The Ottoman Empire was a vast empire that exerted control over a significant portion of Southeast Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa for several centuries, starting in the 14th century and lasting until the early 20th century. Its origins can be traced back to the end of the 13th century when Osman I established it in Söğüt, a town in northwestern Anatolia.
The Ottomans expanded into Europe after 1354, conquering the Balkans and transforming their beylik into a transcontinental empire. One of their most notable achievements was the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by Mehmed the Conqueror, which marked the end of the Byzantine Empire.
The Ottoman Empire
During the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Empire reached its pinnacle in terms of power, prosperity, and the development of its governmental, social, and economic systems.
In the beginning of the 17th century, meaning of 1600’, the Ottomans encompassed 32 province. Plus that it has many numerous vassal states too. Some of the mentioned territories were assimilated into the state. However some of the was granted autonomy over the centuries. These aotonomies varied too.
We can say that Ottoman Empire played a important role in the interactions between the Middle East and Europe for a quite long time. Although there are many reaons Istanbul, meaning “Payitaht” serving as its capital, control over lands throughout the Mediterranean Basin is among them.
But in a very long peace era from 1740 to 1768, the Ottoman military fell back comparing to its rivals. This was particularly the Habsburg and Russian empires. These resulted in important defeats.
Plus with different challenges, the defeats wementioned compelled the Ottomans to start a process of reform and modernization. This is also known as Tanzimat Period. Throughout the 19th century, the Ottoman state underwent substantial internal strengthening and reorganization, despite experiencing further territorial losses, especially in the Balkans, where several new states emerged.
How Did Ottoman Empire Ended?
During the Tanzimat period from 1839 to 1876, the Ottoman government implemented a series of reforms that aimed to modernize various aspects of society.
These reforms included the establishment of a modern conscripted army, improvements in the banking system, the decriminalization of the replacement of religious law with secular law, and the transformation of traditional guilds into modern factories etc. is seen. As part of these changes, the Ottoman Ministry of Post was set up in Istanbul in 1840.
In terms of technological advancements, American inventor Samuel Morse was granted an Ottoman patent for the telegraph in 1847. Sultan Abdülmecid personally tested this innovative invention and endorsed its use within the empire.
The peak of the reformist period came with the introduction of the Constitution, known as the Kanûn-u Esâsî. The parliament, which had been established under the Constitution, survived for only two years before the sultan suspended its activities.
Crimen War and Ahead of It
The Crimean War, which took place from 1853 to 1856, was a significant conflict among the major European powers vying for influence over territories within the declining Ottoman Empire. To finance the war, the Ottoman state had to borrow a substantial amount of money, totaling 5 million pounds sterling, on August 4, 1854. As a result of the war, a large number of Crimean Tatars, approximately 200,000 individuals, migrated in successive waves to the Ottoman Empire.
Due to the mounting debt incurred during the Crimean War, the Ottoman state declared bankruptcy in 1875. In 1881, an institution called the Ottoman Public Debt Administration was established, which effectively took control of the Ottoman Empire’s debt.
This administration consisted of a council of European individuals, with alternating presidencies held by France and Britain. The institution held significant control over various sectors of the Ottoman economy and used its position to ensure continued European investment in the empire, often to the detriment of local Ottoman interests.
Additionally, the Russo-Turkish War, taking place from 1877 to 1878, concluded with a resounding victory for Russia. Consequently, the Ottoman Empire experienced a substantial decline in its European territories. Bulgaria emerged as an independent principality within the Ottoman Empire, Romania achieved full independence, and Serbia and Montenegro also gained complete independence, albeit with smaller territories. In addition to this in the year of 1878, the empire of Austria-Hungary occupied Bosnia-Herzegovina and Novi Pazar. These was Ottoman provinces.
The decline and ultimate dissolution of the Ottoman Empire (1908-1922) began with the Second Constitutional Era, which emerged as a hopeful period with the Young Turk Revolution. This revolution reinstated the Constitution of the Ottoman Empire and introduced a multi-party political system with a two-stage electoral process under the Ottoman parliament.
The constitution aimed to modernize the empire’s institutions, strengthen its position, and enable it to resist external pressures. It promised freedom and sought to alleviate tensions among different communities, envisioning a more harmonious empire. However, this period ultimately became a tale of the empire’s fading struggle.
Members of the Young Turks movement, who had previously operated clandestinely, formed their own political parties. Notable among them were the “Committee of Union and Progress” and the “Freedom and Accord Party.” Ethnic parties also emerged, including Poale Zion, Al-Fatat, and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation representing the Armenian national movement. Exploiting the internal conflicts,
Austria-Hungary officially annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908. Despite military reforms that aimed to modernize the Ottoman army, empire lost its North African territories and Dodecanese islands in Italo-Turkish War. In addition to that in the Balkan wars, lost nearly all of its European territories. In the years leading up to World War I, the empire experienced ongoing unrest, including incidents like the 31 March Incident and two subsequent coups in 1912 and 1913.
Following their defeat in World War I, the Ottoman Empire signed the Armistice of Mudros on October 30, 1918. The capital of Ottoman Empire was occupied by combined forces. In general these are British, French, Italian, and Greek forces. In May 1919, Greece took control of the Smyrna region.
During this time, a nationalist opposition arose within the Turkish national movement, which ultimately triumphed in the Turkish War of Independence (1919-1923) under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal. As a result, the sultanate was abolished on November 1, marking a significant turning point.