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During the 16th and 17th centuries, at the height of its power under the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent , the Ottoman Empire was a multinational, multilingual empire controlling most of Southeastern Europe , Central Europe , Western Asia , including parts of Eastern Europe , the Caucasus , Northern Africa , and the Horn of Africa.
Some of these were later absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, while others were granted various types of autonomy over the course of centuries. With Constantinople as its capital and control of lands around the Mediterranean Basin , the Ottoman Empire was at the centre of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for six centuries.
While the empire was once thought to have entered a period of decline following the death of Suleiman the Magnificent, this view is no longer supported by the majority of academic historians. Thus, over the course of the 19th century, the Ottoman state became vastly more powerful and organised, despite suffering further territorial losses, especially in the Balkans, where a number of new states emerged.
In the early 20th century, the empire allied with Germany , hoping to escape from the diplomatic isolation which had contributed to its recent territorial losses, and thus joined World War I on the side of the Central Powers. During this time, genocide was committed by the Ottoman government against the Armenians , Assyrians , and Greeks. The Empire's defeat and the occupation of part of its territory by the Allied Powers in the aftermath of World War I resulted in its partitioning and the loss of its Middle Eastern territories, which were divided between the United Kingdom and France.
The word Ottoman is a historical anglicisation of the name of Osman I , the founder of the Empire and of the ruling House of Osman also known as the Ottoman dynasty.
In Western Europe, the names Ottoman Empire , Turkish Empire and Turkey were often used interchangeably, with Turkey being increasingly favoured both in formal and informal situations. This dichotomy was officially ended in —23, when the newly established Ankara -based Turkish government chose Turkey as the sole official name. At present, most scholarly historians avoid the terms "Turkey", "Turks", and "Turkish" when referring to the Ottomans, due to the empire's multinational character.
As the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum declined in the 13th century, Anatolia was divided into a patchwork of independent Turkish principalities known as the Anatolian Beyliks. One of these beyliks, in the region of Bithynia on the frontier of the Byzantine Empire, was led by the Turkish tribal leader Osman I d.
A Byzantine defeat at the Battle of Bapheus in contributed to Osman's rise as well. It is not well understood how the early Ottomans came to dominate their neighbours, due to the lack of sources surviving from this period. The Gaza Thesis theory popular during the twentieth century credited their success to their rallying of religious warriors to fight for them in the name of Islam , but it is now highly criticised and no longer generally accepted by historians, and no consensus on the nature of the early Ottoman state's expansion has replaced it.
In the century after the death of Osman I, Ottoman rule began to extend over Anatolia and the Balkans. Osman's son, Orhan , captured the northwestern Anatolian city of Bursa in , making it the new capital of the Ottoman state and supplanting Byzantine control in the region.
The important port city of Thessaloniki was captured from the Venetians in and sacked. The Ottoman victory at Kosovo in effectively marked the end of Serbian power in the region, paving the way for Ottoman expansion into Europe. As the Turks expanded into the Balkans, the conquest of Constantinople became a crucial objective. The Ottomans had already wrested control of nearly all former Byzantine lands surrounding the city, but the strong defence of Constantinople's strategic position on the Bosphorus Strait made it difficult to conquer.
In , the Byzantines were temporarily relieved when the Turco-Mongol leader Timur , founder of the Timurid Empire , invaded Ottoman Anatolia from the east. In the Battle of Ankara in , Timur defeated the Ottoman forces and took Sultan Bayezid I as a prisoner, throwing the empire into disorder. The ensuing civil war , also known as the Fetret Devri , lasted from to as Bayezid's sons fought over succession.
It ended when Mehmed I emerged as the sultan and restored Ottoman power. The Balkan territories lost by the Ottomans after , including Thessaloniki, Macedonia, and Kosovo, were later recovered by Murad II between the s and s.
Four years later, John Hunyadi prepared another army of Hungarian and Wallachian forces to attack the Turks, but was again defeated at the Second Battle of Kosovo in Mehmed allowed the Orthodox Church to maintain its autonomy and land in exchange for accepting Ottoman authority. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Ottoman Empire entered a period of expansion.
The Empire prospered under the rule of a line of committed and effective Sultans. It also flourished economically due to its control of the major overland trade routes between Europe and Asia. After this Ottoman expansion, a competition started between the Portuguese Empire and the Ottoman Empire to become the dominant power in the region.
