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  • Ottoman Empire -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia
    based route through the Middle East 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 The Ottoman conquests in the East combined with the Ṣafavid survival in Iran ended the long period of political vacuum and anarchy that had followed the collapse of the universal ʿAbbāsid empire in the 11th 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 Anatolia and southeastern Europe were for the first time added to the Arab world as integral parts of the Middle East Süleyman I Süleyman I detail of an engraving of a panel by Pieter Coecke van Aelst showing a procession Courtesy of the trustees of the British Museum Selim s last years were spent in Istanbul solidifying the supremacy of the sultanate exploiting the prestige and revenues that resulted from his Eastern victories It was therefore only during the long reign of his son and successor Süleyman I ruled 1520 66 called the Magnificent in Europe and the Lawgiver Kanuni among the Ottomans that the foundations laid by Selim were fully used to establish the classical Ottoman state and society and to make important new conquests in the East and West As a result of his father s policies and successes Süleyman assumed the throne with a position unequaled by any sultan before or after He was left without opposition and with a great deal of control over the devşirme class as well as over the remnants of the Turkish notables The conquest of the Arab world had doubled the revenues of the treasury without imposing important additional financial obligations leaving Süleyman with wealth and power unparalleled in Ottoman history Although Süleyman never took full advantage of the opportunities left him and in fact began the process of Ottoman decline his reign still marked the peak of Ottoman grandeur and has always been regarded as the golden age of Ottoman history The chief battlefields of Ottoman expansion in Europe under Süleyman were Hungary and the Mediterranean The weak southeastern European enemies of Süleyman s predecessors had been replaced by the powerful Habsburg dynasty which was bolstered by the appeals of the pope throughout Europe against the menace to Christians of Islam Süleyman s main European ally was France which sought to use Ottoman pressure in the south to lessen the pressure of the Habsburgs on its eastern frontiers The land war with the Habsburgs was centred in Hungary and was fought in three main stages From 1520 to 1526 the independent Hungarian kingdom bore the direct brunt of the Ottoman attack and acted as a buffer between the two great empires but the weak king Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia and feudal anarchy and misrule made a united defense impossible A split among Hungarian nobles over the question of accepting Habsburg rule combined with social and national divisions stimulated by the Reformation further weakened the opposition to Ottoman attack As a result Süleyman was able to take Belgrade in 1521 opening the way for a large scale advance north of the Danube The only real army the Hungarian nobles could muster was routed in 1526 at the Battle of Mohács and the death of Louis II ended the last hope for Hungarian unity and independence The second period of Ottoman Habsburg relations 1526 41 was characterized by Hungarian autonomy under the anti Habsburg Hungarian king John János Zápolya who accepted the suzerainty of the sultan in return for the right to continue native administration and military defense The Habsburg prince Ferdinand later the Holy Roman emperor Ferdinand I brother of the emperor Charles V occupied the northern areas of Hungary with the support of the wealthier Hungarian nobles who desired Habsburg aid against the Turks For all practical purposes he annexed them to Austria before undertaking to conquer the remainder of Hungary in 1527 28 In response Süleyman returned from Anatolia to drive the Habsburgs from all of Hungary and besieged Vienna in 1529 an effort that failed because of the difficulty of supplying a large force so far from the major centres of Ottoman power Vienna thus stood as the principal European bulwark against further Muslim advance Under the existing conditions of supply transport and military organization the Ottomans had reached the limit of their possible expansion in the West the winter base that supported the expansion effort had to be maintained in Istanbul because of the constant threat of military action against the Ṣafavids in the East The siege of Vienna however secured Süleyman s rule of Hungary and prevented Ferdinand from launching a new attack against the territories ruled by John until 1540 Although the siege frightened the other states of Europe sufficiently for them to agree to a truce between Roman Catholics and Protestants 1532 the result was only temporary and Ferdinand never was certain of the support of the independent German princes and the other European rulers who promised help Even Charles V was too preoccupied with the problems of the Reformation and with France to devote much attention to the Ottomans Thus when Süleyman embarked on a second Austrian campaign 1532 he was unable to draw the imperial army into conflict and had to content himself with devastating large areas of the Habsburg realm By the peace of 1533 Ferdinand abandoned his claims to central Hungary and recognized John s rule there as Ottoman vassal while Süleyman agreed to accept Ferdinand as ruler of northern Hungary in return for the payment of an annual tribute That arrangement lasted until 1540 when John died and left his dominions