Ottoman, Safavid, Mughal Empires

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The Gunpowder Empires:
Ottoman, Safavid, Mughal
Ottoman Origins
• One of many Muslim warrior groups on East frontier of Byzantine Empire
• Conquered much of western Anatolia & Balkan Peninsula
• Most long lived of post-Mongol empires
Ottoman: Turning Point
• 1453, broke through massive walls & captured Constantinople
• Renamed Istanbul
• Gave Turks control of city that symbolized Christian teachings &
connection to ancient Rome
• Strategic location for long-distance trade & military deployments
Ottomans: 1516-1517
• Selim took title of caliph,
defender of faith
• extended from Black Sea to Red
Sea to Strait of Gibraltar
• little impact on N. Africa
• Pashas, appointed government
officials, collected taxes and
maintained law & order
reported to sultan in
Constantinople
Ottoman Expansion
• Soldiers and sailors continued to push borders outward
• Sultans established administrative rule that compared favorably with
regimes elsewhere
• Distinctive use of different type of slavery
• Based on religion, not skin color
• Called Devshirme
Ottoman: Suleiman I
• 1520
• expanded Ottoman rule into
Europe and West Med. Sea
• ruled for 46 years
• great military commander,
known for legislation as well
• codified Ottoman law-kept
Islamic faith
• Tolerance for Christians of
the Empire
• addressed taxes
• built more schools
Ottomans
• Suleiman married harem
girl from Poland named
Roxelana-had 5 children
with her
• executed his eldest son,
Mustafa, because
Roxelana said he was
planning to kill Suleiman
and take power – her son
Selim took power when
Suleiman died in 1566
Ottomans
• success largely based on
mastery of firearm
technology
• Sultans head of empire
• supreme political &
military authority
• Power always transferred
to single authority
• position of sultan was
hereditary – son always
succeeded father
Ottomans
• Since time of Mehmet II,
sultans ruled from the
Topkaki Palace in Istanbul
• administrative
headquarters & chief
residence of sultan
• private domain of sultan
called “harem,” or “sacred
place”
• Sultans often chose 4
wives as favorites
• When son became sultan,
his mother became queen
mother - acted as a major
adviser to throne
Ottoman Centralized Power
• Chief advisor was “Grand
Vizier”
• Led meetings of imperial
council - met 4 days a
week
• Sultan sat behind screenmade wishes known to
GV
• Empire divided into
districts-ruled by officials
who were helped by
bureaucrats trained at
palace schools
• Senior officials given land
- collected taxes &
supplied armies
Ottomans
• Sunni
• Sultans claimed title of caliph
• responsible for guiding &
keeping Islamic law
• In practice, they gave their
religious duties to the
“ulema”- a group of religious
advisors
• Ulema were responsible for
legal system & schools for
educating Muslims
Ottomans
• Tolerant of non-Muslims
• Non-Muslims paid tax, but
allowed to practice their
religion & could convert to
Islam
• Most people in European
areas remained Christian
• In some areas, large
numbers converted to
Islam
Ottomans & Portuguese Threat
• In early 16th century, merchants form south India & Sumatra requested
help from Ottomans
• Ottomans responded vigorously to threat close to their territory
• did not see growing threat of world wide naval powers like Portuguese
• Never formulated a consistent aggressive policy in Indian Ocean to
counter growing European dominance• Trapped in land based paradigm when world was shifting to naval power
Ottoman: Devshrime (Child Levy)
• Christian boys taken by force
from families
• Placed w/Turks
• Converted to Islam
• Trained for service in one of
four royal institutions
– Palace
– Scribes
– Religious
– Military
Ottoman Institutions: Janissary Corps
• By 1520’s, military balanced
between cavalry archers and
Janissaries-Christian prisoners
forced to serve as military slaves
• Standing army-lived in barracks
and trained all year
• Willing to fight on foot with guns
Ottoman Military
• Muslim states relied on slave
soldiers for long time
• Conquest of Christian lands
provided new military source
• Converted to Islam
• Provided flexibility-willing to
fight on foot with guns
• Ottoman were horse culture-guns
too heavy and awkward on
horseback
Ottoman Navy
• Manned by Greek, Turkish, Algerian, Tunisian sailors with N. African
admirals
• Turning Point: Lost battle of Lepanto against Venice, Spain, Papal
States in 1571-dispelled idea of Ottoman invincibility
• Despite loss, their resources were so extensive that within a year,
replaced all galleys that were sunk
Ottoman Society:
• Cosmopolitan, sophisticated
• Shari’a Law
• Sultan
– provided justice
The Askeri
– Professionals/Military Elites provided
security
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The Raya
Professionals
Merchants-exempt from taxes
Tradesmen
Guild Members
Peasants
Non-Muslims-local customs and
religious leaders provided
structure and guidance
Ottoman: Crisis and Revolt
1585-1650
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Cannon & lighter-weight firearms gained importance
Size/cost of Janissary grew
Role of traditional cavalry diminished
