Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Research Paper on Ottoman Empire

Research Paper on Ottoman Empire

The Age of Reforms - Ottoman Empire
The Ottomans first appeared on the historical arena at the end of the thirteenth century. According to the royal myth, the dynasty stretches much further back, certainly, but it was only under the leadership of Osman that this little group of warriors succeeded in moving out from its base in northwestern Anatolia and start conquering other territories. Their first important victories took place in the Balkans, and these conquests let them to return to western Anatolia flush with money and men. In the middle of the fifteenth century they had already got power over Byzantine capital Constantinople. This great city capture in 1453 laid the foundation for the imperial phase of Ottoman history.


During the next century they pushed confidently eastward and then southward. First they defeated Turkish principalities in Anatolia that remained and after that, in 1516 and 1517, they conquered the heart of the Islamic world--Syria, Egypt and Palestine. With these recent conquests they could responsibly claim the established leadership of the Islamic world. The greatest territorial extent the Empire reached under the reign of Suleyman (1520-1566) that conquered Hungary in the north (1526), Iraq in the east (1534), and North Africa in the west--the last in a set of strategic gains dating from the earlier times of his reign.

At the end of the seventeenth century the Empire lost Hungary, but the rest of the Empire’s territory remained respectively stable until the beginning of the nineteenth century. The Serbian (1804) and Greek (1821) rebellions were the start of what would be unstoppable devastation of territory in the European heartland of the Empire. Nationalist aspirations combined with the Great Power interference led to Ottoman Empire’s end in Europe by the beginning of World War I. The Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Germans and that event had crucial consequences for its survival, I am not even talking about further expansion. The victorious French and British armies took over the Middle East and slit it into colonies, even though they were referred to as ‘mandates’ to defend the rise of anti-colonialist sentiment. Anatolia was the only thing that remained, but it was also in danger of being segmented to different contenders. It was only military resistance that was not expected of a group of displeased officers of Ottoman army that was led by the astonishing Mustafa Kemal, later known as Atatur, which saved the day.

But Kemal was not very much interested in the Empire’s rescue. On the contrary, he was willing to create a modern state that would substitute a defeated empire whose leaders had revealed their inability to adequately respond to European imperialism. Therefore it was a Turk, who brought about the close of the Ottoman Empire. Under the leadership of Ataturk, the Grand National Assembly canceled the sultanate in 1922 and the new Republic of Turkey was declared in 1923.

When matching onto the battlefield the janissary with his crashing cymbals was the terror of Christendom. Compared to European military forces, the janissary corps was ideally disciplined; it was even noted that when janissaries bowed their heads at the same time, they resembled a field of ripe corn rippling in the breeze. The janissary seemed to personalize everything that was and is still believed to account for the grandeur of the Ottomans in their pride in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The janissary was well-trained and was believed to have unrivaled martial virtue. Equally, he, like the rest of the Ottoman bureaucracy, provided the sultan with absolute obedience. The final result has frequently been described as a perfectly ordered machine.

It is not very much astonishing  that conquests and war, rather than the more common scribes’ activities, are still at the center of the view on the Ottomans and Ottoman Empire. It is obvious that we have inherited the lasting tradition of European writings about the Empire, and the Europeans just expressed their point of view on the matter. It is also clear that the Ottomans were a real danger to European civilization. „This most powerful emperor’s forces are of two kinds, those of the sea and those of the land and both are terrifying,“ this was written in 1573 by Venetian diplomat.  The Ottomans were the first to keep a standing army in Europe since the times of the Roman Empire, and this fact greatly impressed minds of the Europeans. The Byzantine Chalcocondyle was astonished that „there is no prince who has his armies and camps in better order, both in abundance of victuals and in the beautiful order they use in encamping without any confusion or embarrassment.“

But an improper emphasis on the Ottoman war machine has diverted our attention from the comprehension of how the Ottomans factually governed their extensive territories for over six hundred years. The Empire was created by means of military conquest, but the military conquest was not able to sustain that Empire. For that very purpose the Ottomans needed scribes, and not janissaries. Limnos is said to be the one of the earliest examples of an imperial style that strongly depended on local people to run things for Istanbul. This example destroys the view point that the Empire was managed by a central bureaucracy whose dictates were impelled by military power.

Limnos was debated territory on the border of the Ottoman Empire in 1490. During the previous half century, this island had gone back and forth between Ottoman and Latin rule; the latest exchange dated back only ten years  to when the Venetians delivered  the island to Sultan Beyazit II. Yet just nineteen janissaries garrisoned the island some of them spoke Greek and were recently converted Islam. The real work of providing the defense of the island was done by several hundred local Christian troops who were just happy with a decreased tax status in exchange for their military support, and who were recruited by the Ottomans for the very reason that they had fulfilled almost the same job under the Byzantines. The local nobility preserved their possessions, and monastic and church property went unaffected.

Even in this short story it is possible to see the keen attentiveness of Ottomans to the local, in the context of not just accommodation, but also of an ability to immediately estimate the situation and turn it to their own benefit. A predisposition for co-optation had been apparent from the very moment the Ottomans entered the historical arena. In the Limnos case, they were able to distinguish who had traditionally initiated the island’s defense and to enlist them. We are not sure who that Bali was, the scribe who was charged with surveying the newly obtained land of Limnos; he could have been a Greek by birth that converted to Islam and joined the bureaucracy, or he could have been accompanied by a translator who delivered his questions to the Limniots. It is not actually that important, as the Ottomans succeeded to deploy properly trained individuals who efficiently turned conquests into tax-producing provinces.

If turning to newly conquered, the Palestine in the middle of the sixteenth century, the same method can be observed. So the Ottoman bureaucracy was very much developed and the Palestinian provinces obtained a complete compliment of officials, much more than Limnos had in 1490. But those officials were very fast in bringing village leaders into the government’s hierarchy, even though informally. This reveals their strategic attempts to sustain conquered territories and not disrupt their common direction of development.

In the conclusion I would like to summarize that the Ottomans and Ottoman Empire left the great historic heritage valuable not just from the stand point of the excellent conquering capacity, but also from that of the strategic management of the conquered territories, which was not always as successful as expected.
Warning!!! All free online research papers, research paper samples and example research papers on Ottoman Empire topics are plagiarized and cannot be fully used in your high school, college or university education.

Order Custom Research Paper on Ottoman Empire
If you need a custom research paper, research proposal, essay, dissertation, thesis paper or term paper on your topic, will write your research papers from scratch. Starting at $12/page you can order custom written papers online. We work with experienced PhD. and Master's freelance writers to help you with writing any academic papers in any subject! High quality and 100% non-plagiarized papers guaranteed!