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The Sons of Bayezid (Ottoman Empire & Its Heritage)

That action deprived potential opponents of alternative leaders around whom they could coalesce. A relative lack of booty and supplies compared with campaigns in Europe also weakened morale.

Those acquisitions were of immense importance to the Ottomans. Under efficient administration the new conquests provided Istanbul with revenues that solved the financial problems left from the 15th century and made the empire one of the most powerful and wealthy states in the 16th century. Acquisition of the holy places of Islam cemented the position of the sultan as the most important Islamic ruler, though he and his successors declined to claim the position of caliph , religious leader of Islam, until the late 18th century.

The Ottoman Empire and its Heritage

From the Arab world there came to Istanbul the leading Muslim intellectuals , artisans, administrators, and artists of the time, who penetrated every facet of Ottoman life and made the empire much more of a traditional Islamic state than it ever had been before. It now remained for the Ottomans to restore the full prosperity of their Middle Eastern dominions by countering Portuguese naval activities in the Eastern seas that sought to prevent European shippers from using the old routes, a campaign that had some success well into the 16th century. Order and security finally were reestablished throughout the area, and the stability of Middle Eastern society was restored under the guidance and protection of powerful imperial orders.

The Islamic world , however, was left permanently divided, with Iran and Transoxania southwestern Central Asia , once centres of the Islamic caliphates, separated from the Arab world.

The Sons of Bayezid : Empire Building and Representation in the Ottoman Civil War of 1402-13

Anatolia and southeastern Europe were for the first time added to the Arab world as integral parts of the Middle East. Osman came to the throne at 14 and determined to stop the interference of Poland in the Balkan states. However, a defeat in this campaign made Osman believe the Janissary troops were now a hindrance, so he reduced their funding and began a plan to recruit a new, non-Janissary army and power base.

Put back on the throne by the once elite Janissary troops, Mustafa was dominated by his mother and achieved little. As soon as he could, Murad smashed these rivals, took full power, and recaptured Baghdad from Iran. When he was advised in the early years of his reign by an able grand vizier Ibrahim made peace with Iran and Austria; when other advisors were in control later, he got into a war with Venice.

Having exhibited eccentricities and raised taxes, he was exposed and the Janissaries murdered him. Coming to the throne at the age of six, practical power was shared by his maternal elders, the Janissaries, and grand viziers, and he was happy with that and preferred hunting. The economic revival of the reign was left to others, and when he failed to stop a grand vizier from starting a war with Vienna, he could not separate himself from the failure and was deposed.

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Venice attacked, and Syria and Iraq grew restless. An initial determination to win the war against the European Holy League led to early success, but when Russia moved in and took Azov the situation turned, and Mustafa had to concede to Russia and Austria. This focus caused rebellion elsewhere in the empire, and when Mustafa turned away from world affairs to focus on hunting he was deposed.

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Having given Charles XII of Sweden shelter because he had fought Russia , Ahmed fought the latter to throw them out of the Ottomans' sphere of influence. Having secured his throne in the face of rebels, which included a Janissary rebellion, Mahmud managed to turn the tide in the war with Austria and Russia, signing the Treaty of Belgrade in He did manage to reform the military and initially was able to keep the Treaty of Belgrade and avoid European rivalry.

However, Russo-Ottoman rivalry could not be stopped and a war started which went badly. However, inspired by his father Mustafa III and the rapid changes of the French Revolution , Selim began a wide-ranging reform program. Under Mahmud's rule, Ottoman power in the Balkans was collapsing in the face of Russia and nationalism.

The situation elsewhere in the empire was little better, and Mahmud tried some reforms himself: obliterating the Janissaries, bringing in German experts to rebuild the military, installing new government officials.

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He achieved much in spite of military losses. He worked to keep the Great Powers of Europe mostly on his side to better hold the empire together, and they helped him win the Crimean War. Even so, some ground was lost.

Empire Building and Representation in the Ottoman Civil War of 1402-13

He now pushed forward a more Islamic ideal, made friends with and fell out with Russia, spent a huge amount as debt rose, and was deposed. A western-looking liberal, Murad was placed on the throne by the rebels who had ousted his uncle.

Conquest, 1300–1600.

However, he suffered a mental breakdown and had to retire. There were several failed attempts to bring him back. Nonetheless, the Europeans, including Germany, managed to get their hooks in. This went terribly, and Mehmed died before Constantinople was occupied. Mehmed VI took power at a critical time, as the victorious allies of World War I were dealing with a defeated Ottoman Empire and their nationalist movement.

Mehmed first negotiated a deal with the allies to stave off nationalism and keep his dynasty, then negotiated with the nationalists to hold elections, which they won. The struggle continued, with Mehmed dissolving parliament, the nationalists sitting their government in Ankara, Mehmed signing the WWI peace Treaty of Sevres which basically left the Ottomans as Turkey, and soon the nationalists abolished the sultanate. Mehmed was forced to flee. Share Flipboard Email. Robert Wilde is a historian with a focus on early medieval Europe who has 15 years of freelance writing experience.

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