Muslim Empires

Muslim Empires
The Ottomans: From Frontier Warriors to Empire
Last decades of 13th century Turkic peoples flooded
the region (Asia minor)
Osman, ghazi and leader of the Ottomans in Anatolia
By 1350s Ottomans had advanced from Asia Minor
across Bosporus straits into Europe
1453 Mehmed II “The Conqueror” captured
Total area under rule included Northern Africa,
Balkans, parts of Iraq, Syria, Medina, Mecca
Became a formidable military power
1683 siege of Vienna. Defeated but showed their
power in Europe, which would stay until the late 19th
A State Geared to Warfare
Military leaders played prominent role in
Ottoman state- development of warrior
From mid-15th century armies dominated by
infantry divisions made up of troops called
Janissaries- boys sent to army- legally slaves
but given schooling for the time and
converted to Islam
The Sultans and Their
Monarchs who kept their positions by playing factions
off of each other (warrior elite against janissaries)
and kept commerce under control since Christians
and Jews were under the protection of the rulers
Effective rulers in early years- effective
administration and tax relief for people annexed to
the empire
Viziers- carried out day-to-day administration and
sometimes controlled more than the sultan himself
Suffered because they inherited Islamic principles of
political succession that remained vague and
Constantinople Restored and the
Flowering of Ottoman Culture
Revitalization after capture in 1453 (Hagia Sofia
turned into grand mosque, new palaces, mosques)
Suleymaniye- most spectacular mosque built under
Suleyman the Magnificent (r.1520-1566)
Cultural life (coffee houses, intellects, architecture)
Control of commerce
Language- early on Arabic and Persian and later
Turkic by 17th century
The Problem of Ottoman
Dynasty endured for 600 years, one of the longest in
Its slow decline is testament to the strength of its
internal structures (decline from 17th century onward)
Empire too large to maintain. It was built on war and
territorial expansion. When that ran out the task of
effective governance was too great
Crisis in leadership. Great warrior-leaders of earlier
centuries gave way to weak and incompetent rulers
Increase in civil strife
Military Reverses and
Ottoman Retreat
Growing outside challenges (w. Europe, Russia, Safavids)
Reliance on huge siege guns and no military change let it fall
farther behind their European rivals in art of war
Naval defeat at battle of Lepanto by Spanish and Venetian fleet
in 1571- lost control of the Mediterranean
Failure to drive Portuguese out of Asia
Late 16th century silver bullion from new world flooded markets
and began inflationary trend
Trade and warfare were biggest developmental gaps between
Ottomans and Europeans (didn’t take Europe seriously)- 17th18th centuries conservatives blocked reforms
The Shi’a Challenge of the
Like Ottomans, dynasty arose from struggles of rival Turkic
nomadic groups in the wake of the Mongol and Timurid
invasions and rose to prominence as the frontier warrior
champions of highly militant strain of Islam- Shi’a variant
Origins in a family of Sufi mystics- early 14th century Sufi- Sail
al-Din began a campaign to purify and reform Islam
Red Heads (Safavid followers because of head gear) Ismail
emerges as leader after victories on battlefield. 1501 becomes
shah (emperor)
Began to expand borders for next century
Met Ottomans at battle at Chaldiran in northwest Persia
(demonstrated importance of muskets and field cannon in the
gunpowder age) but Ismail’s cavalry was no match for the
strong Ottomans. Outcome determined that Shi’ism would be
confined to Persia
Politics and War Under the
Safavid Shahs
Ismail secluded after defeat, which allowed
rival Turkic chiefs to attempt to seize power
Finally, Tahmasp I won throne and began
restoring dynasty
Shah Abbas I- empire reached its height of
prosperity- built huge standing army (40,000
by end of reign), called on outside European
Effort to bring Turkic chiefs under control, so
gave them warrior nobility status like in
Ottoman empire
State and Religion
Persian influence in language and religion
Claimed descent from one of the Shi’a imams
(successors to Ali) as status of rulers
Faith became a major pillar of dynasty and
empire. Mullahs (local mosque officials and
prayer leaders) supervised by the state and
supported by the state
Bulk of population converted to Shi’ism
Shi’ism became integral part of Iranian
Elite Affluence and Artistic
Abbas I established empire as a major
center of trade and Islamic culture,
roads and trading networks set up,
capital at Isfahan, great mosques
Society and Gender Roles:
Ottoman and Safavid
Both dominated by warrior aristocracies
which gradually retread to the estates making
it difficult for peasants
Both encourages growth of handicraft
Women faced legal and social challenges in
However, some recent evidence points to
many women being active in trade and some
in money-lending
The Rapid Demise of the
Safavid Empire
Abbas’ fears of usurpation by his sons
led to the death or blinding of all of
them, so weak grandson put on the
throne and he couldn’t deal with the
foreign threats to the empire or the
factional disputes and rebellions
 1722 Isfahan besieged by Afghani
The Mughals and the Apex
of Muslim Civilization in
Babur, founder of the dynasty, was descended from Turkic
warriors and fought for control over his homeland in Central
Asia not for religious reasons
1498, after father’s death, Babur (16 yrs old) struggles to fight
for control of homeland. Went to India for booty. Did not intend
conquest at the beginning
1526 Babur defeats India’s Lodi dynasty and within 2 years had
conquered large portions of the Indus and Ganges plains and
established a dynasty that would last more than 300 years
Babur better conqueror than leader- despite a highly refined
taste for the arts. He died in 1530 and son Humayan took over,
but Humayan not very successful
Akbar and the Basis for a
Lasting Empire
Akbar, son of Humayan, took power at 13 yrs old
became greatest leader and rivaled other great
leaders of the time like Elizabeth I, Suleyman, Shah
Abbas, etc. He built the military and administrative
systems of the empire
social reforms- reconciliation and cooperation with
Hindu princes and the Hindu majority, encouraged
abolished jizya- head tax for non-believers
promoted Hindus to high ranks
new faith called Din-I-Ilahi- it was supposed to unite
the subcontinent but didn’t
control of local affairs in hands of military retainers of
Social Reform and Social
improve the calendar
 position of women- encourage widow
remarriage and discouraged child
marriages, legally prohibit sati,
encouraged merchants to have a
women’s day
Mughal Splendor and Early
European Contacts
Akbar died in 1605 leaving Jahangir and
Shah Jahan as successors, under whom
India reached its splendor
 Delhi, Agra, Lahore
 17th century India a destination place
for European traders
Artistic Achievement in
the Mughal Era
Both Jahangir and Shah Jahan wanted
the good life and oversaw the building
of great construction during their reigns
 Taj Mahal
Court Politics and the
Position of Elite and
Ordinary Women
Nur Jahan, Jahangir’s wife, wielded
great power as did Mumtaz Mahal
 Position of women at Mughal court
improved but in the rest of Indian
society it declined. Child marriage more
popular, widow remarriage died out,
seclusion for upper-caste women
The Beginnings of
Imperial Decline
Aurangzeb not strong enough leader to quell
the rising discontent in the empire and he
made two mistakes: renewed conquest for
territory and attempt to remove Hindu
influences in Islam
In warfare he was somewhat successful but
he drained the dynasty of all resources
Disruption of the social peace
Rise of Sikhs
Write Comparative Sentences
Compare the Islamic empiresOttomans, Safavids, and Mughals
 Compare the earlier Islamic dynasties
(Umayyads and Abbasids) with these
Islamic empires
 Compare the reaction of each to the