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Ottoman Empire

Brief history of the Ottoman Empire.

The Ottoman Empire, also known as the Turkish Empire, founded in 1299 by Oghuz Turks under Osman 1 in the north western Anatolia and expanded into the Eastern Europe, Middle East and the North Africa until the fall of the Empire after the First World War in 1918.

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Here is the brief history of the Ottoman Empire:<

  • 1280 Osman, founder of the Ottoman dynasty was born.
  • 1299 Osman declares the independence of his small principality from the Selcuk Sultanate of Konya.
  • 1326 Orhan Gazi captures Bursa, which becomes the second Ottoman capital (the small town of Sogut in Bursa was the first capital).
  • 1352 Benefitting from the deadly strife within the Byzantine Empire, the Ottomans cross the Dardanelles (Canakkale Strait today) and sieze a foothold on the European side.
  • 1361 Murad I captures Edirne (Adrianople). As the third Ottoman capital, Edirne now becomes the headquarters for the further expansion.
  • 1386 The conquest of Sofia (capital of present-day Bulgaria).
  • 1396 The final conquest and annexation, under Bayezid I the Thunderbolt, of the territories of the medieval kingdoms of Bulgaria and Serbia.
  • 1400-1401 A new force out of the plains begins to make its presence felt in West Asia, forcing the Ottomans to over-extend themselves two distant fronts.
  • 1402 The Battle of Ankara between Timur the Lame (Tamerlane) and Bayezid I. Alienated by Bayezid’s hasty push of rapid centralization, the forces of the recently annexed Turcoman principalities of Anatolia cross over to the side of the relatively semi-tribal Timur in the heat of battle. Deserted by all expect his Serbian allies, Bayezid is captured and eventually commits suicide.
  • 1402-1413 The Interregnum. Bayezid’s four sons fight each other for the throne, which is eventually won by Celebi Mehmed I (1412-1420)
  • 1423-1430 War between Venice and the reconsolidating Ottoman state-the first of many for supremacy in the Aegean and the Mediterranean, and ultimately for control over the traditional trade routes of the Old World.
  • 1448 Second battle of Kosovo consolidates the Ottoman rule in Balkans.
  • 1451 With the death of Murad II, his son Mehmed II ascends the throne for the second and final time.
  • 1453 The conquest of Constaninople, which becomes the fourth and last Ottoman capital. The remaining 29 years of Mehmed II’s reign witness the decisive conquest or reconquest of Serbia, Albania and Greece in the West as well as most of Anatolia.
  • 1454 Construction work begins on the Topkapi Palace.
  • 1454-1481 Greece, Trebizond and Crimea conquered.
  • 1481-1512 The peaceful reign of Bayezid II is marred by a conservative religious reaction against the Conqueror’s cosmopolitan cultural outlook and strong centralization drive. From 1500 onwards, the Safavids of Iran begin to take advantage of Ottoman passivity in pushing their Shiite proselytizing efforts into Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia.
  • 1514 Selim I the Grim, who with janissary support, dethroned his father in 1512, relies on his cannon to defeat Sah Ismail at the battle of Caldiran, conquers Tabriz, secures his left flank for the subsequent advance into Egypt, and returns to Istanbul with enormous war booty as well as large numbers of Persian artists and craftsmen.
  • 1516-1518 In lightning campaigns marked by the continued superiority of Ottoman field artillery, Selim I completes the conquest of Eastern Anatolia, Northern Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and the Hicaz.
  • 1521 The capture of Belgrade marks the second year of the long reign of Suleyman I the Magnificent (1520-1566). He resumes the westward drive towards the rich markets and trade crossroads of Central Europe.
  • 1522 The capture of Rhodes, a manifestation of rising Ottoman naval power.
  • 1526 Ottoman firepower destroys the flower of the Hungarian nobility at the battle of Mohacs; the conquest of Buda and Peste follows. That same year, Francois I appeals to Suleyman, who agrees to provide military and economic assistance to France against the Hapsburgs in order to help restore the balance of power in Europe.
