Ottoman Empire

Cade Ivy

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Social Structure Ananlyzation

The Ottoman Empire regarded social structure highly, as it was a complex system of organizing the people within. The hierarchy of most European societies was fairly straightforward, from kings and nobles, through merchants and commoners, down to peasants and slaves. The Ottoman social structure was different, as it incorporated religion into the mix, with Islam being highest regarded. In addition, the hierarchy is mostly set with in the Islamic law, as the government mostly adheres to these concepts giving way for subjects of the next largest religion in the Empire, the Orthodox Christians. The social structure, mostly being Muslim, instituted a high level of Islamic politics, and as a large Muslim Empire encompassing much of North Africa and some of the Middle East, it had to protect lands holy to the Muslim religion. With Islam being so important to the state, Ottomans decides to empower the sultan and place him as the leader of the empire, creating a religious bureaucracy with religion being of utmost importance. Even though the empire was mostly Muslim, occasionally Muslim people formed a minority. Even though the Ottomans sounded strictly Muslim, Muslim customs were never forced upon people of other religions by the government or the people.
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Politics & Relation to Islam

The government of the Ottoman Empire strictly maintained Muslim rule as the sultan-caliph was given command of the empire. This is the case due to the fact that the empire started off with the religion, and spread it with conquest. Islamic law mandated that a caliph ruled with Islamic law, and an entire judicial system set in place to interpret the laws. The Islamic court system in the empire also had its biases, as a non-Muslim couldn't testify against a Muslim, and any cases of Muslim(s) vs non-Muslim(s) had to be held in a Muslim court. In addition, non-Muslims couldn't hold office or command any part of the military, and those who did, only did so for a short while until the next generation replaced them. Worse, a tax on non-Muslim men known as the Jizya taxed them just for being not Muslim, and sometimes dress restrictions reminded Christians and Jews of their place in the empire.
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Interactions with Surrounding Countries

The Army of the Ottoman started small as a band of Turkish men from Anatolia. They were a small army consisting of horseback riders equipped with spears and bows. This army grew larger as it started to conquer larger amounts of land, spreading Islam, culture, and ideas. The armies carried mercenaries with them, even some from other religions. In spite of this, they were still controlled by their army counterparts as they conquered towns. The empire also heavily relied on its creation of a slave military infantry which quickly took Byzantine land from the fading empire. This army, as powerful as it was, is considered to be the first disciplined army in Europe, and it tried to take over much of the surrounding land, including almost all of the Middle East. Eventually though, the power of the Ottomans in Europe started to fade as they were defeated over and over by European armies. This lead to the radical alteration of the empire during its fight to stay alive. Due to constant military pressure from the Russians, and the Empire fell like the Russian monarchies next to them after joining sides with Germany in World War I.
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Ottoman Culture

Ottoman Culture was very different from cultures of similar empires of the time. Empires such as the Spanish Empire forced Catholicism upon its subjects in an attempt to convert them and get rid of the native culture. The Ottomans did no such thing, as the most they did was to impose a tax on the male leader of every non-Muslim household. Regardless, Islam wasn't forced at anybody, and other religions were openly practiced without persecution. This overall had a much better outcome on the empire than the Spanish and British Empires because religious freedom left fewer reasons for a colony to want to become independent. In addition, the Ottomans weren't very oppressive and the culture of the Empire was much more rich and full because of it.
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Economics in the Ottoman Empire

Unlike other aspects of the Empire, Ottoman economics were controlled more by logical decisions based on need rather than religious beliefs or spiritual needs. The Ottomans only exported under strict regulations, and almost never exported materials that their government might need. All transactions were taxed, and the Empire was the center of a trading hub that connected East and West. Every profession involving business needed a license as all of trade and the economy was strictly regulated by the government, and much more of a command economy was put in place.