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  • In the late 13th century, Osman I established a small beylik,

  • or principality, in what is now Turkey.

  • In just a few generations, this beylik outmaneuvered more powerful neighbors

  • to become the vast Ottoman empire.

  • What enabled its rapid rise?

  • In Osman's time, the Anatolian peninsula was a patchwork of Turkic principalities

  • sandwiched between a crumbling Byzantine Empire

  • and weakened Sultanate of the Seljuk of Rum.

  • Osman quickly expanded this territory

  • through a mixture of strategic political alliances

  • and military conflicts with these neighbors,

  • attracting mercenaries first with the promise of booty,

  • then later through his reputation for winning.

  • Osman was the first in a line of Ottoman rulers distinguished

  • by their political shrewdness.

  • Often prioritizing political and military utility over ethnic or religious affinity,

  • they expanded their influence by fighting along certain sides when needed,

  • and fighting against them when the time was right.

  • After Osman's death his son Orhan

  • established a sophisticated military organization and tax collection system

  • geared towards funding quick territorial expansion.

  • The Ottomans' first major expansion was in the Balkans, in southeast Europe.

  • The military employed a mixture of Turkic warriors and Byzantine

  • and other Balkan Christian converts.

  • They captured thousands of young Christian boys

  • from villages from across the Balkans,

  • converted them to Islam, and trained them to become the backbone

  • of a fierce military elite force known as the Janissaries.

  • The captured enslaved boys could rise to the high position of a vizier

  • in the Ottoman government.

  • Rulers of conquered areas were also allowed, even encouraged,

  • to convert to Islam and take positions in the Ottoman government.

  • Meanwhile, non-Muslims who belonged to Abrahamic religions

  • were allowed religious freedom in exchange for a tax known as Jizye,

  • among other strict conditions

  • for example, they were not allowed to join the army.

  • By the end of the 14th century, the Ottomans had conquered or subordinated

  • most of the Anatolian beyliks as well as the Balkans.

  • But in the first half of the 15th century,

  • as Sultan Beyazit I focused on Western expansion,

  • the Central Asian ruler Timur attacked from the east.

  • He captured Beyazit and carted him off in an iron cage,

  • sparking a ten year struggle for succession

  • that almost destroyed the Ottoman empire.

  • Sultan Murad II turned this trend around,

  • but fell short of one of his loftiest goals:

  • capturing the Byzantine capital, Constantinople.

  • His son, Sultan Mehmed II, or Mehmed the Conqueror,

  • vowed to succeed where his father had failed.

  • In preparation for the attack on Constantinople,

  • he hired a Hungarian engineer to forge the largest cannon in the world,

  • used Serbian miners to dig tunnels under the walls of the city,

  • and ordered his fleet of ships to be carried overland,

  • attacking the city from an unexpected direction.

  • He laid siege to the city and in the spring of 1453,

  • Constantinople fell to the Ottomans.

  • It would become the Ottoman capital, known by its common Greek name, Istanbul,

  • meaningto the city.”

  • By the time Mehmed II conquered Constantinople,

  • the city was a shadow of its former glory.

  • Under Ottoman rule, it flourished once again.

  • On an average day in Istanbul, you could hear people speaking Greek, Turkish,

  • Armenian, Persian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Albanian, and Serbian.

  • Architects like the famous Sinan filled the city with splendid mosques

  • and other buildings commissioned by the sultans.

  • Through Istanbul, the Otttomans brought commodities like coffee to Europe.

  • They entered a golden age of economic growth,

  • territorial acquisition, art and architecture.

  • They brought together craftspeople from across Europe, Africa,

  • the Middle East and Central Asia to create a unique blend of cultural innovation.

  • Iznik ceramics, for example,

  • were made using techniques from China's Ming dynasty,

  • reimagined with Ottoman motifs.

  • The Ottomans would continue to expand,

  • cementing their political influence and lucrative trade routes.

  • The empire lasted for more than 600 years and, at its peak,

  • stretched from Hungary to the Persian Gulf,

  • from the Horn of Africa to the Crimean Peninsula.

In the late 13th century, Osman I established a small beylik,

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B2 TED-Ed ottoman empire sultan ottoman empire byzantine

The rise of the Ottoman Empire - Mostafa Minawi

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/01/21
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