Ottoman Empire 1450-1750

Created by: Jalisa Griggs


The Ottoman Empire consisted of four social classes. Men of the pen: highly educated; scientists, lawyers, judges and doctors. Men of the sword: military personnel. Men of negotiation: merchants, artisans and tax collectors. Men of husbandry: farmers and herders.In the Ottoman Empire your place in hierarchy was based on your skills (merit), although it did help to know people of higher power. If you were the Sultan, your place in the hierarchy was based on birth. Slavery also played a part in determining your social class. Some slaves were raised to become government officials, others were bought, captured, or born into slavery. Citizens of the Ottoman Empire had the right to practice their own religion freely as long as you paid taxes and obeyed the Ottoman law.


From the birth of the Ottoman state under Osman Gazi through its period of unrivaled power in the mid-1500s, the center of the Ottoman Empire was always the sultan. The Ottoman Empire was a dynastic one, so when a sultan died, his son would become the new sultan. These early sultans all took great pride in their jobs and had a central role in the direction of the empire. Sultans oversaw governmental meetings, hired and fired officials, and personally led military campaigns to the edges of the empire. With the rise of incompetent officials in the central Ottoman government, a process of decentralization began. Local governments gained more autonomy and showed less respect for the government in Istanbul. On a practical level, this meant less tax revenue sent to the central government, which meant a weaker government and military in general. All this occurring during the rise of the empires of Europe such as England, France, Russia, and Austria.

I-Interaction with the environment

In Constantinople, capital of the Ottoman Empire, the religious leader Sheikh-ul-Islam declares an Islamic holy war on behalf of the Ottoman government, urging his Muslim followers to take up arms against Britain, France, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro in World War I. By the time the Great War broke out, the Ottoman Empire was faltering, having lost much of its once considerable territory in Europe with its defeat in the First Balkan War two years earlier. Seeking to ally themselves with one of the great European powers to help safeguard them against future loss, the ambitious Ottoman leaders–members of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), known collectively as the Young Turks–responded favorably to overtures made by Germany in August. Though Germany and Turkey secretly concluded a military alliance on August 2, the Turks did not officially take part in World War I until several months later. On October 29, the Ottoman navy–including two German ships, Goeben and Breslau, which famously eluded the British navy in the first week of the war to reach Constantinople–attacked Russian ports in the Black Sea, marking the beginning of Turkey’s participation in the war.


Cultural life, Turkish ideology and the way of life developed in the Asian Turkish societies. They reached a high and advanced level. Values were created and maintained throughout the whole culture and the politics, economics and military strength was established on cultural values. The reason for the states that were formed was that they could provide protection and development. Cultural environment was brought forth. In the geographical area in which we live there was a closeness and partnership in languages, beliefs and a shared history. In a cross view of the societies we can see that they believed in one god and thought that he is the owner of creation. The creator of nature and humanity had great power and this power was both the founder and organizer of humanity and nature.


Going hand-in-hand with the political decline of the empire was its economic decline. Traditionally, one of the major sources of income of the Ottoman Empire was gold and silver which was gained in war. As the empire reached its maximum size in the mid-1500s, that source of income dried up. Because of the empire’s large size, foreign nations were further and further away from the capital, making campaigns against those nations very expensive. So expensive, in fact, that it didn’t make economic sense to keep expanding.Another economic aspect that affected the empire staring in the 1600s was inflation. The huge influx of silver coming from America drastically devalued the Ottoman currency according to the economic laws of supply and demand.