the ottoman empire (1310

The Ottoman Empire was one of the largest and longest lasting empires in history.
It was an empire inspired and sustained by Islam and Islamic institutions.
It replaced the Byzantine Empire as the major power in the Eastern Mediterranean. The
capital of the Ottoman Empire was at Constantinople (today’s Istanbul).
The Ottoman Empire reached its height under Suleiman the Magnificent (reigned 1520-66),
when it expanded to cover the Balkans and Hungary, and reached the gates of Vienna (see
Map 1).
Map 1: Ottoman Empire at its peak
The Empire began to decline after losing almost its entire navy in a 1571 sea battle against a
group of Catholic states from the southern Mediterranean that wanted to halt its expansion. It
declined further during the next centuries, and was trying to hold onto what it had left (see map
2) when WWI broke
Map 2: Ottoman Empire on eve of WWI
Source: BBC, Religions, Ottoman Empire,