Map of
the Ottoman Empire

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Map of the Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire was an Islamic based power that lasted from 1299 to 1922 A.D., a time span of 623 years. The name for the Empire is derived from Osman I, leader of the Turks and founder of the Ottoman ruling dynasty.

At the height of its power in the 16th and 17th centuries the empire spanned three continents and controlled much of Western Asia, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and North Africa. In 1680 A.D., under Mehmed IV, the empire controlled roughly 2 million square miles (5.5 million square kilometers) of territory (3.5% of total world land area). The empire's population peaked at 39 million or 7% of the world's total population. In terms of modern world powers, the Ottoman Empire ranks within the top 15 in terms of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) size.

The Ottoman Empire was, in many respects, an Islamic successor to the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire (which started in 395 A.D. and ended when Constantinople fell). In fact, Mehmed II, who captured and made Constantinople the capital of the empire in 1453 A.D., assumed the title of Roman Emperor. The city of Constantinople was also known as New Rome.

For many years the empire flourished economically because of its control of the major overland trade routes between Europe and Asia.

In the 20th century, the total population of the Turkish Empire in 1910, including Egypt and other regions, was 36,323,539. The 1920 treaty of Sevres, signed by Ottoman delegates and the Allied powers at the end of World War I, stripped the empire of most of her possessions. The Ottomans lost Eastern Thrace and a sizeable territory around Smyrna. Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, and Turkish Arabia were likewise given up. The Dardanelles, Bosporus, the Sea of Marmora, and the adjoining coastal areas were placed under the control of an International Commission.

The Ottoman Empire officially ended at the close of the Turkish War of Independence in 1922 A.D. In its place, the Republic of Turkey was declared in 1923. The new Turkish government renamed the capital of the old empire, Constantinople, to Istanbul.

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