to Ferdinand in defiance of his agreement with the sultan When Ferdinand tried to assume his heritage by force Süleyman occupied and annexed Hungary in 1541 under the guise of championing the cause of John s infant son John Sigismund Zápolya putting it under direct Ottoman administration and occupation for the first time Thus began the third and final period of Ottoman Habsburg relations characterized by continuous border conflict diversions on both sides however prevented long periods of open warfare Christian historians have accused Francis I of France of encouraging Ottoman expansion into central Europe to relieve Habsburg pressure on him But the Ottoman advances should be ascribed less to French overtures than to Süleyman s own ambitions together with his fears of Habsburg rule in Hungary and a possible alliance among the Habsburgs Hungarians and Ṣafavids The sultan regarded the French king largely as a supplicant for commercial favours which were granted in the Capitulations treaty of 1536 an agreement by which French subjects were given the freedom to travel and trade in the sultan s dominions and subjects of other states wishing to do the same were required to secure French protection French and other merchants and travelers in the Ottoman Empire were allowed to remain under French laws and courts in cases concerning themselves and were granted special privileges in cases involving Ottoman subjects Thus was established the foundation of the French predominance in the Levant region along the eastern Mediterranean which remained until modern times The Capitulations served as a model for later agreements between the Ottomans and the other European powers who subsequently used them during the centuries of Ottoman weakness as means to dominate commerce within the Ottoman dominions and to drive the native Muslims and Jews out of the marketplace in favour of their coreligionist Greek and Armenian protégés The stalemate between the Ottomans and Habsburgs in northern Hungary was characterized by centuries long conflicts along the land frontier Periodic Ottoman raids into central Europe and resulting European anti Muslim propaganda led to Christian prejudice against Muslims in general and Turks in particular many Europeans sympathized with the Christian minority subjects of the Turks a sentiment that lasted into modern times Organized military conflict shifted to the sea with the Ottomans emerging for the first time as a major naval power The decline of the Venetian navy led Charles V to seek complete control of the Mediterranean enlisting as his naval commander the great Genoese seaman Andrea Doria and thus gaining the support of the powerful Genoese fleet Süleyman responded in 1522 by driving the Knights of Rhodes a Christian religious and military order out of Rhodes but in 1530 Charles established them on Malta from which they organized piratical raids against Ottoman ships and shores and in 1535 captured Tunis While Süleyman was occupied in Anatolia Doria captured a number of ports in the Morea and began to raid the Ottoman coasts severing most sea lines of communication between Istanbul and Alexandria and preventing thousands of Muslim pilgrims from reaching Mecca and Medina In response Süleyman in 1533 enrolled in his service as grand admiral Khayr al Dīn known to Europeans as Barbarossa a Turkish captain who had built a major pirate fleet of sea ghazis in the western Mediterranean and used it to capture Algiers 1529 and other North African ports As part of the arrangement with Barbarossa the Ottomans annexed Algiers to the empire as a special timar province permanently assigned to the grand admiral to support the fleet Ottoman land troops were sent to defend Algiers against Habsburg attacks which probably was the main reason Barbarossa agreed to join the sultan Barbarossa built a powerful Ottoman fleet able to confront the Habsburgs on equal terms In 1537 he launched a major attack on southern Italy expecting a promised French attack in the north with the objective of a joint conquest of Italy But France fearing a hostile European reaction to its alliance with the infidel withheld the diversion Doria then organized and led an allied European naval force against the Ottomans but it was routed in 1538 at the Battle of Préveza off the Albanian coast Venice then surrendered the Morea and Dalmatia its last possessions in the Aegean Sea thus assuring an Ottoman naval supremacy in the eastern Mediterranean that remained unbroken for three decades Süleyman failed to pursue his ambitions in Europe after 1541 largely because of his increasing preoccupation with problems in the East He ruthlessly suppressed Ṣafavid propagandists and supporters in eastern Anatolia and stimulated the Uzbek empire of Transoxania to attack Iran Iran fell into disorder following the death of Ismāʿīl and the accession of his infant son Ṭahmāsp I but Süleyman was able to take advantage of that situation only during periods of peace in Europe He personally led three campaigns into northwestern Iran in 1534 35 1548 50 and 1554 and although he captured Ṣafavid territories in the southern Caucasus range and in Iraq he never was able to catch and defeat the Iranian army Supply problems invariably compelled him to retire to Anatolia during the winter months allowing the Persians to regain Azerbaijan with little difficulty Süleyman finally despaired of defeating his elusive enemies and agreed in 1555 to the Peace of Amasya by which he retained Iraq and eastern Anatolia but renounced Ottoman claims to Azerbaijan and the Caucasus and agreed to allow Shīʿite Persian pilgrims to visit Mecca and Medina as well as their own holy