Origins of the Turks   Foundation and Rise of the Ottoman Empire 1299-1453

Zenith of Empire  1453 - 1566   Decline of the Empire and Rival1566 - 1780s  

Reforms of the Empire 1789- 1922   World War I andthe end of the empire

The Ottoman Military -Janissaries   Ottoman Government

Ottoman Music,Art,Culture ,Architecture Whirling Dervishes

The Harem   Economy of the Ottoman Empire

Timeline of the Ottoman Empire




Origins of the Turks


marble head of the Göktürk general Kul Tigin (8th century AD), Mongolia

Turkish peoples, originally from the Altai mountain regions of northern Mongolia began to migrate eastward in the 8th century into Central Asia and on to the Anatolian plains...more


mounter warrior of the Ottoman Empire

The Turks excelled in light cavalry tactics and fought with a composite bow


early Ottoman flag

The early Ottomans were mostly Shamanistic and some used the symbol of the star and crescent in their worship of sun, moon, and sky gods. These later became incorporated in the Turkish flag.




Foundation and Rise of

the Ottoman Empire



Bajazet I or Bayezid I (1389-1403

In the 13th century the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum ruled what is now modern Turkey, was being destabilized by Mongol invasions .


One of the smallest emirates in the Sultanate was the emirate of Osman,which was the closest to the Byzantine Empire. From this small emirate would rise the last of the great near eastern empires, surviving until the modern age 600 years later and covering three continents .


The Osman emirate was able to expand through the traditional strength of Turkish Calvary, learning military techniques from the Byzantines, artillery (bombards )and using Janissaries to make the Ottomans one of the most advanced and disciplined fighting forces for their time.more


video on the Ottoman Empire


Osman's Dream

The History of the

Ottoman Empire

Caroline Finkel .

A more up to date

survey of

Ottoman history




 The Ottoman


 Lord Kinross,1979

 classic history of the Ottoman Empire

Listen to




The Fall of   Constantinople

from The Rise and Fall

of the Roman Empire

for free at Librivox




Lord of the Horizons:

A History of the

Ottoman Empire

Jason Goodwin




The Janissary Tree

Jason Goodwin 2006

A crime novel,set in

Istanbul in 1836.

The first in a series

featuring the eunuch detective Yashim




The Sultan's Admiral: Barbarossa: Pirate

and Empire Builder

Ernle Bradford




Music of the

Whirling Dervishes 





Ottoman Empire wear




Ottomam coins 




Zenith of Empire  

1453 - 1566


The golden age of the Ottoman Empire's artistic, literary and architectural development.Suleiman had many new buildings built for the new capital at Istanbul under Sinan after taking Byzantium and reorders law codes.


a Malmuk lancer


Selim I adds Syria, Egypt and parts of Arabia to the Empire. Malmuk empire defeated in Egypt in 1517 with their advanced artillery. The Malmuks had defeated the Mongols and Crusaders and were rivals to the Ottomans for supreme religious leadership.The Ottoman sultans assume the title of Calipah. The Persians of the Safavid empire were defeated at the Battle of Chaldiran 1514 and the Ottomans Ottomans gained control over the north western part of Iran.


A Polish hussar for the Battle of Vienna

Famous for their 'wing backs.'


 In 1683, the Ottoman reached the high water mark of the empire in Europe with the defeat at the Battle of Vienna..more


Barbarossa appointed naval commander, defeats Holy League at the Battle of Preveza in 1538


video on the Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace was the official and primary residence in the city of the Ottoman Sultans for 400 years of their 624-year reign,from 1465 to 1856.




Decline of the Empire and Rival

1566 - 1780s  


decline of the Ottoman Empire


The empire was weakened by Sultans purging possible claimants to the throne by murdering or isolating possible heirs in the Kafes (The Cage) to the throne making them mentally unstable. The power of the vizers and ladies of the harem grew  after Suliman the Magnificent. The Sultan no longer led armies in the field and the Ottomans stuck to their traditional form of warfare while the Europeans made great advances in handheld firearms, artillery on land and ships .


