Steadily on the decline and weakening, the Byzantines could only hold out a new siege only for 54 days, whereby Constantinople was conquered by Sultan Mehmet II on 29 May, 1453. This is why Mehmet II was called 'Fatih' which means 'Conqueror:
Fatih first brought Turkish people who lived in Anotolia and Thrace there and then convinced the Greek population who left the city during the siege to come back- Commencing a rejuvenation project, Fatih started to rebuilt the city in a Turkish manner, first by bringing in water from outside the city via aqueducts and also had fountains and baths built. He also built bazaars consisting of vaulted shops and hans in order to stimulate commercial growth. By then, the capital of the Ottoman Empire Constantinople had become a cosmopolitan city where Moslems, Christians and Jews lived together.
Many mosques, schools which were to ensure the scientific development of the Ottomans as well as libraries were built in the city in a very short time.
THE CONQUEST OF CONSTANTINOPLE
THE EXPANSION OF OTTOMAN
The borders of the Ottoman Empire were steadily expanding. Selim 1 (Yavuz) (1512-20) conquered Egypt and acquired the title of Caliphate after he had brought back the Islamic Holy Relics with him. Consequently, besides being the capital city of the Ottoman Empire, it also became the center of the Caliphate. Similarly, the maritime might of the Ottomans was also strengthened during Selim's sultanate.
During this period the city took on the appearance of a Turkish city with its palaces, mosques, hospitals and houses. Also its name was first changed from 'Constantintye to 'Istambol' and finally to 'Istanbul.'
During his 46 years in power, Sultan
Ahmed the Magnificerlt (1520-66) participated in 13 war campaigns, whereas the Mediterranean Sea literally became a Turkish lake. Ottoman territory had expanded rapidly following the capture of Rhodes and Belgrade. When Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent died in a war tent in Zigetvar. the borders of the Ottoman Empire encompassed the territory from the Adriatic Sea to Morocco, to Algeria,
Tunisia, Tripoli, Egypt the Arab Peninsula, Syria and Iran
and from there, into the Black Sea and over to Romania and
Hungary. Istanbul met the greatest architect of its history during the
period of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. Mimar Sinan's mosques,
schools and complexes are still the landmarks of the city. The
Stagnation Era began after Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. The son of
Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. Selim II and his successive emperors
Murad 111, Mehmed I, and Ahmed I were not able to halt this stagnation
whereas economic recession and revolts followed in quick succession.
Although Murad IV (1623-40) was known as a reformist who tried
everything to avoid this stagnation, his successors Deli Ibrahim, Mehmed
IV, Suleyman II and Ahmed II were not able to prevent the negative
course of events. The sultanate of Ahmed III (1703-30) is known as the
Tulip Age.' Ahmed III left the running of the state completely to Grand
Vizier Ibrahim Pasha while he led a life of ease and luxury in palaces
built for him and his well-loved tulip gardens. The most important event
of this age was the signing of a number of Capitulation Treaties as a
result of thewallowing economical crisis Ottomans found themselves in.
THE REFORMIST SULTANS
||Many changes were carried out which effected the social life in the name of improvement during the Reform Period, which started during the reign of Abdulhamid I (1774-89), Even the efforts to reform the army and to modernize social life by Selim II (1789-1808) and Mahmud II (1808-39)
could not prevent the Ottoman Empire from being labelled The Sick Man '. Mahmud ll's sons AbdOlmecid (1839-61) and Abdilaziz (1861-76) continued to push new reforms
whereas Abdiilmecid tried to stem further stagnation by proclaiming the 'Imperial Reform Decree' in 1839. The empire was transformed into a semi-parliamentary system in 1876 with the announcement of the First Constitutional Government. This period was followed by Abdulhamid ll's coercive method of government during which the parliament was abolished. This authoritative period lasted until declaration of the Second Constitutional Government in 1908 and Abdulhamid was dethroned in 1909.
The Friendship Agreement signed with Germany and the privileges given to the foreign creditor countries which the empire could not even repay the interest of debts accrued since the previous century could be considered as the most important events of Mehmed V (Resad)'s period (1909-18). The Ottoman Decline was accelerated by the Balkan Wars which began in 1912, followed by World War I. Despite the successful defence in
Canakkale, the Ottoman Empire was among those on the losing side of the Great War.
Before the period of the last Ottoman Emperor, Sultan Mehmed IV Vahdeddin (1918-22), the empire was disarmed by the Treaty of Montreux whereby the Sevres Treaty of 1920 saw the division of Anatolia, the only remaining land of the empire.
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