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Ottoman Empire


An empire was founded in the early 14th century by Osman (or Osthman) that lasted for six centuries and it shook the world with its might. Emerging as a leader of the Turks in 1293 when the Seljuks were defeated by the Mongols, Osman took up the fighting over the Byzantine Empire that was tottering. Initially, the areas that were expanded under Osman’s leadership were Southeastern Europe, and Asia Minor. Under his successor Orkhan’s rule, the practice of taking a child from Christian subjects as tribute began. This practice continued under Osman. These children were rigorously trained to become administrators and soldiers. As they grew into soldiers they were placed into the infantry. They later became known as the Janiaries (Janissaries as it is also spelled), who were the most feared force as a military in many centuries in Europe.

Thrace, which is Northwest of Constantinople was conquered by Murad I. He then moved is capital to what was formally known as Adrianople, but became Edrine. Constantinople was cut off from the outside world due to this conquest and the Byzantines fate was sealed forever. Ottomans now had routs of invasion toward the north from Edrine, which allowed them to continue expansion of their lands. Murad I was killed in one of the last victories against the Balkan Allies. Bayezid I was his successor from 1389 to 1402. He was unable to make any additional European conquests. His attention was focused on Asia Minor having to deal with the Turkish principality, Karaman that was rapidly growing. Karaman was defeated in 1391 and a revolt of the Balkan subjects was quashed. Later his gains in Asia Minor were consolidated. In 1402 he was attacked and overwhelmed by Timur Lenk. Within a year, Bayezid was dead.

After the retirement of Timur Lenk, Bayezid’s heirs sought out to attempt what their father could not: an expansion that would strengthen the Ottoman Empire. The four sons joined together and fought until three of them were killed by Mohammed I. He took control and reigned from 1413 through 1421. Murad II was his successor who ruled from 1421 to 1451. The Balkan resistance was suppressed by Murad II. In Asia minor, all but two of the Turkish principalities were eliminated. They fell to the successor of Myrad II, Mohammed II. He ruled from 1451 through 1481. Mohammed II led the siege of Constantinople in 1453. It was then made the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Next began the incorporation of the entire Balkan Peninsula, located south of Hungary. An adequate tax and administrative system was strenuously consolidated by Mohammed II. The entire Byzantine bureaucratic structure fell into the hands of Mohammed II. It was widely known that Ottoman Sultans were not opposed to using whatever talents they could capture or attract.

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