17th Century Ottoman Mus
Nikriz Peşrev









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© Knowledgia

1299 - 1922

History of the Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire was founded c. 1299 by Osman I as a small beylik in northwestern Asia Minor just south of the Byzantine capital Constantinople. In 1326, the Ottomans captured nearby Bursa, cutting off Asia Minor from Byzantine control. The Ottomans first crossed into Europe in 1352, establishing a permanent settlement at Çimpe Castle on the Dardanelles in 1354 and moving their capital to Edirne (Adrianople) in 1369. At the same time, the numerous small Turkic states in Asia Minor were assimilated into the budding Ottoman sultanate through conquest or declarations of allegiance.

As Sultan Mehmed II conquered Constantinople (today named Istanbul) in 1453, transforming it into the new Ottoman capital, the state grew into a substantial empire, expanding deep into Europe, northern Africa and the Middle East. With most of the Balkans under Ottoman rule by the mid-16th century, Ottoman territory increased exponentially under Sultan Selim I, who assumed the Caliphate in 1517 as the Ottomans turned east and conquered western Arabia, Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Levant, among other territories. Within the next few decades, much of the North African coast (except Morocco) became part of the Ottoman realm.

The empire reached its apex under Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century, when it stretched from the Persian Gulf in the east to Algeria in the west, and from Yemen in the south to Hungary and parts of Ukraine in the north. According to the Ottoman decline thesis, Suleiman's reign was the zenith of the Ottoman classical period, during which Ottoman culture, arts, and political influence flourished. The empire reached its maximum territorial extent in 1683, on the eve of the Battle of Vienna.

From 1699 onwards, the Ottoman Empire began to lose territory over the course of the next two centuries due to internal stagnation, costly defensive wars, European colonialism, and nationalist revolts among its multiethnic subjects. In any case, the need to modernize was evident to the empire's leaders by the early 19th century, and numerous administrative reforms were implemented in an attempt to forestall the decline of the empire, with varying degrees of success. The gradual weakening of the Ottoman Empire gave rise to the Eastern Question in the mid-19th century.

The empire came to an end in the aftermath of its defeat in World War I, when its remaining territory was partitioned by the Allies. The sultanate was officially abolished by the Government of the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara on 1 November 1922 following the Turkish War of Independence. Throughout its more than 600 years of existence, the Ottoman Empire has left a profound legacy in the Middle East and Southeast Europe, as can be seen in the customs, culture, and cuisine of the various countries that were once part of its realm.

1299 - 1453
Rise of the Ottoman Empire
1299 Jan 1 00:01 - 1323

Osman's Dream

Söğüt, Bilecik, Türkiye

Rise of the Ottoman Empire - Battle of Bapheus 1302. ©Kings and Generals

Osman's origins are extremely obscure, and almost nothing is known about his career before the beginning of the fourteenth century.[1] The date of 1299 is frequently given as the beginning of his reign, however this date does not correspond with any historical event, and is purely symbolic. By 1300 he had become the leader of a group of Turkish pastoral tribes, through which he ruled over a small territory around the town of Söğüt in the north-western Anatolian region of Bithynia. He led frequent raids against the neighboring Byzantine Empire. Success attracted warriors to his following, particularly after his victory over a Byzantine army in the Battle of Bapheus in 1301 or 1302.[2] Osman's military activity was largely limited to raiding because, by the time of his death, in 1323-4, the Ottomans had not yet developed effective techniques for siege warfare.[2] Although he is famous for his raids against the Byzantines, Osman also had many military confrontations with Tatar groups and with the neighboring principality of Germiyan.

Osman was adept at forging political and commercial relationships with nearby groups, Muslim as well as Christian. Early on, he attracted several notable figures to his side, including Köse Mihal, a Byzantine village headman whose descendants (known as the Mihaloğulları) enjoyed primacy among the frontier warriors in Ottoman service. Köse Mihal was noteworthy for having been a Christian Greek; while he eventually converted to Islam, his prominent historical role indicates Osman's willingness to cooperate with non-Muslims and to incorporate them in his political enterprise.

Osman I strengthened his legitimacy by marrying the daughter of Sheikh Edebali, a prominent local religious leader who was said to have been at the head of a community of dervishes on the frontier. Later Ottoman writers embellished this event by depicting Osman as having experienced a dream while staying with Edebali, in which it was foretold that his descendants would rule over a vast empire.

1323 Jan 1 - 1359

Foothold into Europe

Bursa, Türkiye

How the Ottomans Took Over Western Anatolia. ©Kings and Generals
Foothold into Europe

Upon Osman's death his son Orhan succeeded him as leader of the Ottomans. Orhan oversaw the conquest of Bithynia's major towns, as Bursa (Prusa) was conquered in 1326 and the rest of the region's towns fell shortly thereafter.[2] Already by 1324, the Ottomans were making use of Seljuk bureaucratic practices, and had developed the capacity to mint coins and utilize siege tactics. It was under Orhan that the Ottomans began to attract Islamic scholars from the east to act as administrators and judges, and the first medrese (University) was established in Iznik in 1331.[3]

In addition to fighting the Byzantines, Orhan also conquered the Turkish principality of Karesi in 1345-6, thus placing all potential crossing points to Europe in Ottoman hands. The experienced Karesi warriors were incorporated into the Ottoman military, and were a valuable asset in subsequent campaigns into the Balkans.

Orhan married Theodora, the daughter of Byzantine prince John VI Cantacuzenus. In 1346 Orhan openly supported John VI in the overthrowing of the emperor John V Palaeologus. When John VI became co-emperor (1347–1354) he allowed Orhan to raid the peninsula of Gallipoli in 1352, after which the Ottomans gained their first permanent stronghold in Europe at Çimpe Castle in 1354. Orhan decided to pursue war against Europe, Anatolian Turks were settled in and around Gallipoli to secure it as a springboard for military operations in Thrace against the Byzantines and Bulgarians. Most of eastern Thrace was overrun by Ottoman forces within a decade and was permanently brought under Orhan's control by means of heavy colonization. The initial Thracian conquests placed the Ottomans strategically astride all of the major overland communication routes linking Constantinople to the Balkan frontiers, facilitating their expanded military operations. ln addition, control of the highways in Thrace isolated Byzantium from direct overland contact with any of its potential allies in the Balkans and in Western Europe. Byzantine Emperor John V was forced to sign an unfavorable treaty with Orhan in 1356 that recognized his Thracian losses. For the next 50 years, the Ottomans went on to conquer vast territories in the Balkans, reaching as far north as modern-day Serbia. In taking control over the passageways to Europe, the Ottomans gained a significant advantage over their rival Turkish principalities in Anatolia, as they now could gain immense prestige and wealth from conquests carried out on the Balkan frontier.

1362 Jan 1 - 1386

European Expansion

Edirne, Türkiye

Maritsa 1371 - End of the Serbian Empire. ©Kings and Generals
European Expansion

Murad's first major offensive was the conquest of the Byzantine city of Adrianople in 1362. He renamed it to Edirne and made it his new capital in 1363. By transferring his capital from Bursa in Anatolia to that newly won city in Thrace, Murad signaled his intentions to continue Ottoman expansion in Southeast Europe. Before the conquest of Edirne, most Christian Europeans regarded the Ottoman presence in Thrace as merely the latest unpleasant episode in a long string of chaotic events in the Balkans. After Murad I designated Edirne as his capital, they realized that the Ottomans intended to remain in Europe. Then he further expanded the Ottoman realm in Southern Europe by bringing most of the Balkans under Ottoman rule, and forced the princes of Serbia and Bulgaria as well as the East Roman emperor John V Palaiologos to pay him tribute. Murad I administratively divided his sultanate into the two provinces of Anatolia (Asia Minor) and Rumelia (the Balkans).

1363 Jan 1

Janissary founded

Edirne, Türkiye

Who were the Janissaries? Elite Troops of the Ottoman Empire. ©Epimetheus

The formation of the Janissaries has been dated to the reign of Murad I (r. 1362–1389), the third ruler of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans instituted a tax of one-fifth on all slaves taken in war, and it was from this pool of manpower that the sultans first constructed the Janissary corps as a personal army loyal only to the sultan.[26]

From the 1380s to 1648, the Janissaries were gathered through the devşirme system, which was abolished in 1648.[27] This was the taking (enslaving) of non-Muslim boys,[28] notably Anatolian and Balkan Christians; Jews were never subject to devşirme, nor were children from Turkic families. There is however evidence that Jews tried to enroll into the system. Jews were not allowed in the janissary army, and so in suspected cases, the entire batch would be sent to the Imperial Arsenal as indentured laborers. Ottoman documents from the levy of the winter of 1603-1604 from Bosnia and Albania wrote to draw attention to some children as possibly being Jewish (şekine-i arz-ı yahudi). According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, "in early days, all Christians were enrolled indiscriminately. Later, those from what is now Albania, Bosnia, and Bulgaria were preferred."[29]

1389 Jan 1 - 1399

Unifying Anatolia & Clash with Timur


Battle of Nicopolis. ©Kings and Generals

Bayezid I succeeded to the sultanship upon the assassination of his father Murad. In a rage over the attack, he ordered all Serbian captives killed; Bayezid, "the Thunderbolt", lost little time in expanding Ottoman Balkan conquests. He followed up on his victory by raiding throughout Serbia and southern Albania, forcing most of the local princes into vassalage. Both to secure the southern stretch of the Vardar-Morava highway and to establish a firm base for permanent expansion westward to the Adriatic coast, Bayezid settled large numbers of ‘’yürüks’’ along the Vardar River valley in Macedonia.

In 1396 Hungarian King Sigismund pulled together a crusade against the Ottomans. The crusader army was composed primarily of Hungarian and French knights, but included some Wallachian troops. Though nominally led by Sigismund, it lacked command cohesion. The crusaders crossed the Danube, marched through Vidin, and arrived at Nikopol, where they met the Turks. The headstrong French knights refused to follow Sigismund's battle plans, resulting in their crushing defeat. Because Sratsimir had permitted the crusaders to pass through Vidin, Bayezid invaded his lands, took him prisoner, and annexed his territories. With Vidin's fall, Bulgaria ceased to exist, becoming the first major Balkan Christian state to disappear completely by direct Ottoman conquest.

Following Nikopol, Bayezid contented himself with raiding Hungary, Wallachia, and Bosnia. He conquered most of Albania and forced the remaining northern Albanian lords into vassalage. A new, halfhearted siege of Constantinople was undertaken but lifted in 1397 after Emperor Manuel II, Bayezid's vassal, agreed that the sultan should confirm all future Byzantine emperors.

Bayezid took with him an army composed primarily of Balkan vassal troops, including Serbs led by Lazarevic. He soon faced an invasion of Anatolia by the Central Asian ruler Timur. Around 1400, Timur entered the Middle East. Timur pillaged a few villages in eastern Anatolia and commenced the conflict with the Ottoman Empire. In August, 1400, Timur and his horde burned the town of Sivas to the ground and advanced into the mainland. Their armies met outside of Ankara, at the Battle of Ankara, in 1402. The Ottomans were routed and Bayezid was taken prisoner, later dying in captivity. A civil war, lasting from 1402 to 1413, broke out among Bayezid's surviving sons. Known in Ottoman history as the Interregnum, that struggle temporarily halted active Ottoman expansion in the Balkans.

1389 Jun 15

Battle of Kosovo

Kosovo Polje

Battle of Kosovo (1389). ©Kings and Generals
Battle of Kosovo

Much of the Serbian nobility had been destroyed by the Ottomans in the Battle of Maritsa. Prince Lazar, ruler of the northern part of the former empire (of Moravian Serbia), was aware of the Ottoman threat and began diplomatic and military preparations for a campaign against them. The Battle of Kosovo took place on 15 June 1389 between an army led by the Serbian Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović and an invading army of the Ottoman Empire under the command of Sultan Murad Hüdavendigâr. The battle was fought on the Kosovo field in the territory ruled by Serbian nobleman Vuk Branković, in what is today Kosovo, about 5 kilometers (3.1 mi) northwest of the modern city of Pristina. The army under Prince Lazar consisted of his own troops, a contingent led by Branković, and a contingent sent from Bosnia by King Tvrtko I, commanded by Vlatko Vuković. Prince Lazar was the ruler of Moravian Serbia and the most powerful among the Serbian regional lords of the time, while Branković ruled the District of Branković and other areas, recognizing Lazar as his overlord.

Reliable historical accounts of the battle are scarce. The bulk of both armies were wiped out, and Lazar and Murad were killed. However, Serbian manpower was depleted and had no capacity to field large armies against future Ottoman campaigns, which relied on new reserve forces from Anatolia. Consequently, the Serbian principalities that were not already Ottoman vassals, became so in the following years.

1396 Jan 1 - 1718

Ottoman–Venetian Wars

Venice, Metropolitan City of V

Ottoman–Venetian Wars
Ottoman–Venetian Wars | ©Anonymous

The Ottoman–Venetian wars were a series of conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Venice that started in 1396 and lasted until 1718.

1402 Jan 1 - 1413

Ottoman Interregnum

Edirne, Türkiye

Ottoman Interregnum ©Kings and Things

After the defeat at Ankara followed a time of total chaos in the Empire. Mongols roamed free in Anatolia and the political power of the sultan was broken. After Beyazid was captured, his remaining sons, Suleiman Çelebi, İsa Çelebi, Mehmed Çelebi, and Musa Çelebi fought each other in what became known as the Ottoman Interregnum.

The Ottoman Interregnum brought a brief period of semi-independence to the vassal Christian Balkan states. Suleyman, one of the late sultan's sons, held the Ottoman capital at Edirne and proclaimed himself ruler, but his brothers refused to recognize him. He then concluded alliances with Byzantium, to which Thessaloniki was returned, and with Republic of Venice in 1403 to bolster his position. Suleyman's imperious character, however, turned his Balkan vassals against him. In 1410 he was defeated and killed by his brother Musa, who won the Ottoman Balkans with the support of Byzantine Emperor Manuel II, Serbian Despot Stefan Lazarevic, Wallachian Voievod Mircea, and the two last Bulgarian rulers’ sons. Musa then was confronted for sole control of the Ottoman throne by his younger brother Mehmed, who had freed himself of Mongol vassalage and held Ottoman Anatolia.

Concerned over the growing independence of his Balkan Christian vassals, Musa turned on them. Unfortunately, he alienated the Islamic bureaucratic and commercial classes in his Balkan lands by continually favoring the lower social elements to gain wide popular support. Alarmed, the Balkan Christian vassal rulers turned to Mehmed, as did the chief Ottoman military, religious, and commercial leaders. In 1412 Mehmed invaded the Balkans, took Sofia and Nis, and joined forces with Lazarevicys Serbs. In the following year, Mehmed decisively defeated Musa outside of Sofia. Musa was killed, and Mehmed I (1413–21) emerged as the sole ruler of a reunited Ottoman state.

1413 Jan 1 - 1421


Edirne, Türkiye

Mehmed I ©Kings and Things

When Mehmed Çelebi stood as victor in 1413 he crowned himself in Edirne (Adrianople) as Mehmed I. His was the duty to restore the Ottoman Empire to its former glory. The Empire had suffered hard from the interregnum; the Mongols were still at large in the east, even though Timur had died in 1405; many of the Christian kingdoms of the Balkans had broken free of Ottoman control; and the land, especially Anatolia, had suffered hard from the war.

Mehmed moved the capital from Bursa to Adrianople. He faced a delicate political situation in the Balkans. His Bulgarian, Serbian, Wallachian, and Byzantine vassals were virtually independent. The Albanian tribes were uniting into a single state, and Bosnia remained completely independent, as did Moldavia. Hungary retained territorial ambitions in the Balkans, and Republic of Venice held numerous Balkan coastal possessions. Prior to Bayezid's death, Ottoman control of the Balkans appeared a certainty. At the end of the interregnum, that certainty seemed open to question.

Mehmed generally resorted to diplomacy rather than militancy in dealing with the situation. While he did conduct raiding expeditions into neighboring European lands, which returned much of Albania to Ottoman control and forced Bosnian King-Ban Tvrtko II Kotromanić (1404–09, 1421–45), along with many Bosnian regional nobles, to accept formal Ottoman vassalage, Mehmed conducted only one actual war with the Europeans — a short and indecisive conflict with Venice.

The new sultan had grave domestic problems. Musa's former policies sparked discontent among the Ottoman Balkans’ lower classes. In 1416 a popular revolt of Muslims and Christians broke out in Dobruja, led by Musa's former confidant, the scholar-mystic Şeyh Bedreddin, and supported by Wallachian voivode Mircea I. Bedreddin preached such concepts as merging Islam, Christianity, and Judaism into a single faith and the social betterment of free peasants and nomads at the expense of the Ottoman bureaucratic and professional classes. Mehmed crushed the revolt and Bedreddin died. Mircea then occupied Dobruja, but Mehmed wrested the region back in 1419, capturing the Danubian fort of Giurgiu and forcing Wallachia back into vassalage. Mehmed spent the rest of his reign reorganizing Ottoman state structures disrupted by the interregnum. When Mehmed died in 1421, one of his sons, Murad, became sultan.

1421 Jan 1 - 1451


Edirne, Türkiye

Murad II ©Kings and Things

Murad's reign was troubled by insurrection early on. The Byzantine Emperor, Manuel II, released the 'pretender' Mustafa Çelebi from confinement and acknowledged him as the legitimate heir to the throne of Bayezid I (1389–1402). The pretender was landed by the Byzantine galleys in the European dominion of the sultan and for a time made rapid progress. Many Ottoman soldiers joined him, and he defeated and killed the veteran general Bayazid Pasha, whom Murad had sent to fight him. Mustafa defeated Murad's army and declared himself Sultan of Adrianople (modern Edirne). He then crossed the Dardanelles to Asia with a large army but Murad out-manoeuvered Mustafa. Mustafa's force passed over in large numbers to Murad II. Mustafa took refuge in the city of Gallipoli, but the sultan, who was greatly aided by a Genoese commander named Adorno, besieged him there and stormed the place. Mustafa was taken and put to death by the sultan, who then turned his arms against the Roman emperor and declared his resolution to punish the Palaiologos for their unprovoked enmity by the capture of Constantinople.

