World History 2 52 - 4.2 The Ottoman Empire

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Analyze the significance of the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, including the rise of the Sultanate of Women
  • Describe the relationship between the Ottoman Empire and the nations of Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries
  • Identify scientific and technological innovations of the Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire was the foremost and longest-lived of the Islamic empires of the early modern world. It was formed by a small group of Turkic-speaking warriors assisted by Anatolian and Balkan Christian warlords and their followers at the end of the thirteenth century. For nearly seven hundred years, the Ottoman state lay at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa, ruling over a population diverse in ethnicity, language, and religion. In 1453, the Ottomans conquered Constantinople. A century later, the city, then called Istanbul, was one of the largest in the world, occupying a prize position on the Bosporus, the sea passage between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, and facilitating trade between the Silk Roads and Europe. At its height under Sultan Suleiman I in the sixteenth century, the Ottoman military was the most technologically advanced in the Mediterranean world, threatening the gates of Vienna to the west, reaching the Persian Gulf to the east, and conquering Yemen and the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina to the south (Figure 4.11). In the seventeenth century, as its enemies grew stronger, the empire became more inward-looking, focusing less on external expansion and more on resolving domestic affairs, professionalizing its bureaucracy, and conducting internal reforms.

A map showing parts of southern Europe, northeastern Africa, and southwestern Asia is shown. The cities of Genoa, Venice, Rome, and Naples are labeled in Italy. A highlighted area stretches from the cities of Buda and Pest in Europe, down through Belgrade, circling the Black Sea in a thin strip in the north, through Constantinople, and Trebizond extending to the Caspian Sea. The area extends south to Beirut, Damascus, and Jerusalem. A small strip branches to the east through the city of Basra and south along the Persian Gulf (Arabian Gulf.) At Jerusalem, the highlighted area heads south to Suez along the eastern border of the Red Sea down through Medina, Jeddah, Mecca, and extending to the tip of Arabia. From Suez the area extends west into the northern portion of Africa through Alexandria (and south toward Lake Nasser), Tripoli (and an oval area south), Tunis, and Algiers.
Figure 4.11 At its height, the Ottoman Empire (orange) stretched from the Balkans to the Caspian Sea. It also laid claim to the coast of North Africa, Egypt, and portions of the Arabian Peninsula. (attribution: Copyright Rice University, OpenStax, under CC BY 4.0 license)

The content of this course has been taken from the free World History, Volume 2: from 1400 textbook by Openstax