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Ottoman Empire in 1300-1923


Ottoman is one o f the largest and long serving empire known in history. It created a mist powerful civilization of the modern time. The glory of the Ottoman Empire represents the level of creativity that the human being has, optimism and artistry. This empire was one of the biggest and influential in the Muslim modern period, which saw their military expansion, expands to the European country (Cassels, 1968). Through their influence, Islamic religion and culture is still practice in a number of countries especially in the eastern European countries to date.

The empire of ottoman came in to being in the 14th century. This is after the fall of the Mongol empire that made a Turkish chief Othman I to successfully create Turkish tribes confederation. This confederation was tied up by the Islamic faith that the people shared. The Turkish Muslim started showing the spirit of expansion just as the early Arabs warriors showed it. They were obsessed by the fact that they wanted to expand power, wealth and expand Muslim faith. Therefore, they constantly attacked Christians especially the Catholics and orthodox Christians in attempt to convert them.

With the use of Turkish force, Othman was very rapid in the successive expansion. This lead to the formation of the Ottoman Empire. Throughout the 14th and 15th centuries, the empire established control in most of the fertile region. Some of the regions that the empire saw its expansion and strong hold were Syria, Lebanon and Mesopotamia. The empire also expanded to the northern part of Africa where such parts as Egypt, Arabia and many countries were put under them.  Ottoman expansion represented a new Islamic territories and a new leadership (Imber, 2002). The ottoman expansion occurred when it was able to conquer several Eastern Europe countries introducing leadership in several non-Islamic territories. Ottoman Empire was made very successful when they were capable of introducing their culture and religion in these new territories.

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The end of the Byzantine Empire

Ottoman had a great will to control the eastern part of the Mediterranean.   Therefore, this was meat to take the territory controlled by Byzantine Empire. The advantage that they had was that this empire has fallen a great setback in the control of their empire in the 8th century during the first wave of the Arab empire. In 15th century, the ottoman Turks took full advantage of this and finished this empire completely what was left (Imber, 2002). The ottoman Turks took all the empires that were held up by the byzantine. This included the capital itself Constantinople. Otherwise, this did not come without a price to pay. They had to wage a laid to the city for decades before they could manage to fail it. In 1453, the city, Constantinople finally fell on the hands of ottoman forces.

This year that the city fell in the hands of the ottoman became very significant in history. This is because it was the true end of the Roman Empire. Due to the fall of the Constantinople, Orthodox Church was on the receiving end. The reason being that they had lost their center. Therefore, they were fragmented into different place in the region that was controlled by the orthodox churches in such places as Greece, Serbia and Russian. Many of the Christians freed away due to the brutality that was underlie the ottoman rule. They opted to run to the western and central Europe where they brought about with them written work, artifact and art that they have learnt in the Roman Empire (Cassels, 1968). However, this was a positive move to the central and Western Europe as they recovered lost knowledge though it was a great blow as it saw end of control of Christians in the eastern Mediterranean.

The Balkans

The most important impact of the Ottoman Empire comes about due to their spread on the west and northern part of the European territory. The most affected territory in the Europe was the Balkan region. This was the southeastern of the Europe especially the peninsula that links Asia and Europe and the eastern part (Finkel, 2006). Thus is one of the most prone places in the history of conquest of much empire. It was in 15 century when the Ottoman Empire comes in to replace byzantine control. The ottoman troop went in the region offering a very harsh offense. This made them to conquer many empires that were mostly strategically placed. They besieged Constantinople and later defeated a coalition of Serbian forces in a historical fight of Kosovo in 1389. This battle is remembered throughout in history especially by the people who were affected in the regions especially the Serbia people.

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As a result of this defeat of the Serbs, Ottoman Empire was capable of sweeping north part of the Balkans. Some of the country that the ottoman took control of are Romania, Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatian, Albania, Macedonia and Greece. The expansion of the Ottoman Empire continued to be a great threat in the central of Europe where it Austrian capital Vienna at 1600 was under siege.

