HIS 106 Chapter 22

HIS 106
Chapter 22
Islamic Empires 1500-1800
Ottman, Safavid, and Mughal
Islamic Empires
Their culture and political power seemed
to flourish by 1600
But they couldn’t hold on to it after they
encountered European economic and
military machines
Ottomans reached their peak in 17th
century and is seen as the greatest of
the 3; however, they fell in 1918 after
siding with Germany in World War I
Safavids ruled in Persia and Afghanistan
just east of the Ottomans; they fell in
1722 when Isfahan was taken over by
Afghani invaders
The Mughal Empire ruled much of India;
after challenges from the Persians, the
Afghans, and the French, they finally fell
to the British in 1858
Ottoman Empire
• Ottomans were a Turkish dynasty that rose to
prominence after arriving in Anatolia (Turkey)
as settlers or as warriors
They were dedicated Muslims
They created an empire in the 13th and 14th
centuries at the eastern end of the
• They took over the Byzantine civilization
(Constantinople) and moved into eastern and
central Europe
There were Christians, Jews, and Muslims in
the empire
The Ottomans had many achievements in
warfare, architecture, and engineering taking
their culture to new heights
Their power was reduced in 17th and 18th
centuries and destroyed by 1918
A Closer Look
1213, Mongols invaded Anatolia and
took out the Seljuk Turk kingdom of Rum
Mongols didn’t directly rule; they wanted
Different groups in Anatolia vied for
Ottomans won
They began to expand their boundaries
There were setbacks, but they were
finally united under MehmedI by mid1400s
1453, Mehmed II, the Conqueror, took
1512, Ottoman rule was secure in all of
southeastern Europe and north of the
Black Sea in most of the Ukraine
Mehmed I and Mehmed II
Ottomans also captured Syria, Egypt,
and parts of North Africa
They had bases in Rhodes, Crete, and
They threatened Italy and Vienna in
1658 but failed
Mehmed II, the Conqueror is considered
the true founder of the Ottoman dynasty
He set up formal laws
The entire state was one big military
All members of the state had military
rank and were to be loyal to the Sultan
The state was supported by Muslims and
non-Muslims alike
Ruling class was all Muslim
The Ottoman State
• Palace – sultan, his harem, his ministers,
those who served in the palace
Administration – privy council, treasury, civil
• Military – played a dominant role in a state
geared for war & expansion
Religious leaders
Young Ottoman princes were given
administrative and leadership training in the
• Practiced fratricide until late 16th century
• They felt God made the choice of the next
The strongest brother seized power and killed
off his brothers, so they wouldn’t compete for
• Important for expanding boundaries
• Had a warrior aristocracy who would receive
land and peasants to work the land
• Young Christian
or Jewish boys from conquered
lands who were raised as Muslims and trained to
serve in the army and the bureaucracy
• Loyal to the Sultan
• Controlled the firearms in army ; great power
The Ottomans used the Janissaries, or slave
corps, to reduce the power of the warrior
aristocracy by putting them in charge of
Constantinople became the Ottoman capital
Rulers began to restore the city after 1453
Hagia Sophia, a Christian Church, became
Islam’s grandest mosque
Suleyman, the Magnificent, built the
great Suleymaniye Mosque in the 16th
century ( see picture in handout)
Constantinople was commercial center
Many in capital were merchants or
artisans and were regulated by
Turkish was accepted language
Suleyman, the Magnificent
Reign of Suleyman
• During classical period in Ottoman history
• Marked the peak of Ottoman prestige and
Gained more territory
Influenced European and Asian politics by
being a force to be reckoned with
Reign of Selim II (1566 – 1574)
• Suleyman’s son
• Faced many new challenges to his empire
• Plagued by military corruption
• Government decentralization and maritime
Agricultural failures
Commercial imbalances
Selim II
Challenges continued after Selim’s reign
• Ottomans lost territory in the Caucasus &
Mesopotamia to the Persian Safavids in 1603
Weakened military because they were fighting
a 2-front war: Safavids in the east and
Habsburgs in the west
Military couldn’t stand up against European
Janissaries blocked needed reform
1571, a Spanish-Venetian victory at
Lepanto ended the Turkish control of
eastern end of Mediterranean
Portuguese naval victories broke Muslim
dominance of Indian trade
Murad IV introduced some reforms, but
his death ushered in weak rulers until
The Korprulus, father and son, briefly brought
back a strong administration and military
After the Korprulus duo, institutions, like the
