Decline of the Ottoman
Empire
The Sick Man of Europe
Chapter 26
Essential Questions
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How did the military defeats of the 1700s signal
the decay of the Ottoman Empire?
What were some of the reasons for internal
decay?
How did Sultan’s attempt to reform?
How did revolts and rebellions lead to further
disintegration
What was the significance of the Eastern
question?
What was the Balkan Crisis of 1876-1878?
How did World War I lead to the empire’s fall?
Ottoman Empire in early 1700s
Military Defeats of the 1700s
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1683: defeat after the siege of Vienna shows
Ottoman weakness
Christian forces carve away at Ottoman lands
Treaties of Karlowitz (1699) and Passarowitz
(1718) strip Ottoman of Hungary and
Transylvania
Lose land in 1710s to Peter the Great
Lose Crimea (Balkan Peninsula) to Catherine
the Great in late 1700s
Signs of Internal Decay
Poor rulers and weak corrupt government
 Sultans want to modernize face opposition
from influential old groups and clerics
 Janissary army becomes outdated and
refuse to change
 Sultan Selim III assassinated by
Janissaries in 1807 after attempting to
modernize army and navy
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General lack of interest in industrialization
Minority groups such as Christians and Jews
carry out trade with the west
Competition with West  decline of local
artisans
Attempts at Reform
Sultans modernize and secularize
government bureaucracy
 Boost western ideas, science and
technology
 Sometimes meet resistance from the
clergy
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Mahmud II (1808-1839)
Built a small professional
army
 Tricks Janissaries into
revolting
 Crushes rebellion and
disbands Janissary corps
 Gets control over Ayan
 Begins policy of
westernization
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Mehmed III
1820s: assists Mahumd II
 Creates professional army
 Subdues Janissaries
 Builds modern navy
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Tanzimat Reforms 1839-1876
1839-1876
 Westernization of education
 Introduces western communication
systems
 Western style laws and constitution
 Some increased rights for women, some
women enter public life
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Revolts and Rebellions
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Further weaken and cut away at the
Ottoman Empire
Revolts and Rebellions
1820 Greek Revolution: Greece gains
independence from the Ottoman Empire
 1867 Serbs gain independence
 Dynasty begins to feel increasingly
threatened by westernized bureaucrats,
professionals and military officers
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Abdul Hamid (1878-1908) last
sultan
Attempts return to despotic absolutism,
nullifies constitution and decreases civil
rights
 Continues to adopt western tech and
military
 Forced out with bloodless coup
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The Eastern Question
How should Western European rulers deal
with the Ottoman Empire?
 No longer a threat
 Held together volatile parts of Asia and
Europe
 Held important place geographically
between Mediterranean Sea and Indian
Ocean
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Worry that collapse will destroy Europe’s
delicate Balance of Power
 Western nations especially nervous about
increasing Austrian and Russian power
 Britain and France support Turks against
Russia and Austria even as they take over
parts of the empire
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Eastern Question in Cartoons
Attendant. "How do you feel after your bath, my Lord?"
LORD B. "Pretty comfortable, thank you!—(Aside. Lost some
weight, I fancy.) —You made it so confoundedly HOT for me!!!"
< The Turkish bath / John Tenniel. In: Punch (7 Oct 1876)
Gladstone tried to influence Government policy on the Eastern
Question by appealing directly to the public, both on the
platform and through the press, on behalf of the Bulgarian
victims of Turkish persecution.
Eastern Question in Cartoons
The Status Quo
Turkey: Will you still
Befriend me?
Britannia: Befriend You?Not with your hands
That colour!
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The Crimean War
1854-1856
 Britain and France support Ottmans in war
against Russian expansion into Black sea
 Costly war with over 250,000 casualties
 Defeat Russia’s forces but shows
weakness of Ottoman Empire
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British Attitude of the Crimean War
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How Jack Made the Turk Usefula at
Balaclaya (1856, John Leech in Punch)
As is that weren’t bad enough…
Construction of Suez Canal in 1869
increases geographic importance of Egypt
 Unification of Italy in 1860s adds another
power into the Mediterranean
 Montenegro, Romania, and Bulgaria
struggle for greater autonomy
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Balkan Crisis of 1876-1878
Montenegro, Romania, Bulgaria, and
Serbia rise up
 Turks suppress rebellion ruthlessly
 Russia attacks in 1877, and defeats in
1878
 Congress of Berlin of 1878 presided over
by Bismarck gives Montenegro, Romania,
Bulgaria, and Serbia independence
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The Rise of the Young Turks
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Ottoman Society for
Union and Progress
a.k.a. Young Turks
formed in Paris 1889
Goal: restore the
constitution of 1876
 Successful in 1908
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Problems 1908-1914
Division between military leaders 
fighting
 Young Turks struggle to keep empire
together
 Increasing Arab nationalism  more loss
of land
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Balkan Wars & World War I
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1911-1912Italy attacks Ottoman and takes
control of remaining land in North Africa
First Balkan War of 1912: Greece, Serbia, and
Bulgaria defeat Ottoman forces
During WWI join the Central powers and are
defeated in 1918
Empire collapses, remaining middle eastern
possessions rebel and are taken over by Britain
and France
Modern State of Turkey formed in 1920s
Ottoman Empire during WWI
Change Over Time
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Discuss in detail the internal and external
forces that led to the decline of the
Ottoman Empire between 1689 and 1918
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Be sure to include (see rubric!)
 A strong thesis statement
 Historical evidence of change
 Analysis of both internal and external
causes of decline
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Decline of the Ottoman Empire