Murad II then formed a new army called Azeb in 1421 and marched through the Byzantine Empire and laid siege to Constantinople. While Murad was besieging the city, the Byzantines, in league with some independent Turkish Anatolian states, sent the sultan's younger brother Küçük Mustafa (who was only 13 years old) to rebel against the sultan and besiege Bursa. Murad had to abandon the siege of Constantinople in order to deal with his rebellious brother. He caught Prince Mustafa and executed him. The Anatolian states that had been constantly plotting against him — Aydinids, Germiyanids, Menteshe and Teke — were annexed and henceforth became part of the Ottoman Sultanate.

Murad II then declared war against the Republic of Venice, the Karamanid Emirate, Serbia and Hungary. The Karamanids were defeated in 1428 and Venice withdrew in 1432 following the defeat at the second Siege of Thessalonica in 1430. In the 1430s Murad captured vast territories in the Balkans and succeeded in annexing Serbia in 1439. In 1441 the Holy Roman Empire and Poland joined the Serbian-Hungarian coalition. Murad II won the Battle of Varna in 1444 against John Hunyadi.

Murad II relinquished his throne in 1444 to his son Mehmed II, but a Janissary revolt[4] in the Empire forced him to return. In 1448 he defeated the Christian coalition at the Second Battle of Kosovo.[5] When the Balkan front was secured, Murad II turned east to defeat Timur's son, Shah Rokh, and the emirates of Karamanid and Çorum-Amasya. In 1450 Murad II led his army into Albania and unsuccessfully besieged the Castle of Kruje in an effort to defeat the resistance led by Skanderbeg. In the winter of 1450–1451, Murad II fell ill, and died in Edirne. He was succeeded by his son Mehmed II (1451–1481).

1451 Jan 1 - 1481


İstanbul, Türkiye

Fall Of Constantinople 1453. ©Kings and Generals

During Mehmed II the Conqueror's first reign, he defeated the crusade led by John Hunyadi after the Hungarian incursions into his country broke the conditions of the truce Peace of Szeged. When Mehmed II ascended the throne again in 1451, he strengthened the Ottoman navy and made preparations to attack Constantinople. At the age of 21, he conquered Constantinople and brought an end to the Byzantine Empire. After the conquest, Mehmed claimed the title Caesar of the Roman Empire, based on the fact that Constantinople had been the seat and capital of the surviving Eastern Roman Empire since its consecration in 330 AD by Emperor Constantine I. Mehmed II viewed the Ottoman state as a continuation of the Roman Empire for the remainder of his life, seeing himself as "continuing" the Empire rather than "replacing" it.

Mehmed continued his conquests in Anatolia with its reunification and in Southeast Europe as far west as Bosnia. At home he made many political and social reforms, encouraged the arts and sciences, and by the end of his reign, his rebuilding program had changed Constantinople into a thriving imperial capital. He is considered a hero in modern-day Turkey and parts of the wider Muslim world. Among other things, Istanbul's Fatih district, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and Fatih Mosque are named after him.

1453 - 1566
Classical Age
1459 Jan 1

Topkapı Palace

Cankurtaran, Topkapı Palace, F

Topkapı Palace
Painting of Sultan Selim III holding audience in front of the Gate of Felicity.

After Sultan Mehmed II's conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the Great Palace of Constantinople was largely in ruins. The Ottoman court was initially set up in the Old Palace (Eski Saray), today the site of Istanbul University in Beyazit Square. Mehmed II ordered that construction of Topkapı Palace begin in 1459. According to an account of the contemporary historian Critobulus of Imbros the sultan "took care to summon the very best workmen from everywhere – masons and stonecutters and carpenters ... For he was constructing great edifices which were to be worth seeing and should in every respect vie with the greatest and best of the past."

1463 Jan 1 - 1479 Jan 25

Rise of the Ottoman Navy

Peloponnese, Greece

Rise of the Ottoman Navy
First Ottoman–Venetian War | ©Jose Daniel Cabrera Peña

The First Ottoman–Venetian War was fought between the Republic of Venice with its allies and the Ottoman Empire from 1463 to 1479. Fought shortly after the capture of Constantinople and the remnants of the Byzantine Empire by the Ottomans, it resulted in the loss of several Venetian holdings in Albania and Greece, most importantly the island of Negroponte (Euboea), which had been a Venetian protectorate for centuries. The war also saw the rapid expansion of the Ottoman navy, which became able to challenge the Venetians and the Knights Hospitaller for supremacy in the Aegean Sea. In the closing years of the war, however, the Republic managed to recoup its losses by the de facto acquisition of the Crusader Kingdom of Cyprus.

1481 Jan 1 - 1512


İstanbul, Türkiye

Bayezid II ©Ottoman History Hub

Bayezid II ascended the Ottoman throne in 1481. Like his father, Bayezid II was a patron of western and eastern culture. Unlike many other sultans, he worked hard to ensure a smooth running of domestic politics, which earned him the epithet of "the Just". Throughout his reign, Bayezid II engaged in numerous campaigns to conquer the Venetian possessions in Morea, accurately defining this region as the key to future Ottoman naval power in the Eastern Mediterranean. In 1497, he went to war with Poland and decisively defeated the 80,000 strong Polish army during the Moldavian campaign. The last of these wars ended in 1501 with Bayezid II in control of the whole Peloponnese. Rebellions in the east, such as that of the Qizilbash, plagued much of Bayezid II's reign and were often backed by the shah of Persia, Ismail I, who was eager to promote Shi'ism to undermine the authority of the Ottoman state. Ottoman authority in Anatolia was indeed seriously threatened during this period and at one point Bayezid II's vizier, Hadım Ali Pasha, was killed in battle against the Şahkulu rebellion.

During Bayezid II's final years, on 14 September 1509, Constantinople was devastated by an earthquake, and a succession battle developed between his sons Selim and Ahmet. Selim returned from Crimea and, with support from the Janissaries, defeated and killed Ahmed. Bayezid II then abdicated the throne on April 25, 1512 and departed for retirement in his native Demotika, but he died along the way and is buried next to Bayezid Mosque, in Constantinople.

1492 Jul 1

Jewish and Muslim Immigration


The Rise and Fall of Jews in the Ottoman Empire. ©Unpacked

In July 1492, the new state of Spain expelled its Jewish and Muslim populations as part of the Spanish Inquisition. Bayezid II sent out the Ottoman Navy under the command of admiral Kemal Reis to Spain in 1492 in order to evacuate them safely to Ottoman lands. He sent out proclamations throughout the empire that the refugees were to be welcomed.[6] He granted the refugees the permission to settle in the Ottoman Empire and become Ottoman citizens. He ridiculed the conduct of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile in expelling a class of people so useful to their subjects. "You venture to call Ferdinand a wise ruler," he said to his courtiers, "he who has impoverished his own country and enriched mine!"[7]

The Muslims and Jews of al-Andalus contributed much to the rising power of the Ottoman Empire by introducing new ideas, methods and craftsmanship. The first printing press in Constantinople (now Istanbul) was established by the Sephardic Jews in 1493. It is reported that under Bayezid's reign, Jews enjoyed a period of cultural flourishing, with the presence of such scholars as the Talmudist and scientist Mordecai Comtino; astronomer and poet Solomon ben Elijah Sharbiṭ ha-Zahab; Shabbethai ben Malkiel Cohen, and the liturgical poet Menahem Tamar.

1507 Jan 1

Ottoman-Mughal relations

New Delhi, Delhi, India

Ottoman-Mughal relations
Babur's Early Campaigns | ©Osprey Publishing

Mughal Emperor Babur's early relations with the Ottomans were poor because Selim I provided Babur's rival Ubaydullah Khan with powerful matchlocks and cannons.[44] In 1507, when ordered to accept Selim I as his rightful suzerain, Babur refused and gathered Qizilbash servicemen in order to counter the forces of Ubaydullah Khan during the Battle of Ghazdewan in 1512. In 1513, Selim I reconciled with Babur (fearing that he would join the Safavids), dispatched Ustad Ali Quli and Mustafa Rumi, and many other Ottoman Turks, in order to assist Babur in his conquests; this particular assistance proved to be the basis of future Mughal-Ottoman relations.[44] From them, he also adopted the tactic of using matchlocks and cannons in field (rather than only in sieges), which would give him an important advantage in India.[45] Babur referred to this method as the "Ottoman device" due to its previous use by the Ottomans during the Battle of Chaldiran.

1512 Jan 1 - 1520

Ottoman Caliphate

İstanbul, Türkiye

Selim I ©Ottoman History Hub

Despite lasting only eight years, Selim's reign is notable for the enormous expansion of the Empire, particularly his conquest between 1516 and 1517 of the entire Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt, which included all of the Levant, Hejaz, Tihamah and Egypt itself. On the eve of his death in 1520, the Ottoman Empire spanned about 3.4 million km2 (1.3 million sq mi), having grown by seventy percent during Selim's reign.[8]

Selim's conquest of the Middle Eastern heartlands of the Muslim world, and particularly his assumption of the role of guardian of the pilgrimage routes to Mecca and Medina, established the Ottoman Empire as the pre-eminent Muslim state. His conquests dramatically shifted the empire's geographical and cultural center of gravity away from the Balkans and toward the Middle East. By the eighteenth century, Selim's conquest of the Mamluk Sultanate had come to be romanticized as the moment when the Ottomans seized leadership over the rest of the Muslim world, and consequently Selim is popularly remembered as the first legitimate Ottoman Caliph, although stories of an official transfer of the caliphal office from the Mamluk Abbasid dynasty to the Ottomans were a later invention.

1514 Aug 23

Beginning of Conflict with Safavid Persia

Çaldıran, Beyazıt, Çaldıran/Va

Battle of Chaldiran. ©Hikma History

The initial Ottoman–Safavid conflict culminated in the Battle of Chaldiran in 1514, and was followed by a century of border confrontation. The Battle of Chaldiran ended with a decisive victory for the Ottoman Empire over the Safavid Empire. As a result, the Ottomans annexed Eastern Anatolia and northern Iraq from Safavid Iran. It marked the first Ottoman expansion into Eastern Anatolia (Western Armenia), and the halt of the Safavid expansion to the west.[20] The Chaldiran battle was just the beginning of 41 years of destructive war, which only ended in 1555 with the Treaty of Amasya. Though Mesopotamia and Eastern Anatolia (Western Armenia) were eventually reconquered by the Safavids under the reign of Shah Abbas the Great (r. 1588–1629), they would be permanently ceded to the Ottomans by the 1639 Treaty of Zuhab.

At Chaldiran, the Ottomans had a larger, better equipped army numbering 60,000 to 100,000 as well as many heavy artillery pieces, while the Safavid army numbered some 40,000 to 80,000 and did not have artillery at its disposal. Ismail I, the leader of the Safavids, was wounded and almost captured during the battle. His wives were captured by the Ottoman leader Selim I, with at least one married off to one of Selim's statesmen. Ismail retired to his palace and withdrew from government administration after this defeat and never again participated in a military campaign. After their victory, Ottoman forces marched deeper into Persia, briefly occupying the Safavid capital, Tabriz, and thoroughly looting the Persian imperial treasury. The battle is one of major historical importance because it not only negated the idea that the Murshid of the Shia-Qizilbash was infallible, but also led Kurdish chiefs to assert their authority and switch their allegiance from the Safavids to the Ottomans.

1516 Jan 1 - 1517 Jan 22

Conquest of Mamluk Egypt


Ottoman-Mamluk War of 1516-1517. ©Kings and Generals

The Ottoman–Mamluk War of 1516–1517 was the second major conflict between the Egypt-based Mamluk Sultanate and the Ottoman Empire, which led to the fall of the Mamluk Sultanate and the incorporation of the Levant, Egypt, and the Hejaz as provinces of the Ottoman Empire.[26] The war transformed the Ottoman Empire from a realm at the margins of the Islamic world, mainly located in Anatolia and the Balkans, to a huge empire encompassing much of the traditional lands of Islam, including the cities of Mecca, Cairo, Damascus, and Aleppo. Despite this expansion, the seat of the empire's political power remained in Constantinople.[27]

The relationship between the Ottomans and the Mamluks had been adversarial since the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453; both states vied for control of the spice trade, and the Ottomans aspired to eventually take control of the Holy Cities of Islam.[28] An earlier conflict, which lasted from 1485 to 1491, had led to a stalemate. By 1516, the Ottomans were free from other concerns—Sultan Selim I had just vanquished the Safavid Persians at the Battle of Chaldiran in 1514—and turned their full might against the Mamluks, who ruled in Syria and Egypt, to complete the Ottoman conquest of the Middle East.

Both the Ottomans and Mamluks assembled 60,000 soldiers. However only 15,000 Mamluk soldiers were trained warriors, the rest were mere conscripts who did not even know how to fire a musket. As a result, most of the Mamluks fled, avoided the front lines, and even committed suicide. In addition, as had happened with the Safavids in the Battle of Chaldiran, the blasts of the Ottoman cannons and guns scared the Mamluk horses which raced uncontrollably in every direction.

The conquest of the Mamluk Empire also opened up the territories of Africa to the Ottomans. During the 16th century, Ottoman power expanded further west of Cairo, along the coasts of northern Africa. The corsair Hayreddin Barbarossa established a base in Algeria, and later accomplished the Conquest of Tunis in 1534.[27] The conquest of the Mamluks was the largest military venture any Ottoman Sultan had ever attempted. In addition, the conquest put the Ottomans in control of two of the largest cities in the world at the time- Constantinople and Cairo. The conquest of Egypt proved extremely profitable for the empire as it produced more tax revenue than any other Ottoman territory and supplied about 25% of all food consumed. However, Mecca and Medina were the most important of all the cities conquered since it officially made Selim and his descendants the Caliphs of the entire Muslim world until the early 20th century.

Following his capture in Cairo, Caliph Al-Mutawakkil III was brought to Constantinople, where he eventually ceded his office as caliph to Selim's successor, Suleiman the Magnificent. This established the Ottoman Caliphate, with the sultan as its head, thus transferring religious authority from Cairo to the Ottoman throne.

1520 Jan 1 - 1566

Domination of the Seas

Mediterranean Sea

Suleiman the Magnificent ©Captivating History

Suleiman the Magnificent first put down a revolt led by the Ottoman-appointed governor in Damascus. By August, 1521, Suleiman had captured the city of Belgrade, which was then under Hungarian control. In 1522, Suleiman captured Rhodes. On August 29, 1526, Suleiman defeated Louis II of Hungary at the Battle of Mohács. In 1541 Suleiman annexed most of present-day Hungary, known as the Great Alföld, and installed Zápolya's family as rulers of the independent principality of Transylvania, a vassal state of the Empire. While claiming the entire kingdom, Ferdinand I of Austria ruled over the so-called "Royal Hungary" (present-day Slovakia, North-Western Hungary and western Croatia), a territory which temporarily fixed the border between the Habsburgs and the Ottomans.


The Shi'ite Safavid Empire ruled Persia and modern-day Iraq. Suleiman waged three campaigns against the Safavids. In the first, the historically important city of Baghdad fell to Suleiman's forces in 1534. The second campaign, 1548–1549, resulted in temporary Ottoman gains in Tabriz and Azerbaijan, a lasting presence in Van Province, and some forts in Georgia. The third campaign (1554–55) was a response to costly Safavid raids into the provinces of Van and Erzurum in eastern Anatolia in 1550–52. Ottoman forces captured Yerevan, Karabakh and Nakhjuwan and destroyed palaces, villas and gardens. Although Sulieman threatened Ardabil, the military situation was essentially a stalemate by the end of the 1554 campaign season. Tahmasp sent an ambassador to Suleiman's winter quarters in Erzurum in September 1554 to sue for peace. Influenced at least in part by the Ottoman Empire's military position with respect to Hungary, Sulieman agreed to temporary terms. The formal Peace of Amasya signed the following June was the first formal diplomatic recognition of the Safavid Empire by the Ottomans. Under the Peace, the Ottomans agreed to restore Yerevan, Karabakh and Nakhjuwan to the Safavids and in turn would retain Iraq and eastern Anatolia. Suleiman agreed to permit Safavid Shi’a pilgrims to make pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina as well as tombs of imams in Iraq and Arabia on condition that the shah abolished the taburru, the cursing of the first three Rashidun caliphs. The Peace ended hostilities between the two empires for 20 years.


Huge territories of North Africa up to west of Algeria were annexed. The Barbary States of Tripolitania, Tunisia and Algeria became provinces of the Empire. The piracy carried on thereafter by the Barbary pirates of North Africa remained part of the wars against Spain, and the Ottoman expansion was associated with naval dominance for a short period in the Mediterranean. Ottoman navies also controlled the Red Sea, and held the Persian Gulf until 1554, when their ships were defeated by the navy of the Portuguese Empire in the Battle of the Gulf of Oman. The Portuguese would continue to contest Suleiman's forces for control of Aden. In 1533 Khair ad Din known to Europeans as Barbarossa, was made Admiral-in-Chief of the Ottoman navies who were actively fighting the Spanish navy.


In 1535 the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V (Charles I of Spain) won an important victory against the Ottomans at Tunis, but in 1536 King Francis I of France allied himself with Suleiman against Charles. In 1538, the fleet of Charles V was defeated at the Battle of Preveza by Khair ad Din, securing the eastern Mediterranean for the Turks for 33 years. Francis I asked for help from Suleiman, then sent a fleet headed by Khair ad Din who was victorious over the Spaniards, and managed to retake Naples from them. Suleiman bestowed on him the title of beylerbey. One result of the alliance was the fierce sea duel between Dragut and Andrea Doria, which left the northern Mediterranean and the southern Mediterranean in Ottoman's hands.

1522 Jun 26 - Dec 22

Siege of Rhodes

Rhodes, Greece

Siege of Rhodes (1522). ©Kings and Generals

The siege of Rhodes of 1522 was the second and ultimately successful attempt by the Ottoman Empire to expel the Knights of Rhodes from their island stronghold and thereby secure Ottoman control of the Eastern Mediterranean. The first siege in 1480 had been unsuccessful. Despite very strong defenses, the walls were demolished over the course of six months by Turkish artillery and mines.

