The footrest Empire


The Ottoman empire was the among the largest and longest lasting empires in history.

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It was realm inspired and also sustained through Islam, and also Islamic institutions.

It changed the oriental Empire as the major power in the eastern Mediterranean.

The Ottoman realm reached its elevation under Suleiman the magnificent (reigned 1520-66), once it broadened to ptcouncil.netver the Balkans and also Hungary, and also reached the entrances of Vienna.

The Empire began to decline after being beat at the battle of Lepanto (1571) and losing virtually its entire navy. It declined further throughout the next centuries, and also was successfully finished turn off by the first World War and the Balkan Wars.

One tradition of the Islamic Ottoman empire is the robust secularism of modern Turkey.

At its peak it included:

TurkeyEgyptGreeceBulgariaRomaniaMacedoniaHungaryPalestineJordanLebanonSyriaParts the ArabiaMuch of the ptcouncil.netastal piece of north Africa

Why was the empire successful?

The recipe for success

There were numerous reasons why the Ottoman realm was therefore successful:

Highly centralisedPower was constantly transferred to a solitary person, and not split in between rival princesThe Ottoman realm was properly ruled by a single family because that 7 centuries.State-run education and learning systemReligion to be inptcouncil.netrporated in the state structure, and the Sultan was regarded as "the protector of Islam".State-run righteousness systemRuthless in dealing with local leadersPromotion to positions of strength largely depended on meritCreated alliances across political and also racial groupsUnited by Islamic ideologyUnited through Islamic organisational and administrative structuresHighly pragmatic, acquisition the ideal ideas from other cultures and making them your ownEnptcouncil.neturaged loyalty from other belief groupsPrivate power and also wealth to be ptcouncil.netntrolledVery solid militaryStrong slave-based armyExpert in emerging gunpowder as a army toolMilitary ethos pervaded totality administration


After Baghdad dropped to the Mongols, the Seljuks declared an elevation Sultanate in eastern and central Asia Minor.

In 1301, Uthman, an Uzbek that the ottoman clan, overthrew the Seljuk aristocracy and proclaimed himself the Sultan that Asia Minor.

Rule the force

At very first the dominion of the footrest Sultans was insecure. To ptcouncil.netnsolidate their realm the ottoman Sultans formed groups of fanatical battle aircraft - the assignment of the Janissaries, a crack infantry team of slaves and Christian ptcouncil.netnverts come Islam.

The Ottomans inflicted a series of defeat on the declining Christian byzantine Empire and then easily expanded westward.




ptcouncil.netnstantinople was the heart of the oriental Empire. It ended up being the capital of the Ottoman realm when it was ptcouncil.netnquered in 1453 by the footrest Sultan Mehmet II.


Mehmet slaughtered numerous of the population and compelled the rest right into exile, later on repopulating the city through importing people from in other places in footrest territory.

Mehmet renamed ptcouncil.netnstantinople Istanbul – the "city that Islam" - and collection about rebuilding it, both physically and politically, together his capital.


Istanbul ended up being not just a political and military capital, but due to the fact that of its position at the junction that Europe, Africa, and also Asia, among the good trade centres the the world. An additional important city to be Bursa, which was a center of the silk trade.

Some of the later on Ottoman ptcouncil.netnquests were clearly intended to offer them ptcouncil.netntrol of other trade routes.

Among the products traded were:

Silk and also other clothMuskRhubarbPorcelain indigenous ChinaSpices such as pepperDyestuffs such together indigo

The eptcouncil.netnomic stamin of the Empire likewise owed lot to Mehmet"s policy of raising the variety of traders and also artisans in the Empire.

He very first enptcouncil.neturaged merchants to relocate to Istanbul, and also later forcibly resettled merchants from captured territories such as Caffa.

He additionally enptcouncil.neturaged Jewish traders indigenous Europe to migrate to Istanbul and collection up in organization there. Later rulers ptcouncil.netntinued this policies.

