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Decline of Ottoma Empire

  • Date Submitted: 01/24/2014 04:40 AM
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The decline of the Ottoman Empire (1565-1918)
In the late 1500's, the Ottoman Empire started going into decline as a result of both internal and external factors.   Internally, the Ottomans suffered from three major problems.   First of all, after Suleiman's death, the sultans were less capable and energetic, being raised and spending their time increasingly at court with all its harem intrigues.   Without the sultan's strong hand at the helm, corruption became a major problem.   Second, the Janissaries became a virtual hereditary caste, demanding increasingly more pay while they also grew soft and lazy.   Finally, the size of the empire created problems.   The sultan was expected to lead the army, setting out with it each spring from the capital.   This meant that as the frontiers expanded, it took the army longer to reach the enemy, thus shortening the campaign season to the point where it was very hard to conquer new lands.   This especially hurt the Turks at the siege of Vienna in 1529.   They did not reach the city until September, and winter set in early with disastrous results for the troops not used to European winters.   Because of these factors, the Turks made few new conquests after 1565 and, as a result, gained no significant new revenues and plunder.
Two external economic factors also hurt the Ottomans, both of them stemming from the Age of Exploration then taking place.   For one thing, the Portuguese circumnavigation around Africa to India had opened a new spice route to Asia.   Therefore, the Turks lost their monopoly on the spice trade going to Europe, which cost them a good deal of much needed money.   The other problem came from the Spanish Empire in the Americas that was bringing a huge influx of gold and silver to Europe.   This triggered rampant inflation during the 1500’s, which worked its way eastward into the Ottoman Empire.   This inflation, combined with the other factors hurting the empire's revenues, led to serious economic decline.
That economic...

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