The Ottoman Empire: 1350 to 1918
This greatest of the Muslim states in terms of duration was founded in the late 13th century by the Ottoman Turks. It lasted until its dissolution after WW I in 1918. Its early phase challenged the Byzantine Empire, Bulgaria, and Serbia. In 1389, much of the Balkan Peninsula came under Ottoman rule. The Ottomans conquered Constantinople in 1453, bringing to an end the 1100-year-rule of the Byzantine Empire/ Next the Ottomans gained control of Mamluk Egypt in 1517, followed by Algiers and most of present-day Hungary by 1529, all of Persia in 1638, and most of the region between the Black and Caspian Seas by the 1650s. These so-called Ottoman wars of conquest fixed in the imagination of the Europeans the image of the Muslim Turks as ferocious and religiously inspired warriors. Beginning in the 1780s, the Ottoman Empire began to weaken, as European powers gained strength and began to vie with each other for access to resources and markets in the Middle East. Most of the northern coast of the Black Sea had slipped away by 1812. The Ottoman Empire lost Greece, Egypt, and Serbia to European-inspired independence movements over the next 60 years. By 1900, Turkey was known as the “Sick Man of Europe,” And by 1912, it had lost nearly all of its European territories. Siding with Germany and the losing Central Powers in World War I doomed the Empire. With the signing of the armistice ending WWI, the Ottoman Empire was dismantled by the Allied Powers, paving the way for the creation of new individual states in the modern Middle East.