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Ottoman Empire Collection

History Archive - Ottoman Empire Collection

The Ottoman Empire, also known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Sogut (modern-day Bilecik Province) by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, at the height of its power under the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Empire was a multinational, multilingual empire controlling most of Southeast Europe, parts of Central Europe, Western Asia, parts of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. At the beginning of the 17th century, the empire contained 32 provinces and numerous vassal states. Some of these were later absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, while others were granted various types of autonomy during the course of centuries.

With Constantinople as its capital and control of lands around the Mediterranean basin, the Ottoman Empire was at the centre of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for six centuries. While the empire was once thought to have entered a period of decline following the death of Suleiman the Magnificent, this view is no longer supported by the majority of academic historians.

The empire continued to maintain a flexible and strong economy, society and military throughout the 17th and much of the 18th century. However, during a long period of peace from 1740 to 1768, the Ottoman military system fell behind that of their European rivals, the Habsburg and Russian empires. The Ottomans consequently suffered severe military defeats in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, which prompted them to initiate a comprehensive process of reform and modernization known as the Tanzimat. Thus, over the course of the 19th century, the Ottoman state became vastly more powerful and organized, despite suffering further territorial losses, especially in the Balkans, where a number of new states emerged.

The empire allied with Germany in the early 20th century, hoping to escape from the diplomatic isolation which had contributed to its recent territorial losses, and thus joined World War I on the side of the Central Powers. While the Empire was able to largely hold its own during the conflict, it was struggling with internal dissent, especially with the Arab Revolt in its Arabian holdings. During this time, genocide was committed by the Ottoman government against the Armenians, Assyrians and Pontic Greeks.

The Empire's defeat and the occupation of part of its territory by the Allied Powers in the aftermath of World War I resulted in its partitioning and the loss of its Middle Eastern territories, which were divided between the United Kingdom and France. The successful Turkish War of Independence against the occupying Allies led to the emergence of the Republic of Turkey in the Anatolian heartland and the abolition of the Ottoman monarchy.

References:

1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 27 pgs. 426-467.

Stanford Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey (Cambridge: University Press, 1976), vol. 1 p. 13