economy, decayed
Economy weakened in the 17th century
because military costs were high, exports were
discouraged, imports encouraged; damaging
A lot of money was paid out to foreigners
Not much foreign money was coming in
Non-Muslims dominated foreign trade
In 18th century many non-Muslims in
trade were given citizenship and
protection by European countries
Population increased – it doubled in the
17th century
More food needed to be produced
Unemployment increased
New taxes were imposed that had to be
paid in cash, not barter
Astoundingly, with everything seemingly
falling apart, the 17th & 18th centuries
showed great developments in poetry,
prose, music, theatre, art, architecture,
painting, cartography, history,
astronomy, and in other fields
Sinan was the master architect for the
• Major institution in Ottoman society
• Flourished from mid-16th century onward
• People gathered to socialize, drink coffee,
play games, watch puppet shows, read
books, discuss public affairs, and smoke
Ottomans tried to take Vienna for a
second time in 1683 but failed
They were driven out of Hungary and
Belgrade and never seriously threatened
Europe again
Russians defeated Ottomans at the
Their final demise was in 1918
In early 16th century Safavid dynasty
began in what we today call Iran
They tried to move further west but were
defeated by Ottomans in 1514 at the
Battle of Chaldiran
They were blocked from further
westward expansion
Safavid Empire
From the very beginning, Iran has been
a stronghold for Shi’ite Muslims
Safavids were politically powerful and
culturally creative until 1722 when the
last Safavid ruler was forced to abdicate
Like the Ottomans:
Safavids were of a Turkish nomadic
They took their territory after Mongol
invasions of 13th & 14th centuries
They were militant Muslims who were
Shi’ite, not Sunni like the Ottomans
• There were differences in rituals, laws, and
Safavids disagreed with Sunnis about
These disagreements sometimes led to
serious conflict, ex.: Chaldiran
Came from land near Caspian Sea –
Descendents of mystics and preachers
One leader Sail-al-Din led a military
campaign to purify Islam and spread
their version of it among the Turks
Got many followers
From 1450s, Shi’ite doctrines were being
This angered Sunnis and led to clashes
1501, Isma’il, a Shi’ite commander, took the
city of Tabriz and declared himself Shah or
During the next 10 years, his followers took
over most of Persia and moved into Iraq
They eventually ran into the Ottomans at
Chaldiran in N.W. Persia in 1514 and
lost because they lacked firepower
Safavids and Shi’ism was then confined
to present-day Iran and parts of southern
Isma’il was defeated and deflated and
went home to drink
His succession problems led a Turkish
chief to seize power and become Shah
His name was Tahmasp I (r. 15341576); he restored power to his dynasty
Shah Abbas I (r. 1587-1629) took the
empire to its great heights in strength
and prosperity even though he didn’t
expand the territory
Shah Abbas
Abbas I (r. 1587-1629)
Created a warrior nobility who were
assigned villages and peasants that
would work for them
Most advisers at court were Persian who
would not challenge the Shah for power
Abbas became known as Abbas, the
Set up a slave corps like the Janissaries
who controlled firearms
• They were young Russian slave boys who
were educated, converted to Islam, and owed
loyalty only to Abbas
Abbas used European advisers to help him
make cannons and train his slave corps in the
use of firearms. He had 40,000 in his army
ready to fight
State and Religion
Persian became the language of the
Persian customs became more apparent
• Use of grand titles for rulers
• Luxurious palaces, elaborate court rituals,
ceremonies, and etiquette
Rulers continued to be descendents of Ali,
hence Shi’ites
Shi’ite religion was toned down a bit so as to
appear not quite so militant and radical
The state began to rely on Mullahs, local
mosque officials and prayer leaders
They were under the direction of the state
When some shahs weakened in later years,
some Mullahs became more independent and
Artistic Splendor
Had cultural and intellectual renaissance
in 16th and 17th centuries
Portraiture and scenes from everyday
life became popular
They made ceramic tiles, porcelain, and
carpet designs and production that
reached new heights in sophistication
In architecture, there were the magnificently
planned public squares, parks, palaces,
hospitals, mosques, and other buildings of
Isfahan in Shah Abbas I time( see handout)
Buildings used colorful ceramic tiles to
decorate the exteriors
There were geometric designs, flowers , and
verses from the Qu’ran
There were roads, rest houses, great