Otherwise, the ottoman expansion had long-term effects. In the regions where this empire conquered like Balkans And eastern Europe, Islam controlled the region for quite a long time.  Therefore, according to Finkel 2006,  this empire controlled the region up until 19th century. At around 1800, the empire had started to decline though it still had a strong hold at the southern part of the Balkans and the eastern region of the Europe. It was not until 1918 when the First World War came and destroyed the empire. Through its control of the region from 1300 to 1918, the Ottoman Empire was very prominent in the region. It transformed this region very much that its effect is still clear up to thus time.

One of the major impacts that the ottoman expansion brought in the region was that in the Balkan region and Caspian Sea, Islam was so much pronounced. Nevertheless, the ottoman rulers were much tolerant in the region and never wiped away the existence of the monotheistic religion of the Judaism and Christianity. Such religions as orthodox, Catholics and d Judaic community were allowed to continue with their religious practice. Therefore, in this region it was different From the Asian region where Islamic religion was the only one that was allowed to practice (Finkel, 2006). However, the people who practiced Christianity were considered as a second-class citizen and they often-succumbed brutality from the Islamic community. They were not allowed to possess any arm and they paid high taxes for being Muslim.

In addition, ottoman comes up with a very despising policy that demanded that some of the Christian male children should be brought up in the Islamic way and afterward serves as janissaries. These were elite military that were loyal to the ottoman sultan. These were considered as child tax or blood levy. Nevertheless, there was some religious tolerance despite of the oppressive and brutal ottoman rules policy. Otherwise, this led to cumulative historic trend and antagonistic view of the ottoman leadership in relation to the Christian people, which is evident to date in history.

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Otherwise, some of the people in the Balkan region converted to the Islamic religion. This move was meant to ensure that they were either exempted from paying penalties as some succumbed to the power of the religion in the region. This lead to hiked hostility to those people who clanged on the Christianity. They were very bitter towards the converts and the Muslim community at large. This lead to the current violence and divisions of the Balkans. There was an increased religious difference in the region that brought about a great hatred that was inflicted to the already existing regional, ethnic and language differences. Places such as Greece, Macedonia and Serbia were left as the mostly the stronghold of the orthodox Christianity. In Slovenia, and Croatia, catholic was the most predominant while places like Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia -Herzegovina and some parts of Kosovo, Islamic religion took the center stage, which is still rampant to date (Fleischer, 1986).

As Ottoman Empire lost control in the 19th century through its decline, there was other creation of some countries that led to greater division in the Balkan region. Until today, the division is felt especially in the religion arena where Christians views Muslims as the cause of the legacy and long brutal period of domination of the ottoman ruling. Most of the hostility and violence underlies the conflict between the Christianity and the Muslims. A good example is the tension that today is always there between the orthodox and catholic religion in mostly Croatia and Serbian against Muslim dominated regions such as Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo. To today, there have bee regular violence in these regions between these groups, which is potentially to remain for a little longer in history. 

From the conflicts that have been seem in these regions, at around 1900, it escalated to a point of bringing about very fierce problems that sparkled the catastrophic world war I. this was not the end as even after the war ceased, the region still remained volatile thereafter. This is evident in the 20th century where it is seen in the breaking up of the Yugoslavia in the recent past (Pamuk, 1987). This is and evidence of atrocities that have been carried on by the two groups of the Muslim and Christian divide.  Due to this, there has been continued anger and constant bloodshed to present day. There have been continuous ethnic atrocities that have bred other atrocities in the region over the years on end. These atrocities have been committed by both divides. This has caused horrifying episodes that involves ethnic cleansing, manslaughter and dislocation of the people especially those who were involved in the 1990 Bosnia war and the recent war that happened in Kosovo (Pamuk, 1987). This shows how deep rooted Christianities and Islamic people hatred was planted by the Ottoman Empire conquest.