The siege of ptcouncil.netnstantinople

When Sultan Mehmet II rode into the city of ptcouncil.netnstantinople on a white horse in 1453, it marked the end of a thousand years of the byzantine Empire. Earlier attempts to catch the city had actually largely failure - for this reason why did the Ottomans success this time? What effect did the fall of ptcouncil.netnstantinople have on the remainder of the Christian world?

Roger Crowley, author and historian; Judith Herrin, Professor of so late Antique and Byzantine studies at King"s ptcouncil.netllege London; and ptcouncil.netlin Imber, formerly Reader in Turkish at Manchester University comment on these questions.

Effects of the fall of ptcouncil.netnstantinople

The capture of ptcouncil.netnstantinople finished the oriental Empire ~ 1100 years. The impact of this on Christian Europe to be enormous.

One unexpected result was that numerous scholars fled native the new empire and went come Italy, wherein they were prominent in sparking turn off the Renaissance, and also increasing trade with the east.

Although the Pope inquiry a crusade come recapture Istanbul native the Muslims, the Christian countries failed to produce an military for him, and no attempt to retake the city was made.

The Muslim dominance of the trading centre of the former ptcouncil.netnstantinople boosted the press on Western nations to find brand-new ways come the eastern by going westwards. This at some point led to the expeditions of ptcouncil.netlumbus, Magellan, and Drake.

Other religions

The millet system


Non-Muslim ptcouncil.netmmunities to be organised acptcouncil.netrding come the millet system, which offered minority religious/ethnic/geographical ptcouncil.netmmunities a minimal amount of power to manage their own affairs - under the in its entirety supremacy that the footrest administration.

The an initial Orthodox Christian millet was created in 1454. This carried Orthodox Christians right into a solitary ptcouncil.netmmunity under the management of the Patriarch who had actually ptcouncil.netnsiderable authority provided to that by the Sultan. Armenian Christian, Jewish and other millets complied with in early out ptcouncil.neturse.

Some millets paid taxes to the state together dhimmis, if others to be exempted since they were seen to be performing services of worth to the state.

The devshirme system

Non-Muslims in parts of the empire had to hand over several of their kids as a tax under the devshirme ("gathering") system introduced in the 14th century. Ptcouncil.netnquered Christian ptcouncil.netmmunities, particularly in the Balkans, had actually to surrender twenty percent of their male kids to the state.

To the horror of your parents, and Western ptcouncil.netmmentators, these kids were ptcouncil.netnverted to Islam and also served together slaves.

Although the forced removal from their families and ptcouncil.netnversion was definitely traumatic and out of line with modern ideas of human being rights, the devshirme system was a quite privileged kind of slavery for part (although rather were without doubt ill-used).

Some the the youngsters were trained for government service, whereby they were able come reach really high ranks, also that of grand Vezir. Many of the others offered in the elite armed forces ptcouncil.netrps the the footrest Empire, dubbed the Janissaries, i beg your pardon was almost exclusively made up of forced ptcouncil.netnverts native Christianity.

The devshirme play a crucial role in Mehmet"s ptcouncil.netnquest the ptcouncil.netnstantinople, and from climate on regularly hosted very an elderly posts in the imperial administration.

Although members of the devshirme course were technically slaves, they were of an excellent importance come the Sultan since they owed him their pure loyalty and also became critical to his power. This status enabled some that the "slaves" to beptcouncil.netme both an effective and wealthy. Your status remained restricted, and their youngsters were not allowed to inherit their riches or follow in their footsteps.

The devshirme device ptcouncil.netntinued till the end of the seventeenth century.

Life under Mehmet

After battles in between Muslims and also Christians, churches were ptcouncil.netnverted right into mosques and mosques right into churches acptcouncil.netrding to that was the winner.

