July 5, 2022
The Ottoman Empire (Ottoman Turkish: دولت عليه عثمانیه / devlet-i ʿaliyye-i ʿos̲mâniyye, literally "the exalted Ottoman state"; Turkish: Osmanlı İmparatorluğu or Osmanlı Devleti), historically known in Western Europe as the he Turkish Empire, Ottoman Turkey, or simply Turkey, was an empire founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia, in the commune of Söğüt (present-day province of Bilecik), by the Oghuz tribal leader Osman I, founder of the Ottoman dynasty (Ottoman comes from Arabic ʿuṯmānī عُثْمَانِي, derived from ʿuṯmān عُثْمَان, Arabized name of Osman). After 1354, the Ottomans entered Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman Beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. After encircling it and then reducing it to its capital and a few shreds, the Ottomans put an end to the Byzantine Empire in 1453 by conquering Constantinople under the reign of Sultan Mehmed II. In the 15th and 16th centuries, at its height, under the reign of Suleiman I the Magnificent, the Ottoman Empire was a multinational and multilingual empire controlling much of southeastern Europe, parts of central Europe, of Western Asia, the Caucasus and North Africa. At the beginning of the 17th century, the Empire comprised thirty-two provinces and numerous vassal states. Some of them were later absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, while others enjoyed various kinds of autonomy over the centuries. With Constantinople as its capital, and control of the lands around the Mediterranean basin, the Ottoman Empire was at the center of interactions between the eastern and western worlds for six centuries. While it was once believed that the Empire 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 powerful and flexible economy, society, and military throughout the 17th and much of the 18th century. The Ottomans suffered serious military defeats in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, which led them to begin a vast process of reform and modernization known as Tanzimat. Thus, during the 19th century, the Ottoman state had become much more powerful and organized despite further territorial losses, especially in the Balkans where new states emerged. The Empire allied with Germany in the early 20th century, hoping to escape the diplomatic isolation that had contributed to its recent territorial losses, and thus entered World War I on the side of the Central Powers. Unprepared to participate in a modern war, the empire must also face significant internal tensions, particularly in its Arab possessions, with the Arab revolt of 1916 – 1918. During this time, abuses were committed by the Ottoman government, including some of a genocidal nature against Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks. The defeat of the Empire and the occupation of part of its territory by the Allied powers after the First World War led to its partition, and the loss of its territories in the Middle East divided between the United Kingdom and the France. The success of the Turkish War of Independence against the Allied occupiers led to the emergence of the Republic of Turkey, proclaimed on October 29, 1923 in the heartland of Anatolia in Ankara, and the abolition of the Ottoman monarchy.