places in Iraq Thus the same geographic problems that had limited Ottoman conquests in central Europe made western Azerbaijan the practical limit of Ottoman expansion in the East preventing the final elimination of the Ṣafavid danger Süleyman was somewhat more successful in restoring the old international trade routes through his Middle Eastern possessions To counteract the Portuguese fleet supplied by the Ṣafavids from their Persian Gulf ports he built major naval bases at Suez 1517 and as soon as he took Iraq at Basra 1538 establishing garrisons and fleets that not only resisted the Portuguese naval attacks but also attacked them in the Eastern seas As a result the old trade route regained some of its former volume in the 16th century The Ottomans never were able to fully restore it however because Portugal using a sea route was still able to pay higher prices in the East and sell at lower prices in Europe avoiding the duties and local charges levied on goods sent by land through Ottoman territory It should be noted that contrary to the myths maintained by many European historians it was the Ottomans who fought to keep the old Middle Eastern trade route open the route was closed only when the Cape route was taken over from the Portuguese by the much more powerful fleets of the English and Dutch Classical Ottoman society and administration Mosque of Süleyman built in the mid 16th century Istanbul Eliot76 iStock Thinkstock During the 16th century the institutions of society and government that had been evolving in the Ottoman dominions for two centuries reached the classical forms and patterns that were to persist into modern times The basic division in Ottoman society was the traditional Middle Eastern distinction between a small ruling class of Ottomans Osmanlı and a large mass of subjects called rayas reʿâyâ Three attributes were essential for membership in the Ottoman ruling class profession of loyalty to the sultan and his state acceptance and practice of Islam and its underlying system of thought and action and knowledge and practice of the complicated system of customs behaviour and language known as the Ottoman Way Those who lacked any of those attributes were considered to be members of the subject class the protected flock of the sultan Social mobility was based on the possession of those definable and attainable attributes Rayas able to acquire them could rise into the ruling class and Ottomans who came to lack any of them became members of the subject class Members of the ruling class were considered the sultan s slaves and acquired their master s social status As slaves however their properties lives and persons were entirely at his disposition Their basic functions were to preserve the Islamic nature of the state and to rule and defend the empire By Ottoman theory the main attribute of the sultan s sovereignty was the right to possess and exploit all sources of wealth in the empire The function of enlarging protecting and exploiting that wealth for the benefit of the sultan and his state therefore was the main duty of the ruling class The rayas produced the wealth by farming the land or engaging in trade and industry and then paying a portion of the resulting profits to the ruling class in the form of taxes Organizations and hierarchies were developed by the ruling and subject classes to carry out their functions in Ottoman society The ruling class divided itself into four functional institutions the imperial or palace mülkiye institution personally led by the sultan which provided the leadership and direction for the other institutions as well as for the entire Ottoman system the military seyfiye or askeriye institution which was responsible for expanding and defending the empire and keeping order and security within the sultan s dominions the administrative or scribal kalemiye institution organized as the imperial treasury hazine i amire which was in charge of collecting and spending the imperial revenues and the religious or cultural ilmiye institution comprising the ulama Muslims expert in the religious sciences which was in charge of organizing and propagating the faith and maintaining and enforcing the religious law Sharīʿah or Şeriat its interpretation in the courts its expounding in the mosques and schools and its study and interpretation To cover the areas of life not included within the scope of the ruling class of Ottomans members of the subject class were allowed to organize themselves as they wished As a natural manifestation of Middle Eastern society their organization was determined largely by religious and occupational distinctions The basic class divisions within the subject class were determined by religion with each important group organizing into a relatively self contained autonomous religious community usually called a millet also taife or cemaat which operated under its own laws and customs and was directed by a religious leader responsible to the sultan for the fulfillment of the duties and responsibilities of the millet members particularly those of paying taxes and security In addition each millet cared for the many social and administrative functions not assumed by the Ottoman ruling class concerning such matters as marriage divorce birth and death health education internal security and justice Within the millets just as in Ottoman society as a whole there was social mobility with persons moving up and down the ladder according to ability and luck Individuals could pass from one millet to another if they wished to convert but because all the millet s were extremely antagonistic toward those who left them to convert to another religion the state discouraged