  • 1528 Szapolyai, king of Hungary, accepts Ottoman overlordship.
  • 1529 The first siege of Vienna by the Ottomans, who are, however, unprepared for a long and all-out effort.
  • 1533 The great Eastern expedition led by the Grand Vizier Ibrahim Pasa.
  • 1533-1534 Hayrettin Pasha (Barbarossa), the Ottoman Grand Admiral, annexes Algeria and Tunisia.
  • 1534-1535 Suleyman the Magnificent’s expedition into Iran and Iraq.
  • 1538 The naval battle of Preveza off the Adriatic coast. Barbarossa defeats a much larger allied fleet commanded by the great Genoese admiral Andrea Doria.
  • 1555 The first coffeehouse opens at Tahtakale in Istanbul.
  • 1566 Suleyman the Magnificient dies on his last expedition to the fort of Szigetvar on the Hungarian border, leaving Istanbul as Europe’s biggest city (1/2m inhabitants). Selim II ascends the throne.
  • 1569 The great fire of Istanbul.
  • 1571 At Lepanto (off the Morean coast), the last great naval battle between galleys takes place. The Allied fleet led by Don Juan of Austria defeats and destroys most of the Ottoman fleet expect one squadron commanded by Kilic Ali Pasa. This, however, cannot prevent the capturen of Venetian-held Cyprus.
  • 1588 The death of Mimar Sinan, the master architect of the 16th century.
  • 1606 Treaty with Austria gives Hapsburg Emperor titular equality.
  • 1607 The high tide of the Celali uprisings, rebellions against the land tenure system of the provincial fief-holding cavalry. This turn-of-the-century upheaval marks the end of the Classical Age and the opening of a new chapter in Ottoman history characterized by the waning of the state’s political and military fortunes.
  • 1609 Work begins on the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque).
  • 1622 Osman II the Young, the first Ottoman sultan to formulate a reform program (and to lose his head for it), sets out on his Hotin expedition – essentially to overcome the developing crisis of confidence and to re-establish charismatic leadership over the army.
  • 1623-1640 Murad IV restores order.
  • 1638 Murad IV, who succeeded by imposing his unusually harsh will to halt progressive anarchy and destabilization, sets out on his great expedition to the East. His journey culminates in the capture of Baghdad. He is the last great centralizing sultan.
  • 16451669 Siege of Venetian Candia, capital of Crete.
  • 1648 The great earthquake of Istanbul.
  • 1661 Another great fire in Istanbul.
  • 1678 For the first time in decades, a sultan, Mehmed IV the Huntsman, personelly leads an Austrian expedition as far as Belgrade.
  • 1683 The second siege of Vienna, led by the ambitious Grand Vizier Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasa. He overestimates his strength and commits the inwardly fragile Empire to an impossible project of conquest. With defeat, everything begins to crumble.
  • 1686 The Ottomans are forced to evacuate Hungary.
  • 1693 Istanbul is ravaged by yet another great fire.
  • 1699 Peace of Karlowitz: loss of Pelopponese, Hungary, Podolia, Azov to Christian enemies.
  • 1711 The battle of Pruth against the Russians under the command of the Grand Vizier Baltaci Mehmed Pasha. According to a spicy tradition, Pasha surrounded Peter the Great’s army but then let them avoid humiliation because he was “persuaded” by a secret nocturnal visit to his tent by the tsar’s mistress (later empress) Catherine.
  • 1712 Peace treaty with Russia.
  • 1718 The Treaty of Passarowitz with Austria following yet another lost war.
  • 17201730 First Ottoman ambassadors sent to western capitals.
  • 1730 Patrona Halil rebellion against taxation and western influences; Ahmet III deposed, Tulip Period ends.
  • 1739 Peace of Belgrade returns Belgrade to the Ottomans; Russians forced to sign separate peace.
  • 1750 Another great Istanbul fire burns covered markets to the ground.
  • 1754 A major earthquake in Istanbul.
  • 1769 War with Russia renewed.
