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The Ottomans are one of the most important civilizations and most powerful of the modern era. Their moment of glory in the sixteenth century represents one of the peaks of human creativity, optimism, and art. The empire they built is the largest and most influential of the Muslim empire of modern times, and their culture and military expansion across Europe. Not since the expansion of Islam in Spain in the eighth century had Islam seemed poised to establish a European presence as it did in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. As soon as this expansion, the Ottomans established an empire over European territory and established Islamic traditions and culture that lasts the current day (the Muslims of Bosnia are the last descendants of the Ottoman presence in Europe).

The Ottoman Empire lasted until the twentieth century. While historians like to talk about empires in terms of growth and decline, the Ottomans were a force to be reckoned with, militarily and culturally, until the dissolution of the empire in the early decades of this century. The real end to the Ottoman culture came with the secularization of Turkey after World War II and European models of government. The transition to a secular state was not easy today and its consequences are still being felt in Turkish society, nevertheless, secularization represents the real break with the Ottoman tradition and heritage.

The Ottoman Empire was a vast state founded in the 13th century by Turkish tribes in Anatolia and ruled by the descendants of Osman I until its dissolution in 1918. Modern Turkey formed only part of the empire, but the terms in Turkey Ottoman Empire were often used interchangeably.

Organization of the empire

Economically, socially and militarily, Turkey was a medieval state, unaffected by developments elsewhere in Europe. Turkish rule in northern Africa (except Tripoli and Egypt) was never well defined or effective, and the eastern border was inconstant, shifting according to frequent wars with Persia. Of the vassal princes, was the only Khan of Crimea generally faithful.

The sultans themselves had sunk into indolence and depravity. Until the ascension (1603) of Ahmad I, the throne was habitually contested by all the sultan’s son died, and was the patriotic duty of victory to kill their rivals in order to restore order. Although this practice was barbarous, when it ceased other problems arose. Older male members of the family was recognized as the designated heir, but to prevent threats to the sultan the imperial prince was denied any involvement in public affairs and held in prison in luxury. When the prince finally ascended the throne, he was often alcoholic or lunatic.

Current rule was usually used by the great vizier, many of whom were able men (particularly the family Koprulu). Sultans themselves often were the creatures of the Janissaries, who has gained the popularity of the great gifts for the resurrection of the Sultan.

One of the most damaging of the court of Constantinople (known as the Seraglio and the Sublime Porte) was the widespread corruption and bribery that had been raised to a system of administration. Pashas and hospodars (governors) who administered the provinces and vassal states purchased their posts at exorbitant prices. They recovered their fortunes by extorting still larger sums from their subjects. The peasantry was reduced to misery.

A positive aspect in the Ottoman administration was the religious toleration generally extended to all non-Muslims. However, this did not prevent occasional massacres and discriminatory fiscal practices. In Constantinople, the Greeks and Armenians a privileged position and were very influential in commerce and politics. The despotic system of government was mitigated with the observance of Islamic law.


Ottoman state began as one of the many small states turkish born in Asia Minor during the breakdown of the Turkish Seljuk Empire. Ottoman Turks began to absorb the other states and the era (1451-1481) of Muhammad II they ended all other local Turkish dynasties. Initially, the Ottoman expansion took place, Osman I, Orkhan, Murad I, and I Beyazid expenses of the Byzantine Empire, Bulgaria and Serbia. Bursa fell in 1326 and Adrianople (modern Edirne) in 1361, each in turn, became the capital of an empire. Big profits Ottoman Kosovo (1389) and Nikopol (1396) put a large part of the Balkan Peninsula under Ottoman rule and awakened Europe, the Ottoman peril. Ottoman siege of Constantinople was to dismantle the appearance of Timur, who defeated and captured in 1402 Beyazid However, the Ottomans soon recovered.

Period of great expansion

The empire met Muhammad, expanded victoriously under Muhammad’s successors Murad II and Mehmed II. Profit (1444) in Varna on the crusading army led by Ladislaus III of Poland in 1453 was followed by capture of Constantinople, the number of memory. A century, the Ottomans had changed from nomadic horde to the heirs of the oldest empire in Europe. Their success is due in part to the weakness and fragmentation of their opponents, in part, for their excellent and much better than a military organization. Their army conscripts Christiansnot contains only several, which were organized a corps of Janissaries, but also volunteers. Turkey’s growth peaked at 16 percent. under Selim I and Suleiman I (Sulayman the Magnificent).

The Hungarian defeat (1526) on Mohacs paved the way for the capture (1541) of Buda and the absorption of most of Hungary by the Ottoman Empire, Transylvania became a tributary principality, as Wallachia and Moldova. Asian frontiers of the empire were pushed deep into Persia and Arabia. Selim I defeated the Mamluks in Egypt and Syria, made in Cairo in 1517 and took over the caliphate. Algiers was taken in 1518, and Mediterranean commerce was threatened by pirates, as Barbarossa, who sailed under the auspices of Turkey. Most of the Venetian possessions and other Latin in Greece also fell to the Sultans.

During the reign of Sulayman the beginning (1535), the traditional friendship between France and Turkey, directed against Hapsburg Austria and Spain. Sulayman reorganized the Turkish judicial system, and his reign saw the flowering of Turkish literature, art and architecture. In practice the prerogatives of the sultan were limited by the spirit of Muslim canonical law (sharia), and usually share his authority with the superintendent (sheyhülislam) of Islamic law and the grand vizier (chief officer).

