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At its height the empire encompassed most of southeastern Europe to the gates of Vienna , including present-day Hungary , the Balkan region, Greece , and parts of Ukraine ; portions of the Middle East now occupied by Iraq , Syria , Israel , and Egypt ; North Africa as far west as Algeria ; and large parts of the Arabian Peninsula. The Ottoman Empire was founded in Anatolia , the location of modern-day Turkey.


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This was enabled by the decline of the Seljuq dynasty, the previous rulers of Anatolia, who were suffering defeat from Mongol invasion. Osman and his warriors took advantage of a declining Seljuq dynasty, which had been severely weakened by the Mongol invasions. The Ottoman dynasty continued to expand for several generations, controlling much of southeastern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa at its peak. Several attempts at reform kept the empire afloat but mostly addressed immediate issues, and any success was short-lived.

The most far-reaching of these reforms, the Tanzimat , contributed to a debt crisis in the s. Its fragile state left it unable to withstand defeat in World War I , and most of its territories were divided as spoils as the empire disintegrated. The empire had already been in decline for centuries, struggling to maintain a bloated bureaucracy or a centralized administrative structure after various attempts at reform. The problem was exacerbated further by the rise of more localized interests across the empire, such as the rise of nationalist movements.

The French conquests of Nice and Corsica occurred as a joint venture between the forces of the French king Francis I and Suleiman. By the end of Suleiman's reign, the Empire's population totaled about 15,, people extending over three continents. This was a near year period during the 16th and 17th centuries when the women of the Imperial Harem of the Ottoman Empire exerted extraordinary political influence. Many of the Sultans during this time were minors and it was their mothers, leaders of the Harem, who effectively ruled the Empire. Most of these women were of slave origin, due to the need for the House of Osman to maintain its prestige; no other royal house was perceived as being prominent enough to be worth marrying into.

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The first set of reforms, expressed by the edict entitled Hatti-i Sharif, sought to secularize the government's treatment of people and property and to reform taxation and military conscription. Foremost among the laws was the security of honor, life, and property for all Ottoman subjects, regardless of race or religion, which was modeled after Western philosophy of the day.

Later reforms included the attempted reduction of theological dominance, establishment of a secular school system and a new law code. Efforts to centralize government administration, however, ended by concentrating all authority in the hands of the sultan Abd al-Hamid II, who often abused the power. The constitution of , while it promised the democratic reforms of a Constitution and a parliament, actually was intended to stave off European intervention.

This ended the Tanzimat era.


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This group was dissatisfied with Tanzimat reforms and sought to transform the Ottoman society by preserving the empire, revitalizing Islam and modernizing along the European traditions. Many members of the society were writers, and they attempted to spread their ideas through several publications. Ultimately, their ideas led to a very brief period of Constitutional monarchy, after which the group fell below the national radar.

This was a brief period of constitutional monarchy based around a constitution written by members of the Young Ottomans.

No party system developed, but the parliament was seen as the voice of the people. The Young Turks were a Turkish nationalist reform group who favored the re-establishment of a secular Constitutional monarchy in the Ottoman Empire.

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They began as an intellectual group stemming from the failure of the young Ottomans to bring about positive reform; after official formation, they worked under the umbrella of the Committee of Union and Progress CUP. They were successful in their revolt, and their ideas brought about the Second Constitutional Era, which remained in place until the end of WWI.

World War I was the event that finalized the downfall of the Ottoman Empire. Because of past loyalties, the Ottomans forged a secret alliance with Germany in The ottoman army mobilized quickly, warranting a Declaration of War from Russia. In the winter of , a staggering defeat by the Russians caused the demoralized army to turn their blame on the Armenian minority in the Ottoman Empire.

The slaughter that occurred turned Western powers against the Ottomans see "Armenian Genocide" heading for more on this topic.

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In the following years, General Ataturk earned the respect of the Turkish people by successfully defending Turkey against many attacks, on both land and water; he also withdrew several units intact from Syria in order to preserve the fighting force. Eventually, after several months of fighting in Egypt and Palestine, the Ottoman defense was exhausted.

The war-time government resigned, and the new Sultan signed the armistice in October of In four years of war, the Ottoman Empire had mobilized about 2.

In addition, more than 2 million civilians, including both Turks and Armenians, are believed to have died of war-related causes. The Ottoman Empire collapsed and was partitioned in the Treaty of Versailles.

Ryan Gingeras on the fall of the Ottoman sultanate

Brought about by suspicions of treason during World War I, the Armenian Genocide was the Ottoman government's systematic extermination of its minority Armenian subjects from their historic homeland in the territory constituting the present-day Republic of Turkey. In surveying the many tragedies that transpired in the years between and , Fall of the Sultanate explores the causes that eventually led so many to view the legacy of the Ottomans with loathing and resentment.

The volume provides a retelling of this critical history as seen through the eyes of those who lived through the Ottoman collapse. Drawing upon a large gamut of sources in multiple languages, Ryan Gingeras strikes a critical balance in presenting and interpreting the most impactful experiences that shaped the lives of the empire's last generation.

The story presented here takes into account the perspectives of the empire's diverse population as well as the leaders who piloted the state to its end. In surveying the personal, communal and national struggles that defined Italy's invasion of Libya, the Balkan War, the Great War, and the Turkish War of Independence, Fall of the Sultanate presents readers with a fresh and comprehensive exposition of how and why Ottoman imperial rule ended in bloodshed and disillusionment.

This is an ambitious and multivocal work, which offers a significant contribution to our understanding of the demise of the Ottoman Empire.

Not only does Gingeras explore the impact of the last decade of Ottoman rule - a decade that was characterized by constant wars - on Ottoman society, he also analyses the social, economic, and political structures and changes that characterized the different parts of the Ottoman Empire as they developed over the course of the nineteenth century. The International Spectator an easily read, composite story Gingeras manages to pull out unique kernels of wisdom from this often-traumatic history An excellent study accessible to a broad audience