The siege of Rhodes ended with an Ottoman victory. The conquest of Rhodes was a major step towards Ottoman control over the eastern Mediterranean and greatly eased their maritime communications between Constantinople and Cairo and the Levantine ports. Later, in 1669, from this base Ottoman Turks captured Venetian Crete.

1526 Jan 1 - 1791

Ottoman–Habsburg Wars

Central Europe

Ottoman–Habsburg Wars
The Ottoman army consisted of both heavy and missile fire, cavalry and infantry, making it both versatile and powerful.

The Ottoman–Habsburg wars were fought from the 16th through the 18th centuries between the Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg monarchy, which was at times supported by the Kingdom of Hungary, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and Habsburg Spain. The wars were dominated by land campaigns in Hungary, including Transylvania (today in Romania) and Vojvodina (today in Serbia), Croatia, and central Serbia.

By the 16th century, the Ottomans had become a serious threat to the European powers, with Ottoman ships sweeping away Venetian possessions in the Aegean and Ionian seas and Ottoman-supported Barbary pirates seizing Spanish possessions in the Maghreb. The Protestant Reformation, French–Habsburg rivalry and the numerous civil conflicts of the Holy Roman Empire distracted the Christians from their conflict with the Ottomans. Meanwhile, the Ottomans had to contend with the Persian Safavid Empire and to a lesser extent the Mamluk Sultanate, which was defeated and fully incorporated into the empire.

Initially, Ottoman conquests in Europe made significant gains with a decisive victory at Mohács reducing around one third (central) part of the Kingdom of Hungary to the status of an Ottoman tributary. Later, the Peace of Westphalia and the Spanish War of Succession in the 17th and 18th centuries respectively left the Austrian Empire as the sole firm possession of the House of Habsburg. After the siege of Vienna in 1683, the Habsburgs assembled a large coalition of European powers known as the Holy League, allowing them to fight the Ottomans and to regain control over Hungary. The Great Turkish War ended with the decisive Holy League victory at Zenta. The wars ended after Austria's participation in the war of 1787-1791, which Austria fought allied with Russia. Intermittent tension between Austria and the Ottoman Empire continued throughout the nineteenth century, but they never fought each other in a war and ultimately found themselves allied in World War I, in the aftermath of which both empires were dissolved.

1533 Jan 1 - 1656

Sultanate of Women

İstanbul, Türkiye

Sultanate of Women in the Ottoman Empire. ©Kings and Generals

The Sultanate of Women was a period when wives and mothers of the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire exerted extraordinary political influence. This phenomenon took place from roughly 1533 to 1656, beginning in the reign of Süleyman the Magnificent, with his marriage to Hürrem Sultan (also known as Roxelana), and ending with the regency of Turhan Sultan. These women were either the wives of the Sultan, referred to as haseki sultans, or the mothers of the Sultan, known as valide sultans. Many of them were of slave origin, as was expected during the sultanate since the traditional idea of marriage was considered inappropriate for the sultan, who was not expected to have any personal allegiances beyond his governmental role. During this time, haseki and valide sultans held political and social power, which allowed them to influence the daily running of the empire and undertake philanthropic works as well as to request the construction of buildings such as the large Haseki Sultan Mosque complex and the prominent Valide Sultan Mosque at Eminönü.

In the first half of the 17th century, six sultans, several of whom were children, took the throne. As a result, the valide sultans ruled virtually unopposed, both during their sons' periods in power, and during the interregnums.[8] Their prominence was not accepted by everyone. Despite their direct connection to the sultans, the valide sultans often faced opposition from the viziers, as well as from public opinion. Where their male predecessors had won favour with the public through military conquest and charisma, female leaders had to rely on imperial ceremonies and the construction of monuments and public works. Such public works, known as hayrat or works of piety, were often constructed extravagantly in the name of the sultana, as had been the tradition for imperial Islamic women.[9]

The most enduring accomplishments of many of the wives and mothers of the sultans were their large public works projects, usually in the form of mosques, schools and monuments. The construction and maintenance of these projects provided crucial economic liquidity during a period otherwise marked by economic stagnation and corruption while also leaving powerful and long-lasting symbols of the sultanate's power and benevolence. While the creation of public works was always an obligation of the sultanate, sultanas such as Süleyman's mother and wife undertook projects that were larger and more lavish than any woman before them - and most men as well.[9]

1536 Sep 28

Hayreddin Barbarossa defeats the Holy League

Preveza, Greece

Battle of Preveza ©Kings and Generals

In 1537, commanding a large Ottoman fleet, Hayreddin Barbarossa captured a number of Aegean and Ionian islands belonging to the Republic of Venice, namely Syros, Aegina, Ios, Paros, Tinos, Karpathos, Kasos, and Naxos, thus annexing the Duchy of Naxos to the Ottoman Empire. He then unsuccessfully besieged the Venetian stronghold of Corfu and ravaged the Spanish-held Calabrian coast in southern Italy.[89] In the face of this threat, Pope Paul III in February 1538 in assembled a ’’Holy League’’, comprising the Papal States, Habsburg Spain, the Republic of Genoa, the Republic of Venice, and the Knights of Malta, to confront Ottoman fleet under Barbarossa.[90]

In 1539 Barbarossa returned and captured almost all the remaining Christian outposts in the Ionian and Aegean Seas. A peace treaty was signed between Venice and the Ottoman Empire in October 1540, under which the Turks took control of the Venetian possessions in the Morea and in Dalmatia and of the formerly Venetian islands in the Aegean, Ionian, and eastern Adriatic Seas. Venice also had to pay a war indemnification of 300,000 ducats of gold to the Ottoman Empire.

With the victory at Preveza and the subsequent victory in the Battle of Djerba in 1560, the Ottomans succeeded in repulsing the efforts of Venice and Spain, the two principal rival powers in the Mediterranean, to stop their drive for controlling the sea. The Ottoman supremacy in large-scale fleet battles in the Mediterranean Sea remained unchallenged until the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

1538 Jan 1 - 1560

Battle for the Spice

Persian Gulf (also known as th

Ottoman-Portuguese War. ©Kings and Generals

The discovery of new maritime trade routes by Western European states allowed them to avoid the Ottoman trade monopoly. After the voyages of Vasco da Gama, a powerful Portuguese Navy took control of the Indian Ocean in the early 16th century. It threatened the coastal cities of the Arabian Peninsula and India. The Portuguese discovery of the Cape of Good Hope in 1488 initiated a series of Ottoman-Portuguese naval wars in the Indian Ocean throughout the 16th century.

Ottoman control of the Red Sea meanwhile began in 1517 when Selim I annexed Egypt to the Ottoman Empire after the Battle of Ridaniya. Most of the habitable zone of the Arabian Peninsula (Hejaz and Tihamah) soon fell voluntarily to the Ottomans. Piri Reis, who was famous for his World Map, presented it to Selim just a few weeks after the sultan arrived in Egypt. The portion concerning the Indian Ocean is missing; it is argued that Selim may have taken it, so that he could make more use of it in planning future military expeditions in that direction. In fact, after the Ottoman domination in the Red Sea, the Ottoman-Portuguese rivalry began.

In 1525, during the reign of Suleiman I (Selim's son), Selman Reis, a former corsair, was appointed as the admiral of a small Ottoman fleet in the Red Sea which was tasked with defending Ottoman coastal towns against Portuguese attacks. In 1534, Suleiman annexed most of Iraq and by 1538 the Ottomans had reached Basra on the Persian Gulf. The Ottoman Empire still faced the problem of Portuguese controlled coasts. Most coastal towns on the Arabian Peninsula were either Portuguese ports or Portuguese vassals. Another reason for Ottoman-Portugal rivalry was economic. In the 15th century, the main trade routes from the Far East to Europe, the so-called spice route, was via the Red Sea and Egypt. But after Africa was circumnavigated the trade income was decreasing.[21] While the Ottoman Empire was a major sea power in the Mediterranean, it was not possible to transfer the Ottoman Navy to the Red Sea. So a new fleet was built in Suez and named the "Indian fleet".The apparent reason of the expeditions in the Indian Ocean, nonetheless, was an invitation from India.

This war took place upon the backdrop of the Ethiopian–Adal War. Ethiopia had been invaded in 1529 by the Ottoman Empire and local allies. Portuguese help, which was first requested by Emperor Dawit II in 1520, finally arrived in Massawa during the reign of Emperor Galawdewos. The force was led by Cristóvão da Gama (second son of Vasco da Gama) and included 400 musketeers, several breech-loading field guns, and a few Portuguese cavalrymen as well as a number of artisans and other non-combatants.

The original Ottoman goals of checking Portuguese domination in the ocean and assisting Muslim Indian lords were not achieved. This was in spite of what an author has called "overwhelming advantages over Portugal", as the Ottoman Empire was wealthier and much more populous than Portugal, professed the same religion as most coastal populations of the Indian Ocean basin and its naval bases were closer to the theater of operations.

Despite the growing European presence in the Indian Ocean, Ottoman trade with the east continued to flourish. Cairo, in particular, benefitted from the rise of Yemeni coffee as a popular consumer commodity. As coffeehouses appeared in cities and towns across the empire, Cairo developed into a major center for its trade, contributing to its continued prosperity throughout the seventeenth and much of the eighteenth century. With its strong control of the Red Sea, the Ottomans successfully managed to dispute control of the trade routes to the Portuguese and maintained a significant level of trade with the Mughal Empire throughout the 16th century.[22]

Unable to decisively defeat the Portuguese or threaten their shipping, the Ottomans abstained from further substantial action, choosing instead to supply Portuguese enemies such as the Aceh Sultanate, and things returned to the Status quo ante bellum.[23] The Portuguese for their part enforced their commercial and diplomatic ties with Safavid Persia, an enemy of the Ottoman Empire. A tense truce was gradually formed, wherein the Ottomans were allowed to control the overland routes into Europe, thereby keeping Basra, which the Portuguese had been eager to acquire, and the Portuguese were allowed to dominate sea trade to India and East Africa.[24] The Ottomans then shifted their focus to the Red Sea, which they had been expanding into previously, with the acquisition of Egypt in 1517, and Aden in 1538.[25]

1550 - 1700
Transformation of the Ottoman Empire
1550 Jan 1 - 1700



An Ottoman coffeehouse in Istanbul.

The Transformation of the Ottoman Empire, also known as the Era of Transformation, constitutes a period in the history of the Ottoman Empire from c. 1550 to c. 1700, spanning roughly from the end of the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent to the Treaty of Karlowitz at the conclusion of the War of the Holy League. This period was characterized by numerous dramatic political, social, and economic changes, which resulted in the empire shifting from an expansionist, patrimonial state into a bureaucratic empire based on an ideology of upholding justice and acting as the protector of Sunni Islam.[9] These changes were in large part prompted by a series of political and economic crises in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, resulting from inflation, warfare, and political factionalism. Yet despite these crises the empire remained strong both politically and economically,[10] and continued to adapt to the challenges of a changing world. The 17th century was once characterized as a period of decline for the Ottomans, but since the 1980s historians of the Ottoman Empire have increasingly rejected that characterization, identifying it instead as a period of crisis, adaptation, and transformation.

1550 Jan 2

Inflation & Decline of Timar System


Basics of Ottoman Land Management & Taxation. ©Ottoman History Hub.

In the second half of the 16th century, the empire came under increasing economic pressure due to rising inflation, which was then impacting both Europe and the Middle East. The Ottomans thus transformed many of the institutions which had previously defined the empire, gradually disestablishing the Timar System in order to raise modern armies of musketeers, and quadrupling the size of the bureaucracy in order to facilitate more efficient collection of revenues.

A timar was a land grant by the sultans of the Ottoman Empire between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, with an annual tax revenue of less than 20,000 akçes. The revenues produced from the land acted as compensation for military service. A holder of a timar was known as a timariot. If the revenues produced from the timar were from 20,000 to 100,000 akçes, the land grant was called a zeamet, and if they were above 100,000 akçes, the grant would be called a hass.

By the end of the sixteenth century the Timar system of land tenure had begun its unrecoverable decline. In 1528, the Timariot constituted the largest single division in the Ottoman army. Sipahis were responsible for their own expenses, including provision during the campaigns, their equipment, providing auxiliary men (cebelu) and valets (gulam). With the onset of new military technologies, particularly the gun, the Sipahis, who had once made up the backbone of the Ottoman army, were becoming obsolete. The long and costly wars which the Ottoman Sultans waged against the Habsburgs and Iranians had demanded the formation of a modern standing and professional army. Therefore, cash was needed to maintain them. Essentially, the gun was cheaper than a horse.[12] By the early decades of the seventeenth century, much of the Timar revenue was brought into the central treasury as substitute money (bedel) for exemption from military service. Since they were no longer needed, when the Timar holders died off, their holdings would not be reassigned, but were brought under imperial domain. Once under direct control the vacant land would be turned into Tax Farms (muqata'ah) in order to ensure greater cash revenue for the central government.[13]

1570 Jun 27 - 1573 Mar 7

Conquest of Cyprus


Conquest of Cyprus
Marco Antonio Bragadin, Venetian commander of Famagusta, was gruesomely killed after the Ottomans took the city.

The Fourth Ottoman–Venetian War, also known as the War of Cyprus was fought between 1570 and 1573. It was waged between the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Venice, the latter joined by the Holy League, a coalition of Christian states formed under the auspices of the Pope, which included Spain (with Naples and Sicily), the Republic of Genoa, the Duchy of Savoy, the Knights Hospitaller, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, and other Italian states.

The war, the pre-eminent episode of Sultan Selim II's reign, began with the Ottoman invasion of the Venetian-held island of Cyprus. The capital Nicosia and several other towns fell quickly to the considerably superior Ottoman army, leaving only Famagusta in Venetian hands. Christian reinforcements were delayed, and Famagusta eventually fell in August 1571 after a siege of 11 months. Two months later, at the Battle of Lepanto, the united Christian fleet destroyed the Ottoman fleet, but was unable to take advantage of this victory. The Ottomans quickly rebuilt their naval forces and Venice was forced to negotiate a separate peace, ceding Cyprus to the Ottomans and paying a tribute of 300,000 ducats.

1571 Oct 7

Battle of Lepanto

Gulf of Patras, Greece

Battle of Lepanto ©Kings and Generals
Battle of Lepanto

The Battle of Lepanto was a naval engagement that took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of Catholic states (comprising Spain and its Italian territories, several independent Italian states, and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta) promoted by Pope Pius V to rescue the Venetian colony of Famagusta on the island of Cyprus (besieged by the Turks in early 1571) inflicted a major defeat on the fleet of the Ottoman Empire in the Gulf of Patras. All members of the alliance viewed the Ottoman navy as a significant threat, both to the security of maritime trade in the Mediterranean Sea and to the security of continental Europe itself.

The victory of the Holy League is of great importance in the history of Europe and of the Ottoman Empire, marking the turning-point of Ottoman military expansion into the Mediterranean, although the Ottoman wars in Europe would continue for another century. It has long been compared to the Battle of Salamis, both for tactical parallels and for its crucial importance in the defense of Europe against imperial expansion. It was also of great symbolic importance in a period when Europe was torn by its own wars of religion following the Protestant Reformation.

1574 Jan 1

Book of the Light


Book of the Light
Book of the Light | ©Osman Hamdi Bey

In 1574, Taqi al-Din (1526–1585) wrote the last major Arabic work on optics, entitled "Book of the Light of the Pupil of Vision and the Light of the Truth of the Sights", which contains experimental investigations in three volumes on vision, the light's reflection, and the light's refraction. The book deals with the structure of light, its diffusion and global refraction, and the relation between light and colour. In the first volume, he discusses "the nature of light, the source of light, the nature of the propagation of light, the formation of sight, and the effect of light on the eye and sight". In the second volume, he provides "experimental proof of the specular reflection of accidental as well as essential light, a complete formulation of the laws of reflection, and a description of the construction and use of a copper instrument for measuring reflections from plane, spherical, cylindrical, and conical mirrors, whether convex or concave." The third volume "analyses the important question of the variations light undergoes while traveling in mediums having different densities, i.e. the nature of refracted light, the formation of refraction, the nature of images formed by refracted light."

1577 Jan 1 - 1580

Astronomical Advancements

İstanbul, Türkiye

Astronomical Advancements
Ottoman astronomers at work around Taqī al-Dīn at the Istanbul Observatory. | ©Ala ad-Din Mansur-Shirazi

Astronomy was a very important discipline in the Ottoman Empire. Ali Quşhji, one of the most important astronomers of the state, managed to make the first map of the Moon and wrote the first book describing the shapes of the Moon. At the same time, a new system was developed for Mercury. Mustafa ibn Muwaqqit and Muhammad Al-Qunawi, another important astronomer of the Ottoman Empire, developed the first astronomical calculations measuring minutes and seconds.

Taqi al-Din later built the Constantinople Observatory of Taqi ad-Din in 1577, where he carried out astronomical observations until 1580. He produced a Zij (named Unbored Pearl) and astronomical catalogues that were more accurate than those of his contemporaries, Tycho Brahe and Nicolaus Copernicus. Taqi al-Din was also the first astronomer to employ a decimal point notation in his observations rather than the sexagesimal fractions used by his contemporaries and predecessors. He also made use of Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī's method of "three points observation". In The Nabk Tree, Taqi al-Din described the three points as "two of them being in opposition in the ecliptic and the third in any desired place." He used this method to calculate the eccentricity of the Sun's orbit and the annual motion of the apogee, and so did Copernicus before him, and Tycho Brahe shortly afterwards. He also invented a variety of other astronomical instruments, including accurate mechanical astronomical clocks from 1556 to 1580. Due to his observational clock and other more accurate instruments Taqi al-Din's values were more accurate.[29]

After the destruction of the Constantinople observatory of Taqi al-Din in 1580, astronomical activity stagnated in the Ottoman Empire, until the introduction of Copernican heliocentrism in 1660, when the Ottoman scholar Ibrahim Efendi al-Zigetvari Tezkireci translated Noël Duret's French astronomical work (written in 1637) into Arabic.[30]

1590 Jan 1 - 1610

Economic and Social Rebellions

Sivas, Türkiye

Economic and Social Rebellions
Economic and Social Rebellions | ©Anonymous

Especially after the 1550s, with the increase of oppression by local governors and levying of new and high taxes, minor incidents started to occur with increasing frequency. After the beginning of the wars with Persia, especially after 1584, Janissaries began seizing the lands of the farmworkers to extort money, and also lent money with high interest rates, thus causing the tax revenues of the state to drop seriously.

