Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ottoman Empire

Khilafah al-'Alam al-Islami

Ottoman Empire

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1243 CE, 640 A.H Turkish nomads settle in Asia Minor.

1299-1326 CE, 698- 726 A.H At one time there was fighting between the Mongols and the Sultan Seljook. One Turkish group lead by Arthghul passed there. When he saw that two groups were fighting he decided to help the weaker group, the Turks. He helped in such a way that the Mongols lost. The sultan rewarded Arthghul with land in return. In 1288 CE, Arthghul died and his son Osman Khan took his place. In 1300 CE, Sultan Seljook died in a fight with the Mongols. Osman Khan made a self-ruled government that later became known as the Ottoman Empire. Osman Khan's boundaries were with the Byzantine. There were constant battles with the Byzantines and after time, Osman Khan conquered many lands and also the city of Bursa. After his death, his son Ar Khan took over.

1326-1359 CE, 726-1359 A.H Ar Khan. Muslims started conquering Eastern Europe like Gallipoly and areas adjoining Gallipoly. At Ar Khan's death, the Turkish lands were more than three times then before. They started building mosques, schools, etc and also made Ottoman Empire currency.

1359-1389 CE, 726-791 A.H Murad Awwal reign. At this time, the empire became five times more then Ar Khan's empire and in this time they conquered Bosnia, Kosova, etc. He also conquered many areas in Asia.

1389-1402 CE, 791-804 A.H Bayezid's reign. In his reign, he adopted the title of Sultan. When he was trying to conquer more lands in Europe, the Samarkand ruler, Amir Timur fought and defeated him.

1413-1421 CE, 804-824 A.H Muhammad Awwal's reign and the second period of the Ottomans starts. Muhammad Awwal promoted arts and poetry.

1421-1451 CE, 824-855 A.H Murad Dawm's reign. He recaptured a lot of lands that Timur had taken from them. Murad Dawm was a very good ruler.

1451-1481 CE, 855-886 A.H Muhammad Fatih's reign. He conquered Constantinople in 1453 CE. He strengthened the navy and they conquered Italy and Otoranto. During Muhammad Fatih's reign, the empire spread greatly.

1481-1512 CE, 886-918 A.H Bayezid II reign. The empire didn't expand but it got strong.

1512-1520 CE, 918-926 A.H Salim becomes ruler. Up till this time, the Turks had been trying to conquer Europe. Now, Salim concentrated on the east. They conquered Iran and then went to Egypt and reached Cairo.

1520-1566 CE, 926-974 A.H Sulaiman's reign. The Ottoman empire reached it's height at this time. Sulaiman was called the Magnificent by the Europeans and the Lawgiver by his own people. His empire reached from Hungary to Egypt, Algeria to Mesopotamia. The Turkish navy was very strong. The navy fought the Portuguese who used to bother the Africans and Asians. Sulaiman promoted arts and Istanbul's most beautiful mosque was built during his time. After Sulaiman, for some time there were no good rulers.

1661-1676 CE, 974-1087 A.H Ahmad becomes ruler. During this time, Europe was becoming powerful and he had to constantly battle with them. He made many reforms. After him, the Ottomon rulers had to keep on battling with the Europeans. In
1699 CE a treaty was signed ceding Hungary to Europe. The internal and external
problems continued and in 1923 CE the empire ended.

Beginnings to 1301

The Ottoman Empire grew out of the remnants of the Seljuk Turkish realm following the collapse of Mongol rule in Asia Minor in the late 13th century. As we saw in Chapter 3, the Seljuks were the first Turks to inhabit Asia Minor, as well as the first dynasty to unite the traditionally nomadic Turkish people into a settled community under one leader. TheSeljuks could not match the military skill of the Mongols, however, who first invaded Seljuk territory in 1243. The Seljuks were quickly defeated by the Mongols, and they became vassals of the expanding Il-Khanate, led by the Mongol, Hulegu. The Mongol invasion from the east pushed much of the Seljuk population further west in Asia Minor, closer to the Byzantine Empire, which quickly became a favourite target for raids by Turkish gazi warriors.

As the 13th century came to a close, both the Seljuks and Mongols had essentially lost control of their Turkish subjects. Asia Minor was not an important territory for the Mongols, and thus they did not spend much energy and resources on its administration. Out of this gradual collapse of central authority in Asia Minor rose a number of Turkish principalities, or emirates, many of which were led by gazi warriors. One such warrior, Osman Gazi, proved particularly successful at defeating the Byzantine Empire or other smaller states in his raids. His small emirate was closer geographically to the Byzantine Empire than any other, and thus he had many chances to prove his abilities as a gazi warrior against them. Although he began as the leader of only one Turkish emirate among several, his name soon became the most famous of the gazi warriors, for his continuous victories in battle. Gazis from neighbouring emirates flocked to Osman to take part in these victories and obtain their share of the spoils.

