Chapter 15 - The Muslim Empires



The Ottoman Turks
· Turkish speaking, Spread from Central Asia in the 9th, 10th, and 11th centuries
· Rise of the Ottoman Turks
o Late 13th century, tribal leader Osman consolidates power in the northwest corner of Anatolian peninsula (land given by the Seljuk Turks for driving out the Mongolians in the late 13th century)
o Began as a peaceful, but eventually expanded and founded the Osmanli dynasty after the Seljuk empire began to disintegrate (early 14th century)
§ Location allows them to expand west and control the land between the Mediterranean and Black Seas
§ In 1345, Ottoman forces (under Orkan I) crossed the Bosporus into Byzantine territory
· Eventually set up a European base and expanded into Balkans (allying with Serbian and Bulgar forces against the Byzantines)
· Established permanent settlements
· Turkish provincial governors in Ottoman Empire drove out all previous landlords, and collected taxes from all local Slavic peasants
§ Murad I (Orkan’s son) consolidated power in the Balkans, created capital (Edirne), and reduced Byzantine emperor’s power in that region (1360)
· Did not attempt to conquer Constantinople (not strong enough forces) but rather used Janissaries from the local Balkan population to build military
o These Janissaries were directly subordinate to Sultanate rather than local tribal leaders
· New gunpowder techniques (cannons and muskets) used by Janissaries to protect palace in addition to extending Turkish control of Balkans.
o Allows Murad to defeat Serbs in Battle of Kosovo (1389)
· Expansion of the Empire
o Bayazid I (Murad’s successor) advances Ottoman Empire to the North (annexed Bulgaria, “slaughtered” the French Cavalry at the Battle of the Danube)
§ Mongolian victory over the Ottoman Empire in 1402 seemed to be the only setvack towards major regional expansion.
o Mehmet II succeeded Bayazid I, and was determined to capture Constantinople by constructing a major fortress on the Bosporus (north of the city) in order to strategically position the Turks to attack the Byzantine Empire
§ Attacked in 1453. Used massive cannons, renamed Istanbul
o After victory in Constantinople, Ottoman Turks began to advance East against Persian Safavids (who had been causing rebellions and disrupting Turkish trade in Middle East)
§ Defeated Safavids in 1514 under Selim I. Consolidated control of Mesopotamia. Defeats Mamluks in Syria (1516) and in Cairo (1517)
§ Selim I declared himself Caliph after gaining control of Jerusalem, Mecca, and Medina
§ Turks advance to African coast (Tripoli, Tunis, Algeria, Strait of Gibraltar). Decline of Moroccan Dynasty (Nasrid) gives Turks an offensive advantage
· Did not attempt to control interior African cities (only trade routes)
· Used pashas to collect taxes (who reported to the central government of Istanbul)
· Turks eventually lost control in that region in the 17th century and the Mamluks returned to power
§ Attempted to gain Balkan territory, but were prevented by the Hungarian resistance
· Suleyman I (The Magnificent) finally succeeded in advancing the Turks up the Danube, allowing them to seize Belgrade in 1521 and defeat the Hungarians in 1526.This allowed them to move through Austria into Vienna. They also managed to hold control over southern shored of the Mediterranean.
§ The Ottoman Empire was considered a European Empire during the early 17th century, but lost being viewed as a threat after European coalitions pushed them out of Hungry.
· Turkish Rule
o Evolved from tribal institutions into a sedentary empire
o Sultan
§ Political and military authority
· Ruled in an imperial council
· Most officials were Muslim by birth, although some Janissaries became senior members of the bureaucracy.
· Local administrations were utilized as a product of Turkish tribal tradition (and was similar to fief holding in Europe)
§ Role of sultan increased relative to the subordinate tribal leaders of the conquered regions
§ Hereditary (although not necessarily through the eldest son), and led to “chronic” succession struggles
· Losers were executed or imprisoned
o Harem
§ The sultan lived there with his family, concubines (who were trained and educated like the Janissaries), and staff of twenty thousand.
· The women were not exclusively for sexual purposed (contrary to popular belief), as many were relatives such as sisters, daughters, mothers, etc.
