4. Consolidation and Conflict in Europe and the

    Greater Mediterranean: The Ottoman

    Empire (1289-1923)

 

I. What were the Origins of the Ottoman Empire?

    A. Who are the Ottoman Turks?

            1. The Turks were Turkic speaking people that                           

                 migrated into the Middle East from Central

                 Asia in the 9th – 11th centuries

                  - Seljuk Turks gained control of the Arab

                        Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad in 1055,

                        and consolidated their power over the

                        Anatolian peninsula, Syria, Palestine

                 - In 1253 the Mongols destroyed the Seljuk

                        capital at Konya, but quickly withdrew

                 - As Seljuk authority weakened, various groups

                         of Turks competed for control of the region

 

            2. The Ottoman Turks > a group of Turks

                   organized under the leadership of Osman

                   (1280-1326) who established themselves on land

                   given to them by the Seljuks in Anatolia

 

    B. How Was the Ottoman Empire Created?

            1. In 1326 the Ottomans began to expand across

                    Anatolia, by 1350 they crossed the Bosphorus

                    straits entering into the Balkans and Europe

 

            2. Conquest of Constantinople (1453)

                 - Mehmed II (1451-1481) led the successful

                        conquest of Constantinople in 1453

 

            3. Subsequent conquests extended the empire

                 into Syria, Egypt and North Africa; through

                 the Balkans and into Hungary; around the Black

                 and Red Seas

 

            4. Ottoman expansion into Europe was checked by:

                 - Battle of Lepanto (1571)

                 - Failed siege of Vienna (1683)

 

II. What Was the Political and Social Organization of

     the Ottoman Empire?

    A. Istanbul

            - Constantinople was renamed Istanbul (City of

                    Islam), and became the capital city

            - Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque

            - New mosques were erected

 

    B. The Sultan

            1. Claimed to be Caliph, leader of all Islam

 

            2. Succession left up to God > the Sultan’s sons

                    would compete for the throne, the losers were

                    usually executed

 

            3. The Ottoman Court

                 - Adopted from the Byzantines its social

                         hierarchy, pomp, rituals and splendor

 

            4. Topkapi Palace

 

            5. The Harem

 

    C. Askeri

            > exempt from taxes and dependent on

                 the Sultan

 

            1. Military Elite

                 - helped to bring the Ottomans into power and

                        achieve their conquests

                 - Timar System

                        > they were granted large estates in newly

                                  subject lands for their support in

                                  exchange for military service

                 - sought political influence and control over state

                        bureaucracies, but  the ruling and military  

                        elite were to be selected based on merit and

                        not birth

 

            2. Bureaucrats

                 - educated in state or palace school

                 - emphasis on studying the law of Islam

                 - progress achieved through promotion through

                        various stages of the bureaucracy

 

            3. Ulama

                 - Religious Scholars

                 - advised the Sultan

 

    D. Janissaries

            - elite military troops comprised of slaves

            - Devshirme system

               > conscription of boys from the Balkans to be

                       educated and trained for the military and

                       administration            

            - came to exercise great deal of political influence

 

    E. Reaya

            - taxpayers

            - commoners > farmers, artisans, traders, merchants

 

    F. Status of Women

            - Society was patriarchal, but women had

                 specific rights guaranteed by Shar’ia law:

                        > right to property

                        > right to choose her husband

                        > right to guardianship over her children

                        > in case of physical abuse could be

                                    granted a divorce

 

    G. Religious Toleration

            - Millets > each religious community kept its own

                     courts, schools and charities; also maintained

                     their own neighborhoods

            - however, non-Muslims paid a special tax and

                     Muslims were often given preference

 

 

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