In 1598 a sekban leader, Karayazıcı Abdülhalim, united the dissatisfied groups in the Anatolia Eyalet and established a base of power in Sivas and Dulkadir, where he was able to force towns to pay tribute to him.[11] He was offered the governorship of Çorum, but refused the post and when Ottoman forces were sent against them, he retreated with his forces to Urfa, seeking refuge in a fortified castle, which became the center of resistance for 18 months. Out of fear that his forces would mutiny against him, he left the castle, was defeated by government forces, and died some time later in 1602 from natural causes. His brother Deli Hasan then seized Kutahya, in western Anatolia, but later he and his followers were won over by grants of governorships.[11]

The Celali rebellions, were a series of rebellions in Anatolia of irregular troops led by bandit chiefs and provincial officials known as celalî[11] against the authority of the Ottoman Empire in the late 16th and early to mid-17th centuries. The first revolt termed as such occurred in 1519, during Sultan Selim I's reign, near Tokat under the leadership of Celâl, an Alevi preacher. Celâl's name was later used by Ottoman histories as a general term for rebellious groups in Anatolia, most of whom bore no particular connection to the original Celâl. As it is used by historians, the "Celali Rebellions" refer primarily to the activity of bandits and warlords in Anatolia from c. 1590 to 1610, with a second wave of Celali activity, this time led by rebellious provincial governors rather than bandit chiefs, lasting from 1622 to the suppression of the revolt of Abaza Hasan Pasha in 1659. These rebellions were the largest and longest lasting in the history of the Ottoman Empire.

The major uprisings involved the sekbans (irregular troops of musketeers) and sipahis (cavalrymen maintained by land grants). The rebellions were not attempts to overthrow the Ottoman government but were reactions to a social and economic crisis stemming from a number of factors: demographic pressure following a period of unprecedented population growth during the 16th century, climatic hardship associated with the Little Ice Age, a depreciation of the currency, and the mobilization of thousands of sekban musketeers for the Ottoman army during its wars with the Habsburgs and Safavids, who turned to banditry when demobilized. Celali leaders often sought no more than to be appointed to provincial governorships within the empire, while others fought for specific political causes, Such as Abaza Mehmed Pasha's effort to topple the Janissary government established after the regicide of Osman II in 1622, or Abaza Hasan Pasha's desire to overthrow the grand vizier Köprülü Mehmed Pasha. The Ottoman leaders understood why the Celali rebels were making demands, so they gave some of the Celali leaders government jobs to stop the rebellion and make them part of the system. The Ottoman army used force to defeat those who didn't get jobs and kept fighting. The Celali rebellion ended when the most powerful leaders became part of the Ottoman system and the weaker ones were defeated by the Ottoman army. The Janissaries and former rebels who had joined the Ottomans fought to keep their new government jobs.

1593 Jul 29 - 1606 Nov 11

Long Turkish War


Hapsburg-Turkish Struggle for Romania - Long Turkish War. ©Kings and Generals

The Long Turkish War or Thirteen Years' War was an indecisive land war between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire, primarily over the Principalities of Wallachia, Transylvania, and Moldavia. It was waged from 1593 to 1606 but in Europe it is sometimes called the Fifteen Years War, reckoning from the 1591–92 Turkish campaign that captured Bihać. The major participants of the war were the Habsburg Monarchy, the Principality of Transylvania, Wallachia, and Moldavia opposing the Ottoman Empire. Ferrara, Tuscany, Mantua, and the Papal State were also involved to a lesser extent.

The Long War ended with the Peace of Zsitvatorok on November 11, 1606, with meagre territorial gains for the two main empires—the Ottomans won the fortresses of Eger, Esztergom, and Kanisza, but gave the region of Vác (which they had occupied since 1541) to Austria. The treaty confirmed the Ottomans' inability to penetrate further into Habsburg territories. It also demonstrated that Transylvania was beyond Habsburg power. The treaty stabilized conditions on the Habsburg–Ottoman frontier.

1603 Sep 26 - 1618 Sep 26

Ottomans lose Western Iran & the Caucasus


Shiites counterattack. ⚔️ Turkish-Persian War ©War History

The Ottoman–Safavid War of 1603–1618 consisted of two wars between Safavid Persia under Abbas I of Persia and the Ottoman Empire under Sultans Mehmed III, Ahmed I, and Mustafa I. The first war began in 1603 and ended with a Safavid victory in 1612, when Persia regained and reestablished its suzerainty over the Caucasus and Western Iran, which had been lost at the Treaty of Constantinople in 1590. The second war began in 1615 and ended in 1618 with minor territorial adjustments.

1622 Jan 1

First Regicide

İstanbul, Türkiye

The Horrifying Death of Sultan Osman. ©History of Fact

In Istanbul, changes in the nature of dynastic politics led to the abandonment of the Ottoman tradition of royal fratricide, and to a governmental system that relied much less upon the personal authority of the sultan. The changing nature of sultanic authority led to several political upheavals during the 17th century, as rulers and political factions struggled for control over the imperial government. In 1622 Sultan Osman II was overthrown in a Janissary uprising. His subsequent regicide was sanctioned by the empire's chief judicial official, demonstrating a reduced importance of the sultan in Ottoman politics. Nevertheless, the primacy of the Ottoman dynasty as a whole was never brought into question.

1623 Jan 1 - 1639

Final War with Safavid Persia

Mesopotamia, Iraq

Final War with Safavid PersiaFinal War with Safavid Persia

The Ottoman–Safavid War of 1623–1639 was the last of a series of conflicts fought between the Ottoman Empire and Safavid Empire, then the two major powers of Western Asia, over control of Mesopotamia. After initial Persian success in recapturing Baghdad and most of modern Iraq, having lost it for 90 years, the war became a stalemate as the Persians were unable to press further into the Ottoman Empire, and the Ottomans themselves were distracted by wars in Europe and weakened by internal turmoil. Eventually, the Ottomans were able to recover Baghdad, taking heavy losses in the final siege, and the signing of the Treaty of Zuhab ended the war in an Ottoman victory. Roughly speaking, the treaty restored the borders of 1555, with the Safavids keeping Dagestan, eastern Georgia, Eastern Armenia, and the present-day Azerbaijan Republic, while western Georgia and Western Armenia decisively came under Ottoman rule. The eastern part of Samtskhe (Meskheti) was irrevocably lost to the Ottomans as well as Mesopotamia. Although parts of Mesopotamia were briefly retaken by the Iranians later on in history, notably during the reigns of Nader Shah (1736–1747) and Karim Khan Zand (1751–1779), it remained thenceforth in Ottoman hands until the aftermath of World War I.

1623 Sep 10 - 1640 Feb 8

Restoring Order


Restoring Order
Ottoman miniature painting depicting Murad IV during dinner

Murad IV was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1623 to 1640, known both for restoring the authority of the state and for the brutality of his methods. Until he assumed absolute power on 18 May 1632, the empire was ruled by his mother, Kösem Sultan, as regent. Murad IV banned alcohol, tobacco, and coffee in Constantinople.[39] He ordered execution for breaking this ban. He restored the judicial regulations by very strict punishments, including execution; he once strangled a grand vizier for the reason that the official had beaten his mother-in-law.

His reign is most notable for the Ottoman–Safavid War, of which the outcome would partition the Caucasus between the two Imperial powers for around two centuries. The Ottoman forces managed to conquer Azerbaijan, occupying Tabriz, Hamadan, and capturing Baghdad in 1638. The Treaty of Zuhab that followed the war generally reconfirmed the borders as agreed by the Peace of Amasya, with Eastern Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Dagestan staying Persian, Western Georgia stayed Ottoman. Mesopotamia was irrevocably lost for the Persians.[40] The borders fixed as a result of the war, are more or less the same as the present border line between Iraq and Iran. Murad IV himself commanded the Ottoman Army in the last years of the war.

1630 Jan 1 - 1680


Balıkesir, Türkiye


Kadızadelis were a seventeenth-century puritanical reformist religious movement in the Ottoman Empire who followed Kadızade Mehmed (1582-1635), a revivalist Islamic preacher. Kadızade and his followers were determined rivals of Sufism and popular religion. They condemned many of the Ottoman practices that Kadızade felt were bidʻah "non-Islamic innovations", and passionately supported "reviving the beliefs and practices of the first Muslim generation in the first/seventh century" ("enjoining good and forbidding wrong").[16]

Driven by zealous and fiery rhetoric, Kadızade Mehmed was able to inspire many followers to join in his cause and rid themselves of any and all corruption found inside of the Ottoman Empire. Leaders of the movement held official positions as preachers in the major mosques of Baghdad, and "combined popular followings with support from within the Ottoman state apparatus".[17] Between 1630 and 1680 there were many violent quarrels that occurred between the Kadızadelis and those that they disapproved of. As the movement progressed, activists became "increasingly violent" and Kadızadelis were known to enter "mosques, tekkes and Ottoman coffeehouses in order to mete out punishments to those contravening their version of orthodoxy."[18]

The Kadizadelis failed in implementing their endeavors; nevertheless their campaign emphasized the divisions within the religious establishment in Ottoman society. The Kadizadeli legacy from one generation to another has been deeply enmeshed in the leaders who were inspired by scholar Birgivi that gave growth to the Kadizade movement. The Kadizade's religious advancement in the Ottoman periphery strengthened the anti-elitist movement. In the end, the faith's chief ulema's continued to support Sufi theology. Many academics and scholars have argued that the Kadizadelis were self-serving and hypocritical; since most of their criticisms were based around the fact that they were on the fringes of society and felt alienated from the rest of the social order. Scholars felt due to being separated from opportunities and power positions inside of the Ottoman Empire, the Kadizadelis took the position they did and were thus cast as reformers instead instigators.

1640 Feb 9 - 1648 Aug 8

Decadence and Crisis


Facts About Ibrahim I, The Man Who Lived In A Cage. ©Weird History

During the early years of Ibrahim's reign, he retreated from politics and turned increasingly to his harem for comfort and pleasure. During his sultanate, the harem achieved new levels of luxury in perfumes, textiles and jewellery. His love of women and furs led him to have a room entirely lined with lynx and sable. Because of his infatuation with furs, the French dubbed him "Le Fou de Fourrures." Kösem Sultan kept her son in check by supplying him with virgins she personally purchased from the slave market, as well as overweight women, for whom he craved.[41]

Kara Mustafa Pasha remained as Grand Vizier during the first four years of Ibrahim's reign, keeping the Empire stable. With the treaty of Szön (15 March 1642) he renewed peace with Austria and during the same year recovered Azov from the Cossacks. Kara Mustafa also stabilized the currency with coinage reform, sought to stabilize the economy with a new land-survey, reduced the number of Janissaries, removed non-contributing members from the state payrolls, and curbed the power of disobedient provincial governors. During these years, Ibrahim showed concern with properly ruling the empire, as shown in his handwritten communications with the Grand Vizier.

Ibrahim came under the influence of various unsuitable people, such as mistress of the imperial harem Şekerpare Hatun and the charlatan Cinci Hoca, who pretended to cure the Sultan's physical ailments. The latter, along with his allies Silahdar Yusuf Agha and Sultanzade Mehmed Pasha, enriched themselves with bribes and eventually usurped enough power to secure the execution of Grand Vizier Ḳara Muṣṭafā. Cinci Hoca became Kadiasker (High Judge) of Anatolia, Yusuf Agha was made Kapudan Pasha (Grand Admiral) and Sultanzade Mehmed became Grand Vizier.[42]

In 1644, Maltese corsairs seized a ship carrying high-status pilgrims to Mecca. Since the pirates had docked in Crete, Kapudan Yusuf Pasha encouraged Ibrahim to invade the island. This began a long war with Venice that lasted 24 years—Crete would not completely fall under Ottoman domination until 1669. In spite of the decline of La Serenissima, Venetian ships won victories throughout the Aegean, capturing Tenedos (1646) and blockading the Dardanelles.

Mass discontent was caused by the Venetian blockade of the Dardanelles—which created scarcities in the capital—and the imposition of heavy taxes during a war economy to pay for Ibrahim's whims. In 1647 the Grand Vizier Salih Pasha, Kösem Sultan, and the şeyhülislam Abdürrahim Efendi unsuccessfully plotted to depose the sultan and replace him with one of his sons. Salih Pasha was executed, and Kösem Sultan was exiled from the harem. The next year, the Janissaries and members of the ulema revolted. On 8 August 1648, corrupt Grand Vizier Aḥmed Pasha was strangled and torn to shreds by an angry mob, gaining the posthumous nickname "Hezarpare" ("thousand pieces"). On the same day, Ibrahim was seized and imprisoned in Topkapı Palace. Kösem gave consent to her son's fall, saying "In the end he will leave neither you nor me alive. We will lose control of the government. The whole society is in ruins. Have him removed from the throne immediately." Ibrahim's six-year-old son Meḥmed was made sultan. Ibrahim was strangled on 18 August 1648. His death was the second regicide in the history of the Ottoman Empire.

1645 Jan 1 - 1666

Cretan War

Crete, Greece

Cretan War ©SandRhoman History

The Cretan War was a conflict between the Republic of Venice and her allies (chief among them the Knights of Malta, the Papal States and France) against the Ottoman Empire and the Barbary States, because it was largely fought over the island of Crete, Venice's largest and richest overseas possession. The war lasted from 1645 to 1669 and was fought in Crete, especially in the city of Candia, and in numerous naval engagements and raids around the Aegean Sea, with Dalmatia providing a secondary theater of operations.

Although most of Crete was conquered by the Ottomans in the first few years of the war, the fortress of Candia (modern Heraklion), the capital of Crete, resisted successfully. Its prolonged siege forced both sides to focus their attention on the supply of their respective forces on the island. For the Venetians in particular, their only hope for victory over the larger Ottoman army in Crete lay in successfully starving it of supplies and reinforcements. Hence the war turned into a series of naval encounters between the two navies and their allies. Venice was aided by various Western European nations, who, exhorted by the Pope and in a revival of crusading spirit, sent men, ships and supplies "to defend Christendom". Throughout the war, Venice maintained overall naval superiority, winning most naval engagements, but the efforts to blockade the Dardanelles were only partially successful, and the Republic never had enough ships to fully cut off the flow of supplies and reinforcements to Crete. The Ottomans were hampered in their efforts by domestic turmoil, as well as by the diversion of their forces north towards Transylvania and the Habsburg monarchy.

The prolonged conflict exhausted the economy of the Republic, which relied on the lucrative trade with the Ottoman Empire. By the 1660s, despite increased aid from other Christian nations, war-weariness had set in. The Ottomans on the other hand, having managed to sustain their forces on Crete and reinvigorated under the capable leadership of the Köprülü family, sent a final great expedition in 1666 under the direct supervision of the Grand Vizier. This began the final and bloodiest stage of the Siege of Candia, which lasted for more than two years. It ended with the negotiated surrender of the fortress, sealing the fate of the island and ending the war in an Ottoman victory. In the final peace treaty, Venice retained a few isolated island fortresses off Crete, and made some territorial gains in Dalmatia. The Venetian desire for a revanche would lead, barely 15 years later, to a renewed war, from which Venice would emerge victorious. Crete, however, would remain under Ottoman control until 1897, when it became an autonomous state; it was finally united with Greece in 1913.

1648 Jan 1 - 1687



Mehmed IV as a teenager, on procession from Istanbul to Edirne in 1657

Mehmed IV came to the throne at the age of six after his father was overthrown in a coup. Mehmed went on to become the second-longest-reigning sultan in Ottoman history after Suleiman the Magnificent. While the initial and final years of his reign were characterized by military defeat and political instability, during his middle years he oversaw the revival of the empire's fortunes associated with the Köprülü era. Mehmed IV was known by contemporaries as a particularly pious ruler, and was referred to as gazi, or "holy warrior" for his role in the many conquests carried out during his long reign. Under Mehmed IV's reign, the empire reached the height of its territorial expansion in Europe.

1656 Jan 1 - 1683

Köprülü Era


Köprülü Era
Grand Vizier Köprülü Mehmed Pasha (1578-1661).

The Köprülü era was a period in which the Ottoman Empire's politics were frequently dominated by a series of grand viziers from the Köprülü family. The Köprülü era is sometimes more narrowly defined as the period from 1656 to 1683, as it was during those years that members of the family held the office of grand vizier uninterruptedly, while for the remainder of the period they occupied it only sporadically. The Köprülüs were generally skilled administrators and are credited with reviving the empire's fortunes after a period of military defeat and economic instability. Numerous reforms were instituted under their rule, which enabled the empire to resolve its budget crisis and stamp out factional conflict in the empire.

The Köprülü rise to power was precipitated by a political crisis resulting from the government's financial struggles combined with a pressing need to break the Venetian blockade of the Dardanelles in the ongoing Cretan War. Thus, in September 1656 Valide Sultan Turhan Hatice selected Köprülü Mehmed Pasha as grand vizier, as well as guaranteeing him absolute security of office. She hoped that a political alliance between the two of them could restore the fortunes of the Ottoman state. Köprülü was ultimately successful; his reforms enabled the empire to break the Venetian blockade and to restore authority to the rebellious Transylvania. However, these gains came at a heavy cost in life, as the grand vizier carried out multiple massacres of soldiers and officers he perceived to be disloyal. Regarded as unjust by many, these purges triggered a major revolt in 1658, led by Abaza Hasan Pasha. Following the suppression of this rebellion, the Köprülü family remained unchallenged politically until their failure to conquer Vienna in 1683. Köprülü Mehmed himself died in 1661, when he was succeeded in office by his son Fazıl Ahmed Pasha.