· Because of their proximity to the sultan, women of the harem had much political influence.
§ Members of the harem formed an elite element of Ottoman society
§ Starting in the 15th century, the Ottoman Empire began using slaves to reproduce the royal heirs
o Religion and Society
§ Minorities included Orthodox and Armenian Christians in addition to Jews, and were treated with tolerance
· They were required to pay a heavier tax though, because they were not Muslim and did not contribute to military service
· Non- Muslims were subject to the laws of their own religions
§ Social classes included the ruling class, peasants, artisans, merchants, and pastoral people.
· Peasants could not sell their land, yet often passed it down to their children
· Artisans were organized by craft guilds, where ach guild was headed by a group of elders. Artisans were the most privileged class outside of royalty.
§ Women
· Were permitted to own and inherit property, including their dowries
· Cannot be forced into marriages, in certain cases could seek divorce
· Ottomans in Decline
o Suleyman I, although a “magnificent” ruler executed his two most capable sons to take leadership, and his successor became his son Selim II (“the drunk one”
o Leads to many administrative issues
§ In the 17th century, internal riot had begun.
· Local administrations had become corrupt
§ Loss of territory began, beginning with the Battle of Carlowitz
§ Imperial treasury was depleted by constant warfare
§ Interests in science and technology diminished
§ Western habits and lifestyles found their way into the upper class (alcohol, premarital sex, etc.), causing the totally deterrence from those ways of life.
· Ottoman Art
o 15th century to 18th century witnessed the flourishing of poetry, rugs, and textiles.
§ Artists came from all over the empire (Persia, Italy, Greece, Armenia, etc.)
§ Architecture was a prominent art, especially the building of mosques
§ The most prominent textile was silk, administered under the Byzantine ruler Justinian, and they resurfacing under Ottoman leadership.

The Safavids

· Emerged in Persia at the beginning of the 16th century (after the collapse of the empire of Tamerlane in the 15th century and then a period of anarchy).
· Rise of Safavids
o Founded by Shah Ismail, a descendant of sheikh Safi al- Din (hence Safavid), whose origins could be traced back to Ali (fourth imam of the Muslim faith)
§ 1501à Ismail’s forces seized much of the land in modern Iran and Iraq, and Ismail proclaimed himself the shah of a new Persian state
· 1508àBaghdad
· Uzbeks in Bokhara shortly after Baghdad
§ Lost Iran to the Ottoman Empire in 1514 (after attempting to initiate rebellion among the Turkish people)
· Ottomans attacked again in the 1580’s and forced the Safavid ruler (Shah Abbas I) to sign a punitive peace (subsequently causing the loss of additional territory)
o Despite this setback, this was the glory period for the Safavids
§ Trained administers to replace the warrior elite (similar to Janissaries in Ottoman Empire)
§ Strengthened army (introduced more modern weapons/ technology)
§ Attempted to regain lost territory in early 17th century
· Had some initial success, war continued into 1620’s, peace not achieved until 1638
· Decline of the Dynasty
o After the death of the great leader, Shah Abbas I, the dynasty managed to stay stable for some time; however, succession issues caused internal turmoil.
§ Shi’ite power increased (both militaristically and politically)
· Intellectual freedom decreased
· Women’s rights were diminished by the pressure of religious orthodoxy (forced to wear veil, draw into a more secluded lifestyle, etc)
· Suppression of religious minorities
§ Other groups utilize the internal unrest to their benefit
· Afghan warriors took advantage of dynastic unrest to seize the capital (Isfahan)
· Ottomans seized territory along the western border
§ Eventually, order was restored by “military adventurer” Nadir Shah Afshar who restored the country’s borders and occupied the Mughal capital (Delhi). The Zand dynasty ruled until the end of the 18th century (continuing on after his death)
· Safavid politics and society
o Iran
§ Groups
· Safavids had come to power in that region through the support of the Turkish- speaking tribal groups
· Most people were farmers or townspeople (retained attitudes of “sophisticated and urban culture” of pre- Safavid Iran)
§ Used Shi’ite faith as a unifying force between the Turkish- speaking tribal people and the sedentary Persian- speaking population (more associated with urban lifestyles).