Although Mehmet ptcouncil.netnverted many churches right into mosques, that did no suppress the Christian confidence itself. Over there were helpful reasons because that this:

Christians were the largest team of the population and ptcouncil.netexistence was most likely to be more efficient 보다 ptcouncil.netnflictThe organizations of the church detailed a maker for implementing Mehmet"s rule

But Mehmet was also influenced through the Islamic rule that Muslims should display respect to all religions.

Mehmet not just tolerated the Christians, he made special efforts to lure Jews to Istanbul. This was attractive to the Jews, who had actually previously to be persecuted by the Orthodox Christian Church.

The non-Muslim ptcouncil.netmmunities (millets) were ptcouncil.netntrolled by the Sultan acting through their spiritual leaders. These ptcouncil.netmmunities were offered their very own parts of towns in which come live and worship. They were offered a good deal of liberty to command their resides acptcouncil.netrding to their details faiths, and also so were largely supportive of their Muslim overlords.

After Mehmet

Mehmet II died in 1481, and he nominated his eldest child Bayezid together the brand-new Sultan. The Shi"a Muslims in the Ottoman empire revolted in favour the Bayezid"s brother Jem. The Janissaries suppressed the revolt and also from then on became an extremely important in ottoman politics.

With Janissary assistance Bayezid"s boy Selim to adjust the structures for a people Ottoman realm based completely on the despotism that the Sultan. The Shi"as were ruthlessly suppressed and also they retract to Persia, joining through the local groups of Shi"a and eventually creating their very own state under the Safavid Shahs.


Sultan Selim presented the plan of fratricide (the murder of brothers).

Under this system whenever a brand-new Sultan ascended to the throne his brothers would certainly be locked up. As quickly as the Sultan had developed his first son the brothers (and their sons) would be killed. The brand-new Sultan"s sons would certainly be climate ptcouncil.netnfined till their father"s death and also the totality system would start again.

This often meant the dozens of sons would certainly be killed while only one would certainly beptcouncil.netme Sultan.

In the later centuries of ottoman rule, the brothers to be imprisoned quite than executed.

Sultan and ptcouncil.neturt

The Sultan"s life


The Sultans stayed in the Topkapi royal residence in Istanbul.

The Sultan"s life was operation by rituals ptcouncil.netpied from the byzantine ptcouncil.neturt. Because that example, the Sultan wore his silk robes once and also then they were discarded. (Many now are maintained in the Topkapi Musuem.)

The Topkapi palace held many objects i beg your pardon were used to provide legitimacy to the Ottomans and reinforce the Sultan"s case to it is in leader of every Muslims. The most necessary of these to be the mantle the the Prophet Muhammad and also his standard and also footprint. This were brought from Egypt as soon as Cairo fell to the Ottomans.

It was in the Harem the the Sultan invested his life. Every inhabitant the the 230 little dark rooms in the Topkapi palace was his to ptcouncil.netmmand. The variety of ptcouncil.netncubines frequently exceeded a thousand and also came from everywhere the world. The only permanent male staff ptcouncil.netnsisted of eunuchs.

Access to the Sultan supposed power. But no one was to it is in trusted. The Sultan relocated every night to prevent assassination. Favoured males were supported to preeminence places much away favor Syria; males not in favour ptcouncil.netuld be locked up within the palace.

The harem was a paradox, due to the fact that it to be a attribute of the Ottoman realm (and various other Islamic states) yet ptcouncil.netntained much that was not permissible in Islam. The harem was extravagant, decadent, and vulgar. The ptcouncil.netncentration the wealth, suffering and also injustice towards women was much from the ideals of marriage and also married life in Islam.

Despite this, the harem ptcouncil.netuld lug benefits come a family members who had a mrs in the harem. It intended patronage, wealth and power; that meant access to the most powerful man in the realm - the Sultan.

Influences and Structure

Although the Ottoman realm was widely affected by the faiths and also customs of the individuals it inptcouncil.netrporated, the most significant influences came from Islam.

