The Ottoman Empire

Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire was a state with many peoples. It existed from the 13th century until 1923 and included not only present-day Turkey, but also Arabia, northern Africa and southeastern Europe, which were "Ottoman" for a long time. The empire was named after a Turkish prince, Osman, who ruled in Anatolia around 1300.

The Turks originally came from central Asia. Since the 11th century, they had migrated to the area of present-day Turkey and founded a large empire there. The Turkish rulers were called Sultan, therefore their empire was also called Sultanate.

Under Osman and his successors they conquered more and more lands around the eastern Mediterranean and in 1453 Constantinople, today's Istanbul. The city was named after the Roman Emperor Constantine and had also once been the capital of the Roman Empire, and later the capital of the Byzantine Empire. In the Middle Ages, it was the most important city of Orthodox Christianity. Hagia Sophia was the largest church in the world at that time. Therefore, it was a disaster for many Europeans that the Ottomans conquered this city.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, other parts of southeastern Europe were conquered. These included Greece, the Balkans, and large parts of Romania and Hungary. Even the Austrian capital, Vienna, was almost conquered at one point. Because the Ottomans also brought Islam with them to Europe, many Muslims still live in these countries today. Since then, parts of Greece and Bulgaria have also been home to people who speak Turkish.

It was not until the 19th century that the influence of the Ottomans in Europe slowly declined. Countries like Greece and Serbia became free again. After the First World War, the Ottoman Empire was divided up completely. In Turkey, a party came to power that no longer wanted a sultan. Instead, it proclaimed a republic in 1923. Its leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk became the first president.

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