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An Empires
of History

The Ottoman Empire

Starting Resource: 53
-- From Land: 49
-- From Trade: 4

Capital Territory: Constantinople
Nation Class: Large

Total Starting Military
Infantry: 17
Cavalry: 8
Knights: 0
Artillery: 4
Generals: 2
Merchantmen: 2
Frigates: 2
Ships of the Line: 1

Click on the map to view your nation's position and starting troops

The history of the Ottoman Dynasty can be traced to the Turkic migrations from Asia, which began during the 10th century. The Oghuz was were one of the peoples taking part in this migration. When they began to settle in Anatolia in the 12th century, they accepted the suzerainty of the Seljukid State of Anatolia, which was at first a puppet and vassal of the Il Khanate of the Mongol Empire. This allowed them protection from outsiders which in turn gave them a chance to develop their own internal structure and gave them some military power through cooperation with the non-Turkic populations of eastern Anatolia.

According to tradition, it was in 1299 when the Seljukid state was in the process of collapse that Osman I declared independence for the Ottoman state, which had gradually been developed by a group of now-settled Oghuz. During this period, the various states of Anatolia came into conflict with one another, with the Ottoman state eventually emerging as the supreme power in the region.

The rise of the empire defined the characteristics and nature of the state. The Ottomans definitively carved out their own preserve in history under the rule of Mehmed II (1444-1445, 1451-1481). In this period, many discussions occurred among the Ottoman elite on how to organize a new state from the many different cultures of the empire. Given the historical facts of other great empires, the Ottoman elite believed that the power of the sword was not enough to build and maintain a powerful state. It was important to find strong and capable men and bind them together in willing cooperation to conquer large sections of Europe, Asia, and Africa. It was also important to organize and govern their conquests. The Ottoman elite gave precedence to the political ideas that constituted the life of the empire, which became their ruling institution.

Though the Ottoman state existed before Osman I, he is regarded as the founder of the empire, as he named it and was the first bey (chieftain) to declare his independence. He extended the frontiers of the empire towards the Byzantine Empire, while other Turkish beyliks suffered from infighting. Under Osman I, the Ottoman capital moved to Bursa. He minted the first coin under his name, demonstrating the confidence his people had in him. In centuries to come, his age would be recalled with the phrase, "May he be as good as Osman".

The Ottoman Empire came to dominate the western portion of Asia Minor and then began to extend its control into Europe by expanding around Constantinople and into the Bulkans. During this time period the various Christian states and the Pope would rally together half heartedly to confront the Ottomans and for a short time its rapid expansion would be halted. The Ottmans similarly expanded gradually into western Asia Minor. In 1389, the Ottomans ended Serbian power at the Battle of Kosovo, which paved the way for expansion into Europe. Poised to siege and finally capture Constantinople and end the last remnant of the old Roman Empire, the Ottomans suffered a major set back at the hands of Tamerlane who defeated the Ottomans and set their territorial ambitins back an entire generation. But Tamerlane had bigger ambitions (namely China) and so did not follow up on his defeat of the Ottoman Empire. Hence they were allowed to recover and returned to empire building and a generation later, finally captured Constantinople in 1453.

The Ottoman Empire is the strongest nation in Europe and positioned for further expansion. Its chief rivals in the area are the White Sheep Turks, Sultanate of Egypt, Holy Roman Empire and Kingdom of Poland. To expand and keep its borders secured the Ottomans need to prevent any alliance between these four nations from coming together to check Ottoman expansion.

Visit the 1483 Discussion Forums to chat about the Ottoman Empire.

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