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Related Images

Image Name
Life in Asiatic Turkey - Adana, Kizil Dagh in the Distance (1879)
Voyage a Athenes et a Constantinopole - Jeune Grec Thessalien (1825)
Histoire de l'Egypte sous le Gouvernement de Mohammed-Aly [Atlas] - Mourad-Bey, Chef des Mamlouk's (1823)
Promenades Pittoresques dans Constantinople Atlas - XVII. Vue de la fontaine de Scutari (1817)
Life in Asiatic Turkey - Mesis (Mopsuestia) and the Pyramus (1879)
Recueil de Cent Estampes Representant Differentes Nations du Levant - Dervich des Indes (1714)
Journal of a Tour in the Levant Vol. 3 - Map of the Countries on the East Coast of the Mediterranean Sea (1820)
Voyage Pittoresque de Constantinople et des Rives du Bosphore Vol. 2 - No. 43. Fontaine de Sari-Yéri, près de Buyuk-Déré (1819)
Recueil de Cent Estampes Representant Differentes Nations du Levant - Arabe du Desert (1714)
Voyage a Athenes et a Constantinopole - Ali Pacha de Janina, chassant sur le lac de Butrinto en Mars 1819 (1825)
The Oriental Album - Turkish and Armenian Ladies (abroad) (1862)
Views in the Ottoman Dominions - Ponte Grande (1810)
Recueil de Cent Estampes Representant Differentes Nations du Levant - Le Grand Seigneur dans Le Serrail (1714)
Voyage des Souverains du Canal du Suez - Passage a el Guisr (1870)
Views in the Ottoman Empire - An ancient Bath at Cacamo in Caramania (1803)
Views in the Ottoman Dominions - Sarcophagus from the Tombs of the Kings (1810)
Views in Egypt - Egyptian Antiquities in the Vestibule of a Country House at Bulac (1801)
Views in the Ottoman Empire - A Caramanian Waiwode (1803)
Constantinople Painted and Described - Interior of S. Sophia, the Sultan's Gallery (1906)
The Costume of Turkey - Capidji Bachi (1802)
Views in Egypt - Pompey's Pillar (1801)
Life in Asiatic Turkey - Ground Plan of the Castle of Mout (1879)
Views in the Ottoman Dominions - View at Villa Scabrosa (1810)
Views in the Ottoman Dominions - Piccolo Bent (1810)
A Journey through Albania, and other Provinces of Turkey - A Colonel of the Janissaries (1813)
Voyage Pittoresque de Constantinople et des Rives du Bosphore Vol. 2 - Front Cover (1819)
Views in Egypt - Principal Square in Grand Cairo, with Murad Bey's Palace (1801)
Voyage Pittoresque de Constantinople et des Rives du Bosphore Vol. 2 - No. 12. Marche solennelle du Grand-Seigneur, le jour du Baïram (1819)
The Oriental Album - Armenian Marriage Procession (1862)
Views in the Ottoman Empire - The City of Corinth (1803)
Histoire de l'Egypte sous le Gouvernement de Mohammed-Aly [Atlas] - Plan du Nouveau Canal d'Alexandrie dit Mahmoudyeh (1823)
The Military Costume of Turkey - Janissary of Arabia Felix (1818)
Constantinople Painted and Described - Galata Tower from the Bridge (1906)
Views in the Ottoman Dominions - Monument between Tripoli and Tortosa (1810)
Voyage a Athenes et a Constantinopole - Vasili Gouda, Aide de Camp de Marco Borzaris (1825)
Views in Egypt - An Egyptian Peasant and Family (1801)
Journal of a Tour in the Levant Vol. 3 - Head Dress of the Women of Mitylen and Maronite Women of Mount Lebanon (1820)
Constantinople Painted and Described - Prinkipo (Princes Islands) (1906)
A Journey through Albania, and other Provinces of Turkey - [Bath House Diagram] (1813)
Voyage a Athenes et a Constantinopole - Un Prince Armenien et sa femme (1825)
The Military Costume of Turkey - Officer of Police (1818)
Views in the Ottoman Dominions - Island of Stromboli (1810)
Life in Asiatic Turkey - The Rock of Mauga, Isaurian Mountains in the Distance (Sunrise) (1879)
Constantinople Painted and Described - Constantinople and Golden Horn from the Cemetery at Eyoub (1906)
Promenades Pittoresques dans Constantinople Atlas - I. Vue de la partie méridionale de Constantinople (1817)
Views in Egypt - Mosque of Abou-Mandour (1801)
Views in the Ottoman Dominions - Palace at Bucharest (1810)
A Journey through Albania, and other Provinces of Turkey - Map of Albania (1813)
Journal of a Tour in the Levant Vol. 2 - Arab Woman of Cairo (1820)
Histoire de l'Egypte sous le Gouvernement de Mohammed-Aly [Atlas] - Front Cover (1823)
Views in Egypt - A Mamaluke Exercising (1801)
Clouds in the East - Title Page (1876)
Recueil de Cent Estampes Representant Differentes Nations du Levant - Imam, Ministre d'une Mosquee (1714)
Histoire de l'Egypte sous le Gouvernement de Mohammed-Aly [Atlas] - Le Roi de Sennair donnant audience a ses ministres (1823)
Promenades Pittoresques dans Constantinople Atlas - XIV. Vue d'Anadoli Hissar (1817)
