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The Islamic Empires in the Early Modern Era


... over rebellious Hindu population. Most famous ruler was Akbar, who married a Hindu, tried to ... Mughal empire most diverse Most subjects were Hindus. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Islamic Empires in the Early Modern Era

The Islamic Empires in the Early Modern Era
Islamic World 1500
The World 1500-1800
All three Islamic empires were more multiethnic
and multi-religious than the European
nation-states. The rulers of all three empires
were nevertheless able to create strong central
governments that promoted stability and order. 
In the process of doing so, they each developed
innovative and unique governing styles.
The Ottoman Empire Geographic Characteristics
The Ottoman Empire 1600
Notice that the empire spanned three continents
Asia, Africa, and Europe. Within its borders
lived Turks, Arabs, Berbers, and Slavs, although
none of these ethnic groups was predominant
throughout the empire. Most subjects of the
Ottoman sultans were Muslims, but there were also
significant numbers of Jews and Christians, with
Christians comprising the majority of the
population in the empire's Southeast European
The great church of Hagia Sophia.  The four
towering minarets were among the additions made
by the Turkish Muslims after they conquered
Constantinople in 1453 and transformed the
building into a mosque.
Expansion aroused fears throughout Europeesp. as
they advanced to the East expansion also
provided impetus to overseas expansion of Spain
and Portugal (outflank the Ottomans and bring
areas they control in Christian camp)
Gunpowder empire
Assisted by Viziers, top official was
Ruled by Sultans who were absolute monarchs
aided by strong bureaucracy
Young Greeks at the Mosque" (Jean Léon Gérôme,
oil on canvas, 1865) this oil painting portrays
Greek youths who were converted to Islam to
become the elite of the army (Turkish yeniceri,
Ottoman portrayal of the Devshirme.  This
miniature painting from about 1558 depicts the
recruiting of young Christian children for the
Sultan's elite Janissary corps
The Suleyman mosque, named after its founder,
Suleyman the Lawgiver, is one of the finest
mosques in Istanbul
Suleyman the Lawgiver (r. 1520-1566), giving
advice to the Crown Prince, Mehmed Khan
All three gunpowder Empires
The term "gunpowder empire" is usually traced to
the work of historian Marshall G. Hodgson, who
sought to explain the rise of empires in the
Islamic world. He used the term to describe new
forms of states that appeared in Turkey, Persia,
and Mughal India. According to Hodgson, artillery
and other firearms had wide social and political
consequences for these states. Because acquiring
and maintaining guns demanded a highly developed
government administration and extensive financial
resources, the use of gunpowder tended to produce
highly centralized governments that could buy
large quantities of tin and copper, manufacture
weapons, and train soldiers in the use of
firearms. Other historians have adopted this term
to refer to states outside the Islamic region
that used gunpowder technology to extend their
control over territories that were less advanced
Ottoman Navybest of the 3
  • The Battle of Lepanto (1571), marked the end of
    the Ottoman Empire as the dominant naval power in
    the Mediterranean

         Women played important roles in
managing Ottoman empiresoften rulers mother
and his chief wife or favorite concubine enjoyed
special privileges and authority.
Haseki Hurrem Hammam, Istanbul (1540)
Hurrem Sultan powerful woman of the Ottoman
dynasty (concubine who married the sultan) lots
of architectural patronage, including new
buildings as well as restorations.
All three empires had productive agricultural
economies as foundation of empires. Extracted
surplus agricultural production and used it to
finance armies and bureaucracies
Ottoman Empire Economics and interaction with
More sustained trade than the other empires,
partly due to control of the Dardanelles, Black
Sea, Mediterranean Sea. Ottomans heavily
regulated commercial exchanges and handicraft
production (gov't inspectors with and measures,
licensees, etc)
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Effect of Colombian exchange
  • brought American crops, but without the same
    dramatic effects as in Europe, East Asian and
  • European merchants did introduce maize, potatoes,
    tomatoes and other crops from Americas--Potatoes
    appear in curries of India and tomatoes in
    Ottoman--people did not like Maize, but they fed
    to animals.
  • Did bring coffee which became very popular, esp
    in Ottoman and Safavid (coffee native to Ethiopia
    and southern Arabia, but not popular til 16th
    century--like sugar it travels to Europe and from
    there to Americas where it is grown and then
    European merchants supply Muslim markets).
  • Tobacco also comes from Colombian exchange,
    becomes popular in Ottoman empire (coffee houses
    where you can indulge habits of caffeine and
    nicotine at the same time)