The Ottoman Empire was profoundly affected by reforms carried out during the 1683-99 War of the Holy League. After the initial shock of the loss of Hungary, the empire's leadership began an enthusiastic process of reform intended to strengthen the state's military and fiscal organization. This included the construction of a fleet of modern galleons, the legalization and taxation of the sale of tobacco as well as of other luxury goods, a reform of waqf finances and tax collection, a purge of defunct janissary payrolls, reform in the method of cizye collection, and the sale of life-term tax farms known as malikâne. These measures enabled the Ottoman Empire to resolve its budget deficits and enter the eighteenth century with a considerable surplus.[19]

1672 Jan 1 - 1676

Ottomans gains most of the Ukraine


Ottomans gains most of the Ukraine
Battle Over the Turkish Banner by Józef Brandt.

The causes of the Polish-Ottoman War of 1672–1676 can be traced to 1666. Petro Doroshenko Hetman of Zaporizhian Host, aiming to gain control of Ukraine but facing defeats from other factions struggling over control of that region, in a final bid to preserve his power in Ukraine, signed a treaty with Sultan Mehmed IV in 1669 that recognized the Cossack Hetmanate as a vassal of the Ottoman Empire.[83]

In 1670, however, hetman Doroshenko tried once again to take over Ukraine, and in 1671 Khan of Crimea, Adil Giray, supportive of the Commonwealth, was replaced with a new one, Selim I Giray, by the Ottoman sultan. Selim entered into an alliance with the Doroshenko's Cossacks; but again like in 1666–67 the Cossack-Tatar forces were dealt defeats by Sobieski. Selim then renewed his oath of allegiance to the Ottoman Sultan and pleaded for assistance, to which the Sultan agreed. Thus an irregular border conflict escalated into a regular war in 1671, as the Ottoman Empire was now prepared to send its regular units onto the battlefield in a bid to try to gain control of that region for itself.[84]

Ottoman forces, numbering 80,000 men and led by Grand Vizier Köprülü Fazıl Ahmed and Ottoman sultan Mehmed IV, invaded Polish Ukraine in August, took the Commonwealth fortress at Kamieniec Podolski and besieged Lwów. Unprepared for war,the Commonwealth Sejm were forced to sign the Peace of Buczacz in October that year, which ceded to the Ottomans the Commonwealth part of Ukraine. In 1676, after Sobieski's 16,000 withstood the two-week siege of Żurawno, by 100,000 men under Ibrahim Pasha, a new peace treaty was signed, the Treaty of Żurawno.[84]  The peace treaty partially reversing those from Buczacz: the Ottomans kept approximately two thirds of the territories they gained in 1672, and the Commonwealth no longer was obliged to pay any kind of tribute to the Empire; a large number of Polish prisoners were released by the Ottomans.

1683 Jul 14 - 1699 Jan 26

Wars of the Holy League


Second Siege of Vienna (1683). ©SandRhoman History

After a few years of peace, the Ottoman Empire, encouraged by successes in the west of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, attacked the Habsburg monarchy. The Turks almost captured Vienna, but John III Sobieski led a Christian alliance that defeated them in the Battle of Vienna (1683), stalling the Ottoman Empire's hegemony in south-eastern Europe.

A new Holy League was initiated by Pope Innocent XI and encompassed the Holy Roman Empire (headed by Habsburg Austria), the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Venetian Republic in 1684, joined by Russia in 1686. The second Battle of Mohács (1687) was a crushing defeat for the Sultan. The Turks were more successful on the Polish front and were able to retain Podolia during their battles with the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Russia's involvement marked the first time the country formally joined an alliance of European powers. This was the beginning of a series of Russo-Turkish Wars, the last of which was World War I. As a result of the Crimean campaigns and Azov campaigns, Russia captured the key Ottoman fortress of Azov.

Following the decisive Battle of Zenta in 1697 and lesser skirmishes (such as the Battle of Podhajce in 1698), the League won the war in 1699 and forced the Ottoman Empire to sign the Treaty of Karlowitz. The Ottomans ceded most of Hungary, Transylvania and Slavonia, as well as parts of Croatia, to the Habsburg monarchy while Podolia returned to Poland. Most of Dalmatia passed to Venice, along with the Morea (the Peloponnese peninsula), which the Ottomans reconquered in 1715 and regained in the Treaty of Passarowitz of 1718.

1686 Jan 1 - 1700

Expansion of the Tsardom of Russia

Azov, Rostov Oblast, Russia

Expansion of the Tsardom of Russia
Mehmed the Hunter-Avcı Mehmet Paintings commissioned by the 17th century(1657) Swedish Ambassador Claes Rålamb.

After the Turkish failure to take Vienna in 1683, Russia joined Austria, Poland, and the Republic of Venice in the Holy League (1684) to drive the Turks southward. Russia and Poland signed the Eternal Peace Treaty of 1686. There were three campaigns north of the Black Sea. During the war, the Russian army organized the Crimean campaigns of 1687 and 1689 both which ended in Russian defeats.[32] Despite these setbacks, Russia launched the Azov campaigns in 1695 and 1696, and after raising the siege in 1695[33] successfully occupied Azov in 1696.[34]

In light of preparations for the war against the Swedish Empire, Russian Tsar Peter the Great signed the Treaty of Karlowitz with the Ottoman Empire in 1699. The subsequent Treaty of Constantinople in 1700, ceded Azov, the Taganrog fortress, Pavlovsk and Mius to Russia and established a Russian ambassador in Constantinople, and secured the return of all prisoners of war. The Tsar also affirmed that his subordinates, the Cossacks, would not attack the Ottomans, while the Sultan affirmed his subordinates, the Crimean Tatars, would not attack the Russians.

1687 Aug 12

Reversal of Fortune in Europe

Nagyharsány, Hungary

Second Battle of Mohács ©HistoryMarche

The Second Battle of Mohács was fought on 12 August 1687 between the forces of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed IV, commanded by the Grand-Vizier Sari Süleyman Paşa, and the forces of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, commanded by Charles of Lorraine. The result was a decisive victory for the Austrians. The Ottoman army suffered huge losses, with an estimated 10,000 dead, as well as the loss of most of its artillery (about 66 guns) and much of its support equipment.

After the battle, the Ottoman Empire fell into deep crisis. There was a mutiny among the troops. Commander Sari Suleyman Pasa became frightened that he would be killed by his own troops and fled from his command, first to Belgrade and then to Constantinople. When the news of the defeat and the mutiny arrived in Constantinople in early September, Abaza Siyavuş Pasha was appointed as the commander and as the Grand Vizier. However, before he could take over his command, the whole Ottoman army had disintegrated and the Ottoman household troops (Janissaries and Sipahis) started to return to their base in Constantinople under their own lower-rank officers. Even the Grand Vizier's regent in Constantinople was frightened and hid. Sari Suleyman Pasa was executed. Sultan Mehmed IV appointed the commander of Bosphorus Straits Köprülü Fazıl Mustafa Pasha as the Grand Vizier's regent in Constantinople. He consulted with the leaders of the army that existed and other leading Ottoman statesmen. After these, on 8 November it was decided to depose Sultan Mehmed IV and to enthrone Suleiman II as the new Sultan.

The disintegration of the Ottoman army allowed Imperial Habsburg armies to conquer large areas. They took over Osijek, Petrovaradin, Sremski Karlovci, Ilok, Valpovo, Požega, Palota and Eger. Most of present-day Slavonia and Transylvania came under Imperial rule. On 9 December there was organised a Diet of Pressburg (today Bratislava, Slovakia), and Archduke Joseph was crowned as the first hereditary king of Hungary, and descendant Habsburg emperors were declared the anointed kings of Hungary. For a year the Ottoman Empire was paralysed, and Imperial Habsburg forces were poised to capture Belgrade and penetrate deep into the Balkans.

1697 Sep 11

Decline of Ottoman control of Central Europe

Zenta, Serbia

Battle of Zenta (1697). ©HistoryMarche

On 18 April 1697, Mustafa embarked upon his third expedition, planning a massive invasion of Hungary. He left Edirne with a force of 100,000 men. The Sultan took personal command, reaching Belgrade late in the Summer, on 11 August. Mustafa gathered a war council the next day. On 18 August the Ottomans left Belgrade heading north towards Szeged. In a surprise attack, Habsburg Imperial forces commanded by Prince Eugene of Savoy engaged the Turkish army while it was halfway through crossing the Tisza river at Zenta, 80 miles northwest of Belgrade. The Habsburg forces inflicted thousands of casualties, including the Grand Vizier, dispersed the remainder, captured the Ottoman treasury, and came away with such emblems of high Ottoman authority as the Seal of the Empire which had never been captured before. The European coalition's losses, on the other hand, were exceptionally light.

After fourteen years of war, the battle at Zenta proved to be the catalyst for peace; within months mediators of both sides started peace negotiations in Sremski Karlovci under the supervision of English ambassador to Constantinople, William Paget. By the terms of the Treaty of Karlowitz, signed near Belgrade on 26 January 1699, Austria gained control of Hungary (except for the Banat of Temesvár and a small area of Eastern Slavonia), Transylvania, Croatia and Slavonia. A portion of the returned territories were reintegrated into the Kingdom of Hungary; the rest were organised as separate entities within the Habsburg monarchy, such as the Principality of Transylvania and the Military Frontier. The Turks kept Belgrade and Serbia, the Sava became the northernmost limit of the Ottoman Empire and Bosnia a border province. The victory ultimately formalized the complete withdrawal of the Turks from Hungary and signalled the end of Ottoman dominance in Europe.

1700 - 1825
Stagnation & Reform
1703 Jan 1

Edirne Incident

Edirne, Türkiye

Edirne Incident
Edirne Incident

The Edirne Incident was a janissary revolt that began in Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1703. The revolt was a reaction to the consequences of the Treaty of Karlowitz and Sultan Mustafa II's absence from the capital. The rising power of the sultan’s former tutor, Şeyhülislam Feyzullah Efendi and the empire's declining economy caused by tax farming were also causes of the revolt. As a result of the Edirne Event, Şeyhülislam Feyzullah Efendi was killed, and Sultan Mustafa II was ousted from power. The sultan was replaced by his brother, Sultan Ahmed III. The Edirne Event contributed to the decline of the power of the sultanate and the increasing power of the janissaries and kadis.

1710 Jan 1 - 1711

Russian Expansion checked

Prut River

Pruth River Campaign ©edhaje

Aside from the loss of the Banat and the temporary loss of Belgrade (1717–1739), the Ottoman border on the Danube and Sava remained stable during the eighteenth century. Russian expansion, however, presented a large and growing threat. Accordingly, King Charles XII of Sweden was welcomed as an ally in the Ottoman Empire following his defeat by the Russians at the Battle of Poltava of 1709 in central Ukraine (part of the Great Northern War of 1700–1721). Charles XII persuaded the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed III to declare war on Russia.

The Russo-Ottoman War of 1710—1711, also known as the Pruth River Campaign, was a brief military conflict between the Tsardom of Russia and the Ottoman Empire. The main battle took place during 18-22 July 1711 in the basin of the Pruth river near Stănilești (Stanilesti) after Tsar Peter I entered the Ottoman vassal Principality of Moldavia, following the Ottoman Empire’s declaration of war on Russia. The ill-prepared 38,000 Russians with 5,000 Moldavians, found themselves surrounded by the Ottoman Army under Grand Vizier Baltaci Mehmet Pasha. After three days of fighting and heavy casualties the Tsar and his armies were allowed to withdraw after agreeing to abandon the fortress of Azov and its surrounding territory. The Ottoman victory led to the Treaty of the Pruth which was confirmed by the Treaty of Adrianople. Although the news of the victory was first received well in Constantinople, the dissatisfied pro-war party turned general opinion against Baltacı Mehmet Pasha, who was accused of accepting a bribe from Peter the Great. Baltacı Mehmet Pasha was then relieved from his office.

1714 Dec 9 - 1718 Jul 21

Ottomans recover Morea

Peloponnese, Greece

Ottomans recover Morea
Venetian grenadiers of the Müller Regiment attacking an Ottoman fort in Dalmatia, 1717

The Seventh Ottoman–Venetian War was fought between the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire between 1714 and 1718. It was the last conflict between the two powers, and ended with an Ottoman victory and the loss of Venice's major possession in the Greek peninsula, the Peloponnese (Morea). Venice was saved from a greater defeat by the intervention of Austria in 1716. The Austrian victories led to the signing of the Treaty of Passarowitz in 1718, which ended the war. This war was also called the Second Morean War, the Small War or, in Croatia, the War of Sinj.

1716 Apr 13 - 1718 Jul 21

Ottomans lose more Balkan lands

Smederevo, Serbia

Ottomans lose more Balkan lands
The Battle of Petrovaradin. | ©Jan Pieter van Bredael

As a reaction as the guarantor of the Treaty of Karlowitz, the Austrians threatened the Ottoman Empire, which caused it to declare war in April 1716. In 1716, Prince Eugene of Savoy defeated the Turks at the Battle of Petrovaradin. The Banat and its capital, Timişoara, were conquered by Prince Eugene in October 1716. The following year, after the Austrians captured Belgrade, the Turks sought peace, and the Treaty of Passarowitz was signed on 21 July 1718.

The Habsburgs gained control of Belgrade, Temesvár (the last Ottoman fortress in Hungary), the Banat region, and portions of northern Serbia. Wallachia (an autonomous Ottoman vassal) ceded Oltenia (Lesser Wallachia) to the Habsburg Monarchy, which established the Banat of Craiova. The Turks retained control only of the territory south of the Danube River. The pact stipulated for Venice to surrender the Morea to the Ottomans, but it retained the Ionian Islands and made gains in Dalmatia.

1718 Jul 21 - 1730 Sep 28

Tulip Period


Tulip Period
The Fountain of Ahmed III is an iconic example of Tulip period architecture

The Tulip Period is a period in Ottoman history from the Treaty of Passarowitz on 21 July 1718 to the Patrona Halil Revolt on 28 September 1730. This was a relatively peaceful period, during which the Ottoman Empire began to orient itself outwards.

Under the guidance of Sultan Ahmed III's son-in-law, Grand Vizier Nevşehirli Damat İbrahim Pasha, the Ottoman Empire embarked on new policies and programs during this period, which established the first Ottoman-language printing press during the 1720s,[31] and promoted commerce and industry.

The Grand Vizier was concerned with improving trade relations and enhancing commercial revenues, which would help to explain the return to gardens and the more public style of the Ottoman court during this period. The Grand Vizier was himself very fond of tulip bulbs, setting an example for Istanbul’s elite who started to cherish the tulip’s endless variety in paint and celebrate its seasonality as well.

The Ottoman standard of dress and its commodity culture incorporated their passion for the tulip. Within Istanbul, one could find tulips from the flower markets to the plastic arts to silks and textiles. Tulip bulbs could be found everywhere; the demand grew within the elite community where they could be found in homes and gardens.

1735 May 31 - 1739 Oct 3

Conflict in Crimea


Conflict in Crimea
Russian Imperial Army (18 century).

The Russo-Turkish War of 1735–1739 between the Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire was caused by the Ottoman Empire's war with Persia and continuing raids by the Crimean Tatars.[46] The war also represented Russia's continuing struggle for access to the Black Sea. In 1737, the Habsburg monarchy joined the war on Russia's side, known in historiography as the Austro-Turkish War of 1737–1739.

1768 Jan 1 - 1774

Ottomans loses more ground to Russians

Eastern Europe

Ottomans loses more ground to Russians
The destruction of the Turkish fleet in the Battle of Chesme, 1770

The Russo-Turkish War of 1768–1774 was a major armed conflict that saw Russian arms largely victorious against the Ottoman Empire. Russia's victory brought parts of Moldavia, the Yedisan between the rivers Bug and Dnieper, and Crimea into the Russian sphere of influence. Through a series of victories accrued by the Russian Empire led to substantial territorial conquests, including direct conquest over much of the Pontic–Caspian steppe, less Ottoman territory was directly annexed than might otherwise be expected due to a complex struggle within the European diplomatic system to maintain a balance of power that was acceptable to other European states and avoided direct Russian hegemony over Eastern Europe.

Nonetheless, Russia was able to take advantage of the weakened Ottoman Empire, the end of the Seven Years' War, and the withdrawal of France from Polish affairs to assert itself as one of the continent's primary military powers. Turkish losses included diplomatic defeats that saw its decline as a threat to Europe, loss over its exclusive control over the Orthodox millet, and the beginning of European bickering over the Eastern Question that would feature in European diplomacy until the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of World War I.

The Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca of 1774 ended the war and provided freedom of worship for the Christian citizens of the Ottoman-controlled provinces of Wallachia and Moldavia. By the late 18th century, after a number of defeats in the wars with Russia, some people in the Ottoman Empire began to conclude that the reforms of Peter the Great had given the Russians an edge, and the Ottomans would have to keep up with Western technology in order to avoid further defeats.[55]

1787 Jan 1

Ottoman Military Reforms


Ottoman Military Reforms
General Aubert-Dubayet with his Military Mission being received by the Grand Vizier in 1796, painting by Antoine-Laurent Castellan.

When Selim III came to the throne in 1789, an ambitious effort of military reform was launched, geared towards securing the Ottoman Empire. The sultan and those who surrounded him were conservative and desired to preserve the status quo. No one in power in the Empire had any interest in social transformation. Selim III in 1789 to 1807 set up the "Nizam-i Cedid" [new order] army to replace the inefficient and outmoded imperial army. The old system depended on Janissaries, who had largely lost their military effectiveness. Selim closely followed Western military forms. It would be expensive for a new army, so a new treasury had to be established. The result was the Porte now had an efficient, European-trained army equipped with modern weapons. However it had fewer than 10,000 soldiers in an era when Western armies were ten to fifty times larger. Furthermore, the Sultan was upsetting the well-established traditional political powers. As a result it was rarely used, apart from its use against Napoléon's expeditionary force at Gaza and Rosetta. The new army was dissolved by reactionary elements with the overthrow of Selim in 1807, but it became the model of the new Ottoman Army created later in the 19th century.[35] [36]

1798 Jul 1 - 1801 Sep 2

French Invasion of Egypt


French Invasion of Egypt
The Battle of the Pyramids, Louis-François, Baron Lejeune, 1808

At the time, Egypt had been an Ottoman province since 1517, but was now out of direct Ottoman control, and was in disorder, with dissension among the ruling Mamluk elite. In France, "Egyptian" fashion was in full swing – intellectuals believed that Egypt was the cradle of Western civilization and wished to conquer it.