  • 1770 The Crimean Tartars switch sides to conclude an anti-Ottoman alliance with Russia.1773 Cin-Ali Bey, who had proclaimed himself sultan of Egypt, is defeated in battle, and his rebellion crushed. Nevertheless, esraf and ayan (newly crystallizing dynasties of provincial notables) are on the move throughout the empire.
  • 1774 Disastrous Treaty of Kucuk Kainardji with Russia.
  • 1779 Russia annexes Crimea.
  • 1782 A fire in Istanbul lasts 50 hours.
  • 1789 Selim III, a dedicated reformer, ascends the throne in the same year as the French Revolution. Some of his social experiments are inpired by the same democratic ideologies which motivated the French.
  • 1790 Ottoman-Prussian alliance against Austria and Russia.
  • 1798 Napoleon’s Egyptian expedition becomes stranded after Nelson destroys the French fleet at the battle of the Nile. Napoleon advances into Syria, but is forced to retreat the next year in the face of determined Ottoman resistance.
  • 1807 The British navy attempts to force the Straits; the Ottoman government declares war on both Britain and Russia.
  • 1808 An Istanbul revolt instigated by conservative elements within the ruling elite and led by Kabakci Mustafa, a man of the urban underclass, dethrones Selim III. The sultan first is imprisoned and later killed when an army of provincial reformers led by Alemdar Mustafa Pasa advences on the capital to rescue the Sultan. Alemdar, nevertheless, succeds in overthrowing Mustafa IV and putting Mahmud II on the throne.
  • 1821 The Greek revolt and war of independence: the first step in the formation of new nation-states by the former Christian subjects of the Ottoman Empire.
  • 1826 Massacre of the Janissaries by Mahmud II.
  • 1827 Greece’s European allies help defeat and destory the combined Ottoman-Egyptian fleet.
  • 1828 Fez introduced, along with judicial, military and administrative reforms on more western models.
  • 1830 Greek independence.
  • 1838 Anglo-Turkish Trade Treaty marks the incorporation of the Ottoman internal market into world economy.
  • 1839 Noble Rescript promulgated, a liberal charter of reform. All creeds and declared equal.
  • 18531856 Crimean war pits Turkish, English and French troops against Russia.
  • 1864 The signing of the Protocol of Istanbul. It marks the birth of Romania with the unification of Wallachia and Moldavia.
  • 1867 Abdulaziz visits Europe on the invitation of Napoleon III.
  • 1875 Empire declares bankruptcy. Balkan uprisings.
  • 1876 The Empire continues to crumble, revolt in Bosnia and Herzegovina, war against Serbia and Montenegro.
  • 18761877 The short-lived First Constitutional Period.
  • 1877 War against Russia, known in Turkey as “the campaign of 93”, after which the Russian army dictates the Treaty of Ayastefanos. Sultan Aldulhamid II uses the crisis to dissolve parliament and suspend the constitution.
  • 1878 Treaty of Berlin – to which Ottomans are not invited – establishes partial Bulgarian autonomy.
  • 1881 The French invade Tunisia. Mustafa Kemal is born in Selonika.
  • 1882 The British invade and take over Egypt.
  • 1895 Last Ottoman province in the Balkans, Macedonia, succumbs to civil war.
  • 1908 Mutiny in Monastir, calling for restoration of the constitution. Committee of Union and Progress triumphs. Bulgaria declares independence. Crete unites with Greece.
  • 1908 The Young Turks Revolution overthrows Sultan Abdulhamid II. The Second Constitutional Period begins.
  • 1909 Muslim counter-revolution thwarted. Sultan deposed. Constitutional monarchy declared.
  • 1912 Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria launch joint assault on European Turkey.
  • 1913 The victors turn upon each other; Turkey recaptures Edirne.
  • 1914 Turkey enters World War I on German side.
  • 1918 Armistice of Mundros. CUP leadership flees. Civil War erupts, followed by war with Greece in Anatolia.
  • 19181921 Mustafa Kemal Ataturk secures boundaries of a new Turkish state.
  • 19191922 The War of Independence culminates in the creation of the modern Republic of Turkey in 1923.
  • 1922 Deposition and exile of last sultan, Mehmed Vahideddin.
  • 1923 Turkey proclaimed a republic.

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