Empire Building, 1301-1402

According to custom in the Turkish emirates, Osman's followers took his name, and became known as the Osmanlis, or Ottomans. In 1301, with the victory of the Ottomansover the Byzantines at Nicaea, the former Byzantine capital, the Ottoman emirate established itself as a powerful military force. Until 1354, however, the Ottomans remained just one of several Turkish emirates in Asia Minor, albeit the strongest one. That year, the Ottomans received some help from Mother Nature when an earthquake destroyed the walls of the city of Gallipoli, on the southern tip of the Italian peninsula. The Ottomans took advantage of the destruction and chaos to occupy the strategic city. This event finally established Ottoman superiority over the other Turkish realms in Asia Minor, and they were soon absorbed into a unified Turkish state under the Ottomans.

Osman had died in 1336, twenty years before the capture of Gallipoli, and was succeeded by his son, Orhan, who ruled from 1326 to 1362. Orhan chose Bursa, in the northwest corner of Asia Minor, as the Ottoman capital, and he had severalIslamic monuments built there, many of which survive to this day. Orhan is also generally credited with initiating the formation of the Janissaries, the first standing army in Europe.


Orhan was succeeded by his son, Murad I (1362-89), who ushered in the first major period of expansion for the Ottomans. The conquest of Gallipoli sparked a wave of Ottoman expansion through the last half ofthe 14th century. The most important of these conquests was that of the Balkans, including present-day Greece, Albania, Bulgaria, and the former Yugoslavia, which gave the Ottomans a foothold in Europe. The Ottomans were able to move into the Balkans fairly easily, because of the political disorganisation of the region. Fighting among minor princes had reduced the region to virtual anarchy, and it was unable to gather a unified defense force against the Ottomans. The victory was also made easier for the Ottomans with the help of the local population. The Greeks, for example, welcomed any invader that would end their domination by Italians and other Latins. Other sectors of the population also welcomed the Ottomans, because of their relatively tolerant policies regarding the religions of their subject peoples. Despite their origins as gazi warriors bent on the conquest of non-Muslim lands, the Ottomans were remarkably lenient towards their Christian subjects. The Ottomans officially recognised the Orthodox Christian Church, for example, to which much of the Balkan population adhered, and the Ottomans also were very protective of the Balkan peasantry from exploitation by their rulers.

Because of these factors, it was mainly the Balkan aristocracy and high priests, not the general population, who resisted the Ottoman invasion. In the 1360s, Albania and Macedonia accepted Ottoman rule, and in 1372, the King of Bulgaria became an Ottoman vassal. Ottoman rule in the Balkans was firmly established in 1389 at the Battle of Kosovo, in which the Ottomans defeated Stephan Dushan's Kingdom of Serbia. The Ottoman sultan, Murad I, was killed in battle at Kosovo, and he was succeeded by his son, Bayazid I, who continued to advance Ottoman rule in the Balkans. In 1395, the Ottomans killed King Shishman of Bulgaria, as part of their plan to replace local rulers with loyal Ottoman rulers. By 1400, the Ottoman Empire had earned a prestigious reputation throughout the Islamic world, for its continuous conquests of European lands. In 1402, however, much of the empire the Ottomans had spent the past century building was destroyed by the invasion of Timur.

As we saw in Chapter 4, the Timurid Empire was vast by the time it reached Asia Minor in 1402 to battle the Ottomans. That battle was in fact the last major battle of Timur's life, because he died in Samarkand in 1405 after returning from his victory in Asia Minor. Because the Ottoman was the last empire Timur attacked, he brought a wealth of experience and a veteran army with him, since his empire already included Central Asia, northern India, Persia, Iraq, and Syria. Although Timur was not eager to face the Ottomans, whose reputation as a strong military force preceded them, he was convinced to do so by a number of Turkish emirs who had been defeated by the Ottomans and pushed out of Asia Minor, seeking refuge in Timurid lands.

The Ottomans, scrambling to reorganise after hastily ending their siege of Constantinople to face the Timurids, were defeated at the Battle of Ankara in June, 1402. The empire they had built up to that point was destroyed. Sultan Bayazid I was taken prisoner and died in captivity a year later, and the remnants of the empire were divided among Bayazid's sons, who submitted to Timurid authority. At the same time, many of the territories that the Ottomans had conquered in the Balkans resumed their independent status after the Ottoman defeat.
The Ottoman Empire

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