abolished several months later, on 3 March 1924. the Sultan and his family were declared persona non grata of Turkey and exiled. Fifty years later, in 1974, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey granted descendants of the former dynasty the right to acquire Turkish citizenship. See also: Ertugrul Osman V. The new countries created from the remnants of the empire currently number 40 (including the disputed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus). The fall of the Ottoman Empire can be attributed to the failure of its economic structure; the size of the empire created difficulties in economically integrating its diverse regions. Also, the empire's communication technology was not developed enough to reach all territories. In many ways, the circumstances surrounding the Ottoman Empire's fall closely paralleled those surrounding the fall of the Roman Empire, particularly in terms of the ongoing tensions between the empire's different ethnic groups, and the various governments' inability to deal with these tensions. In the case of the Ottomans, the introduction of a parliamentary system during the Tanzimat proved too late to reverse the trends that had been set in motion.
Economy in Ottoman Empire History:
Ottoman government deliberately pursued a policy for the development of Bursa, Edirne (Adrianople) and Istanbul, successive Ottoman capitals, into major commercial and industrial centres, considering that merchants and artisans were indispensable in creating a new metropolis. To this end, Mehmed and his successor Bayezid, also encouraged and welcomed migration of the Jews from different parts of Europe, who were settled in Istanbul and other port cities like Salonica. In many places in Europe, Jews were suffering persecution at the hands of their Christian counterparts. The tolerance displayed by the Ottomans was welcomed by the immigrants. The Ottoman economic mind was closely related to the basic concepts of state and society in the Middle East in which the ultimate goal of a state was consolidation and extension of the ruler's power, and the way to reach it was to get rich resources of revenues by making the productive classes prosperous. The ultimate aim was to increase the state revenues as much as possible without damaging the prosperity of subjects to prevent the emergence of social disorder and to keep the traditional organization of the society intact. The organization of the treasury and chancery were developed under the Ottoman Empire more than any other Islamic government and, until the 17th century, they were the leading organization among all of their contemporaries. This organization developed a new group of people (scribial "man of the pen"), partly highly trained ulema which developed a financial professional body. The effectiveness of this financial professional body behind the success of many great Ottoman statesmen. The economic structure of the Empire was defined by its geopolitical structure. The Ottoman Empire stood between the West and the East, thus blocking the land route eastward and forcing Spanish and Portuguese navigators to set sail in search of a new route to the Orient. The empire controlled the spice route that Marco Polo once used. When Christopher Columbus first journeyed to the Bahamas in 1492, the Ottoman Empire was at its zenith, an economic power which extended over three continents. Modern Ottoman studies think that the change in relations between the Ottomans and central Europe was caused by the opening of the new sea routes. It is possible to see the decline in the significance of the land routes to the East as Western Europe opened the ocean routes that bypassed the Middle East and Mediterranean as parallel to the decline of the Ottoman Empire itself. By developing commercial centres and routes, encouraging people to extend the area of cultivated land in the country and international trade through its dominions, the state performed basic economic functions in the empire. But in all this the financial and political interests of the state were prevalent and the Ottoman administrators could not have realized, within the social and political system they were living in, the dynamics and principles of the capitalist economy of the Modern Age.
State in Ottoman Empire History:
The state organisation of the Ottoman Empire was a very complex system that had two main dimensions: the military administration and the civic administration. Sultan was the highest position in the system. The civic system was based on local administrative units based on the regions characteristics. The Ottomans practiced a system in which the state had control over the clergy, like the Byzantine. Certain pre-Islamic Turkish traditions that had survived the adoption of administrative and legal practices from Islamic Iran remained important in Ottoman administrative circles. According to Ottoman understanding, the state's primary responsibility was to defend and extend the land of the Muslims and to ensure security and harmony within its borders within the overarching context of orthodox Islamic practice and dynastic sovereignty. The "Ottoman dynasty" or, as an institution, "House of Osman" was unprecedented and unequaled in the Islamic world for its size and duration. The Ottoman dynasty was ethnically Turkish in its origins, as were some of its supporters and subjects, however the dynasty immediately lost this "Turkic" identification through intermarriage with many different ethnicities. On eleven occasions, the sultan was deposed because he was perceived by his enemies as a threat to the state. There were only two attempts in the whole of Ottoman history to unseat the ruling Osmanli dynasty, both failures, which is suggestive of a political system which for an extended period was able to manage its revolutions without unnecessary instability. After the dissolution of the empire, the new republic abolished the Caliphate and Sultanate and declared the Ottoman Dynasty as persona non grata of Turkey. Fifty years later, in 1974, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey granted descendants of the former dynasty the right to acquire Turkish citizenship. The highest position in Islam, caliphate, was claimed by the sultan which was established as Ottoman Caliphate. The Ottoman sultan, pâdisâh or "lord of kings", served as the empire's sole regent and