The French campaign in Egypt and Syria (1798–1801) was Napoleon Bonaparte's campaign in the Ottoman territories of Egypt and Syria, proclaimed to defend French trade interests and to establish scientific enterprise in the region. It was the primary purpose of the Mediterranean campaign of 1798, a series of naval engagements that included the capture of Malta and the Greek island Crete, later arriving in the Port of Alexandria. The campaign ended in defeat for Napoleon, leading to the withdrawal of French troops from the region.

In addition to its significance in the wider French Revolutionary Wars, the campaign had a powerful impact on the Ottoman Empire in general, and the Arab world in particular. The invasion demonstrated the military, technological, and organisational superiority of the Western European powers to the Middle East. This led to profound social changes in the region. The invasion introduced Western inventions, such as the printing press, and ideas, such as liberalism and incipient nationalism, to the Middle East, eventually leading to the establishment of Egyptian independence and modernisation under Muhammad Ali Pasha in the first half of the 19th century and eventually the Nahda, or Arab Renaissance. To modernist historians, the French arrival marks the start of the modern Middle East.[53] Napoleon's astonishing destruction of the conventional Mamluk soldiers at the Battle of the Pyramids served as a reminder for modernising Muslim monarchs to implement wide-ranging military reforms.[54]

1804 Feb 14 - 1817 Jul 26

Serbian Revolution


Serbian Revolution
Battle of Mišar, painting. | ©Afanasij Scheloumoff

The Serbian Revolution was a national uprising and constitutional change in Serbia that took place between 1804 and 1835, during which this territory evolved from an Ottoman province into a rebel territory, a constitutional monarchy, and modern Serbia.[56] The first part of the period, from 1804 to 1817, was marked by a violent struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire with two armed uprisings taking place, ending with a ceasefire. The later period (1817–1835) witnessed a peaceful consolidation of political power of the increasingly autonomous Serbia, culminating in the recognition of the right to hereditary rule by Serbian princes in 1830 and 1833 and the territorial expansion of the young monarchy.[57] The adoption of the first written Constitution in 1835 abolished feudalism and serfdom, and made the country suzerain. These events marked the foundation of modern Serbia.[58] In mid-1815, the first negotiations began between Obrenović and Marashli Ali Pasha, the Ottoman governor. The result was acknowledgment of a Serbian Principality by the Ottoman Empire. Although a vassal state of the Porte (yearly tax tribute), it was, in most respects, an independent state.

1807 May 25 - May 29

Kabakçı Mustafa as the de facto Ruler of the Empire

İstanbul, Türkiye

Kabakçı Mustafa as the de facto Ruler of the Empire
Kabakçı Mustafa as the de facto Ruler of the Empire

The reformist sultan Selim III who was under the influence French revolution tried to reform the institutions of the empire. His program was called Nizamı cedit (New Order). However, these efforts met with criticism of the reactionaries . The janissaries were afraid of being trained in western style and religious figures opposed non-Moslem methods in medieval institutions. The middle class city dwellers also opposed Nizamı Cedit because of the new taxes to support the program and the general corruption of the Ottoman Porte.[85]

On 25 May 1807 Raif Mehmet, the minister of Bosphorous, tried to persuade the yamaks (a special class of soldiers who were responsible in defending Bosphorous against Cossack pirates from Ukraine) to wear the new uniforms. It was clear that the next step would be the modern training. But the yamaks refused to wear these uniforms and they killed Raif Mehmet. This incident is usually considered as the beginning of the revolt. The yamaks then began marching to İstanbul, the capital about 30 km (19 mi) away. At the end of the first day they decided to elect a leader and they elected Kabakçı Mustafa as their leader. (Ottoman Empire was in an uneasy armistice with Russian Empire during the War of the Fourth Coalition between French Empire and Russian Empire, so the main bulk of the army was in battle front).

Kabakçı reached İstanbul in two days and began to rule the capital. In fact, Kabakçı was under the influence of Köse Musa and the Sheikh ul-Islam Topal Ataullah. He established a court and listed 11 names of high rank Nizami Cedit adherents to be executed. In several days those names were executed some with torture. Then he asked to abolish all institutions formed within the scope of Nizamı Cedit which the sultan had to agree. He also announced his distrust in the sultan and asked to take the two Ottoman princes (the future sultans namely Mustafa IV and Mahmud II) under his protection. After this last step Selim III resigned (or forced to resign by a fetwa of Ataullah) on 29 May 1807.[86] Mustafa IV was enthroned as the new sultan.

1821 Feb 21 - 1829 Sep 12

Greek War of Independence


Greek War of Independence ©Kings and Generals

The Greek Revolution was not an isolated event; numerous failed attempts at regaining independence took place throughout the history of the Ottoman era. In 1814, a secret organization called the Filiki Eteria (Society of Friends) was founded with the aim of liberating Greece, encouraged by revolution, which was common in Europe at the time. The Filiki Eteria planned to launch revolts in the Peloponnese, the Danubian Principalities and Constantinople. The first revolt began on 21 February 1821 in the Danubian Principalities, but it was soon put down by the Ottomans. These events urged Greeks in the Peloponnese (Morea) into action and on 17 March 1821, the Maniots were first to declare war. In September 1821, the Greeks, under the leadership of Theodoros Kolokotronis, captured Tripolitsa. Revolts in Crete, Macedonia, and Central Greece broke out, but were eventually suppressed. Meanwhile, makeshift Greek fleets achieved success against the Ottoman navy in the Aegean Sea and prevented Ottoman reinforcements from arriving by sea.

The Ottoman Sultan called in Muhammad Ali of Egypt, who agreed to send his son, Ibrahim Pasha, to Greece with an army to suppress the revolt in return for territorial gains. Ibrahim landed in the Peloponnese in February 1825 and brought most of the peninsula under Egyptian control by the end of that year. The town of Missolonghi fell in April 1826 after a year-long siege by the Turks. Despite a failed invasion of Mani, Athens also fell and revolutionary morale decreased.

At that point, the three Great powers—Russia, Britain, and France—decided to intervene, sending their naval squadrons to Greece in 1827. Following news that the combined Ottoman–Egyptian fleet was going to attack the island of Hydra, the allied European fleets intercepted the Ottoman navy at Navarino. After a tense week-long standoff, the Battle of Navarino led to the destruction of the Ottoman–Egyptian fleet and turned the tide in favor of the revolutionaries. In 1828, the Egyptian army withdrew under pressure from a French expeditionary force. The Ottoman garrisons in the Peloponnese surrendered and the Greek revolutionaries proceeded to retake central Greece. The Ottoman Empire declared war on Russia allowing for the Russian army to move into the Balkans, near Constantinople. This forced the Ottomans to accept Greek autonomy in the Treaty of Adrianople and autonomy for Serbia and the Romanian principalities. After nine years of war, Greece was finally recognized as an independent state under the London Protocol of February 1830. Further negotiations in 1832 led to the London Conference and the Treaty of Constantinople, which defined the final borders of the new state and established Prince Otto of Bavaria as the first king of Greece.

1826 Jun 15

Auspicious Incident

İstanbul, Türkiye

Auspicious Incident
The century-old Janissary corps largely lost their military effectiveness by the 17th century. | ©Anonymous

By the early 17th century, the Janissary corps had ceased to function as an elite military force, and had become a privileged hereditary class, and their exemption from paying taxes made them highly unfavorable in the eyes of the rest of the population. The number of Janissaries grew from 20,000 in 1575 to 135,000 in 1826, about 250 years later.[37] Many were not soldiers but still collected pay from the empire, as dictated by the corps since it held an effective veto over the state and contributed to the steady decline of the Ottoman Empire. Any sultan who tried to diminish its status or power was immediately either killed or deposed. As opportunities and power continued to rise within the Janissary corps, it began to undermine the empire. Over time it became clear that for the empire to restore its position as a major power of Europe, it needed to replace the Janissary corps with a modern army.

When Mahmud II began forming a new army and hiring European gunners, the Janissaries mutinied and fought on the streets of the Ottoman capital, but the militarily superior Sipahis charged and forced them back into their barracks. Turkish historians claim that the counter-Janissary force, which was great in numbers, included the local residents who had hated the Janissaries for years.

The sultan informed them that he was forming a new army, the Sekban-ı Cedit, organized and trained along modern European lines (and that the new army would be Turkish-dominated). The Janissaries saw their institution as crucial to the well-being of the Ottoman Empire, especially to Rumelia, and had previously decided they would never allow its dissolution. Thus, as predicted, they mutinied, advancing on the sultan's palace. Mahmud II then brought out the Holy Banner of the Prophet Muhammad from inside the Sacred Trust, intending all true believers to gather beneath it and thus bolster opposition to the Janissaries.[38] In the ensuing fight the Janissary barracks were set ablaze by artillery fire, resulting in 4,000 Janissary deaths; more were killed in the heavy fighting on the streets of Constantinople. The survivors either fled or were imprisoned, their possessions confiscated by the Sultan. By the end of 1826 the captured Janissaries, constituting the remainder of the force, were put to death by decapitation in the Thessaloniki fort that soon came to be called the "Blood Tower". The Janissary leaders were executed and their possessions confiscated by the Sultan. The younger Janissaries were either exiled or imprisoned. Thousands of Janissaries had been killed, and thus the elite order came to its end. A new modern corps, Asakir-i Mansure-i Muhammediye ("The Victorious Soldiers of Muhammad") was established by Mahmud II to guard the Sultan and replace the Janissaries.

1828 - 1908
Decline & Modernization
1830 Jun 14 - Jul 7

Algeria lost to France

Algiers, Algeria

Algeria lost to France
The "Fan Affair" which was the pretext for the invasion.

During the Napoleonic Wars, the Kingdom of Algiers had greatly benefited from trade in the Mediterranean, and of the massive imports of food by France, largely bought on credit. The Dey of Algiers attempted to remedy his steadily decreasing revenues by increasing taxes, which was resisted by the local peasantry, increasing instability in the country and leading to increased piracy against merchant shipping from Europe and the young United States of America.

In 1827, Hussein Dey, Algeria's Dey, demanded that the French pay a 28-year-old debt contracted in 1799 by purchasing supplies to feed the soldiers of the Napoleonic Campaign in Egypt. The French consul Pierre Deval refused to give answers satisfactory to the dey, and in an outburst of anger, Hussein Dey touched the consul with his fly-whisk. Charles X used this as an excuse to initiate a blockade against the port of Algiers.

The invasion of Algiers began on 5 July 1830 with a naval bombardment by a fleet under Admiral Duperré and a landing by troops under Louis Auguste Victor de Ghaisne, comte de Bourmont. The French quickly defeated the troops of Hussein Dey, the Deylikal ruler, but native resistance was widespread. The invasion marked the end of the several centuries old Regency of Algiers, and the beginning of French Algeria. In 1848, the territories conquered around Algiers were organised into three départements, defining the territories of modern Algeria.

1831 Jan 1 - 1833

First Egyptian–Ottoman War


Muhammad Ali and Late Ottoman Egypt. ©Muddling Through History

In 1831, Muhammad Ali Pasha revolted against Sultan Mahmud II due to the latter's refusal to grant him the governorships of Greater Syria and Crete, which the Sultan had promised him in exchange for sending military assistance to put down the Greek revolt (1821–1829) that ultimately ended with the formal independence of Greece in 1830. It was a costly enterprise for Muhammad Ali Pasha, who had lost his fleet at the Battle of Navarino in 1827. Thus began the first Egyptian–Ottoman War (1831–1833), during which the French-trained army of Muhammad Ali Pasha, under the command of his son Ibrahim Pasha, defeated the Ottoman Army as it marched into Anatolia, reaching the city of Kütahya within 320 km (200 mi) of the capital, Constantinople.

Egypt had conquered almost all of Turkey besides the city of Istanbul where severe winter weather forced him to make camp at Konya long enough for the Sublime Porte to conclude an alliance with Russia, and for Russian forces to arrive in Anatolia, blocking his route to the capital.[59] The arrival of a European power would prove to be too great a challenge for Ibrahim's army to overcome. Wary of Russia’s expanding influence in the Ottoman Empire and its potential to upset the balance of power, French and British pressure forced Muhammad Ali and Ibrahim to agree to the Convention of Kütahya. Under the settlement, the Syrian provinces were ceded to Egypt, and Ibrahim Pasha was made the governor-general of the region.[60]

1839 Jan 1 - 1840

Restoration of Ottoman Suzerainty of Egypt & Levant


Restoration of Ottoman Suzerainty of Egypt & Levant
Tortosa, 23rd September 1840, attack by the boats of HMS Benbow, Carysfort and Zebra, under Captain J.F. Ross, R.N.

The Second Egyptian–Ottoman War lasted from 1839 until 1840 and was fought mainly in Syria. In 1839, the Ottoman Empire moved to reoccupy lands lost to Muhammad Ali in the First Ottoman-Egyptian War. The Ottoman Empire invaded Syria, but after suffering a defeat at the Battle of Nezib appeared on the verge of collapse. On 1 July, the Ottoman fleet sailed to Alexandria and surrendered to Muhammad Ali. Britain, Austria and other European nations, rushed to intervene and force Egypt into accepting a peace treaty. From September to November 1840, a combined naval fleet, made up of British and Austrian vessels, cut off Ibrahim's sea communications with Egypt, followed by the occupation of Beirut and Acre by the British. On 27 November 1840, the Convention of Alexandria took place. British Admiral Charles Napier reached an agreement with the Egyptian government, where the latter abandoned its claims to Syria and returned the Ottoman fleet in exchange of the recognition of Muhammad Ali and his sons as the only legitimate rulers of Egypt.[61]

1839 Jan 1 - 1876

Tanzimat Reforms


Tanzimat Reforms ©Muddling Through History

The Tanzimat was a period of reform in the Ottoman Empire that began with the Gülhane Hatt-ı Şerif in 1839 and ended with the First Constitutional Era in 1876. The Tanzimat era began with the purpose, not of radical transformation, but of modernization, desiring to consolidate the social and political foundations of the Ottoman Empire. It was characterised by various attempts to modernise the Ottoman Empire and to secure its territorial integrity against internal nationalist movements and external aggressive powers. The reforms encouraged Ottomanism among the diverse ethnic groups of the Empire and attempted to stem the tide of the rise of nationalism in the Ottoman Empire.

Many changes were made to improve civil liberties, but many Muslims saw them as a foreign influence on the world of Islam. That perception complicated reformist efforts made by the state.[47] During the Tanzimat period, the government's series of constitutional reforms led to a fairly modern conscripted army, banking system reforms, the decriminalization of homosexuality, the replacement of religious law with secular law[48] and guilds with modern factories. The Ottoman Ministry of Post was established in Constantinople (Istanbul) on 23 October 1840.[49]

1853 Oct 16 - 1856 Mar 30

Crimean War


How did Russia lose the Crimean War? ©HistoryMarche

The Crimean War was fought from October 1853 to February 1856 between the Russian Empire and an ultimately victorious alliance of the Ottoman Empire, France, the United Kingdom and Sardinia-Piedmont. Geopolitical causes of the war included the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the expansion of the Russian Empire in the preceding Russo-Turkish Wars, and the British and French preference to preserve the Ottoman Empire to maintain the balance of power in the Concert of Europe.

The front settled into the siege of Sevastopol, involving brutal conditions for troops on both sides. Sevastopol finally fell after eleven months, after the French had assaulted Fort Malakoff. Isolated and facing a bleak prospect of invasion by the West if the war continued, Russia sued for peace in March 1856. France and Britain welcomed the development, owing to the conflict's domestic unpopularity.

The Treaty of Paris, signed on 30 March 1856, ended the war. It forbade Russia to base warships in the Black Sea. The Ottoman vassal states of Wallachia and Moldavia became largely independent. Christians in the Ottoman Empire gained a degree of official equality, and the Orthodox Church regained control of the Christian churches in dispute. The Crimean War marked a turning point for the Russian Empire. The war weakened the Imperial Russian Army, drained the treasury and undermined Russia's influence in Europe.

1856 Mar 30

Emigration of Crimean Tatars


Emigration of Crimean Tatars
Caffa in ruins after Russian annexation of Crimea. | ©De la Traverse

The Crimean War caused an exodus of the Crimean Tatars, about 200,000 of whom moved to the Ottoman Empire in continuing waves of emigration.[62]  Toward the end of the Caucasian Wars, 90% of the Circassians were ethnically cleansed[63] and exiled from their homelands in the Caucasus and fled to the Ottoman Empire,[64] resulting in the settlement of 500,000 to 700,000 Circassians in Turkey.[65] Some Circassian organisations give much higher numbers, totalling 1–1.5 million deported or killed. Crimean Tatar refugees in the late 19th century played an especially notable role in seeking to modernise Ottoman education and in first promoting both Pan-Turkism and a sense of Turkish nationalism.[66]

1876 Jan 1

Ottoman Constitution of 1876


Ottoman Constitution of 1876
Meeting of the first Ottoman Parliament in 1877

The Constitution of the Ottoman Empire, also known as the Constitution of 1876, was the first constitution of the Ottoman Empire.[50] Written by members of the Young Ottomans, particularly Midhat Pasha, during the reign of Sultan Abdul Hamid II (1876–1909), the constitution was in effect from 1876 to 1878 in a period known as the First Constitutional Era, and from 1908 to 1922 in the Second Constitutional Era. After Abdul Hamid's political downfall in the 31 March Incident, the Constitution was amended to transfer more power from the sultan and the appointed Senate to the popularly-elected lower house: the Chamber of Deputies.