An Ottoman coffeehouse European engraving, 19th
Safavid Empire Geographic Characteristics
The Safavid Empire was less ethnically diverse
than the Ottoman Empire. Although a majority of
the people in the kingdom were Iranians, there
were also some Arabs, Turks, and Armenians. The
empire's rulers, like the Ottoman rulers, were
Muslim, yet the Safavid Empire used religion
differently to promote order and stability within
its realm., Shah Ismail I succeeded in
establishing religious unity among most of his
subjects by encouraging their conversion to the
Shi'a sect of Islam.
Also ruled by absolute sultan
Safavid Court
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As Shiites , believed in the "Hidden Imam," a
descendent of Ali that would return to rule
ruler is stand-in until then
RELIGIOUS FERVOR An Iranian Shiite prays for the
return of the Mahdi in Jamkaran Mosque. CSM
Spring 2006
Safavid Strong army equipped with firearms no
Agricultural, trade less important, inland
Mughal Geographic Characteristics
Territory included modern day Pakistan and
Afghanistan, as well as the northern part of the
Indian subcontinent
Strong military that attacked from the
west Muslim rulers with centralized power
expensive war meant that high taxes were
necessary. Muslim authority over rebellious Hindu
population Most famous ruler was Akbar, who
married a Hindu, tried to reconcile
The Reign of Akbar, 1556-1605
Emperor Akbar (at the top of this image in a
white gown) directs building work at Fatehpur
Sikri. (1570 - 1574 AD)
  • Expansion continued after Akbars death but
    difficulties came with governing dispersed not
    always loyal provinces.
  • Just like Ottomans, distant provinces began to
    challenge central rulers.
  • And also like elsewhere, peasants seized upon
    this breakdown in central authority many rose
    in rebellions others in banditry. Lots of
    caste religious violence.

Mughal Economic and interactions with West
Portuguese Trading Post Empire 1600s
Mughals paid less attention to foreign trade
(partly b/c of size and productivity of native
Indian economy and partly b/c they concentrated
on land empire, and did not pay much attention to
maritime affairs) but did allow creation of
trading stations and merchant colonies by
Portuguese, English, French, and Dutch
Mughal Econ
  • Relied on a vast network of decentralized tribute
    collectors called zamindars who could claim a
    share of harvest from regions peasants while
    also earmarking part of earnings for the emperor.
  • Especially early on, Imperial state didnt
    penetrate deeply into regional societies
    couldnt rely on regular sources of revenue.
  • Market towns ports flourished as
    commercialization increased (to generate the cash
    to pay taxes, peasants had to sell their produce
    in the market dealers in grain money became
    more prominent in the countryside to help
    peasants get produce to market.

  • Mughal empire most diverse  Most subjects were
    Hindus. Akbar is famous for policy of religious
    tolerance and for attempting to create unity with
    a new faith that would unite all.
  • religious tolerance were not popular with many
    Muslims in Mughal, who worried they might loose
    their own religious identity so insisted Mughal
    rulers create and maintain an Islamic state based
    on Islamic law.
  • Christians in India Portuguese Goa became a
    center of a Christians missions in IndiaJesuits
    tried to convert Akbar but he did not want an
    exclusive religion that he thought would alienate
  • Millet not practical b/c of large number of
    religious communities so kept most important
    military and govt positions for Muslims, but in
    day to day management of affairs, Muslims and
    Hindus cooperate       