was considered to be the embodiment of its government, though he did not always exercise complete control. The Imperial Harem was one of the most important powers of the Ottoman court. It was ruled by the Valide Sultan. On occasion, the Valide Sultan would become involved in state politics. For a period of time the women of the Harem effectively controlled the state in what was termed the "Sultanate of Women". New sultans were always chosen from among the sons of the previous sultan. The strong educational system of the palace school geared towards eliminating the unfit potential heirs, and establishing support amongst the ruling elite for a successor. The palace schools, which would also educate the future administrators of the state, were not a single track. First, the Madrasa (Ottoman Turkish: Medrese) was designated for the Muslims, and educated scholars and state officials in accordance with Islamic tradition. The financial burden of the Medrese was supported by vakifs, allowing children of poor families to move to higher social levels and income. The second track was a free boarding school for the Christians, the Enderûn, which recruited 3,000 students annually from Christian boys between eight and twenty years old from one in forty families among the communities settled in Rumelia and/or the Balkans, a process known as Devshirmeh (Devsirme). Though the sultan was the supreme monarch, the sultan's political and executive authority was delegated. The politics of the state had a number of advisors and ministers gathered around a council known as Divan (after the 17th century its name become Porte). The Divan, in the years when the Ottoman state was still a Beylik, was composed of the elders of the tribe. Its composition was later modified to include military officers and local elites (such as religious and political advisors). Later still, beginning in 1320, a Grand Vizier was appointed in order to assume certain of the sultan's responsibilities. The Grand Vizier had considerable independence from the sultan with almost unlimited powers of appointment, dismissal and supervision. Beginning with the late 16th century, sultans became withdrawn from politics and the Grand Vizier became the de facto head of state. Throughout Ottoman history, there were many instances in which local governors acted independently, and even in opposition to the ruler. After the Young Turk Revolution of 1908, the Ottoman state became a constitutional monarchy. The sultan no longer had executive powers. A parliament was formed, with representatives chosen from the provinces. The representatives formed the Imperial Government of the Ottoman Empire. The rapidly expanding empire utilized loyal, skilled subjects to manage the empire, whether Albanians, Phanariot Greeks, Armenians, Serbs, Bosniaks, Hungarians or others. The incorporation of Greeks (and other Christians), Muslims, and Jews revolutionized its administrative system. This eclectic administration was apparent even in the diplomatic correspondence of the empire, which was initially undertaken in the Greek language to the west. The Tughra were calligraphic monograms, or signatures, of the Ottoman Sultans, of which there were 35. Carved on the Sultan's seal, they bore the names of the Sultan and his father. The prayer/statement, ever victorious, was also present in most. The earliest belonged to Orhan Gazi. The ornately stylized Tughra spawned a branch of Ottoman-Turkish calligraphy.
Society in Ottoman Empire History:
One of the successes of the social structure of the Ottoman Empire was the unity that it brought about among its highly varied populations through an organization named as millets. The Millets were the major religious groups were allowed to establish their own communities under Ottoman rule. The Millets were established by retaining their own religious laws, traditions, and language under the general protection of the sultan. Plurality was the key to the longevity of the Empire. As early as the reign of Mehmed II, extensive rights were granted to Phanariot Greeks, and Jews were invited to settle in Ottoman territory. Ultimately, the Ottoman Empire's relatively high degree of tolerance for ethnic differences proved to be one of its greatest strengths in integrating the new regions but this non-assimilative policy became a weakness after the rise of nationalism. The dissolution of the empire based on ethnic differentiation (balkanization) brought the final end which the failed Ottomanism among the citizens and participatory politics of the first or the constitutional Era had successfully addressed. Lifestyle of the Ottoman Empire was a mixture of western and eastern life. One unique characteristic of Ottoman life style was it was very fragmented. The millet concept generated this fragmentation and enabled many to coexist in a mosaic of cultures. The Capital of the Ottoman Empire, Constantinople also had a unique culture, mainly because it laid on two continents. The life style in the Ottoman court in many aspects assembled ancient traditions of the Persian Shahs, but had many Greek and European influences. The culture that evolved around the Ottoman court was known as the Ottoman Way, which was epitomized with the Topkapi Palace. There were also large metropolitan centers where the Ottoman influence expressed itself with a diversity similar to metropolises of today: Sarajevo, Skopje, Thessaloniki, Dimashq, Baghdad, Beirut, Jerusalem, Makkah and Algiers with their own small versions of Ottoman Provincial Administration replicating the culture of the Ottoman court locally. The seraglio, which were the non imperial places, in the context of the Turkish fashion, became the subject of works of art, where non imperial prince or referring to other grand houses built around courtyards. The slavery in the Ottoman Empire was a part of Ottoman society. As late as 1908 women slaves were still sold in the Empire. During the 19th century the Empire came under pressure from Western European countries to outlaw the practice. Policies developed by various Sultans throughout the 19th century attempted to curtail the slave trade but, since slavery did have centuries of religious backing and sanction, could never directly abolish the institution outright as had gradually happened in Western Europe and the Americas.
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