The Ottoman Empire ruled for as long as 640 years and was also the dominant political, cultural, and military force in the Middle East. This Empire's rise as well as decline has laid down political precedents which have served as precursors to modern western political structures. The overwhelming success of the Empire's expansion from 1300 to 1683 decided the fate of the contemporary Middle East I in spite of certain political predicaments which can also be traced as a reason for the Empire's downfall and fragmentation.
Turkey had a powerful influence over some of earth's most ancient civilizations and lands which are known to us due to their irreverent history. In addition to this, this place also witnessed the birth of Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and other beliefs.
The rulers of Turkey were the Turks were basically a nomadic tribe from Central Asia who were forced to leave their homes on account of the parchedness in search of new pasture-lands for their flocks and cattle. Gradually, they swept everything before them, and finally conquered and ruled not only Asia Minor, but also Egypt and Northern Africa.
These tribes were converted to Muslim faith very early in history which they propagated wherever they went, and, under the leadership of the Sultans of the Seljuk dynasty, they established themselves in Konia, and expanded their rule to the gates of the Byzantine Empire as well. But it was reserved for the family members of Ertogrul to become the successors of the Seljuks and thereby establish the Ottoman dynasty which still holds sway over Turkey.
Ertogrul, with a band of 400 followers, while traveling around Asia Minor accidentally came across a conflicting Mongolian and Seljuk army in the neighbourhood of Angora. He entered into a fight in support of the Seljuk army, and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. As a reward for this judicious assistance the Seljuk Sultan awarded to Ertogrul the district of Anatolia, which bounded the Greek or Byzantine Empire.
The capital of this Empire was Constantinople.
During the summer the newcomers drove their flocks to the mountains while during the winter withdrew them to the plains, but, often ended up growing bolder and more powerful than before. Subsequently, Ertogrul waged war against the Greeks. One after the other, they tasted a consistent success until 1326, when under the leadership of Othman, the son of Ertogrul, Nicea, fell to the sword of the Moslem.
Subsequently, Brusa also was taken, and there Othman enthroned himself as Sultan of the dynasty which henceforth known as the Ottoman.
When the mighty Othman died, out of the limited things which he left behind, one was his sword which is till today preserved in Constantinople. Each successive Sultan was given this sword on the day of his coronation. The victories of the Ottoman Turks were followed by the incorporation of the Seljuks. The Asiatic shores of the Bosphorus were devastated with sword and fire, and subsequently, in 1453 Constantinople was invested.
The victorious Turks then turned their attention to Europe and proceeded there, devastating, burning, plundering, slaying, and making captives of women and children, until finally they reached the walls of Vienna. At this point of time, it looked as if the entire Europe would fall under the Ottoman dominance. However, this was the limit of their Northern conquests.
Soon one after the other they lost their possessions in Europe, such as Hungary, Roumania, Greece, Servia, and Bulgaria, and a comparatively small strip of country in Europe belonged to them. In Asia also large parts of country have been snatched away from them by Russia while in Africa, Egypt and Tunis, the Turkish existed only namesake.
The impressive conquests of the Turks were the result of the robustness of a race brought up in prudence and nomadic pursuits. Their strength and courage were amazing, and their religious zeal made them reckless of their lives. Their early Sultans, too, were men of extraordinary energy and sagacity, and were the first among the Turks to organize regular soldiers.
The decline of the Ottoman Empire, however, was attributed to the corruption of the Turks which came as a consequence of acquisition of wealth. They lost their hardihood, and their Sultans became extravagant and luxurious.
They filled their harems with wives and numberless slaves, and addicted themselves to pleasure instead of duty. They became tyrants, and their jealousies and fears of being supplanted made them so cruel that it became customary for a Sultan ascending the throne to kill all his brothers or near male relatives in the greed of power.