Shiite/Sunni Toady
Which were Shiite? Which were Sunni?
  • Ottomans and Mughal Sunni Safavids Shiite
  • In first centuries Ottomans ruled subjects who
    were largely Christians(they ended Byz. after
    all) extensive conversions to Islam from 15th
    century onward resulted in a M majority but still
    had to keep interests of Christian and Jewish
    minorities in mind.
  • Religious minorities --not required to convert to
    Islam, communities were called Millets and they
    were allowed to keep their own civil laws and
    traditions and languages. Were not forced to
    convert, but did have to pay a tax. Dhimmis were
    people of the book and important traders.


rise of Sikhs
Sikhism was founded in the 16th century in the
Punjab district of what is now India and
Pakistan. It was founded by Guru Nanak and is
based on his teachings, and those of the 9 Sikh
gurus who followed him. The Mughals understood
that Sikhism was a separatist movement, and by
the eighteenth century, the Sikhs had established
a separate kingdom with its capital in Lahore
Guru Nanak
The most important thing in Sikhism is the
internal religious state of the
individual. Sikhism is a monotheistic religion
Sikhism stresses the importance of doing good
actions rather than merely carrying out rituals
The Sikh place of worship is called a
Gurdwara The Sikh scripture is a book called the
Guru Granth
The Golden Temple in Amrtisar
Sikhs believe that the way to lead a good life is
to Keep God in heart and mind at all times
Live honestly and work hard Treat everyone
equally Be generous to the less fortunate Serve
  • During Akbars rule, more commercial expansion
    recovery in Indian Ocean.
  • Strength of the Mughals limited European
    incursions. Although Portuguese occupied Goa
    Bombay , they had little presence beyond these
    ports didnt antagonize Mughal emperor.

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Social Demographics
  • Early Population Growth!
  • More intensive agriculture
  • Less impact of the Columbian Exchange in these
  • Later (by 1800) Population Decline ?
  • Loss of territory
  • Multi-ethnic Multi-religious (more so than Euro
  • Ottomans spanned three continents Asia, Africa,
    and Europe. Within its borders lived Turks,
    Arabs, Berbers, and Slavs, although none of these
    ethnic groups was predominant throughout the
    empire. Most people were Muslims, but there were
    also significant numbers of Jews and Christians,
    with Christians comprising the majority of the
    population in the empire's Southeast European
    provinces (Armenia). 
  • Therefore, search for ways to keep political

Social The Harem Elite Women
  • Common only among the wealthy
  • Consisted of a male head and his wives, and also
    children, widowed sisters or mothers, and female
  • In the West, it is generally seen as a sexual
    place of female oppression where women lacked
    power and men were forbidden.
  • The harem was a patriarchal support system and
    the center of family and social life. Family
    politics, rather than sex, was the main force
    behind the harem and men and women both occupied
    the space.

Harem Elite Women, continued
  • Unlike structures of western government, where
    increased power often means increased public
    profiles, power in the Imperial Harem was linked
    to seclusion, as it demonstrated one's proximity
    to the sultan.
  • Over the centuries of Ottoman rule, the sultan
    became increasingly secluded within the harem and
    the princes, or future rulers, stayed within its
    confines as well. This allowed royal women a
    greater ability to participate in politics.
  • The valide sultan ruled the harem, with much
    influence over her sons, and played an important
    role in state affairs between rulers. The valide
    sultans were so powerful that the later Ottoman
    period has been referred to by some as "The Age
    of Women."

Likewise, elite women exercised tremendous behind
the scenes power in this Sultanate of Women.
Some women exercised all royal prerogatives
except for leading armies into battle
  • Hurrem Sultan (d. 1558)
  • -Patron of arts, education, city, etc.
  • -Powerful!

  • Madrasas educated the scholars and the state
    officials in accordance with Islamic tradition
  • Cultural Insularity neglected cultural
    intellectual developments in outside world
  • Conservatism! Closed observatory printing

Art Architecture
  • Sultans their wives as patrons
  • Ottoman blended Byz Islamic styles
  • Mughal blended Hindu Islamic styles
  • Mughal miniatures

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Mughal Mosques
Mughal Taj Mahal