In the progressive decay that followed the death of Solomon, the clergy (ulama) and the Janissaries came to power and a profound influence corrupting. The first serious blow to Europe for the empire was the naval defeat of Lepanto (1571, see Lepanto, battle of), inflicted on the fleet of Selim II by the Spanish and Venetians in Juan de Austria. However, Murad IV, the 17th century. temporarily restored Turkish military prestige by his victory (1638) over Persia. Crete was conquered from Venice, and in 1683 a huge Turkish army in the Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa surrounded Vienna. The relief of Vienna by John III of Poland and the subsequent campaigns of Charles V of Lorraine, Louis of Baden, and Eugene of Savoy ended in negotiations in 1699 (see Karlowitz, Treaty), which cost Turkey Hungary and other jurisdictions. Retirement

The dissolution of the state received a boost with the Russo-Turkish War in the 18th cents. Egypt was temporarily lost to Napoleon’s army, but the Greek War of Independence and its sequels, the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829 (see Adrianople, Treaty) and the war with Muhammad Ali of Egypt resulted in the loss of Greece and Egypt, the protectorate of Russia in Moldova and Wallachia, and semi-independence from Serbia. Radical reforms were introduced in the late 18th and early 19th cents. by Selim III and Mahmud II, but they came too late. In the 19 cents. Turkey was known as the sick man of Europe.

Through a series of treaties of capitulation from the 16th to the 18th cents. The Ottoman Empire gradually lost its economic independence. Although Turkey was theoretically among the victors of the Crimean War, he emerged from the war economically exhausted. Paris Convention (1856) recognized the independence and integrity of the Ottoman Empire, but this event marked the confirmation of the dependence of the empire rather than its rights as a European power.

The Rebel (1875) and Bosnia and Herzegovina, precipitated the Russian-Turkish war in 1877-78, when Turkey was defeated despite a surprisingly strong position. Romania (ie, Wallachia and Moldavia), Serbia and Montenegro was proclaimed fully independent, and Bosnia and Herzegovina passed the Austrian government. Bulgaria, made a virtually independent principality, annexed (1885) Eastern Rumelia with impunity.

Sultan Abd al-Majid, who in 1839 issued a decree containing an important body of civil reforms, was followed (1861) by Abd al-Aziz, whose reign witnessed the rise of the Liberal Party. Its leader, Midhat Pasha, succeeded in removing (1876) Abd al-Aziz. Abd al-Hamid II acceded (1876), after the brief reign of Murad V. A liberal constitution was framed by Midhat, and the first Turkish parliament opened in 1877, but the sultan soon dismissed it and began a rule of personal despotism. The Armenian massacres (see Armenia) in the late 19th cent. turned world public opinion against Turkey. Abd al-Hamid was victorious in the Greco-Turkish war in 1897, but Crete, which was the problem, eventually won by Greece.


In 1908 the Young Turk movement, a reformist and strongly nationalist group, with many followers in the army, forced the restoration of the Constitution of 1876 and 1909, Parliament deposed Sultan Mohammed V and to the throne. In the two successive Balkan Wars (1912-1913), Turkey lost nearly the entire territory in Europe to Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and the newly independent Albania. Nationalism of the Young Turks, whose leader Enver Pasha had virtual dictatorial power by a coup in 1913 upset the remaining minorities in the kingdom.

The outbreak of World War I found Turkey aligned with the Central Powers. Although Turkish troops succeeded against the Allies in the Gallipoli campaign (1915), Arabia rose against Turkish rule, and British forces occupied (1917) Baghdad and Jerusalem. In 1918, Turkish resistance collapsed in Asia and Europe. A ceasefire was signed in October, and the Ottoman Empire ended. Treaty of Sèvres (see Sèvres, Treaty of) confirmed its dissolution. With the victory in the Turkish nationalists, who refused to accept the peace terms and overthrew the sultan in 1922, began the modern history of Turkey.

After the Ottoman conquest in 1517, the Earth was divided into four administrative districts and the province of Damascus and ruled from Istanbul. Early Ottoman era, about 1,000 Jewish families lived in the country, especially in Jerusalem, Nablus (Shechem), Hebron, Gaza, Safed (Tzfat) and villages of Galilee. Community made up of descendants of Jews who would never leave the land as well as immigrants from North Africa and Europe.

Government ordered to the death (1566) of Sultan Suleiman the Magificent, improved, and encouraged Jewish immigration. Some of the newcomers settled in Jerusalem, but the majority went to Safed in which the mid-16 century, the Jewish population had risen to about 10,000, and the city had become a thriving textile center and intense intellectual activity. During this period, the study of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) flourished, and contemporary questions of Jewish law, as codified in the Shulhan Arukh search houses spread of the diaspora Safad.

With a gradual decline in the quality of Ottoman rule, the country was brought to a state of neglect. In the 18th century, most of the land owned by absentee landlords and rented to poor farmers, and taxation was as crippling as it was capricious. The great forests of Galilee and the Caramel mountain range were denuded of trees, swamps and the desert is encroaching on farmland.

In the 19 century saw medieval backwardness gradually give way to the first signs of progress, with various Western powers jockeyed for position, often through missionary activities. British researchers, American and French began studying biblical geography and archeology, Britain, France, Russia, Austria and the United States Consulate opened in Jerusalem. Steamships began to operate scheduled services between the Earth and of Europe, postal and telegraphic connections were installed, the first road was built connecting Jerusalem to Jaffa. The revival of the Land as a hub for trade between the three continents was accelerated by the opening of the Suez Canal.

Consequently, the condition of the Jews slowly improved, and their numbers increased significantly. By mid-century, in confined spaces within the walls of Jerusalem motivated to build the first Jewish neighborhood outside the walls (1860), and the next quarter of a century to add seven more, forming the nucleus of a new city. By the year 1880, Jerusalem was a Jewish majority at all. Of farmland have been purchased across the country, the new rural settlements were established, and the Hebrew language, long restricted to liturgy and literature, was revived. Everything was ready for the creation of the Zionist movement.

Category:About Turkey

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