Constantinople fell in the year 1453 to the Ottoman Turks after ten centuries of victories, wars, and defeats. It marked the end of the Byzantine Empire. The fall of Constantinople shocked the entire Christendom. Moreover, the fall of Constantinople was a historical event in human history and civilization because it marked the end of the European Middle Ages. Therefore, the Ottoman Empire spread throughout most of the European countries as well as Asian countries (Tolan et al., 2016). Since Muslim leaders led the Ottoman Empire, Islam managed to gain a foothold in both Europe together with Asia. Therefore, Christianity experienced a remarkable decline following the fall of Constantinople in both Asia and Europe (Kastritsis, 2017).
Moreover, the world experienced excellent political stability, wealth creation, and industrial development during the Ottoman reign. Apart from the expansion of Islamic territories, the fall of Constantinople also improved trade between European countries and Asia. It is imperative to note that before the fall of Constantinople, trade between Europe and Asia was restricted. However, the Ottoman reign liberated the trade between Europe and Asia. Therefore, countries like Spain and Portugal began to look for alternative means of obtaining Asian goods (Tolan et al., 2016).
Reasons Behind the Ottoman Success in Their Conquest of Eastern Europe
After toppling Constantinople, Ottoman Empire spread across Europe very fast. It first conquered Western Europe then spread to Eastern Europe. Besides, the Ottoman conquest to Eastern Europe extended to an extended period. The following factors facilitated the rapid spread of the Ottoman Empire to Eastern Europe (Philipp, 2016). The first factor is the Ottoman's sultans forming allies with the local rulers as a means of paving the way for the conquests. After creating the partners, the Ottomans would incorporate the allied regions into their territories and federation. Areas that were organized through this method include Moldavia, Ragusa, and Wallachia. The second factor that Ottoman used to expand to Eastern Europe is the political fragmentation (Kastritsis, 2017).
Ottoman Sultans exercised political fragmentations that helped them to develop robust political systems with functional institutions that enable them to spread to the Eastern side of Europe. Territories that formed from the Ottoman's political fragmentation were Balkan Peninsula and Anatolia. The third factor that resulted in the rapid expansion of the Ottoman Empire to Eastern Europe is their trade partnership with Asia. Ottoman Empire had access to various products from Asia that was initially missing. Such products included spices, slaves, sugar, and raw materials. Therefore, since Ottoman was controlling trading routes to Asia, other territories, mainly from Eastern Europe, had no option but to join Ottoman territories (Anscombe, 2014).
The fourth factor behind the successful expansion of the Ottoman to Eastern Europe was the eventual fall of the Constantinople Empire. Christianity and economic dominance characterized Constantinople Empire. The wealth belonged to the kingdom and kingdoms had little chance of developing. Constantinople controlled most of the trade routes especially the Asian trade routes. However, after the fall of the Constantinople, the rise of the Ottoman Empire made European countries to acquire more wealth by liberalizing various avenues such as trade routes. Therefore, most of the Eastern European countries found it easy to collaborate and formally with the Ottoman Empire (Philipp, 2016).
How the Ottoman Conquest Affected Western Europe
The conquests of Ottoman made radical changes in Western Europe. It changed Western Europe economically, politically, religiously, and architecturally. Religiously, the Ottoman's conquest changed the religious landscape of Western Europe. Initially, Christianity dominated Western Europe. However, after the fall of Constantinople Christendom suffered a great deal. Ottomans exercised Islamic religions that made Islam dominate Western Europe. The Ottoman's conquest also affected Western Europe politically. Ottoman's political system was well organized with the proper institution and well-organized leaders. Therefore, Western Europe adopted this well organized political system with appropriate coordinated leaders. Economically, Ottoman's conquest promoted trade among western European countries (Kastritsis, 2017).
Ottoman Empire established alternative trade routes to the Asian countries that boosted trade. Moreover, Ottoman reign was associated with different forms of scientific innovations that promoted industrial revolution. Several industries were established in Western Europe during the Ottoman reign. The established trade Asian routes brought in raw materials for their industries as well as cheap labor inform of slaves (Philipp, 2016). Therefore, Western Europe was able to produce products such as sugar, spices, vegetable oils, wheat, coffee, and butter. Architecturally, Ottoman made Western Europe to adopt a construction of houses that resembled mosques. Ottoman intended to instill the Islamic religion to most of the European countries. Therefore, they advocated for the establishment of an Islamic way of life including architectural art (Tolan et al., 2016).
Life under Ottoman Turks
Ottoman made Europeans adopt Islam way of life. The Europeans exercised Islamic culture and deviated from the Christian way of life. People started marrying more wives and embraced lavished life just like the Sultans. Therefore, Islam was one of the critical principles of Ottoman society. All forms of life such as cultural, political, together with the legal structures were according to the sheriat. The Turks were considered as Sunni Muslims as opposed to the Shi'i in Muslim societies. Sultans were the agents of God on earth. Besides, the state served three purposes. The first purpose was the preservation and expansion of Islam (Kastritsis, 2017).
The second purpose of the state was to expand and defend Islam rule, possessions, and power on earth. They argued that sultan being the agent of God on earth; they should live wealthily, with many influences, and properties. It explains the vibrant life that characterized sultans. The third purpose is upholding both security and justice in society. The Turks regarded sultans as the shepherds, and they trusted sultans to provide not only justice but also safety. Therefore, the Turks were the flock and had to trust the sultans in virtually all their life activities. Thus, the Ottoman government dispensed justice and security to the Turks. The government generated revenues through taxation that were used to create wealth and sustain their military (Kastritsis, 2017).
The rise of the Ottoman Empire had a significant impact on the history of the globe. It influenced Europe as a whole in several aspects such as political, socially, economically, as well as religiously. Religiously, it popularizes Islamic religion to European countries. Financially, it promoted the industrial revolution to Europe, which helped to develop Europe. On the same note, the conquest of Ottoman also helped to improve trade between European countries and Asia. Therefore, trading items were able to move in and out of Europe and Asian countries. Moreover, politically, Europe began to embrace segmented political systems that helped to establish cities and town across Europe.
Anscombe, F. F. (2014). State, Faith, Nation, and the Ottoman Empire. State, Faith, and Nation in Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Lands, 2(2), 21-32. doi:10.1017/cbo9781107323926.004
Kastritsis, D. (2017). Conquest and Political Legitimation in the Early Ottoman Empire. Byzantines, Latins, and Turks in the Eastern Mediterranean World after 1150, 1(2), 221-245. doi:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199641888.003.0008
Philipp, T. (2016). The Economic History of Ottoman Rule in Bilad al-Sham The Economic Impact of the Ottoman Conquest on Bilad al-Sham. Syria and Bilad al-Sham under Ottoman Rule, 1(2), 99-114. doi:10.1163/9789004191044_009
Tolan, J., Veinstein, G., & Laurens, H. (2012). The Ottoman Conquest in Europe. Europe and the Islamic World, 3(1), 49-57. doi:10.23943/princeton/9780691147055.003.0007
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