An examination of the ottoman and safavid empires the two great middle eastern empires in history

The Seljuks, however, were disorganized and declining. Osman I conquered most of Anatolia and subjugated most of the independent sultanates in Anatolia. His successors eventually controlled all of the territory leading up to the Byzantine Empire, whose capital was Constantinople.

An examination of the ottoman and safavid empires the two great middle eastern empires in history


Yet, nearly five hundred years ago to the day, on August 23,the plains outside of Chaldiran groaned under the weight of men and horses and thundered with the sound of cannon-fire and muskets. The Battle of Chaldiran is one of the most pivotal battles in the history of the Middle East.

Rather than being an obscure footnote in history, it was a battle of pivotal importance, with results that still reverberate in the modern Middle East. In the early 16th century, two empires were competing for eastern Turkey and the Fertile Crescent Iraq and greater Syria.

While its ruling class was Turkish, the majority of its subjects were still Christians from the Balkans. The other empire was a new creation of the era — the Safavid Empire. Starting a series of conquests from a small principality in Azerbaijan in northwestern Iran, Ismail impressively won his first battle in at the age of Byonly nine years later, he had conquered all of the Iranian Plateau and the city of Baghdad.

Click here to subscribe for full access. The then Ottoman Sultan Selim I decided to confront the Safavid threat directly by marching east, suppressing the Turkish tribes of eastern Turkey and arriving at Chaldiran, where the Safavids and Ottomans fought on August 23, The battle ended in a decisive Turkish victory, aided by their mastery of gunpowder technology.

Their victory cemented permanent Ottoman rule over eastern Turkey, most of Kurdistan expect a portion that remained with the Safavids and became mostly Shiaand Iraq. He never fought another battle and spent the next ten years of his life drinking.

He died in The Battle of Chaldiran had an enormous impact on shaping the modern Middle East, its boundaries, and its demography. The most important legacy of the Battle of Chaldiran is that it led to the creation of a relatively compact, Persian-oriented, Shia nation-state on the Iranian Plateau.

The defeat of the Safavids at Chaldiran prevented them from building a sprawling empire spanning much of the Middle East by denying them control over eastern Turkey and most of Iraq.

Many historians are of the view that it was a good thing that the Safavid Empire remained compact instead of sprawling over the Middle East because then it would have overextended itself, only to collapse. The relatively small size of the empire, as opposed to its larger neighbors, the Mughal and Ottoman Empires, enabled the bureaucratic consolidation of a region that has previously experienced several hundred years of political instability.

As a result, the state of Iran has a greater coherence to it than its neighbors do, many of whom were ruled indirectly by the Ottomans through tribal intermediaries. More important than the consolidation of a nation-state in Iran, the battle ensured the spread of Shia Islam within the Safavid Empire.

After the battle, the Safavids aggressively promoted Shia Islam within their territories in order to consolidate and separate their empire from its Sunni neighbors. Although this lead to the Safavid Empire being surrounded by a sea of Sunni Islam, historians also believe it ensured that the empire was not absorbed by the Sunni Ottomans.

To make sure that Shia Islam became irrevocably accepted by the population, Ismail made it mandatory for Shias to curse the first three Sunni Caliphs, offending Sunnis and leading to continuing antagonism between the Sunnis and Shias throughout the region.

Although many Iranians might regret the manner in which Iran became Shia, they accept their Shia identity with pride as a marker of their distinct identity. It is important to note that Ismail decided to impose Shia Islam on his territories partly due to religious reasons as well.

While it is widely known that Iran is Shia today, what is not as widely appreciated is that it was not so until the Safavid Empire came to power.

The majority of regions today that feature geographically concentrated heavily Shia populations today are those that were either part of or influenced by the Safavid Empire.

On the other hand, the Battle of Chaldiran led to the transformation of the Ottoman Empire and its dominance of most Arab lands. As the Ottomans secured their eastern flank by annexing Kurdistan and Iraq, they were able to turn west, conquering Egypt and the Levant in In just a few short years, the Ottomans acquired an Arab Muslim population that vastly outnumbered the ruling Turks and the Christians who had previously made up the majority of the empire.

The majority of Arabs thus lost their independence to the Ottomans as the direct or indirect consequence of Chaldiran. Additionally, the Ottoman Empire became more solidly Muslim, orthodox, and traditional as a result, decreasing its ability to absorb lessons from Europe.

An examination of the ottoman and safavid empires the two great middle eastern empires in history

Ottoman rule maintained Sunni Islam the Ottoman Sultan claimed to be the Caliph, after all over most of the Arab heartland but also led to the relative neglect of Arabs and the Arabic language. The Ottomans tended to rule the Arabs indirectly unlike their Turkish heartland, which was administered thoroughly.

This was perhaps a consequence of having such a large, sprawling empire. The legacy of this lack of state-building is evident in Arab countries to this day.

Today, as the th anniversary of this epochal battle approaches, we should reflect on its outcome and how it created the modern Middle East. When we consider the various tribal, ethnic and religious cleavages that make up the Middle East, as well as the relatively successful formation of the Turkish and Iranian states, we see the results of the Battle of Chaldiran.This seminar paper is an examination of how Ottoman studies has dealt with the so-called Seventeenth Century Crisis and the way that it seems to have irrevocably altered the Empire’s ability to compete with Europe.

An examination of the ottoman and safavid empires the two great middle eastern empires in history

The field of Ottoman studies itself. Gunpowder Empires's wiki: The Gunpowder Empires were the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal empires. Each of these three empires had considerable military success using the newly developed firearms, especially cannon and small arms, in the course of their empires, but u.

Review our Middle Eastern History Homework Library and see our full list of Middle Eastern History homework for purchase. Great Game, WW1, & The Turkish Revolution. $ History. Middle Eastern History. Europe. Empire. Ottoman. Great Game. Ataturk Revolution. Main Features and Contrasts Between Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal Empires ( The question is not easy to answer due to both the relatively long reigns of the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal empires.

The answer is split between the cultural and social achievements and failures of the various empires. This lesson focuses on the Ottoman empire of Turkey, the Safavid Empire of Iran, and the Mughal Empire of India and Pakistan.

It highlights the terms theocracy, ghazi, and God-ism. Introduction. The Ottoman Empire (c. –) ruled over most of the territories of what is now known as the Middle Ottomans were a Muslim dynasty (the house of Osman) that governed multireligious and multiethnic populations from the steppes of Russia to the Balkans and the Arabian Peninsula as well as Egypt, North Africa, the Levant, and Turkey from the s to

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