In the course of their studies in Europe, some members of the new Ottoman elite concluded that the secret of Europe's success rested not only with its technical achievements but also with its political organizations. Moreover, the process of reform itself had imbued a small segment of the elite with the belief that constitutional government would be a desirable check on autocracy and provide it with a better opportunity to influence policy. Sultan Abdülaziz's chaotic rule led to his deposition in 1876 and, after a few troubled months, to the proclamation of an Ottoman constitution that the new sultan, Abdul Hamid II, pledged to uphold.[51]

1877 Apr 24 - 1878 Mar 3

Balkan Independence


Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878). ©Muddling Through History

The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 was a conflict between the Ottoman Empire and a coalition led by the Russian Empire, and including Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro.[67] Fought in the Balkans and in the Caucasus, it originated in emerging 19th century Balkan nationalism. Additional factors included the Russian goals of recovering territorial losses endured during the Crimean War of 1853–56, re-establishing itself in the Black Sea and supporting the political movement attempting to free Balkan nations from the Ottoman Empire.

The Russian-led coalition won the war, pushing the Ottomans back all the way to the gates of Constantinople, leading to the intervention of the western European great powers. As a result, Russia succeeded in claiming provinces in the Caucasus, namely Kars and Batum, and also annexed the Budjak region. The principalities of Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro, each of which had had de facto sovereignty for some years, formally proclaimed independence from the Ottoman Empire. After almost five centuries of Ottoman domination (1396–1878), the Principality of Bulgaria emerged as an autonomous Bulgarian state with support and military intervention from Russia.

1882 Jul 1 - Sep

Egypt lost to the British


Egypt lost to the British
Battle of Tel el-Kebir (1882). | ©Alphonse-Marie-Adolphe de Neuville

British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli advocated for restoring the Ottoman territories on the Balkan Peninsula during the Congress of Berlin, and in return, Britain assumed the administration of Cyprus in 1878.[88] Britain later sent troops to Egypt in 1882 to put down the Urabi Revolt – Sultan Abdul Hamid II was too paranoid to mobilize his own army, fearing this would result in a coup d'état.

The uprising was ended by an Anglo-Egyptian War and takeover of the country. It thus began the History of Egypt under the British.[87] While the British intervention was meant to be short term, it in fact persisted until 1954. Egypt was effectively made a colony until 1952.

1883 Jan 1

German Military Mission


German Military Mission
Ottoman Soldiers in Bulgaria. | ©Nikolay Dmitriev

Defeated in the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), Sultan Abdülhamid II, of the Ottoman Empire, asked for German help to reorganize the Ottoman Army, so that it would be able to resist the advance of the Russian Empire. Baron von der Goltz was sent. Goltz achieved some reforms, such as lengthening the period of study at military schools and adding new curricula for staff courses at the War College. From 1883 to 1895, Goltz trained the so-called "Goltz generation" of Ottoman officers, many of whom would go to play prominent roles in Ottoman military and political life.[68] Goltz, who learned to speak fluent Turkish, was a much admired teacher, regarded as a "father figure" by the cadets, who saw him as "an inspiration."[68] Attending his lectures, in which he sought to indoctrinate his students with his "nation in arms" philosophy, was seen as "a matter of pride and joy" by his pupils.[68]

1894 Jan 1 - 1897

Hamidian Massacres


Hamidian Massacres
Armenian victims of the massacres being buried in a mass grave at Erzerum cemetery.

The Hamidian massacres[69] also called the Armenian massacres, were massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in the mid-1890s. Estimated casualties ranged from 100,000[70] to 300,000,[71] resulting in 50,000 orphaned children.[72] The massacres are named after Sultan Abdul Hamid II, who, in his efforts to maintain the imperial domain of the declining Ottoman Empire, reasserted pan-Islamism as a state ideology.[73] Although the massacres were aimed mainly at the Armenians, in some cases they turned into indiscriminate anti-Christian pogroms, including the Diyarbekir massacres, where, at least according to one contemporary source, up to 25,000 Assyrians were also killed.[74]

The massacres began in the Ottoman interior in 1894, before they became more widespread in the following years. The majority of the murders took place between 1894 and 1896. The massacres began to taper off in 1897, following international condemnation of Abdul Hamid. The harshest measures were directed against the long persecuted Armenian community as its calls for civil reform and better treatment were ignored by the government. The Ottomans made no allowances for the victims on account of their age or gender, and as a result, they massacred all of the victims with brutal force.[75] The telegraph spread news of the massacres around the world, leading to a significant amount of coverage of them in the media of Western Europe and North America.

1897 Apr 18 - May 20

Greco-Turkish War of 1897


Ottoman-Greek War of 1897 ©History Class

The Ottoman-Greek War of 1897 was a war fought between the Kingdom of Greece and the Ottoman Empire. Its immediate cause involved the status of the Ottoman province of Crete, whose Greek-majority population had long desired union with Greece. Despite the Ottoman victory on the field, an autonomous Cretan State under Ottoman suzerainty was established the following year (as a result of the intervention of the Great Powers after the war), with Prince George of Greece and Denmark as its first High Commissioner.

The war put the military and political personnel of Greece to test in an official open war for the first time since the Greek War of Independence in 1821. For the Ottoman Empire, this was also the first war-effort to test a re-organized military system. The Ottoman army operated under the guidance of a German military mission led (1883–1895) by Colmar Freiherr von der Goltz, who had reorganized the Ottoman military after its defeat in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878.

The conflict proved that Greece was wholly unprepared for war. Plans, fortifications and weapons were non-existent, the mass of the officer corps was unsuited to its tasks, and training was inadequate. As a result, the numerically superior, better-organized, -equipped and -led Ottoman forces, heavily composed of Albanian warriors with combat experience, pushed the Greek forces south out of Thessaly and threatened Athens,[52] only to cease fire when the Great Powers persuaded the Sultan to agree to an armistice.

1908 - 1922
Defeat & Dissolution
1908 Jul 1

Young Turk Revolution


Young Turk Revolution. ©General History

The Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), an organization of the Young Turks movement, forced Sultan Abdul Hamid II to restore the Ottoman Constitution and recall the parliament, which ushered in multi-party politics within the Empire. From the Young Turk Revolution to the Empire's end marks the Second Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire's history. More than three decades earlier, in 1876, constitutional monarchy had been established under Abdul Hamid during a period of time known as the First Constitutional Era, which lasted for only two years before Abdul Hamid suspended it and restored autocratic powers to himself.

The revolution began with CUP member Ahmed Niyazi's flight into the Albanian highlands. He was soon joined by İsmail Enver and Eyub Sabri. They networked with local Albanians and utilized their connections within the Salonica based Third Army to instigate a large revolt. Various coordinated assassinations by Unionist Fedai also contributed to Abdul Hamid's capitulation. With a Constitutionalist revolt in the Rumelian provinces instigated by the CUP, Abdul Hamid capitulated and announced the restoration of the Constitution, recalled the parliament, and called for elections. After an attempted monarchist counterrevolution known as the 31 March Incident in favor of Abdul Hamid the following year, he was deposed and his brother Mehmed V ascended the throne.

1911 Sep 29 - 1912 Oct 18

Ottomans lose North African Territories

Tripoli, Libya

Italo-Turkish War 1911-1912. ©The Great War

The Turco-Italian War was fought between the Kingdom of Italy and the Ottoman Empire from 29 September 1911, to 18 October 1912. As a result of this conflict, Italy captured the Ottoman Tripolitania Vilayet, of which the main sub-provinces were Fezzan, Cyrenaica, and Tripoli itself. These territories became the colonies of Italian Tripolitania and Cyrenaica, which would later merge into Italian Libya. The war was a precursor of the First World War. Members of the Balkan League, sensing Ottoman weakness and motivated by incipient Balkan nationalism, attacked the Ottoman Empire in October 1912, starting the First Balkan War a few days before the end of the Italo-Turkish War.

1912 Oct 8 - 1913 May 30

First Balkan War

Balkan Peninsula

The First Balkan War - Explained in 10 minutes. ©Knowledgia
First Balkan War

The First Balkan War lasted from October 1912 to May 1913 and involved actions of the Balkan League (the Kingdoms of Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Montenegro) against the Ottoman Empire. The Balkan states' combined armies overcame the initially numerically inferior (significantly superior by the end of the conflict) and strategically disadvantaged Ottoman armies, achieving rapid success.

The war was a comprehensive and unmitigated disaster for the Ottomans, who lost 83% of their European territories and 69% of their European population.[76] As a result of the war, the League captured and partitioned almost all of the Ottoman Empire's remaining territories in Europe. Ensuing events also led to the creation of an independent Albania, which angered the Serbs. Bulgaria, meanwhile, was dissatisfied over the division of the spoils in Macedonia, and attacked its former allies, Serbia and Greece, on 16 June 1913 which provoked the start of the Second Balkan War.

1913 Jan 23

1913 Ottoman Coup d'état


1913 Ottoman Coup d'état
Enver Bey asking Kâmil Pasha to resign during the raid on the Sublime Porte.

The 1913 Ottoman coup d'état was a coup d'état carried out in the Ottoman Empire by a number of Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) members led by Ismail Enver Bey and Mehmed Talaat Bey, in which the group made a surprise raid on the central Ottoman government buildings, the Sublime Porte. During the coup, the Minister of War, Nazım Pasha, was assassinated and the Grand Vizier, Kâmil Pasha, was forced to resign. After the coup, the government fell into the hands of the CUP, now under the leadership of the triumvirate known as the "Three Pashas", made up of Enver, Talaat, and Cemal Pasha.

In 1911, the Freedom and Accord Party (also known as the Liberal Union or Liberal Entente), Kâmil Pasha's party, was formed in opposition to the CUP and almost immediately won the by-elections in Constantinople (now Istanbul).[83] Alarmed, the CUP rigged the general elections of 1912 with electoral fraud and violence against Freedom and Accord, earning them the nickname "Election of Clubs".[84] In response, the Savior Officers of the army, partisans of Freedom and Accord determined to see the CUP fall, rose up in anger and caused the fall of the CUP's post-election Mehmed Said Pasha government.[85] A new government was formed under Ahmed Muhtar Pasha but after a few months it too was dissolved in October 1912 after the sudden outbreak of the First Balkan War and military defeat.[86]

After gaining the permission of sultan Mehmed V to form a new government in late October 1912, Freedom and Accord leader Kâmil Pasha sat down to diplomatic talks with Bulgaria after the unsuccessful First Balkan War.[87] With the Bulgarian demand for the cession of the former Ottoman capital city of Adrianople (today, and in Turkish at the time, known as Edirne) looming and the outrage among the Turkish populace as well as the CUP leadership, the CUP carried out the coup on January 23, 1913.[87] After the coup, opposition parties like Freedom and Accord were subject to heavy repression. The new government led by Mahmud Şevket Pasha with Unionist support withdrew the Ottoman Empire from the ongoing London Peace Conference and resumed the war against the Balkan states to recover Edirne and the rest of Rumelia, but to no avail. After his assassination in June, the CUP would take full control of the empire, and opposition leaders would be arrested or exiled to Europe.

1914 Oct 29 - 1918 Oct 30

Ottoman Empire in World War I


Ottoman Empire in World War I ©edjahe

The Ottoman Empire came into World War I as one of the Central Powers by carrying out a surprise attack on the Black Sea coast of Russia on 29 October 1914, with Russia responding by declaring war on 2 November 1914. Ottoman forces fought the Entente in the Balkans and the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I. Mehmed V, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, declared Jihad against the powers of the Triple Entente during World War I.[77] The declaration, which called for Muslims to support the Ottomans in Entente-controlled areas and for jihad against "all enemies of the Ottoman Empire, except the Central Powers",[78] was initially drafted on the 11 November and first publicly read out in front of a large crowd on 14 November.[77]

Arab tribes in Mesopotamia were initially enthusiastic about the edict. However, following British victories in the Mesopotamian campaign in 1914 and 1915, enthusiasm declined, and some chieftains like Mudbir al-Far'un adopted a more neutral, if not pro-British, stance.[79]

There were hopes and fears that non-Turkish Muslims would side with Ottoman Turkey, but according to some historians, the appeal did not "unite the Muslim world",[80] and Muslims did not turn on their non-Muslim commanders in the Allied forces. However, other historians point to the 1915 Singapore Mutiny and alleged that the call did have a considerable impact on Muslims around the world.[81] In a 2017 article, it was concluded that the declaration, as well as earlier jihad propaganda, had a strong impact on attaining the loyalty of Kurdish tribes, who played a major role in the Armenian and Assyrian genocides.[82]

The war led to the end of the caliphate as the Ottoman Empire entered on the side of the war's losers and surrendered by agreeing to "viciously punitive" conditions. On 30 October 1918, the Armistice of Mudros was signed, ending Ottoman involvement in World War 1. The Ottoman public, however, was given misleadingly positive impressions of the severity of the terms of the Armistice. They thought its terms were considerably more lenient than they actually were, a source of discontent later that the Allies had betrayed the offered terms.

1915 Feb 19 - 1916 Jan 9

Gallipoli Campaign

Gallipoli Peninsula, Pazarlı/G

Gallipoli Campaign ©Kings and Generals

The Entente powers, Britain, France and the Russian Empire, sought to weaken the Ottoman Empire, one of the Central Powers, by taking control of the Ottoman straits. This would expose the Ottoman capital at Constantinople to bombardment by Allied battleships and cut it off from the Asian part of the empire. With Turkey defeated, the Suez Canal would be safe and a year-round Allied supply route could be opened through the Black Sea to warm-water ports in Russia.

The attempt by the Allied fleet to force a passage through the Dardanelles in February 1915 failed and was followed by an amphibious landing on the Gallipoli peninsula in April 1915. In January 1916, after eight months' fighting, with approximately 250,000 casualties on each side, the Gallipoli Campaign was abandoned and the invasion force withdrawn. It was a costly campaign for the Entente powers and the Ottoman Empire as well as for the sponsors of the expedition, especially the First Lord of the Admiralty (1911–1915), Winston Churchill. The campaign was considered a great Ottoman victory. In Turkey, it is regarded as a defining moment in the history of the state, a final surge in the defence of the motherland as the Ottoman Empire retreated. The struggle formed the basis for the Turkish War of Independence and the declaration of the Republic of Turkey eight years later, with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who rose to prominence as a commander at Gallipoli, as founder and president.

1915 Apr 24 - 1916

Armenian Genocide


Armenian Genocide. ©Disturban History
Armenian Genocide

The Armenian genocide was the systematic destruction of the Armenian people and identity in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Spearheaded by the ruling Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), it was implemented primarily through the mass murder of around one million Armenians during death marches to the Syrian Desert and the forced Islamization of Armenian women and children.

Before World War I, Armenians occupied a protected, but subordinate, place in Ottoman society. Large-scale massacres of Armenians occurred in the 1890s and 1909. The Ottoman Empire suffered a series of military defeats and territorial losses—especially the 1912–1913 Balkan Wars—leading to fear among CUP leaders that the Armenians, whose homeland in the eastern provinces was viewed as the heartland of the Turkish nation, would seek independence. During their invasion of Russian and Persian territory in 1914, Ottoman paramilitaries massacred local Armenians. Ottoman leaders took isolated indications of Armenian resistance as evidence of a widespread rebellion, though no such rebellion existed. Mass deportation was intended to permanently forestall the possibility of Armenian autonomy or independence.

On 24 April 1915, the Ottoman authorities arrested and deported hundreds of Armenian intellectuals and leaders from Constantinople. At the orders of Talaat Pasha, an estimated 800,000 to 1.2 million Armenians were sent on death marches to the Syrian Desert in 1915 and 1916. Driven forward by paramilitary escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to robbery, rape, and massacres. In the Syrian Desert, the survivors were dispersed into concentration camps. In 1916, another wave of massacres was ordered, leaving about 200,000 deportees alive by the end of the year. Around 100,000 to 200,000 Armenian women and children were forcibly converted to Islam and integrated into Muslim households. Massacres and ethnic cleansing of Armenian survivors were carried out by the Turkish nationalist movement during the Turkish War of Independence after World War I.

This genocide put an end to more than two thousand years of Armenian civilization. Together with the mass murder and expulsion of Syriac and Greek Orthodox Christians, it enabled the creation of an ethnonationalist Turkish state.

1916 Jun 10 - Oct 25

Arab Revolt


Arab Revolt ©Kings and Generals

The Arab Revolt began in 1916 with British support. It turned the tide against the Ottomans on the Middle Eastern front, where they seemed to have the upper hand during the first two years of World War I. On the basis of the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence, an agreement between the British government and Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca, the revolt was officially initiated at Mecca on 10 June 1916. The Arab nationalist goal was to create a single unified and independent Arab state stretching from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen, which the British had promised to recognise. The Sharifian Army led by Hussein and the Hashemites, with military backing from the British Egyptian Expeditionary Force, successfully fought and expelled the Ottoman military presence from much of the Hejaz and Transjordan. The Arab Revolt is seen by historians as the first organized movement of Arab nationalism. It brought together different Arab groups for the first time with the common goal to fight for independence from the Ottoman Empire.

1918 Oct 30 - 1922 Nov 1

Partition of the Ottoman Empire


Partition of the Ottoman Empire
The surrender of Jerusalem to the British on 9 December 1917 after the Battle of Jerusalem

The partition of the Ottoman Empire (30 October 1918 – 1 November 1922) was a geopolitical event that occurred after World War I and the occupation of Istanbul by British, French and Italian troops in November 1918. The partitioning was planned in several agreements made by the Allied Powers early in the course of World War I,[91] notably the Sykes–Picot Agreement, after the Ottoman Empire had joined Germany to form the Ottoman–German Alliance.[92] The huge conglomeration of territories and peoples that formerly comprised the Ottoman Empire was divided into several new states.[93] The Ottoman Empire had been the leading Islamic state in geopolitical, cultural and ideological terms. The partitioning of the Ottoman Empire after the war led to the domination of the Middle East by Western powers such as Britain and France, and saw the creation of the modern Arab world and the Republic of Turkey. Resistance to the influence of these powers came from the Turkish National Movement but did not become widespread in the other post-Ottoman states until the period of rapid decolonization after World War II.

