Chapter 28 The Islamic Empires

Before We Get Started
 3 Islamic empires were formed during the early
modern period and you should concentrate on the
Ottomans and Mughals more than the Safavids.
Don’t confuse the Mongols of Asia with the Mughals of
The earlier Mongols controlled a larger expanse of
Asia, not including India; the later Mughals controlled
only India.
Ottomans controlled Anatolia.
Safavids controlled Persia.
Formation of the Islamic Empires
 All three Islamic states began as warrior societies in
frontier regions.
 They expanded into neighboring lands and as they
grew, so did their administrative apparatuses.
 With talented rulers, each society prospered and
dominated its region politically, economically, and
Formation of the Islamic Empires
 The Ottoman Empire
 Osman Bey – Lead a Turkish-speaking group from
central Asia into regions of Anatolia in the thirteenth
century to form the beginnings of the Ottoman Empire.
 Ottomans used their formidable military to expand and
build their empire.
 Eventually controlled the Balkans, Byzantine Empire,
Syria, Egypt, modern-day Iraq, and Hungary.
Constantinople was renamed Istanbul
Enslaved Christians were forced into the military.
The Islamic Empires
 The Safavid Empire
 At their height, controlled the regions of Mesopotamia
and the Caucuses.
 Had constant conflict with the Ottomans
 Adopted the Twelver Shiism branch of Islam
 Key Leaders
Shah Abbas the Great
Formation of Islamic Empires
 The Mughal Empire
 Zahir al-Din Muhammad, a Chagatai Turk – known as
Babur, “the tiger,” was the founder of the Mughals.
Claimed descent from Chingghis Khan and Tamarlane
Claimed no connection between conquest and religion,
simply a conqueror
 Mughal – Persian term for Mongol
 Empire encompassed the Indian subcontinent, except
for the southernmost tip.
 Successive rulers (Akbar and Aurangzeb)
Taxed and persecuted Hindus in India, leading to further
hostility between Hindus and Muslims.
Imperial Islamic Society
 All Islamic dynasties descended from the same steppe
traditions, embraced the same Islamic religion, and
adopted similar economic and religious policies.
 All involved themselves with public welfare, literature,
and the arts.
Imperial Islamic Society
 The dynastic state
 The Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal emperors all took
personal control of their militaries and administrations
In theory, they owned all land which they divided among their
peasant populations.
Experiences many problems in succession (just as the Mongols
before them did) as potential heirs violently competed for rule
 Women
 Expected to have no role in public affairs of the Islamic empires due
to religious constraints, but women in all 3 dynasties played
significant roles.
 Served as advisors, etc.
Imperial Islamic Society
 Agriculture and Trade
 Agriculture
Foundation of the Islamic empires was a strong agricultural base
from which they could finance armies and bureaucracies.
Relied heavily on crops of rice and wheat to stabilize and grow
 Trade
Prominent in world trade on both land and at sea.
Ottomans were the access point of the silk roads and controlled
access to the Black Sea, and dominated the Eastern Mediterranean.
Mughals did not actively promote trade but gained large revenues
from their central position in the Indian Ocean trade system.
Imperial Islamic Society
 Religious Affairs in the Islamic Empires
 Maintaining harmony among populations of diverse
religions was a common challenge for the Islamic
Ottomans – Muslims, Christians, Jews
Safavids – Muslims, Christians, Jews
Mughals – Muslims and Hindus
 Mughal policies of Aurangzeb caused permanent tension and
conflict between Hindus and Muslims in India.
Imperial Islamic Society
 Cultural Patronage of the Islamic Empires
 Islamic emperors devoted much attention and resources
to public welfare and the arts by building magnificent
buildings, hospitals, and soup kitchens.
 Placed high value on scholars and artists and undertook
large building and architectural projects.
The Empires in Transition
 None of the Islamic empires lasted past the eighteenth
century without significant changes.
 In 1722, the Safavids were completely defeated by Afghan
tribesmen and disappeared completely
 The Mughals suffered enormous reversals with
provincial rebellions and foreign invasions.
 Ottomans lost control over Egypt and Lebanon while
Russian and European states chipped away at their
economic, political, and military spheres.
The Empires in Transition
 The Deterioration of Imperial Leadership
 Islamic empires were heavily reliant on strong leadership and by the
eighteenth century they had fallen into the hands of weak and
incapable rulers.
 Conservative Muslim movements caused constant internal
 Economic and Military Decline
 Decreased trade, and the cost of expensive administration, military
maintenance, and war weakened the Islamic economies
 Could not keep up with military technology
 Cultural Conservatism
 Muslim conservatism hampered exploration and technology.
 While Europe surged forward, the Islamic empires grew backward
and weak, much like the Chinese and Japanese.
Chose temporary stability over growth.

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