Decline of the Ottoman Empire

Topics: Ottoman Empire, International trade, Ottoman Dynasty Pages: 3 (1128 words) Published: November 25, 2012
Decline of the Ottoman Empire
The history of the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century is one of increasing internal weakness and deterioration. Once a super power, the Ottoman Empire fell because of a combination of internal degeneration and external pressures. Loss of economic vitality resulted as Europe went to Africa for trade and relied on the Americas rather than the Ottoman middleman. Industrialized Europe soon surpassed outdated Ottoman traditions. Poor leadership gave way to loss of centralized control, and ultimately, its collapse. Ottoman decline occurred due to economic difficulties, military issues, and demise of political structure (corruption in government).

One of the main causes of the decline of the Ottoman Empire was the decline in losses due to trade, along with many stifling economic issues. At one point, the Ottoman Empire was the center of trade, due to its location. As technology advanced, and explorers discovered new parts of the world, the Ottoman Empire became less of an influence in trade. This trend started as early as the 1580s, when Omer Talib, an Ottoman geographer, warned the Sultan of the threat. He said, “Now the Europeans have learnt to know the whole world; they send their ships everywhere and seize important ports. Formerly the goods….used to come to Suez and were distributed by Muslims to the entire world. But now these goods are carried on Portuguese, Dutch, and English ships…the Ottomans must seize the shores of Yemen and the passing trade…otherwise Europeans will Rule” (Bernard Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey, page 28). Exactly as predicted, the world trade, which used to flow through the Ottoman Empire, decreased sharply in the 17th Century. The Europeans traded directly with Asia leaving the Ottomans in the middle. The Dutch and British completely closed the old international trade routes through the Middle East.

The lack of trade was not the only economic issue that brought the decline of the Ottoman...
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