Sultan reduced number of landholding cavalrymen
Revenue that used to go to their expenses, went into
imperial treasury
• Inflation from cheap silver from New World bankrupted
many landholders who were restricted to fixed amount of
taxes
• Land returned to the state
• Displaced cavalrymen, armed and unhappy, became a
restive element
Ottoman Crisis and Revolt
• Revolts between 1590-1610
• Marauders/Bandits
• Former landholding cavalrymen,
short-term soldiers
• Overburdened peasants
• Impoverished students
• Anatolia suffered the worst
• Government inability to stop
spread of guns
Ottoman Janissary Privilege
• Janissaries forced changes that
helped the state in short run:
• Could support themselves
• Hereditary
• Forced recruitment abolished
• Total number of Janissaries
increased, effectiveness as
military force decreased
Ottoman Economic Changes: Tax Farming
• Sultans became more isolated
• Grand Viziers had real power
• Tax farmers paid specific taxes
in advance in return for
collecting a greater amount
from taxpayers
• Rural administration disrupted
• Tax farmers less likely to live
on land
• State had greater
administrative burden to
maintain order
• Relied on provincial governors
& on wealthy who purchased
lifelong tax collection rights
Ottoman Growing Weakness
• Demographic changes, Ottoman
inability to control trade, growing
dominance of European traders
in Indian Ocean turned Izmir into
multicultural entrepot
• Agricultural economy of lands
most accessible to Europe
became enmeshed in growing
European commercial networks
• Ottoman security weakened
Ottoman Weakness
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Military power decline
Janissaries sometime hired replacements
Sultans relied on poorly trained seasonal recruits
2nd Seige of Vienna failed in 1683
Weakness obvious to Austrians and Russians
Safavid empire collapsed in 1722
Ottoman Weakness
• began w/ Selim II about
1699
• training of officials
declined
• senior positions given to
sons/daughters of elite,
based less on merit
• elite only interested in
own fortunes, so local
government grew more
corrupt and taxes rose
• Wars depleted imperial
treasury
Ottoman Weakness
• Declining trade w/East as Safavid
instability cut into Silk production
• Taxes on coffee were higher to
Muslim merchants 15% vs 3%
• Europe dominated sea trade but
did not gain control of Ottoman
territory
Ottoman Weakness: The Tulip Period
• Very few able to perceive
downward spiral of
Ottoman power & reasons
for it
• Ironically, elites became
fascinated with European
styles & attitudes
• “Tulip Bulb” craze=
growing detachment/
disengagement from real
issues
Weakness: Patrona Halil Rebellion
• 1730, a revolt by Janissary with
religious overtones forced the
abdication of Sultan Ahmed II
• Halil took control but was
executed
• Confirmed that central
government weak
• Local powers gained power
Safavid Empire: 1501-1722
Safavid Origins
• Safavid Dynasty started w/ Shah
Ismail
• descendant of Safi al-Din-leader
of Turkish ethnic groups in
Azerbaijan near Caspian Sea
• Under Ismail, Safavid took control
of much of Iran & Iraq
• Relied on cavalry paid through
land grants
• Multi-lingual
• Oriented inward-not towards the
sea
Safavids
• Ismail called himself “shah,” or
king, of new Persian state
• Ismail was Shiite
• Theocracy
• Created distinct Shi’ite identity
• sent preachers to different areas
to convert members of Ottoman
Empire
• led to massacre of Sunni Muslims
when he took Baghdad
• Ismail lost at Tabriz to Suleiman
over religious differences
Safavid: Shah Abbas, 1588-1629
• Restless, decisive, ruthless,
intelligent, disciplined
• brought Safavids to highest
point of glory
• Standardized Shiite beliefsbrought into line with Shari’a
law
• usurped throne from father &
imprisoned him
• later killed man who helped
him gain throne
• With European allies, attacked
Ottoman Turks to regain lost
lands
Safavid: Shah Abbas I
• Enlarged Iranian territory
• Stabilizing force after period of
civil war and foreign invasions
• Established global trade
contacts between Asia and
Europe
• Built Isfahan
• Donated generously
• Employed calligraphers,
painters, bookbinders, designers
for inscriptions on buildings
• Created a visual style that would
be associated with his reign
• Laid foundation for Modern Iran
Safavid Empire: Shah Abbas I
• When he took power,
Ottomans occupied West Iran,
the Caucasus, and Iraq
• Uzbeks controlled Khurasanincluding holy shrine of Imam
Riza at Mashad
• Regained territory with slave
army of ghulams, Christian
slaves who had converted
• Seized Hormuz from
Portuguese
• Defeated Ottomans, regained
Baghdad-allowed access to
holy Shi’ite sites
• Controlled trade in Persian
Gulf
Safavids: Shad Abbas and Sufism
• Mystical strain of Islam
found in both Sunni and
Shi’a sects
• Also known as dervishes
• Achieve oneness w/ god
though prayer, rituals,
visions- retreat from
material world
• Shah Abbas was Sufi &
tolerant but would repress
unorthodox Sufi beliefs or
practices or if his authority
was threatened
Safavids
• Safavid Empire went from
Azerbaijan on Caspian Sea east
to India; along the Persian Gulf
and Arabian Sea north to the
