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



 Ottoman Empire Documentary

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


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 after defeating the Byzantine Empire . More


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. TheMalmuks 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



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



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




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. ..more


40 new countries were formed from the partitioning of the Ottoman

Empire after WWI.The Sultanate was abolished on November 1,


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


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



Ottoman Music,Art,Culture


Whirling Dervishes


The Harem



Economy of the

Ottoman Empire

Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire

Jason Goodwin explores how the Ottomans rose and how, against all odds, they lingered on. 


Osman's Dream : The Story of Ottoman Empire 1300-1923  Audiobook



Movies Taking place in

the Ottoman Empire


Timeline of the Ottoman Empire


Ottoman Empire Quiz




Ottoman Empire  Links






Origins of the


 ©  Thomas Zimmerman  2008









shopify analytics ecommerce