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The historical rivalry of the Christians and Muslims in the Serbs, Albania and Bosnia has come through a series of tension that has been there between the Christians and Muslims. The Catholics and the orthodox were very much affected by the Ottoman Empire ruling in the 14th century. They suffered from the invasion and fierce ruling that was carried on by the empire that involved a lot of animosity. The empire made Balkans and turkey people to be ever in great tension over each other. This was through the divide and rule strategy that the empire used in the region making Christians hates Muslims very much. They always blame Muslims over their plights. Constant historical anger and divisions in the region of the Balkans that links Europe, Asia and near east is based on the ruling that the ottoman offered in this region.

The source of the warfare has remained unresolved for many years and the history that was sparkled by the Ottoman Empire continues in this region. The historical rivalry that has been in this region for many years in the Balkan people from 14th century has continued to make it difficult even in the 21st century to agree upon borders (Lewis, 1968). This makes it possible for the one to understand the horrific violence that has been committed on this region in the name of the ottoman ruling that has made the region split for a very long time.

Control of the Silk Road

This is among the impacts that were brought about by the ottoman rule. By the end of 15th century, Ottoman Empire controlled Eastern Europe and Mediterranean region. Therefore, this made a leeway to control the land that linked the Silk Road that connected Asia and Mediterranean.  This made them to control the east- west trade connection that enabled ottoman leaders to levy taxes to all goods that were being moved from east to west territories. This made the empire enjoy a strategic wealth growth that they enjoyed for a long time (Finkel, 2006).

Through this control of this connection, there was a lot of growth resentment in the parts of the Europe that was high in the 14th century when trade turned to be very important in the region. Due to the high levies and taxes that were put therein, most of the Europeans, merchants resented the loss of their revenue. The European who consumed the Asian goods also resented their goods, as they were very expensive. Another strain came about from the Christian merchants who were forced to follow the Islamic religion to ensure that they were allowed to trade across the region. The east trade connection was in connection with various Muslim law and policies that Christians were subjected to if they were to trade.  The resentment that was also known as stranglehold of the Ottoman Empire on the international trade provoked the political leaders and commercial investors to investors on sea route to the market (Inalcik, 1973). This made the emergence f the European explorers and expansion that happened in the 1400 and 1500.

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Therefore, due to the rule that was imposed by the Ottoman Empire to the trades, making the European to divert their trade routes to the sea brought about European age of discovery or the age of expansion, that was primarily a desire to go around the Ottoman Empire.  This European expansion that later brought about global control and power that emerged from their expeditions changed a great of the world history (Inalcik, 1973). The dominance of the ottoman region and the European attempt in avoiding the empire catalyzed the European sea dominance and as they were out to avoid economic control, they resulted to colonization of other countries. It also leads to the discovery of the western country that is America and increased globalization through these interactions. The long felt consequences of the European avoidance of the ottoman strategic dominance led to the watershed changes that created global sea based connections, increased Europeans prominence and increased the human interactions due to these formed links worldwide.

Methods Ottoman Empire of conversion of eastern European empire to Islam by

Capturing of Constantinople

Constantinople was the heart of the Byzantine Empire. Therefore, when the Ottoman Empire captured it and made it their capital city, they were able to put themselves in a strategic point where they were able to control the eastern part of Europe and convert the Christians to Muslims.

In 1453, sultan Mehmet II conquered Byzantine Empire. Those were through slaughtering many of the population and forcing many to exile. He later imported population from the Ottoman Empire. This made it easy to convert most of those who were captured to the Islamic religion. Mehmet II changed Constantinople to Istanbul that meant the city of Islam rebuilding it physically and politically as his capital (Imber, 2002). This forcefully and democratically changed the Christians to Muslims depending on the level of rebellion that they offered.

Strong economy

Due to the levies and taxies that they taxed the merchants who were doing the business across the Europe and eastern part of Asia, they accumulated lots of money that made them be economically strong. This made the Ottoman Empire capable of conquering most of the Christian religion and easily converting them to Muslim. With in Istanbul as their capital city, which was at the junction of the Africa, Europe and Asia especially at the heart of trade this offered a great advantage to this empire to amass a lot of wealth strengthening their economy (Lewis, 1988). Another important city was Bursa, which was a central place for the silk trade. Therefore, due to the economic strength, the empire increased their artisan who helped them to make weapons and therefore able to conquer and convert more people in the Eastern Europe. The empire was also able to make policies that were to be followed. The Muslim and the converts were faced with more lenient ruling than none converts. This ensured that they were able to convert more of the Christian people to Islam.

