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Rise of the Ottomans, Defeat and Restoration

Mamluk Empire, Suleiman, Selim, Euphrates, Ottoman Empire

This conquest, however, greatly weakened the basic supports of the Ottoman state. The Muslim elements and the Turkish notables, who had helped the Ottomans achieve their victories in Europe, opposed this subjugation of Turks and Muslims. They refused to participate in the campaign into Anatolia, which as a consequence was carried out largely by Christians in Bayazid’s service. At the same time, the emergence of the Ottomans as a major power in Anatolia threatened the rear flanks of Tamerlane, the Turkic conqueror who had recently taken over much of Iran and Central Asia. Tamerlane briefly invaded Anatolia in 1402, defeating and capturing Bayazid, who died a prisoner the following year.

Muhammad I, Bayazid’s youngest son, restored the Ottoman Empire by defeating and killing his brothers, one after another, and, from 1402 to 1413, by fighting off Christian and Turkmen vassals in Europe and Anatolia. His son, Murad II, reasserted Ottoman dominion in Europe as far as the Danube by defeating the various Christian princes of Serbia and Bulgaria and replacing them with direct Ottoman administration. This policy was continued during the reign of Muhammad II, who defeated the last remaining Christian princes south of the Danube. His conquests culminated in the capture of Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) in 1453 and the subjugation of Anatolia as far as the Euphrates. Bayazid II ended the policy of conquests in order to consolidate the lands that had been occupied during previous reigns. Unlike him, Selim I used the territorial and administrative base of power left to him to defeat and destroy the Mamluk Empire in 1517 and to conquer Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Arabia, which he achieved in a single campaign, thus incorporating into the Ottoman Empire the heartland of the old Islamic caliphates. Suleiman I the Magnificent completed the Ottoman expansion by moving across the Danube to conquer Hungary and besiege Vienna in 1529. In the east he conquered the remainder of Anatolia and the old Abbasid and Seljuk center in Iraq.

Article key phrases:

Mamluk Empire, Suleiman, Selim, Euphrates, Ottoman Empire, Murad, Danube, heartland, conquest, Syria, major power, Christians, prisoner, lands, Vienna, Ottomans, Muslims, Central Asia, Palestine, brothers, Bulgaria, consequence, Iran, Iraq, emergence, Hungary, Arabia, Egypt, victories, campaign, east, Europe, time, order


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