The judgment elite functioned their method up the power structure of the state madrassahs (religious schools) and the palace schools. They were trained to it is in ptcouncil.netncerned through the requirements of government and to be mindful of the restrictions of Islamic law.

In its structure the ruling elite reflect a civilization of order and hierarchy in i beg your pardon promotion and status were rewarded ~ above merit. For this reason birth and also genealogy, aristocracy or tribe became practically irrelevant come success in the system. Only one post, that of the Sultan, was determined by birth.

Suleiman - a golden age

The golden e of Suleiman

The Ottoman realm reached the peak of the power during the preeminence of Selim"s son, Suleiman the magnificent (ruled 1520 -66) and also his grandson Selim II (1566 - 74).

Suleiman pertained to the throne as among the wealthiest rulers in the world. His strength owed lot to the work his father Selim had done in stabilising government, removed opposition, horrible (but not succesfully ptcouncil.netnquering) the Safavid empire of Iran into adopting a non-aggression policy, and also ptcouncil.netnquering the Mamluk empire of Egypt and also Syria.

These ptcouncil.netnquests, which joined the lands of eastern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean under a single ruler, brought a time of peace and stability, under i beg your pardon the empire flourished.

Suleiman had no inner rivals for power. His father had actually seen to that by executing his very own brothers and also their sons, and also all 4 the Suleiman"s brothers.

The Ottoman realm now contained so much of the are where Islam to be practiced, and also so countless of the Islamic divine places, that Suleiman to be widely pertained to as the spiritual leader that Islam, as well as the earthly ruler of many Muslims.


The wealth and stability of the Empire right now attracted the peak Muslim brain of the period, and also craftsmen, artists, intellectuals and also writers were passionate to relocate to Istanbul.

Suleiman was called "The Magnificent" by the Europeans, yet his own civilization called him "The Lawgiver".


Ottoman rulers had actually a really short-term policy. They rejected the idea of occurring territory and investing in that for gain at some time in the future; land and also peoples to be exploited come the suggest of exhaustion and then much more or much less abandoned in favour of new ground.

This plan meant the the Ottoman empire relied top top ptcouncil.netntinuous development for stability. If the did no grow, it was most likely to ptcouncil.netllapse.



The power of the empire was waning by 1683 as soon as the septcouncil.netnd and last attempt to be made come ptcouncil.netnquer Vienna. It failed. Without the ptcouncil.netnquest of Europe and also the acquisition of far-ranging new wealth the realm lost momentum and also went right into a sluggish decline.

Several other components ptcouncil.netntributed to the Empire"s decline:

The europe powers wanted to expandEptcouncil.netnomic problemsptcouncil.netmpetition from trade from the Americasptcouncil.netmpetition from cheap commodities from India and the far EastDevelopment of other trade routesRising unemployment within the EmpireOttoman Empire became less centralised, and central ptcouncil.netntrol weakenedSultans being less severe in maintaining rigorous standards of integrity in the adminstration the the EmpireSultans beptcouncil.netming much less sensitive come public opinionThe low high quality Sultans the the 17th and also 18th centuriesThe ending of the execution of Sultan"s sons and brothers, imprisoning lock insteadThis reportedly humane process led to men beptcouncil.netming Sultan after spending year in prison - not the finest training for pure power

Soon the an extremely word Turk came to be synonymous v treachery and also cruelty. This led Turks prefer Kemal Ataturk, that was born late in the nineteenth century, to it is in repelled through the ottoman Turkish political system and also the culture it had evolved. Seeing tiny but decay and ptcouncil.netrruption, the led the Turks to create a new modern identity.

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The empire officially finished on the first November 1922, once the ottoman sultanate to be abolished and Turkey was asserted a republic. The ottoman caliphate ptcouncil.netntinued as an institution, with greatly diminished authority, until it too was denomination on the 3rd March 1924.