such action as much as possible to preserve social harmony and tranquility The purpose of the millet system was to keep the different peoples of the empire separated in order to minimize conflict and preserve social order in a highly heterogeneous state Christian hatred of Muslims and Jews however led to constant tension and competition among the different millet s with the Jews being subjected to blood libel attacks against their persons shops and homes by the sultan s Greek and Armenian subjects Those attacks intensified during the week preceding Easter when Greeks and Armenians were driven into a frenzy by the old accusations invented in ancient times by the Greek Orthodox Church that Jews murdered Christian children in order to use their blood for religious rituals The sultan intervened to provide protection for his Jewish subjects as much as possible though the fact that many of his soldiers were Christians converted to Islam who retained the hatreds instilled in their childhoods made that intervention difficult In addition to the religion based millet s Ottoman subjects also organized themselves by economic function into guilds Those guilds regulated economic activities setting quality and pricing standards that guild members had to maintain in order to continue in their occupations In most cases particular occupations were monopolized by members of one millet but in some trades practiced by members of different religions guild membership cut across religious boundaries joining members of different religions in common organizations based not on class rank or religion but on mutually shared values and beliefs economic activities and social needs Through contact and cooperation in such guilds members of the different groups of Ottoman society were cemented into a common whole performing many of the social and economic functions outside the scope of the ruling class and the millet s particularly those functions associated with economic regulation and social security In many cases guilds also were associated intimately with mystic religious orders which providing a more personal religious experience than that provided by the established Muslim and non Muslim religious organizations came to dominate Ottoman society in its centuries of decline Within the Ottoman ruling class the most important unit of organization and action was the mukâṭaʿa in which a member of the ruling class was given a portion of the sultan s revenues along with authority to use the revenues for purposes determined by the sultan The exact nature of the mukâṭaʿa depended on the proportion of the revenues that the holder remitted to the treasury and the proportion he retained for himself Three types of mukâṭaʿa were found timar s emanet s and iltizām s The timar traditionally described as a fief only superficially resembled European feudalism it was part of a centralized system and did not involve the mutual rights and obligations that characterized feudalism in the West In return for services to the state the timar holder was given the full profits of the source of revenue for his personal exploitation and profit those profits were independent of and in addition to those connected with the exploitation of the timar itself For many military and administrative positions timar s normally were given in lieu of salaries thus relieving the treasury of the trouble and expense of collecting revenues and disbursing them to its employees as salaries Almost all of the 14th and 15th century Ottoman conquests in southeastern Europe were distributed as timar s to military officers who in return assumed administrative responsibility in peacetime and provided soldiers and military leadership for the Ottoman army in war Many of the officers of the central government also were rewarded with timar s in place of or in addition to salaries paid by the treasury A less common form of the mukâṭaʿa was the emanet trusteeship held by the emin trustee or agent In contrast to the timar holder the emin turned all his proceeds over to the treasury and was compensated entirely by salary thus being the closest Ottoman equivalent to the modern government official The legal rationale for that arrangement was that the emin undertook no additional service beyond administering the mukâṭaʿa and thus had no right to share in its profits Used primarily for urban customhouses and market police emanet s were closely supervised by the central government and its agents and did not need the profit motive in order to assure efficiency on the part of the holders The most common kind of mukâṭaʿa and therefore the most prevalent type of administrative unit in the Ottoman system was the tax farm iltizām which combined elements of both the timar and emanet As in the timar the tax farmer mültezim could keep only a part of the tax he collected and had to deliver the balance to the treasury That was because his service consisted only of his work in administering the mukâṭaʿa for which he was given a share of his collection instead of the emin s salary The tax farmer thus was given the inducement of profit to be as efficient as possible Most of Anatolia and the Arab provinces were administered in that way because they were conquered at a time when the government s need for cash to pay the salaried Janissary infantry and supply an increasingly lavish court required the treasury to seek out all the revenues it could find As the timar based sipahi cavalry became less important and as the Turkish notables who held most of the timar s lost most of their political power during the time of Süleyman the estates gradually fell into the hands of the devşirme class The legal and