southern border of Russia
• When Shah Abbas died,
religious orthodoxy increased
• Women forced to give up
freedom for life of seclusionwearing veil
• Not cut off from outside world
• Wife retained property after
marriage-gave some women a
stake in general economy and a
degree of independence
• Under Shari’a women could
testify for themselves
Safavid Religion
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Shi’ite Beliefs united Safavid
Created further estrangement
from neighbors-all Sunni
Persian language 2nd after
Arabic
Developed unique cultural
elements in tile mosaics, poetry
Shi’ite doctrine says that all
temporal leaders are stand-ins
for the “Hidden Imam”; the 12th
descendent of Ali
Debate over the relationship
between religion & politics led
to religious scholars
independent from imperial
authority-did not become
subordinate government
functionaries like in Ottoman
Empire
Safavid: Isfahan
• Isfahan-jewel of Safavid
Empire
• Silk & carpet weaving
flourished
• Riza-i-Abbasi most
famous artist of the
time
• beautiful works about
simple subjects such as
oxen plowing, hunters,
and lovers
• soft colors and flowing
movement in painting
Safavid: Economy
• Silks and carpets were
important commercial
goods
• Good location on trade
routes
• Became rich from growing
trade between Europe and
Central Asia and India
• Both Muslim and NonMuslim traders
• Most subjects were
farmers/herders
Safavid: Economic Crisis and Political Collapse
• Most subjects were subsistence
farmers
• no significant technological
developments
• Could not generate enough
money for military and
bureaucracy
• Inflation from cheap silver from
New World
• Mismanagement of silk industry
• Nomadic groups withdrew
support
• Afghan marauders captured
Isfahan and ended Safavid rule
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Mughal Empire: 1605-1707
• Babur founderunited Hindu &
Muslim kingdoms
• descendant of
Mongol Conqueror
Timur Lenk
• Took Khyber Pass in
NW India & Delhi in
N. India
• Small armies but
had weapons,
artillery, & used
them w/ great
effect
Mughal
• Akbar the Great was grandson
of Babur
• placed most of India under
Mughal control by use of
artillery and negotiation
• Formed alliances with Hindu
Rajput Kingdoms
• best known for his tolerance
• adopted a policy of religious
tolerance – married Hindu
princess
• Zamindars were low ranking
officials of Hindu descent who
got paid by keeping part of
collected taxes
• part of his toleration of
government administration
Mughal
• Shah Jahan ruled 1628-1658
• used political system started
by earlier Mughal rulers
• expanded boundaries into
Deccan Plateau and
Samarkand in Hindu Kush
• Money spent on buildings and
military projects drained the
treasury-had to raise taxes
• best known for Taj Mahal
– mausoleum for favorite
wife, Mumatz Mahal
Mughal
• Aurangzeb took over from his
father, Shah Jahan
– had his brother put to death
• devout Muslim- high principles
• Imposed Shari’a Law
• tried to eliminate social evils
– suttee
• (Hindu practice of
cremating a widow on her
husband’s funeral pyre)
– levying illegal taxes, gambling,
drinking
• Ended policy of religious
tolerance – tried to convert
Hindus, tore down temples
• Imposed heavy tax on Hindus
• Conquered Hindu kingdoms in
central India, took slaves
• led to social unrest that made
India open to attack from abroad
Mughal
• British helped decline of
Mughal Empire
• Sir Robert Clive-chief
representative of British
East India Company
• 1696, British East India
gained control of Indian
trade by taking Bengal,
Calcutta
• Indians practiced guerilla
warfare against British but
couldn’t dislodge them
Women’s Lives Under Mughal
• Complex
• played a role in Mughal tribal
society – warriors & advisors
in political matters
• Could own land & do business
• Experienced restrictions under
Islamic law
• isolation of women was
practiced in upper class Hindu
families
• Many Hindu practices went
unchanged by Mughal rule
Mughal Art & Architecture
• brought together Persian
and Indian influences in
art & architecture
• Taj Mahal- greatest
example of Mogul
architecture
• Akbar encouraged Persian
& Indian motifs
• “Akbar style” included
humans in action
• He encouraged artists to
imitate European art
forms, including
perspective & lifelike
portraits
• He commissioned artists
from Persia & Europe to
teach Indian artists
Mughal
• Urdu= Arabic + Hindi
• Education considered pupils needs and culture
Maritime Worlds of Islam, 1500-1750
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Some SE Asian kingdoms welcome Islam to counter aggressive
Christianity of Europeans
Muslims in coastal Africa intermarried with locals
Created mixed population that played a key part in development of
distinctive Swahili culture
Conclusion
• All three Empires declined
simultaneously
• Land-based empires
dependent on land grants
could not provide money
needed for expensive
weapons
• Sea-based empires
flourished from new ship
designs, navigational
accuracy, cannon, jointstock companies, and
aggressive trading tactics
• Balance of power shiftedfavored Europeans

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