He then laid siege to Vienna in , but failed to take the city. In the east, the Ottoman Turks took Baghdad from the Persians in , gaining control of Mesopotamia and naval access to the Persian Gulf. In , the Caucasus became officially partitioned for the first time between the Safavids and the Ottomans, a status quo that would remain until the end of the Russo-Turkish War — Ottoman forces besieged the Spanish garrison of Castelnuovo in The successful siege cost the Ottomans 20,—37, men,  but Venice agreed to terms in , surrendering most of its empire in the Aegean and the Morea.
France and the Ottoman Empire, united by mutual opposition to Habsburg rule, became strong allies. After further advances by the Turks, the Habsburg ruler Ferdinand officially recognized Ottoman ascendancy in Hungary in The Ottomans became involved in multi-continental religious wars when Spain and Portugal were united under the Iberian Union , the Ottomans as holders of the Caliph title, meaning leader of all Muslims worldwide, and Iberians, as leaders of the Christian crusaders, were locked in a worldwide conflict, with zones of operations in the Mediterranean Sea  and Indian Ocean  where Iberians circumnavigated Africa to reach India, and on their way, wage wars upon the Ottomans and their local Muslim allies.
Likewise, the Iberians passed through newly-Christianized Latin America and had sent expeditions that traversed the Pacific in order to Christianize the formerly Muslim Philippines and use it as a base to further attack the Muslims in the Far East.
Nevertheless, the success of the Ottoman political and military establishment was compared to the Roman Empire, by the likes of Italian scholar Francesco Sansovino and the French political philosopher Jean Bodin. In the second half of the sixteenth century, the Ottoman Empire came under increasing strain from inflation and the rapidly rising costs of warfare that were impacting both Europe and the Middle East.
These pressures led to a series of crises around the year , placing great strain upon the Ottoman system of government. The discovery of new maritime trade routes by Western European states allowed them to avoid the Ottoman trade monopoly.
The Portuguese discovery of the Cape of Good Hope in initiated a series of Ottoman-Portuguese naval wars in the Indian Ocean throughout the 16th century.
Despite the growing European presence in the Indian Ocean, Ottoman trade with the east continued to flourish. Cairo, in particular, benefitted from the rise of Yemeni coffee as a popular consumer commodity.
As coffeehouses appeared in cities and towns across the empire, Cairo developed into a major center for its trade, contributing to its continued prosperity throughout the seventeenth and much of the eighteenth century.
The Ottoman Empire continued to invade Eastern Europe in a series of slave raids ,  and remained a significant power in Eastern Europe until the end of the 17th century. The Ottomans decided to conquer Venetian Cyprus and on July 22, , Nicosia was besieged; 50, Christians died, and , were reduced to slavery. The Venetian defenders would hold out for 11 months against a force that would come to number , men, with cannon.
It fell to the Ottomans in August The Siege of Famagusta claimed 50, Ottoman casualties. Catholic arms killed over 30, Turks and destroyed of their ships. By contrast, the Habsburg frontier had settled somewhat, a stalemate caused by a stiffening of the Habsburg defences. This contributed to problems of indiscipline and outright rebelliousness within the corps, which were never fully solved.
The only exceptions were campaigns against the Safavid dynasty of Persia, where many of the Ottoman eastern provinces were lost, some permanently. This — war eventually resulted in the Treaty of Nasuh Pasha , which ceded the entire Caucasus, except westernmost Georgia, back into Iranian Safavid possession.
Losses from the war totaled 30, Venetian soldiers and , Turkish soldiers. During his brief majority reign, Murad IV — reasserted central authority and recaptured Iraq from the Safavids.
This period of renewed assertiveness came to a calamitous end in when Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa Pasha led a huge army to attempt a second Ottoman siege of Vienna in the Great Turkish War of — The alliance of the Holy League pressed home the advantage of the defeat at Vienna, culminating in the Treaty of Karlowitz 26 January , which ended the Great Turkish War. Aside from the loss of the Banat and the temporary loss of Belgrade —39 , the Ottoman border on the Danube and Sava remained stable during the eighteenth century.