customary bases of organization and action in Ottoman society depended on a dual system of law the Sharīʿah or Muslim religious law and the kanun or civil law The Sharīʿah was the basic law of Ottoman society as it was of all Muslim communities Considered to be a divinely inspired corpus of political social and moral regulations and principles the Sharīʿah was intended to cover all aspects of life for Muslims although it was highly developed only in the issues of personal behaviour that affected the early Muslim community and were reflected in the Qurʾān and early Muslim tradition It never was developed in detail in matters of public law state organization and administration Its general principles left room for interpretation and legislation on specific matters by secular authorities and the Muslim judges of the Ottoman Empire recognized the right of the sultan to legislate in civil laws as long as he did not conflict with the Sharīʿah in detail or principle The Sharīʿah therefore provided the principles of public law and covered matters of personal behaviour and status in the Muslim millet s in the same way that the members of the Christian and Jewish millet s were subject to their own religious codes The Sharīʿah was interpreted and enforced by members of the cultural institution the ulama just as the laws of each non Muslim millet were enforced by its leaders The members of the ulama who interpreted the law in the courts called qadis as well as the jurisconsults called muftis had the right to invalidate any secular law they felt contradicted the Sharīʿah however they rarely used that right because as part of the ruling class they were under the authority of the sultan and could be removed from their positions The sultan therefore was relatively free to issue secular laws to meet the needs of the time a major factor in the long survival of the empire It must be noted however that with the restricted scope of the Ottoman ruling class and state and the large areas of power and function left to the religious communities guilds and Ottoman officials who held the mukâṭaʿa s the sultans were never as autocratic as has been assumed It was only in the 19th century that Ottoman reformers centralized government and society on Western lines and restricted or ended the traditional autonomies that had done so much to decentralize power in the previous centuries The decline of the Ottoman Empire 1566 1807 Internal problems The reign of Süleyman I the Magnificent marked the peak of Ottoman grandeur but signs of weakness signaled the beginning of a slow but steady decline An important factor in the decline was the increasing lack of ability and power of the sultans themselves Süleyman tired of the campaigns and arduous duties of administration and withdrew more and more from public affairs to devote himself to the pleasures of his harem To take his place the office of grand vizier was built up to become second only to the sultan in authority and revenue the grand vizier s authority included the right to demand and obtain absolute obedience But while the grand vizier was able to stand in for the sultan in official functions he could not take his place as the focus of loyalty for all the different classes and groups in the empire The resulting separation of political loyalty and central authority led to a decline in the government s ability to impose its will The triumph of the devşirme The mid 16th century also saw the triumph of the devşirme over the Turkish nobility which lost almost all its power and position in the capital and returned to its old centres of power in southeastern Europe and Anatolia In consequence many of the timar s formerly assigned to the notables to support the sipahi cavalry were seized by the devşirme and transformed into great estates becoming for all practical purposes private property thus depriving the state of their services as well as the revenue they could have produced if they had been transformed into tax farms While the sipahi s did not entirely disappear as a military force the Janissaries and the associated artillery corps became the most important segments of the Ottoman army Corruption and nepotism Because the sultans no longer could control the devşirme by setting it against the Turkish notables the devşirme gained control of the sultans and used the government for its own benefit rather than for the benefit of a sultan or his empire In consequence corruption and nepotism took hold at all levels of administration In addition with the challenge of the notables gone the devşirme class itself broke into countless factions and parties each working for its own advantage by supporting the candidacy of a particular imperial prince and forming close alliances with corresponding palace factions led by the mothers sisters and wives of each prince After Süleyman therefore accession and appointments to positions came less as the result of ability than as a consequence of the political maneuverings of the devşirme harem political parties Those in power found it more convenient to control the princes by keeping them uneducated and inexperienced and the old tradition by which young princes were educated in the field was replaced by a system in which all the princes were isolated in the private apartments of the harem and limited to such education as its permanent inhabitants could provide In consequence few of the sultans after Süleyman had the ability to exercise real power even when circumstances might have given them the opportunity But the lack of ability did not affect the sultans desire for power lacking the means developed by their predecessors to achieve that end they