· Declared Shi’ism the state religion
· Shah acquired an almost divine quality (thought to be the spiritual leader of all Islam)
§ Aristocrats
· Aristocratic power and influence were controlled and regulated y the shahs
o Confiscated aristocratic estates whenever possible in order to bring them under the control of the crown
· Senior positions in bureaucracy were based on merit (not birth or aristocracy)
o Shah Abbas I hired foreigners from neighboring countries to hold positions in government in order to prevent internal dispute of government positions (between Turkish and non- Turkish people
· Economy
o Shah took direct interest actively engaged
o Shah regularly traveled the city streets “incognito” to check the honesty of the people
§ Harsh punishments for dishonesty (ex. Baker cooked in his own oven, etc.)
o Most goods traveled by caravan
§ No navy, all travel overland
§ Government kept roads clear of bandits and thieves
§ Carpets, leathers, etc. were widely praised globally
o Education (16th and 17th centuries)
§ Philosophy education
§ Science, math, and medicine flourished
· Safavid Art and Literature
o Shah Abbas I
§ Flowering of the arts
§ Architecture
· Abbas I ordered architects to to position his palaces, bazaars and mosques around a massive rectangular polo ground (in the capital of Isfahan)
o Mosques richly decorated (specifically with blue tile)
o Palaces delicately built with slender wooden columns
§ To adorn the elaborate architecture, artisans created magnificent metalwork, tile decorations, and glass vessels
· Ceramics were on the rise (modeled after the Chinese styles rather than traditional Persian designs)
§ Textiles
· Silk became a national industry with delicate and intricate pictures with vivid colors
· Carpet weaving flourished, enhanced by the desire for Persian rugs in the west
· Painting
o Changed to line paintings and portraits of people
o Art had minimal influence by the west (although some artist studied in Rome)


The Mugals
· Located in India. Muslim. First time since the Mauryan Empire that the entire subcontinent was united under a single government.
o Natively from the mountainous region north of the Ganges River
§ Founder of the dynasty was Babus, said to have been a descendant from both Tamerlane (father’s side) and Genghis Khan (mother’s side)
§ Had initially been given land that he inherited from Tamerlane (upland valley of the Syr Darya River), and then eventually branched southern into India
§ Was able to conquer because he had more advanced weapons and artillery (although a smaller military in numbers)
· Allowed him to capture Dehli in 1526, and continued to conquest throughout northern India until his death in 1530
· Hamayun was Babus’s son and succession, “intelligent but lazy”
o Had to flee to Persia, finally returned to reconquer Dehli in 1555 but died only the next year.
· Akbar succeeded Hamayun, and had to take the throne at 14 after his father fled the empire.
o By the end of his leadership, he had brought a realm under the Mughals: from the Himalaya Mountains to the Godavari River in central India, and Kashimr to the mouth of the Brahmaputra and the Ganges. Created the greatest Indian empire since the Mauryan dynasty.
o Heavy artillery (gunpowder empire)
o Best known for humane character and acceptance of all people in Indian society
§ Religion
· Raised as a Muslim
· Married a Hindu woman as one of his wives, showed acceptance and set a level of acceptance within the society
· Becamo hostile to Islam later in his life, and developed his own religion, “Divine Faith”
o Infallibility of all decisions reached by the emperor
§ Some historians believed that he claimed divine guidance, while others believe he thought he was a member of the divine.
o Adopted Persian model of imperial divinity
o After Akbar’s death, the religion vanished, absorbed by the dominating Muslim society that proved hostile to this new religion
§ Society and Economy
· Lower ranking officials could be Hindu
· Each religion was subject to own religious laws (Islam- Shari’a, Hindu- Dharmashastra)
o Muslims had to pay a poll tax (Jizya)
· All Indian peasants had to pay about 1/3 of their annual harvest to the state (through the Zamindars, or local officials)
o These taxes were reduced (or suspended altogether) after the drought of 1590.
· Commerce and manufacturing flourished
o Foreign trade
§ Textiles, tropical food, spices, precious stones from India in exchange for gold and silver
§ Dominated by large merchant castes.