Recueil de Cent Estampes Representant Differentes Nations du Levant - Femme Persienne (1714)
The Oriental Album - Jewish Marriage (1862)
Views in the Ottoman Dominions - Kaskerat (1810)
Recueil de Cent Estampes Representant Differentes Nations du Levant - La Sultane Asseki, ou Sultane Reine (1714)
Views in Egypt - Gate of Grand Cairo - Arabian Architecture (1801)
Voyage a Athenes et a Constantinopole - Une Maison Grecque a Turnavo en Thessalie (1825)
Life in Asiatic Turkey - Karaman, Kara Dagh in the Distance (1879)
Views in the Ottoman Empire - The Castle of Boudron in the Gulf of Stancio (1803)
The Dardanelles : Colour Sketches from Gallipoli - Hospital Ship Aquitania (1915)
The Military Costume of Turkey - Capidgi Bachi (1818)
Voyage Pittoresque de Constantinople et des Rives du Bosphore Vol. 2 - No. 22. Vue de la place et de la fontaine de Top-Hané (1819)
Voyage a Athenes et a Constantinopole - Le Palais et la Forteresse de Janina, vus du Lac Un Turc et un jeune Grec (1825)
Constantinople Painted and Described - Open Air Cafe, Stamboul (1906)
Views in the Ottoman Empire - Harbour of the ancient Gnidus (1803)
Voyage a Athenes et a Constantinopole - Front Cover (1825)
Recueil de Cent Estampes Representant Differentes Nations du Levant - Le Bach - Chiaoux Chef des huissiers (1714)
Clouds in the East - A Serious Recontre in the Mountains (1876)
The Dardanelles : Colour Sketches from Gallipoli - French Flagship Suffren (1915)
Histoire de l'Egypte sous le Gouvernement de Mohammed-Aly [Atlas] - Title Page (1823)
Promenades Pittoresques dans Constantinople Atlas - VIII. Vue du Kiosk des conférences et de Bebek (1817)
Views in Egypt - Ruins of the Gymnasium, near the Canopic Gate of Alexandria (1801)
Views in Palestine - Sepulchres of the Judges of Israel (1804)
Voyage Pittoresque de Constantinople et des Rives du Bosphore Vol. 2 - No. 20. Vue générale de Constantinople, prise du chemin de Buyuk-Déré (1819)
Recueil de Cent Estampes Representant Differentes Nations du Levant - Le Capitain - Pacha, ou Le Grand Amiral en habit (1714)
Recueil de Cent Estampes Representant Differentes Nations du Levant - Soulak Garde du Grande Seigneur (1714)
Views in the Ottoman Dominions - Pera (1810)
A Journey through Albania, and other Provinces of Turkey - Greek Music [II] (1813)
Recueil de Cent Estampes Representant Differentes Nations du Levant - Femme d'Afrique allant par les rues (1714)
Constantinople Painted and Described - Fountain in S. Sophia (1906)
The Costume of Turkey - A Turkish Lady in her Wedding Dress (1802)
Recueil de Cent Estampes Representant Differentes Nations du Levant - Architecte Armenien (1714)
Views in the Ottoman Dominions - Road over the Balkan Mountain (1810)
The Costume of Turkey - An Inhabitant of the Isle of Simia (1802)
The Military Costume of Turkey - Mameluke of the Grand Seignior (1818)
Clouds in the East - Camp on the River Las with a View of Demaveno (1876)
Recueil de Cent Estampes Representant Differentes Nations du Levant - Bulgare (1714)
Views in the Ottoman Dominions - Theatre at Ephesus (1810)
Recueil de Cent Estampes Representant Differentes Nations du Levant - Novi ou Fille Grecque dans la ceremonie du Mariage (1714)
Recueil de Cent Estampes Representant Differentes Nations du Levant - Filled Turques qui jouent au Mangala (1714)
The Dardanelles : Colour Sketches from Gallipoli - Hospital Ships at Kephalo (1915)
Constantinople Painted and Described - Street Scene, Roumeli Hissar (1906)
Views in Egypt - Entrance to a Sepulchral Chamber near the Sphinx (1801)
Views in Palestine - A Maronite Monk & Pilgrims (1804)
Constantinople Painted and Described - Court of the Suleimaniyeh (1906)
A Journey through Albania, and other Provinces of Turkey - South East Angle of the Parthenon (1813)

Related Maps

Map Name
A Journey through Albania, and other Provinces of Turkey - Map of Albania (1813)
A Journey through Albania, and other Provinces of Turkey - Map of the Western Half of the Hellespontine Phrygia (1813)
Journal of a Tour in the Levant Vol. 1 - Map of Greece and the Archipelago (1820)
Journal of a Tour in the Levant Vol. 3 - Map of the Countries on the East Coast of the Mediterranean Sea (1820)
Life in Asiatic Turkey - A Sketch Map to Illustrate Revd E. J. Davis' Journey's in Cilicia &c. (1879)
Life in Asiatic Turkey - Map of Asia Minor Shewing the District Visited by Revd E. J. Davis (1879)

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