developed new ones Selim II ruled 1566 74 known as the Sot or the Blonde and Murad III 1574 95 both gained power by playing off the different factions and by weakening the office of grand vizier the main administrative vehicle for factional and party influence in the declining Ottoman state As the grand viziers lost their dominant position following the downfall of Mehmed Sokollu served 1565 79 power fell first into the hands of the women of the harem during the Sultanate of the Women 1570 78 and then into the grasp of the chief Janissary officers the aga s who dominated from 1578 to 1625 No matter who controlled the apparatus of government during that time however the results were the same a growing paralysis of administration throughout the empire increasing anarchy and misrule and the fracture of society into discrete and increasingly hostile communities Economic difficulties Under such conditions it was inevitable that the Ottoman government could not meet the increasingly difficult problems that plagued the empire in the 16th and 17th centuries Economic difficulties began in the late 16th century when the Dutch and British completely closed the old international trade routes through the Middle East As a result the prosperity of the Middle Eastern provinces declined The Ottoman economy was disrupted by inflation caused by the influx of precious metals into Europe from the Americas and by an increasing imbalance of trade between East and West As the treasury lost more of its revenues to the depredations of the devşirme it began to meet its obligations by debasing the coinage sharply increasing taxes and resorting to confiscations all of which only worsened the situation All those depending on salaries found themselves underpaid resulting in further theft overtaxation and corruption Holders of the timar s and tax farms started using them as sources of revenue to be exploited as rapidly as possible rather than as long term holdings whose prosperity had to be maintained to provide for the future Political influence and corruption also enabled them to transform those holdings into private property either as life holdings malikâne or religious endowments vakif without any further obligations to the state Inflation also weakened the traditional industries and trades Functioning under strict price regulations the guilds were unable to provide quality goods at prices low enough to compete with the cheap European manufactured goods that entered the empire without restriction because of the Capitulations agreements In consequence traditional Ottoman industry fell into rapid decline Christian subjects combined with foreign diplomats and merchants who were protected by the Capitulations largely to drive the sultan s Muslim and Jewish subjects out of industry and commerce and into poverty and despair Social unrest Those conditions were exacerbated by large population growth during the 16th and 17th centuries part of the general population rise that occurred in much of Europe at that time The amount of subsistence available not only failed to expand to meet the needs of the rising population but in fact fell as the result of the anarchic political and economic conditions Social distress increased and disorder resulted Landless and jobless peasants fled off the land as did cultivators subjected to confiscatory taxation at the hands of timariot s and tax farmers thus reducing food supplies even more Many peasants fled to the cities exacerbating the food shortage and reacted against their troubles by rising against the established order Many more remained in the countryside and joined rebel bands known as levend s and Jelālīs Celâlis the latter fomenting what became known as the Jelālī Revolts which took what they could from those who remained to cultivate and trade The central government became weaker and as more peasants joined rebel bands they were able to take over large parts of the empire keeping all the remaining tax revenues for themselves and often cutting off the regular food supplies to the cities and the Ottoman armies still guarding the frontiers Under such conditions the armies broke up with most of the salaried positions in the Janissary and other corps becoming no more than new sources of revenue without their holders performing any military services in return Thus the Ottoman armies came to be composed primarily of fighting contingents supplied by the vassals of the sultan particularly the Crimean Tatar khans together with whatever rabble could be dragged from the streets of the cities whenever required by campaigns The Ottoman army still remained strong enough to curb the most pressing provincial revolts but the revolts proliferated through the centuries of decline making effective administration almost impossible outside the major cities still under the government s control In many ways the substratum of Ottoman society formed by the millet s and various economic social and religious guilds and buttressed by the organization of the Ottoman ulama cushioned the mass of the people and the ruling class itself from the worst effects of that multisided disintegration and enabled the empire to survive much longer than otherwise would have been possible External relations Despite those difficulties the internal Ottoman weakness was evident to only the most discerning Ottoman and foreign observers during much of the 17th century Most Europeans continued to fear the Ottoman army as they had two centuries earlier and although its ability was reduced it remained strong enough to prevent the provincial rebels from assuming complete control and even to make a few more significant conquests in both