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The Ottoman is considered to be the greatest Islamic power in world history. It enjoyed superior military and conquered vast territories in Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa. It declined after the World War I. The Empire was dominated by Muslims. However, it was also inhabited by people from other religions. This included the minority Arabs, Balkans, Middle Eastern Christians, Armenians Christians, Jews, Kurds and Persians.

The Ottoman Empire, which was the greatest independent Islamic power in the world, was founded in present day Turkey and stretched in most parts of Southeastern Europe, Middle East and Northern Africa. It was established in 1290 by the Ottoman tribe who were found in north-western Anatolia of the Byzantine Empire (Abou-el-Haj 76). The Ottomans were originally Nomads who professed shamanistic religion but acquired Islamic religion after interacting with Islamic people. The expansion of the Empire had a great influence on various continents. For instance, the Europeans feared the success of the Ottoman Empire would interfere with their political and infrastructural influences.

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Reasons for the Military Success of the Ottoman-Turks. There are a number of factors that contributed to the success of the Ottoman Empire. The Empire’s enormous affluence was the most significant asset in its success. Ottoman’s military success was mainly due to the use of modern military equipments including the Cannons. Furthermore, the Ottoman soldiers were furnished with muskets which eliminated the use of cavalry in battlefields. In addition, the military used innovative tactics and subdued their enemies with ease.

The Ottoman-Turkish Empire had a large number of troops (more than 600,000) who served the 38 divisions. They employed military skills used by their opponents in defeating them. Also, the Ottoman used Jewish and Christian soldiers during the war. In addition to a large number and well trained army, the Ottoman had an efficient navy, which was the most effective in the Mediterranean region.

In 1319, the Ottoman military was transformed into a privileged personal army of the Sultan (Cargill, Kirk & Jarden 112). The armies were rewarded for their allegiance with land acquired from conquered territories. This motivated the army to conquer new regions. Their unity and timely reinforcements was also instrumental in defeating their opponents who had internal conflicts that weakened them before the war. For instance, according to Cargill, Kirk and Jarden, the Eastern Roman Empire, Christians and Balkans had internal conflict between 1290 and 1453 which led to their defeat (214). Alliances made by the Ottoman Sultans with Turkish soldiers and Christian states were also influential in their military prowess. This provided the much needed military reinforcement during the war.

Relations of the Turks with their non-Turkish Minorities. The Ottoman Empire was dominated by Muslim. The position of the non-Turkish population and the minority groups in the Ottoman Empire was typically determined by their religious associations. For instance, though the Jews and the Christians were viewed as inferior by the Muslim they were often given state protection by the Ottoman Empire. The leniency shown by the Ottoman Empire was due to their monotheistic beliefs since the Muslims acknowledged Judaism and Christianity prophets.

On the other hand, other non-Turks minority groups were humiliated, abused and exploited by the Ottoman rule. For example, after the Turks took hold of the Serbian territory in 1459, the Serbs were persecuted while others were rendered bond servants (Cargill, Kirk & Jarden 95). After Serbs rebellion, the Sultan retaliated by destroying St. Sava remains which were viewed as sacred by all Serbs. Also, about 1.5 million Armenians were murdered by the Ottoman Government in the Twentieth Century (Abou-el-Haj 38). The survivors were forced to flee to exile and were unable to return. The Arabs, Balkans, Persians and the Kurdish were similarly humiliated by the Ottoman rule. Their land was grabbed by the Ottoman Empire while others were killed.


In conclusion, though the Ottoman Empire was well established having a superior military and inhabited by diverse groups of people, it gradually declined and eventually ended after the World War I.

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