Compare and Contrast: Muslim Empires

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Between 1450 and 1750, three great Muslim empires arose—the Ottomans, the Safavids, and the Mughals. The Ottomans arose after the Seljuk Turkic kingdom of Rum in Eastern Anatolia collapsed, which occurred because of a Mongol invasion in 1243. The area fell into a chaotic period after that because the Mongols did not directly rule it. In search of riches, Turkic peoples, including the Ottomans who dominated the rest, flooded into the area. By the 1350s, the Ottomans were advancing from their Asia Minor strongholds. Under Mehmed I, they conquered a large part of the Balkans, and, in 1453, they captured Constantinople of the Byzantine Empire under Mehmed II, “The Conqueror,” thus establishing an empire from the Balkans that included most of the Arab world. Like the Ottomans, the Safavids arose from struggles of rival Turkish tribes. In the fourteenth century, there were decades of fierce struggles, until, finally, after three successive Safavid leaders died, a Sufi commander named Ismâ’il survived. He and his followers conquered the city of Tabriz in 1501, as well as most of Persia in the next decade. They then drove the Ozbegs, neighboring nomadic Turks, back to Central Asia and advanced to Iraq. Lastly, the Mughal Dynasty was founded by Babur, who descended from Turkic warriors. He first led an invasion of India in 1526 and conquered the Indus and Ganges plains. After Babur died of an illness, his son, Humayan, succeeded him and was attacked from enemies of all sides because of Babur’s death. He was expelled from India in 1540, but eventually restored Mughal rule by 1556. Humayan’s son, Akbar, would later succeed him and become the greatest ruler in Mughal history. The Ottomans, Safavids and Mughals constructed significant empires, but each adopted different ways of treating their conquered people and developed diverse methods for managing social, political, and economic systems. In order to promote the expansion of their empire, the Ottomans...
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