History Of Ottoman Empire In Turkey

The history of the Ottoman Empire: it is said to have been founded in 1453 when Mehmed II captured Constantinople from the Byzantine christians, renaming the city Istanbul.

The reign of the Ottoman empire, despite the success of its expansionist strategy and the influence which this culture had upon a vast portion of the world, has been largely ignored by Western historians.

This is surprising considering that the Ottomans or 'Osmali' ruled a vast section of the middle-eastern Europe for four-and-a-half centuries under one lineage unbroken from the first ruler, Osman, who gave his name to the empire.

While the Ottoman dynasty was established in 1299 by Osman Bey in Sogut, a region east of modern-day Bursa, the Ottoman Empire can only really be said to have taken off a century and a half later at the fall of Constantinople. Consolidating power for the duration of the 14th century, the Ottoman's established a number of capital cities and fought off Mongolian invasions.

The birth of the Ottoman Empire itself, can be traced to 1453 when muslim leader Mehmed II Khan Gazi captured Constantinople from the ruling Byzantine christians. Constantinople, as it was known, had previously been the seat of the Byzantine Empire, famous throughout the globe for its trade in minerals, silk and other materials. By straddling the Bosphorus, the city linked Europe to Asia and presided over the trade route to the East.

Despite this advantageous position, Constantinople had begun to experience widescale degradation and was rife for the picking and an injection of new enthusiasm. The transfer of power also marked the begining of the end of the Byzantine Empire; once the Byzantine christians had lost their capital, the platform for their imperialist expansion was no longer stable and exposed the empire to attack.

For the Ottomans, however, their reign was just beginning. Renaming the city Istanbul, the Ottomans began to expand both north towards Hungary and east towards the Middle East.

The inspiration leadership of Mehmed II did much for the Ottoman cause as it expanded its presence.

Only 21 years old when he wrested control of Constantinople, Mehmed II, was reknowned as a warrior (the term 'Gazi' is still used as a term of respect in modern Turkey, denoting a warrior) with an unpredictable and often viscious temperament.

Reservations as to his notorious temper aside, Mehmed II revitalised Istanbul and dedicated considerable wealth to revamping a number of key centres throughout modern-day Turkey.

One can still find physical evidence of the Ottoman presence in cities such as Bursa, for a brief few years the capital of the Ottoman empire.

Istanbul, under his leadership, became a centre of intellectualism, attracting muslim scholars and creative talent from throughout the Arab and Asian world. The architecture of the city has been much trumpeted with the Blue Mosque, built during the reign of the Ottomans, still attracting scores of architectural scholars and tourists to this day.

Not that the Ottomans were content with limiting their influence to this region alone. The fourth Ottoman ruler, Sultan Suleyman, was the most influential imperialist ruler that the empire knew, extending the empire north into Hungary up to Austria, west into Morocco and Spain and into Damascus and Cyprus in the east.

Once the reign of the Sultan ended in 1566, however, the empire began to exhibit cracks in its previously invincible structure.

The empire began to suffer attacks from countries eager to reassert control of their land, and internal divisions as to the influence of muslim law.

Anti-Ottoman rebels fought against the rulers but were largely ineffectual.

When Catherine the Great of Russia regained control of the Black Sea region, the platform had been laid for the demise of the Ottoman empire. The Greeks, with the aid of the Russians and the English, began to make significant territorial gains, forcing the Ottoman's to recognise Greek independence.

The final death of the Ottoman empire can be said to have taken place in the 1920's when the modern Republic of Turkey was formed. Having originally entered the first World War as an ally of Germany, the Turks eventually surrendered to the allied powers, but in the subsequent negotiations were stripped of much land. It took a significant effort by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, considered the father of modern Turkey, to reassert control of Turkish land.

The Ottoman empire was finally abolished in 1920 in the Treaty of Sevres.

The Treaty of Lausanne finally established the sovereignty of modern Turkey, establishing the modern Republic with Ataturk at the helm and spelling an end to a 600-year dynasty.

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