mosques with massive domes,
government offices, shops, gardens,
parks, colleges, public baths, and
Society and Gender Roles
Safavid social system was similar to the
• Dominated by warrior elite who shared power
with Shah
Shahs lived in splendid palaces
Warrior elite lived on their landed estates
Life was difficult for the peasants who were
exploited for their labor; there were periodic
Rulers of Safavids and Ottomans encouraged
the growth of handicrafts and trade
Rulers set up imperial workshops which
produced: miniature paintings, rugs, weapons,
and metal utensils
There were public works projects that provided
jobs for stone masons, engineers, and
Some leaders worked to increase
international trade; however, they didn’t
keep pace with European Industrial
Women endured legal and social
disadvantages of an Islamic society
• Were subordinate to their fathers and then to
their husbands
Had little, if any, religious and political clout
Were mostly secluded and veiling was
common, especially for the elite
They struggled against restrictions
Some were active in money-lending and in
Weak rulers after Abbas I
Abbas I, fearing plots, had removed all
suitable heirs
Beginning with the reign of his weak
grandson, the Safavid Empire entered its
There were internal problems and
foreign invasions
In 1722 Isfahan fell to Afghani invaders
The Mughal Empire in India
Babur and his fellow Turks invaded India
in 1526 after being driven out of
They wanted booty, not conquest
They only remained when they were
prevented from returning northward
Babur crushed another Muslim dynasty,
the Lodi, in India in 1526
They then defeated a Hindu confederation in
Within 2 years, Babur had taken much of the
Ganges and Indus plains
He founded the Mughal Dynasty which lasted
for 300 years
Babur was a talented warrior who loved art and
music; However, he was a poor administrator
He died in 1530 and that triggered invasions
from surrounding enemies
Humayan, Babur’s successor, fled briefly
to Persia
He then returned leading successful
invasions into India that restored control
in the north by 1556
He died soon after
Humayan was succeeded by his 13 year
old son, Akbar
Akbar immediately was attacked by
Mughal enemies and defeated them
Had outstanding military and
administrative talents
He used his armies to take northern and
central India
His reforms:
• Showed toleration to all faiths
• Encouraged intermarriage between Hindus
and Muslims
Abolished the head tax
Respected Hindu religious customs
Akbar was interested in all faiths and would
conduct discussions with Jain and Buddhist
monks, Hindu Brahmans, Zoroastrians, and
He even invented a new religion by blending
Hindu and Muslim beliefs
Hindus rose to high ranks within his
government as long as they could be loyal to
Mughal rulers and pay taxes
Social reforms:
• Akbar tried to improve the calendar
• Set up public works projects
• Built living quarters for beggars and
Tried to regulate the consumption of alcohol
• Failed at this
• His own son drank 20+ cups of wine a day
• He tried to improve women’s lot in life
• Prohibited Sati (widow burning)
• Encouraged widow remarriage
• Discouraged child marriages
• Attempted to break women’s seclusion in their
homes, called purdah, by creating special market
days for women only
Most of Akbar’s reforms were not
successful, including his new religion
Akbar’s 3 successors:
• Jahangir (r. 1605-1627)
• Shah Jahan (r. 1628-1658)
• Aurangzeb (r. 1658-1707)
None of these left behind achievements as
significant as Akbar’s
Jahangir, Shah Jahan, &
The reigns of Jahangir and Shah Jahan
were the Golden Age of India – most
notably in painting and architecture
• Ex.:
Taj Mahal, built by Shah Jahan for his
wife as her tomb (picture p. 488)
they also expanded painting workshops for
Taj Mahal
Jahangir and Shah Jahan continued the
policy of tolerance toward Hindus
Both preferred the good life over military
adventures and the day-to-day running
of the government
They left the details to subordinates,
thus allowing their wives to win some
influence and power
The position of court women then
The position of women elsewhere
• Child marriages returned
• Widow remarriage died out
• Seclusion increased
• Sati spread in the upper classes
Aurangzeb inherited a declining empire
and was not able to stop the decline
He did conquer most of India by 1707
The effort drained his treasury and
weakened both the military and the
There were also internal revolts
Auranzeb wished to free India of Hindu
• The head tax returned
• Hindu festivals were forbidden
• Building of Hindu temples was forbidden
Both Hindus and Muslims rebelled against
Foreign enemies were ready to strike like the
English and the French