The easy defeat of the Malmuks against Napoleon Battle of the Pyramids in 1798 seriously alarmed the Ottomans who began reforms of the military. However, unlike Meiji Japan they were not able to reform quickly enough..more


The defeat at Battle of Lepanto in 1571 shattered the myth of Ottoman invincibility


Sultan Ahmed built the Blue Mosque 1609-1616. While in the past great mosques were paid for with war booty, reverses meant this mosque was paid with money from the treasury.


An Iznik tile. Iznik ceramics were originally made in imitation of Chinese porcelain, which was highly prized by the Ottoman sultans


The Tulip Era 1718-1730

Baroque influence can be seen in the Fountain of Ahmed III, built by Sultan Ahmed III in 1728 .


Ottoman Empire begins to orient itself toward embarked on new policies and programs during this period, which established the first Ottoman language printing press, and promoted commerce and industry and contact with Europe. The name of the period derives from the tulip craze among the Ottoman court society







Reforms of the Empire

1789- 1922



Ottoman military reform efforts begin with Selim III (1789–1807) who made the first major attempts to modernize the army along European lines with foreign experts.Mahud's son came to the throne in 1839 and proclaimed the Tanizmat or Reorganization. Equal treatment of Muslims and non Muslims in the courts. Newspapers were founded and secular schools were opened .There was great foreign economic penetration of the empire at this time, as the craftsmen of the empire could not compete with cheaper factory made goods ...more


Mahmud II (r.1808-09) , massacred the Janissary corps in 1826 in the Auspicious Incident and abolished the order


Muhammad Ali breaks from the Ottoman Empire in the 1830s and could have sussessfuly invaded the empire if not for the intervention of the European powers.


Sultan Abdül aziz (1861-76) spent lavishly on a new  navy making it the 3rd largest in the world by the 1880s. and leading the empire deaply in debt.




World War I and

the end of the empire



World War I started at the meeting point of two declining empires, the Ottomans and Austro-Hungary with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, Serbia in 1914,leading to the end of the 600 year old empire.

The Allies expected the 'Sick Man of Europe', to be a pushover, such battles as  Gallipoli and the Siege of Kut were to prove this was not to be.


The Berlin-Baghdad railroad and led to tension with the UK in the pew-War years.


A German Gotha bomber used by the Ottoman Air Force


40 new countries were formed from the partitioning of the Ottoman empire after WWI.The Sultanate was abolished on November 1, 1922, and the last sultan, Mehmed VI Vahdettin (reigned 1918–1922), left the country on November 17, 1922. Mustafa Kemal, who became known as Ataturk, became Turkey's first president in 1923




The Ottoman Military:


Sipahis (cavalry)

Ottoman, Navy



The janissaries were the personal slaves of the sultan. Janissarie was from Ottoman Turkish: (yeniçeri) meaning "new  soldier" with the Devshirme ( the Collecting ) recruitment system, where a certain number of Christian boys in their early teens were delivered to Ottoman authorities and converted to Islam..more


video on the  janissaries

and the fall of Contantinople in 1453


Unlike earlier nomadic empires, the Ottomans developed a powerful navy.




Ottoman Government



Unlike previous empires formed by nomadic peoples, the Ottomans were able to administer and govern a widespread empire of diverse populations for hundreds of years thanks to a combination of a well trained civil service and a disciplined army, where soldiers served as policemen in times of peace and laws based on the sacred laws of Islam. There was surprisingly  little civil disobedience, even in many parts of the empire they administered were of a different race and religion, with exception of the Shias...more


The Sublime Porte or Divan



Ottoman Music,Art,Culture


Whirling Dervishes



a video of Dervish whirling




The Harem





Economy of the

Ottoman Empire





Movies Taking place in

the Ottoman Empire



Timeline of the Ottoman Empire


Ottoman Empire Quiz




Ottoman Empire  Links




 privacy  Sitemap