Ottoman Empire Map

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Ottoman Empire Map

The Ottoman Empire was an Islamic based dominion that lasted from 1299 to 1922 A.D., a time span of 623 years. The name for this world power is derived from Osman I, founder of the ruling dynasty, who lived from 1258 to 1326. As leader of the Turks, he conquered a part of Asia that belonged to the Greeks and thus began one of the longest ruling powers in human history.

At the height of Ottoman power in the 16th and 17th centuries, it controlled land that spanned three continents and dominanted much of Western Asia, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and North Africa. In 1680 A.D., under Mehmed IV, it controlled roughly 2 million square miles (5.5 million square kilometers) of territory (3.5% of total world land area). Its 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.

Ottoman rule 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 (also known at the time as the New Rome) the capital of sprawling power in 1453 A.D., assumed the title of Roman Emperor. For most of its history, however, the territory controlled by the Turks was governed by a central ruler called a Sultan (or Khalif).

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For many years, the Turkish rule 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 dominion 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 Turks of most of their possessions. They 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 old capital, Constantinople, to Istanbul.

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