Russian expansion , however, presented a large and growing threat. The Treaty also revealed that the Ottoman Empire was on the defensive and unlikely to present any further aggression in Europe. After this treaty the Ottoman Empire was able to enjoy a generation of peace, as Austria and Russia were forced to deal with the rise of Prussia. Educational and technological reforms came about, including the establishment of higher education institutions such as the Istanbul Technical University.
The bey received an Ottoman army from Algiers, but it failed to recapture Oran ; the siege caused the deaths of 1, Spaniards, and even more Algerians. The Spanish also massacred many Muslim soldiers. In Russian-backed Ukrainian Haidamakas , pursuing Polish confederates, entered Balta , an Ottoman-controlled town on the border of Bessarabia in Ukraine, massacred its citizens, and burned the town to the ground.
Selim III — made the first major attempts to modernize the army , but his reforms were hampered by the religious leadership and the Janissary corps. Jealous of their privileges and firmly opposed to change, the Janissary revolted.
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 eliminated the Janissary corps in The Serbian revolution — marked the beginning of an era of national awakening in the Balkans during the Eastern Question.
In , the fundamentalist Wahhabis of Arabia, led by the al-Saud family, revolted against the Ottomans. Unable to defeat the Wahhabi rebels, the Sublime Porte had Mohammad Ali the Great, the vali governor of Egypt tasked with retaking Arabia, which ended with the destruction of the Emirate of Diriyah in The Suzerainty of Serbia as a hereditary monarchy under its own dynasty was acknowledged de jure in A rebellion that originated in Moldavia as a diversion was followed by the main revolution in the Peloponnese , which, along with the northern part of the Gulf of Corinth , became the first parts of the Ottoman Empire to achieve independence in In , the French invaded Ottoman Algeria , which was lost to the empire; between , and 1,, Algerians were killed,   while French forces suffered only 3, killed in action.
In , the Sublime Porte attempted to take back what it lost to the de facto independent vilayet of Egypt, and suffered a crushing defeat, leading to the Oriental Crisis as Mohammad Ali was very close to France, and the prospect of him as Sultan was widely viewed as putting the entire empire into the French sphere of influence.
The suzerain states — the Principality of Serbia , Wallachia and Moldavia — moved towards de jure independence during the s and s. During the Tanzimat period — , the government's series of constitutional reforms led to a fairly modern conscripted army , banking system reforms, the decriminalization of homosexuality, the replacement of religious law with secular law  and guilds with modern factories. The Ottoman Ministry of Post was established in Istanbul in The empire's First Constitutional era was short-lived.
The parliament survived for only two years before the sultan suspended it. The Christian population of the empire, owing to their higher educational levels, started to pull ahead of the Muslim majority, leading to much resentment on the part of the latter.
The Crimean War — was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining Ottoman Empire.
Crimean Tatar refugees in the late 19th century played an especially notable role in seeking to modernize Ottoman education and in first promoting both Pan-Turkicism and a sense of Turkish nationalism. In this period, the Ottoman Empire spent only small amounts of public funds on education; for example in —61 only 0.
Indeed, as the historian Eugene Rogan has written, "the single greatest threat to the independence of the Middle East" in the nineteenth century "was not the armies of Europe but its banks". The body controlled swaths of the Ottoman economy, and used its position to ensure that European capital continued to penetrate the empire, often to the detriment of local Ottoman interests. The Ottoman bashi-bazouks brutally suppressed the Bulgarian uprising of , massacring up to , people in the process.
As a result, Ottoman holdings in Europe declined sharply: Bulgaria was established as an independent principality inside the Ottoman Empire; Romania achieved full independence; and Serbia and Montenegro finally gained complete independence, but with smaller territories. British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli advocated for restoring the Ottoman territories on the Balkan Peninsula during the Congress of Berlin , and in return, Britain assumed the administration of Cyprus in Abdul Hamid II, popularly known as "Abdul Hamid the Damned" on account of his cruelty and paranoia, was so fearful of the threat of a coup that he did not allow his army to conduct war games, lest this serve as the cover for a coup, but he did see the need for military mobilization.
In , a German military mission under General Baron Colmar von der Goltz arrived to train the Ottoman Army, leading to the so-called "Goltz generation" of German-trained officers who were to play a notable role in the politics of the last years of the empire.
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Rusiya-Osmanlı müharibəsi (1877-1878)
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