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Rule of force

The Ottoman Empire formed ottoman sultan rule that was not very effective and was insecure. Therefore, to ensure that they convert more of the Christians to Islam, they formed fanatic fighters that were an order of janissaries. This was a group of infant group of Christian converts to Islam. This rule was formed such that each family in the Eastern Europe was ordered to surrender some of the male children to be Islamic converts who were later to work as loyal sultan fighters (Miller, 1966). This made the ottoman to conquer most of the eastern European Christians thus expanding slowly to the west region.

Success of Ottoman why they were achieved

It is worth mentioning from the onset that the empire did manage to bring forth a number of successes. These successes can be broadly categorized as political, economical social-cultural and environmentally. Initially, Ottoman succeeded in expanding their territories. Having in mind that the empire originated in Turkish, after 1453 due to a well armed forces as well as effective plan about military, the empire had extended it operations to a larger section of Middle East, Egypt Russia and the Balkans. It had the largest empire in both Europe and Middle East in the 15th centaury.

Additionally, the empire was successful in converting a number of Christians. This can be seen in the manner with which most of the western European fearing the rise of ottoman and launch a crusade against it as it was a heat to Christendom. However, their efforts bore no fruit as ottoman managed to recruit a number Christian to elite army, which was vital in expanding the empires territory (Peirce, 2004).  It is also worth noting that the empire was successful in disrupting trade routes of the targeted areas or regions. This forced those targeted to look for alternative routs which did not materialize hence rendering them weak economically hence vulnerable and could be easily conquered by ottoman forces.

Having in mind that the Roman Empire had succeeded in making Christianity state religion, the Ottoman Empire came and reversed the scenario making Islam to be an accepted form of religion. In fact, the later managed to convert a good number of those individuals who had proclaimed Christianity and joined the army. In terms of economy, the empire did encourage through various deliberate policies its subjects to engage in activities that were economically viable. The ultimate aim of the policies was to make the individuals who had economic muscles to be prosperous. The empire enhanced development of commercial centers as well as routes. Subjects were encouraged to take seriously issues relating too cultivation. International trade was also enshrined in the policies of the empire.

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In terms of social cultural success, the empire succeeded in creating unity among the population under its territory. It is important to remember that all those under the rule of Ottoman had varied cultures. This was attained by using an organization termed millets. It is worth noting that the higher degree of tolerance of the empire towards differing in ethnicity. Additionally, the empire managed to through formulation of laws and policies that encouraged retention of local religious laws, language as well as traditions, beliefs. Additionally, the empire about culture adopted traditions, art as well as institutions of various cultures in the region it ruled as well as adding new attributes to the existing culture (Somel, 2003). This went far in helping individuals coexist. Interestingly, Ottoman Empire through Suleiman was successful in making the government strong enough as well as improving the judicial systems making justice realized by the subjects.

There is no doubt that the mentioned success is attributable to a number of success factors. It is worth noting that the ability of the empire to centralize its operations. This played an integral part in ensuring that command comes from one central place with no contradiction. It is worth mentioning that highly centralized power as well as transferring authority to one person usually the leader sultan work well in ensuring that execution of order had no hitch (Wittek, 1938). Additionally, the arrangement whereby the empire was ruled by a single family for seven good years gave room for the initial projects and plans to be executed to completion. In most cases where there is change of who leads, it is evident that more often than not the new leader who is a not a family member of the previous ruler may come up with different and even conflict agendas.