East and West The empire suffered defeats for the first time but it retained reserve strength sufficient for it to recoup when needed and to prevent the loss of any integral parts of the empire Although the Ottoman navy was destroyed by the fleet of the Holy League at the Battle of Lepanto 1571 it was able to rebuild and regain naval mastery in the eastern Mediterranean through the rest of the 16th and most of the 17th century taking Tunis from the Spanish Habsburgs 1574 Fez now Fès Morocco from the Portuguese 1578 and Crete from Venice 1669 In consequence as long as Europe continued to fear the Ottomans no one tried to upset the precarious peace treaties concluded in Süleyman s later years and the Ottomans were shielded from their own weakness for quite some time Despite the upsets then disturbing the body politic the Ottomans occasionally undertook new campaigns When the rising principality of Moscow conquered the last Mongol states in Central Asia and reached the Caspian Sea thus posing a threat to the Ottoman positions north of the Black Sea and in the Caucasus range Murad III conquered the northern sections of the Caucasus and taking advantage of the anarchy in Iran that followed the death of Shah Ṭahmāsp I in 1576 seized long coveted Azerbaijan He thus brought the empire to the peak of its territorial extent and added wealthy new provinces whose revenues for a half century at least rescued the Ottoman treasury from the worst of its financial troubles and gave the empire a respite during which it could attempt to remedy its worst problems Reform efforts Murad IV detail of a miniature painting 19th century in the Topkapı Palace Museum Sonia Halliday Photographs The Ottoman reforms introduced during the 17th century were undertaken by Sultans Osman II ruled 1618 22 and Murad IV 1623 40 and by the famous dynasty of Köprülü grand viziers who served under Mehmed IV 1648 87 Köprülü Mehmed Paşa served 1656 61 and Köprülü Fazıl Ahmed Paşa served 1661

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  • Ottoman Empire | Britannica.com
    miniature portrait painting Murad II detail of a miniature painting 16th century in the Topkapı Palace Rumeli Fortress Istanbul Rumeli Fortress Rumeli Hisarı on the European bank of the Bosporus Istanbul Selim I Selim I detail of a miniature 16th century in the Topkapı Palace Museum Istanbul Süleyman I Süleyman I detail of an engraving of a panel by Pieter Coecke van Aelst showing Mosque of Süleyman Istanbul Mosque of Süleyman built in the mid 16th century Istanbul Murad IV miniature painting portrait Murad IV detail of a miniature painting 19th century in the Topkapı Palace Selim III Selim III detail of a portrait in the Topkapı Palace Museum Istanbul Anatolia dissolution of the Ottoman Empire 1807 1924 The dissolution of the Ottoman Empire 1807 1924 Abdülhamid II Abdülhamid II c 1890 Enver Paşa Enver Paşa Egypt ancient Ottoman Empire Egypt as part of the Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire army 03 15 Learn about the Ottoman Empire s army which was renowned for its archers Vienna Ottoman sieges 01 56 Vienna withstood several sieges by the Ottoman Turks most notably in 1683 Versailles Treaty of 01 09 U S President Woodrow Wilson was among the statesmen who gathered in France

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  • View History: Ottoman Empire | Facts, History, & Map | Britannica.com
    2012 Add new Web site British Broadcasting Corporation Religion Ottoman Empire Parul Jain Dec 06 2012 Add new Web site HyperHistory net The Decline of the Ottoman Empire Parul Jain Dec 06 2012 References to Timur s ambitions in India changed to a more generic reference to the east Jingchao Ye Kenneth Pletcher Nov 13 2012 Changed romanization of sipahi Noah Tesch Oct 25 2012 Add new Web site GlobalSecurity org Ottoman Empire Parul Jain Nov 07 2011 Add new Web site How Stuff Works History Ottoman Empire Parul Jain Nov 07 2011 Add new Web site University of Wisconsin Madison Ottoman Empire Yamini Chauhan Sep 12 2011 Table of Ottoman sultans added Kenneth Pletcher Jun 30 2011 Revised to include mention of the Arabic meaning of the term ghazi Fredric Williams Noah Tesch Nov 24 2010 Added new Web site Sam Houston State University The Rise of the Turks and the Ottoman Empire Dutta Promeet Dec 22 2008 Added new Web site How Stuff Works History Ottoman Empire Shiveta Singh Oct 21 2008 Added new Web site All About Turkey Origins of the Ottoman Empire Veenu Setia Jul 29 2008 Added new Web site Turizm net The Ottoman Empire Veenu Setia Jul 29 2008 Added new Web site The Ottomans org Ottoman dynasty Veenu Setia Jul 29 2008 Article revised and updated Michael Ray Mar 26 2008 Island names changed to Bozcaada and Gokceada Michael Ray Mar 26 2008 Added new Web site Naqshbandi OttomanDynasty Gita Liesangthem Mar 10 2008 Added new Web site Jewish Virtual Library Ottoman Rule 1517 1917 Deepti Mahajan Feb 08 2008 Added new Web site LookLex Encyclopedia Ottoman Empire Deepti Mahajan Feb 08 2008 Added new Web site LookLex Encyclopaedia Ottoman Empire Gloria Lotha Jan 29 2008 Added new Web site HistoryWorld History of

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    have other ideas for improving this article Let us know We d also like to know what sources you ve found that support the changes you d like to see Your feedback has been submitted successfully There was a problem submitting your feedback Please try again later Britannica Stories Behind The News Philosophy Religion Healing the Schism Pope Meets Patriarch Behind The News Science Gravitational Waves Observed Spotlight History Thomas

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  • Turkey | history - geography | Britannica.com
