Empires of Asia
Section 1: Muslim Empires
- The Ottoman Empire lasted from about 1300 to 1922. The Ottomans were named after Osman I, a Turkish chieftain who founded a state in Anatolia, now Turkey, in the late 1200's.
- The Ottomans claimed to be the champions of Sunni Islam. In 1453, Sultan Mehmet II conquered Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire.
- The city, now called Istanbul, became the capital of the Ottoman Empire.
- By 1600, the Ottoman Empire formed a crescent around the Mediterranean extending from Hungary in eastern Europe through Palestine and Egypt to Algeria in North Africa. Under the reign of Sultan Suleyman I in the 1500's, the Muslim world achieved its greatest level of unity since the time of the Abbasids.
- Under the Ottomans, many cultures maintained their identities within Muslim society.
- The Ottoman sultans were Turkish, but the generals, admirals, and administrators of the Ottoman Empire came from throughout the Mediterranean world.
Many Ottoman aristocrats were skilled in the arts, languages, and literature, and they set the standard for culture in the Muslim world.
- Many Ottoman officials came from Christian families. Each year, recruiting teams collected boys from eastern Europe.
- The youths were taken to Istanbul, converted to Islam, and educated. Legally, they became slaves of the sultan and were supposed to be loyal only to him.
- The most physically active boys became "Men of the Sword" and served in the Janissary Corps, a special division of infantry that formed the core of the Ottoman army.
- The more scholarly students became "Men of the Pen" and served in administrative posts, from which they could rise to the rank of grand vizier, the highest Ottoman official after the sultan.
- Mughal Empire, also called the Mogul Empire,