After the Ottoman government collapsed completely, its representatives signed the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920, which would have partitioned much of the territory of present-day Turkey among France, the United Kingdom, Greece and Italy. The Turkish War of Independence forced the Western European powers to return to the negotiating table before the treaty could be ratified. The Western Europeans and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey signed and ratified the new Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, superseding the Treaty of Sèvres and agreeing on most of the territorial issues.

1919 May 19 - 1922 Oct 11

Turkish War of Independence

Anatolia, Türkiye

Turkish War of Independence. ©Hikma History

While World War I ended for the Ottoman Empire with the Armistice of Mudros, the Allied Powers continued occupying and seizing land for imperialist designs. Ottoman military commanders therefore refused orders from both the Allies and the Ottoman government to surrender and disband their forces. This crisis reached a head when sultan Mehmed VI dispatched Mustafa Kemal Pasha (Atatürk), a well-respected and high-ranking general, to Anatolia to restore order; however, Mustafa Kemal became an enabler and eventually leader of Turkish nationalist resistance against the Ottoman government, Allied powers, and Christian minorities.

In an attempt to establish control over the power vacuum in Anatolia, the Allies persuaded Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos to launch an expeditionary force into Anatolia and occupy Smyrna (İzmir), beginning the Turkish War of Independence. A nationalist counter government led by Mustafa Kemal was established in Ankara when it became clear the Ottoman government was backing the Allied powers. The Allies soon pressured the Ottoman government in Constantinople into suspending the Constitution, shuttering the Parliament, and signing the Treaty of Sèvres, a treaty unfavorable to Turkish interests that the "Ankara government" declared illegal.

In the ensuing war, irregular militia defeated the French forces in the south, and undemobilized units went on to partition Armenia with Bolshevik forces, resulting in the Treaty of Kars (October 1921). The Western Front of the independence war was known as the Greco-Turkish War, in which Greek forces at first encountered unorganized resistance. However İsmet Pasha's organization of militia into a regular army paid off when Ankara forces fought the Greeks in the Battles of First and Second İnönü. The Greek army emerged victorious in the Battle of Kütahya-Eskişehir and decided to drive on the nationalist capital of Ankara, stretching their supply lines. The Turks checked their advance in the Battle of Sakarya and counter-attacked in the Great Offensive, which expelled Greek forces from Anatolia in the span of three weeks. The war effectively ended with the recapture of İzmir and the Chanak Crisis, prompting the signing of another armistice in Mudanya.

The Grand National Assembly in Ankara was recognized as the legitimate Turkish government, which signed the Treaty of Lausanne (July 1923), a treaty more favorable to Turkey than the Sèvres Treaty. The Allies evacuated Anatolia and Eastern Thrace, the Ottoman government was overthrown and the monarchy abolished, and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (which remains Turkey's primary legislative body today) declared the Republic of Turkey on 29 October 1923. With the war, a population exchange between Greece and Turkey, the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire, and the abolition of the sultanate, the Ottoman era came to an end, and with Atatürk's reforms, the Turks created the modern, secular nation-state of Turkey. On 3 March 1924, the Ottoman caliphate was also abolished.

1922 Nov 1

Abolition of the Ottoman Sultanate


Abolition of the Ottoman Sultanate
Mehmed VI departing from the back door of the Dolmabahçe Palace.

The abolition of the Ottoman sultanate by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on 1 November 1922 ended the Ottoman Empire, which had lasted since 1299. On 11 November 1922, at the Conference of Lausanne, the sovereignty of the Grand National Assembly exercised by the Government in Angora (now Ankara) over Turkey was recognized. The last sultan, Mehmed VI, departed the Ottoman capital, Constantinople (now Istanbul), on 17 November 1922. The legal position was solidified with the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne on 24 July 1923. In March 1924, the Caliphate was abolished, marking the end of Ottoman influence.

1923 Jan 1



The Ottoman Empire was a vast and powerful state that existed for over six centuries, from the late 13th century to the early 20th century. At its height, it controlled a vast territory that stretched from southeastern Europe to the Middle East and North Africa. The legacy of the Ottoman Empire is complex and multifaceted, and its impact is still felt today in many parts of the world.

One of the most significant legacies of the Ottoman Empire is its cultural and intellectual heritage. The Ottomans were great patrons of the arts and literature, and their legacy can be seen in the stunning architecture, music, and literature of the region. Many of the most iconic landmarks of Istanbul, such as the Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace, were built during the Ottoman period.

The Ottoman Empire also played a significant role in shaping the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East and Europe. It was a major player in international trade and diplomacy, and its strategic location allowed it to exert influence over neighboring regions.

However, the legacy of the Ottoman Empire is not without controversy. The Ottomans were known for their brutal treatment of minorities, particularly Armenians, Greeks, and other Christian communities. The legacy of Ottoman imperialism and colonialism continues to be felt in many parts of the world today, and its impact on the political and social dynamics of the region remains a subject of ongoing debate and analysis.


Supplementary stuff we didn't know where else to place. Some videos might not show in certain countries (please use a VPN).


Ottoman Empire from a Turkish Perspective

Ottoman Empire from a Turkish Perspective ©Khan's Den


Why didn't the Ottomans conquer Persia?

Why didn't the Ottomans conquer Persia? ©Knowledgia


Basics of Ottoman Law

Basics of Ottoman Law ©Ottoman History Hub


Basics of Ottoman Land Management & Taxation

Basics of Ottoman Land Management & Taxation ©Ottoman History Hub


Ottoman Pirates

Ottoman Pirates ©Kings and Generals


Ottoman Fratricide

Ottoman Fratricide ©Kings and Generals


How an Ottoman Sultan dined

How an Ottoman Sultan dined ©Weird History


Harems Of Ottoman Sultans

Harems Of Ottoman Sultans ©A Day In History


The Ottomans

The Ottomans ©PBS


Key Figures for History of the Ottoman Empire.

Mahmud II

Mahmud II

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Suleiman the Magnificent

Suleiman the Magnificent

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Mehmed IV

Mehmed IV

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Ahmed I

Ahmed I

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Mehmed III

Mehmed III

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Selim III

Selim III

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Mehmed II

Mehmed II

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Mehmed V

Mehmed V

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Selim I

Selim I

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Bayezid II

Bayezid II

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Osman II

Osman II

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Murad IV

Murad IV

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Murad III

Murad III

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Mehmed I

Mehmed I

Sultan of Ottoman Empire

Musa Çelebi

Musa Çelebi

Co-ruler during the Ottoman Interregnum

Ahmed III

Ahmed III

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Mustafa III

Mustafa III

Sultan of the Ottoman EmpirePadishah

Ibrahim of the Ottoman Empire

Ibrahim of the Ottoman Empire

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire



Second Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Abdul Hamid I

Abdul Hamid I

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Murad II

Murad II

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Abdulmejid I

Abdulmejid I

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Mustafa II

Mustafa II

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire



Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Bayezid I

Bayezid I

Fourth Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Mehmed VI

Mehmed VI

Last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Murad I

Murad I

Third Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Abdul Hamid II

Abdul Hamid II

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Mustafa IV

Mustafa IV

Sultan of the Ottoman Empire

Osman I

Osman I

Founder of the Ottoman Empire


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Footnotes for History of the Ottoman Empire.

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  8. goston, Gbor (2009). "Selim I". In goston, Gbor; Bruce Masters (eds.).Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire. pp.511-3. ISBN 9780816062591.
  9. Darling, Linda (1996).Revenue-Raising and Legitimacy: Tax Collection and Finance Administration in the Ottoman Empire, 1560-1660. E.J. Brill. pp.283-299, 305-6. ISBN 90-04-10289-2.
  10. Şahin, Kaya (2013).Empire and Power in the reign of Sleyman: Narrating the Sixteenth-Century Ottoman World. Cambridge University Press. p.10. ISBN 978-1-107-03442-6.
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References for History of the Ottoman Empire.


  • Ágoston, Gábor; Masters, Bruce, eds.(2009). Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire.New York: Facts On File. ISBN 978-0-8160-6259-1.


  • Baram, Uzi and Lynda Carroll, editors. A Historical Archaeology of the Ottoman Empire: Breaking New Ground (Plenum/Kluwer Academic Press, 2000)
  • Barkey, Karen. Empire of Difference: The Ottomans in Comparative Perspective. (2008) 357pp Amazon.com, excerpt and text search
  • Davison, Roderic H. Reform in the Ottoman Empire, 1856–1876 (New York: Gordian Press, 1973)
  • Deringil, Selim. The Well-Protected Domains: Ideology and the Legitimation of Power in the Ottoman Empire, 1876–1909 (London: IB Tauris, 1998)
  • Faroqhi, Suraiya. The Ottoman Empire: A Short History (2009) 196pp
  • Faroqhi, Suraiya. The Cambridge History of Turkey (Volume 3, 2006) excerpt and text search
  • Faroqhi, Suraiya and Kate Fleet, eds. The Cambridge History of Turkey (Volume 2 2012) essays by scholars
  • Finkel, Caroline (2005). Osman's Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire, 1300–1923. Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-02396-7.
  • Fleet, Kate, ed. The Cambridge History of Turkey (Volume 1, 2009) excerpt and text search, essays by scholars
  • Imber, Colin (2009). The Ottoman Empire, 1300–1650: The Structure of Power (2 ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-57451-9.
  • Inalcik, Halil. The Ottoman Empire, the Classical Age: 1300–1600. Hachette UK, 2013. [1973]
  • Kasaba, Resat, ed. The Cambridge History of Turkey (vol 4 2008) excerpt and text search vol 4 comprehensive coverage by scholars of 20th century
  • Dimitri Kitsikis, L'Empire ottoman, Presses Universitaires de France, 3rd ed.,1994. ISBN 2-13-043459-2, in French
  • McCarthy, Justin. The Ottoman Turks: An Introductory History to 1923 1997
  • McMeekin, Sean. The Berlin-Baghdad Express: The Ottoman Empire and Germany's Bid for World Power (2010)
  • Pamuk, Sevket. A Monetary History of the Ottoman Empire (1999). pp. 276
  • Quataert, Donald. The Ottoman Empire, 1700–1922 (2005) ISBN 0-521-54782-2.
  • Shaw, Stanford J., and Ezel Kural Shaw. History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. Vol. 1, 1977.
  • Somel, Selcuk Aksin. Historical Dictionary of the Ottoman Empire. (2003). 399 pp.
  • Uyar, Mesut; Erickson, Edward (2009). A Military History of the Ottomans: From Osman to Atatürk. ISBN 978-0-275-98876-0.

The Early Ottomans (1300–1453)

  • Kafadar, Cemal (1995). Between Two Worlds: The Construction of the Ottoman State. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-20600-7.
  • Lindner, Rudi P. (1983). Nomads and Ottomans in Medieval Anatolia. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-933070-12-8.
  • Lowry, Heath (2003). The Nature of the Early Ottoman State. Albany: SUNY Press. ISBN 0-7914-5636-6.
  • Zachariadou, Elizabeth, ed. (1991). The Ottoman Emirate (1300–1389). Rethymnon: Crete University Press.
  • İnalcık Halil, et al. The Ottoman Empire: the Classical Age, 1300–1600. Phoenix, 2013.

The Era of Transformation (1550–1700)

  • Abou-El-Haj, Rifa'at Ali (1984). The 1703 Rebellion and the Structure of Ottoman Politics. Istanbul: Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut te İstanbul.
  • Howard, Douglas (1988). "Ottoman Historiography and the Literature of 'Decline' of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century". Journal of Asian History. 22: 52–77.
  • Kunt, Metin İ. (1983). The Sultan's Servants: The Transformation of Ottoman Provincial Government, 1550–1650. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-05578-1.
  • Peirce, Leslie (1993). The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-508677-5.
  • Tezcan, Baki (2010). The Second Ottoman Empire: Political and Social Transformation in the Early Modern World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-107-41144-9.
  • White, Joshua M. (2017). Piracy and Law in the Ottoman Mediterranean. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-1-503-60252-6.

to 1830

  • Braude, Benjamin, and Bernard Lewis, eds. Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: The Functioning of a Plural Society (1982)
  • Goffman, Daniel. The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe (2002)
  • Guilmartin, John F., Jr. "Ideology and Conflict: The Wars of the Ottoman Empire, 1453–1606", Journal of Interdisciplinary History, (Spring 1988) 18:4., pp721–747.
  • Kunt, Metin and Woodhead, Christine, ed. Süleyman the Magnificent and His Age: The Ottoman Empire in the Early Modern World. 1995. 218 pp.
  • Parry, V.J. A History of the Ottoman Empire to 1730 (1976)
  • Şahin, Kaya. Empire and Power in the Reign of Süleyman: Narrating the Sixteenth-Century Ottoman World. Cambridge University Press, 2013.
  • Shaw, Stanford J. History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, Vol I; Empire of Gazis: The Rise and Decline of the Ottoman Empire 1290–1808. Cambridge University Press, 1976. ISBN 978-0-521-21280-9.

Post 1830

  • Ahmad, Feroz. The Young Turks: The Committee of Union and Progress in Turkish Politics, 1908–1914, (1969).
  • Bein, Amit. Ottoman Ulema, Turkish Republic: Agents of Change and Guardians of Tradition (2011) Amazon.com
  • Black, Cyril E., and L. Carl Brown. Modernization in the Middle East: The Ottoman Empire and Its Afro-Asian Successors. 1992.
  • Erickson, Edward J. Ordered to Die: A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War (2000) Amazon.com, excerpt and text search
  • Gürkan, Emrah Safa: Christian Allies of the Ottoman Empire, European History Online, Mainz: Institute of European History, 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  • Faroqhi, Suraiya. Subjects of the Sultan: Culture and Daily Life in the Ottoman Empire. (2000) 358 pp.
  • Findley, Carter V. Bureaucratic Reform in the Ottoman Empire: The Sublime Porte, 1789–1922 (Princeton University Press, 1980)
  • Fortna, Benjamin C. Imperial Classroom: Islam, the State, and Education in the Late Ottoman Empire. (2002) 280 pp.
  • Fromkin, David. A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East (2001)
  • Gingeras, Ryan. The Last Days of the Ottoman Empire. London: Allen Lane, 2023.
  • Göçek, Fatma Müge. Rise of the Bourgeoisie, Demise of Empire: Ottoman Westernization and Social Change. (1996). 220 pp.
  • Hanioglu, M. Sukru. A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire (2008) Amazon.com, excerpt and text search
  • Inalcik, Halil and Quataert, Donald, ed. An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, 1300–1914. 1995. 1026 pp.
  • Karpat, Kemal H. The Politicization of Islam: Reconstructing Identity, State, Faith, and Community in the Late Ottoman State. (2001). 533 pp.
  • Kayali, Hasan. Arabs and Young Turks: Ottomanism, Arabism, and Islamism in the Ottoman Empire, 1908–1918 (1997); CDlib.org, complete text online
  • Kieser, Hans-Lukas, Margaret Lavinia Anderson, Seyhan Bayraktar, and Thomas Schmutz, eds. The End of the Ottomans: The Genocide of 1915 and the Politics of Turkish Nationalism. London: I.B. Tauris, 2019.
  • Kushner, David. The Rise of Turkish Nationalism, 1876–1908. 1977.
  • McCarthy, Justin. The Ottoman Peoples and the End of Empire. Hodder Arnold, 2001. ISBN 0-340-70657-0.
  • McMeekin, Sean. The Ottoman Endgame: War, Revolution and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 1908-1923. London: Allen Lane, 2015.
  • Miller, William. The Ottoman Empire, 1801–1913. (1913), Books.Google.com full text online
  • Quataert, Donald. Social Disintegration and Popular Resistance in the Ottoman Empire, 1881–1908. 1983.
  • Rodogno, Davide. Against Massacre: Humanitarian Interventions in the Ottoman Empire, 1815–1914 (2011)
  • Shaw, Stanford J., and Ezel Kural Shaw. History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. Vol. 2, Reform, Revolution, and Republic: The Rise of Modern Turkey, 1808–1975. (1977). Amazon.com, excerpt and text search
  • Toledano, Ehud R. The Ottoman Slave Trade and Its Suppression, 1840–1890. (1982)


  • Ágoston, Gábor (2005). Guns for the Sultan: Military Power and the Weapons Industry in the Ottoman Empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521843133.
  • Aksan, Virginia (2007). Ottoman Wars, 1700–1860: An Empire Besieged. Pearson Education Limited. ISBN 978-0-582-30807-7.
  • Rhoads, Murphey (1999). Ottoman Warfare, 1500–1700. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 1-85728-389-9.


  • Emrence, Cern. "Three Waves of Late Ottoman Historiography, 1950–2007," Middle East Studies Association Bulletin (2007) 41#2 pp 137–151.
  • Finkel, Caroline. "Ottoman History: Whose History Is It?," International Journal of Turkish Studies (2008) 14#1 pp 1–10. How historians in different countries view the Ottoman Empire
  • Hajdarpasic, Edin. "Out of the Ruins of the Ottoman Empire: Reflections on the Ottoman Legacy in South-eastern Europe," Middle Eastern Studies (2008) 44#5 pp 715–734.
  • Hathaway, Jane (1996). "Problems of Periodization in Ottoman History: The Fifteenth through the Eighteenth Centuries". The Turkish Studies Association Bulletin. 20: 25–31.
  • Kırlı, Cengiz. "From Economic History to Cultural History in Ottoman Studies," International Journal of Middle East Studies (May 2014) 46#2 pp 376–378 DOI: 10.1017/S0020743814000166
  • Mikhail, Alan; Philliou, Christine M. "The Ottoman Empire and the Imperial Turn," Comparative Studies in Society & History (2012) 54#4 pp 721–745. Comparing the Ottomans to other empires opens new insights about the dynamics of imperial rule, periodization, and political transformation
  • Pierce, Leslie. "Changing Perceptions of the Ottoman Empire: The Early Centuries," Mediterranean Historical Review (2004) 49#1 pp 6–28. How historians treat 1299 to 1700