    productivity of agricultural land Structurally the country lies within the geologically young folded mountain zone of Eurasia which in Turkey trends predominantly east to west The geology of Turkey is complex with sedimentary rocks ranging from Paleozoic to Quaternary numerous intrusions and extensive areas of volcanic material Four main regions can be identified the northern folded zone the southern folded zone the central massif and the Arabian platform The northern folded zone The northern folded zone comprises a series of mountain ridges increasing in elevation toward the east that occupy a belt about 90 to 125 miles 145 to 200 km wide immediately south of the Black Sea The system as a whole is referred to as the Pontic Mountains Doğukaradeniz Dağları In the west the system has been fractured by the faulting that produced the Turkish straits in Thrace the Ergene lowlands are among the largest in the country and the main mountain range the Yıldız Istranca reaches only 3 379 feet 1 030 metres Lowlands also occur to the south of the Sea of Marmara and along the lower Sakarya River east of the Bosporus High ridges trending east west rise abruptly from the Black Sea coast and the coastal plain is thus narrow opening out only in the deltas of the Kızıl and Yeşil rivers These rivers break through the mountain barrier in a zone of weakness where summits are below 2 000 feet 600 metres dividing the Pontic Mountains into western and eastern sections In the western section between the Sakarya and Kızıl rivers there are four main ridges the Küre Bolu Ilgaz and Köroğlu mountains East of the Yeşil the system is higher narrower and steeper Less than 50 miles from the coast peaks rise to more than 10 000 feet 3 000 metres with a maximum elevation of 12 917 feet 3 937 metres in the Kaçkar range Separated by the narrow trough of the Kelkit and Çoruh river valleys stands a second ridge that rises above 8 000 feet 2 400 metres The southern folded zone Turkey Paul Kenward Stone Getty Images The southern folded zone occupies the southern third of the country from the Aegean to the Gulf of Iskenderun from which it extends to the northeast and east around the northern side of the Arabian platform Over most of its length the Mediterranean coastal plain is narrow but there are two major lowland embayments The Antalya Plain extends inland some 20 miles 30 km from the Gulf of Antalya the Adana Plain measuring roughly 90 by 60 miles 145 by 100 km comprises the combined deltas of the Seyhan and Ceyhan rivers The mountain system falls into two main parts West of Antalya a complex series of ridges with a north south trend reaches 6 500 to 8 200 feet 2 000 to 2 500 metres but the most prominent feature is the massive Taurus Toros mountain system running parallel to the Mediterranean coast and extending along the southern border There

    Original URL path: http://www.britannica.com/place/Turkey (2016-02-13)
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  • Anatolia: expansion of the Ottoman Empire, 1300–1699 | Encyclopedia Britannica
    1300 1699 Expansion of the Ottoman Empire Encyclop dia Britannica Inc MEDIA FOR Ottoman Empire Citation MLA APA Harvard Chicago Email To From Comment You have successfully emailed this Error

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  • Orhan | Encyclopedia Britannica
    Orhan Stapleton Historical Collection Heritage Images MEDIA FOR Ottoman Empire Citation MLA APA Harvard Chicago Email To From Comment You have successfully emailed this Error when sending the email Try

    Original URL path: http://www.britannica.com/place/Ottoman-Empire/images-videos/Orhan/186744 (2016-02-13)
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  • bey | Turkish title | Britannica.com
    101 10 Devastating Dystopias Our Days Are Numbered 7 Crazy Facts About Calendars What made you want to look up bey To From Subject Comments Please limit to 900 characters Cancel FEATURED QUIZZES Vocabulary Quiz True or False Spell It See More Quizzes MORE QUIZZES Getting Into Fictional Character Who Wrote It Southeast Asia Fact or Fiction See More Quizzes About Us About Our Ads Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms of Use 2016 Encyclopædia Britannica Inc MLA style bey Encyclopædia Britannica Encyclopædia Britannica Online Encyclopædia Britannica Inc 2016 Web 12 Feb 2016 http www britannica com topic bey APA style bey 2016 In Encyclopædia Britannica Retrieved from http www britannica com topic bey Harvard style bey 2016 Encyclopædia Britannica Online Retrieved 12 February 2016 from http www britannica com topic bey Chicago Manual of Style Encyclopædia Britannica Online s v bey accessed February 12 2016 http www britannica com topic bey While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules there may be some discrepancies Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions Update Link Click anywhere inside the article to add text or insert superscripts subscripts and special characters You can also highlight a section and use the tools in this bar to modify existing content Add links to related Britannica articles You can double click any word or highlight a word or phrase in the text below and then select an article from the search box Or simply highlight a word or phrase in the article then enter the article name or term you d like to link to in the search box below and select from the list of results Note we do not allow links to external resources in editor Please click the Web sites link for

    Original URL path: http://www.britannica.com/topic/bey (2016-02-13)
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