Ottoman Empire Vs. Mughal Empire
The Ottoman and Mughal empires were two of the most successful empires to ever come together. However, in their dominance there was many similarities as well as differences. Both went through their share of struggle. Whether through political, religious, or cultural struggle the two empires had to rely on their emperors for guidance and rule.
The Ottomans were amid the Turkic-speaking nomadic people who had spread westward from Central Asia through out the ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries. The first to appear were the Seljuk Turks. In the late thirteenth century, a new group of Turks began to emerge in the northwestern corner of Anatolian peninsula, under the leadership of the tribal leader Osman. These Turks were peaceful and engaged in pastoral pursuits. However, with the decline of the Seljuk Empire in the early fourteenth century, the Osman Turks began to expand and founded the Osmanli dynasty. The Osmanlis later became known as the Ottomans.
Later expanding westward the Ottoman Empire set up their first European base at Gallipoli. They expanded gradually into the Balkans and allied with Serbia and Bulgar forces against the Byzantines. Okhar gradually established permanent settlements in the area. Throughout the area Turkish provincial governors, called beys, collected taxes from the local Slavic peasants after driving out the previous landlords. This later became known as the Bey system. Which would be the foundation of the Ottoman administration for centuries. In this system the Ottoman leader began to claim the title of Sultan or supreme power over his domain. “The Ottoman political system was the result of the evolution of tribal institutions into a sedentary empire” (Duiker, Spielvogel. 455). At the apex of this system was the Sultan, who was the authority in both a political and military sense. Though, both administrative and military power was centralized under the bey.
Okhar’s son Murad succeeded him in 1389. Murad began to build of a strong military administration based on the recruitment of Christians into an elite guard. These warriors were called Janissaries. Some of these Janissaries were even able to become senior members of the bureaucracy. They were then assigned land in fief by the sultan and were responsible for collecting taxes and supplying armies to the empire. The land was farmed out to the local cavalry elite called the Sipahis. Who were equivalent to the beys, this system later became known as the Devshirme system. Janissaries were also a big advantage because they were directly subordinated to the sultanate; because of this they owed loyalty to the person of the sultan. Both Okhar’s and Murad’s system were vital aspects of the Ottoman’s expansion. The most prevalent was in 1451 when Mehmet II ordered the construction of a major fortress on the Bosporus. This move put the Turks in a position to strangle the Byzantine Empire. With the Byzantines hand-cuffed, Mehmet II made his move. He attacked Constantinople in 1453 where he defeated the empire and ignited the expansion of what would be known as one of the most dominant empires of all time. Constantinople later was renamed to Istanbul, as it became the center of the art, education, and religion for the Ottoman Empire. Mehmet II did not only tear down the Byzantine Empire, but he also built the Topkapi Palace, which was the heart of administration and religion.
The Ottoman Empire continued their expansion with Mehmet’s successor Selim I in 1512. Selim I defeated the Mamlucks of Egypt after they failed to support the Ottomans in there battle against the Safavids. Which gave him control of several holy cities of Islam, including Jerusalem, Mecca, and Medina, Selim declared himself the new Caliph, or the successor of Muhammad in the Muslim religion. The Caliph is the highest religious authority and the defender of the religion. Also, the...
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