In terms of expansion of territories, the empire had in place a well-strained army fully equipped as well as having advanced military strategies. All this worked well towards attaining control of the targeted locations. The strong military the empire had can be attributed to strong slave based army in which it entailed capture individual from Christian background converted to Islam, having at their disposal experts in developing sophisticated tools such as gun powder and finally military philosophy that prevail all over administration. Interestingly, the absolute control over private power as well as wealth which translated to economic muscles and stability of individual helped the empire to limit he strength that could emerged from opposition (Wittek, 1938). With such an initiative, the empire did not need to get worried of internal as well as external opposition. It thus centered its capabilities as well as expertise in conquering the enemy at all times.

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Additionally, the manner with which the empire dealt with local leaders who were trying to oppose its efforts was very ruthless. It is worth noting that such an approach was used as a deterrence mechanism. Individuals who had thoughts of trying to oppose the empire's effort in expanding its territory, converting Christian into Islam as well as imposing certain cultures and tradition could not dare engage in such activities once they see their counter parts undergoing inhuman treatment (Somel, 2003). However, it is worth noting that although this strategy worked, it indeed strengthen the rebels.

Another attribute that played a major role in the success of the empire was its ability to take pragmatically the best ideas as well as culture from various ends and incorporating hem into their own way of doing things. What this generated is creating unity and uniformity. Eventually, the subject felt to be part of the empire.  The ability to create such a shared culture as well as major way of doing things made it possible for the subject to have little resistance hence making the efforts of Ottoman empire be felt across middle east as well as western Europe.

Although the term democracy had not yet been coined, the ability of the system to create an avenue where promotion to various post and position being purely based on merit ensured that the empire was successful. What this accomplished is creating subjects that were highly motivated and satisfied with the manner with which they were being governed. It is understood that subjects that are well governed and are at peace with the government have no chance of creating problems.

Other important attributes that made the empire successful in most of the regions they conquered included highly encouraged loyalty from other religious group apart from Islam. According to Peirce, 2004, a structure of administration and organization that had strong Islamic background, Islamic ideology that was united, ability of developing long lasting alliances based on political as well as racial bases and finally the ability to share a code by Islamic warriors via jihad.











Failure of Ottoman Empire

The power of Ottoman Empire began to decline as early as 1683 immediately when the empire wanted to recapture Vienna. The attempts indeed failed terribly. Additionally, the empire failure to conquer most part of Europe as well as having at it disposal wealthy location so to it that the empire was seriously losing it has grasp on being influential in the world of politics. Among the factors that contributed to the decline of Ottoman Empire include; losing focus on power centrality where it turned out to be much less centralized this made it possible for command to be weak and easily manipulated (Miller, 1966). Additionally, the failure of the leaders-sultans to be in a position to factor in views from the public lead to the later resentments that ganged up against the former rule.

Similarly, power is linked with economic strength. The empire did experience number economic related problems for instance it experienced stiff competition from Americans who actively engaged in trade, availability of cheap product from countries in Asia, higher rates of joblessness and creation of other merchant routes. Significantly, the failure of the sultans in exercising severe treatment to offenders did encourage opposition. Lastly, when the execution of brothers as well as sons of sultans was brought to an end and imposing imprisonment. This later so to it that future sultans were individuals who had spent years in prison, thus they were poor leaders having little social bond.

It is worth noting that the term Turk was later associated with brutality and inhumane treatment of subjects. Efforts were made by the like of Ataturk Kemal to form a rebel forming a new identity for the Turkish after seeing corruption as well as other social decays (Lewis, 1988). Records has it that the empire officially came to an end in 1922 November 1.

Strictly speaking, the empire did use varying degree of force, time as well as other resources in contouring various regions. For instance, Middle East a region where Islam was profound took little time as well as other resources before it was conquered. It is worth noting that there is certain regions especially Christian based one that proved to be a challenge to the empire. Ottoman did spend over ten years fighting with opposition before acquiring Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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Ottoman Empire has been regarded as the longest ruling in the world and had a lot of success. It is therefore intertwined in very many impacts in the world from the European exploration, emergence of the First World War, discovery of sea trade routes and most significantly, colonization that leads to globalization and discovery of American country.

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