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The Islamic World in the Early Modern Period: The Three Muslim Gunpowder Empires


The Islamic World in the Early Modern Period: The Three Muslim Gunpowder Empires Ottomans Safavids Mughals – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Islamic World in the Early Modern Period: The Three Muslim Gunpowder Empires

The Islamic World in the Early Modern Period The
Three Muslim Gunpowder Empires
Ottomans Safavids Mughals
  • The Mongol invasions of the 13th and 14th
    centuries destroyed Muslim unity as the Abbasids
    and other regional dynasties were overthrown.
  • After the Mongol period, three empires rose and
    expanded throughout much of the Islamic world.
    The Ottomans were the most expansive and powerful
    of the three.

Mongol siege of Baghdad
Crash Course Episode 19 Venice and the Ottoman
Empire 1. In what ways was the Venetian-Ottoman
relationship mutually beneficial? How were
religious differences and conflicts
reconciled? 2. Even before the Ottoman empire
entered the scene (in the 1300s), what was the
relationship between Venice and the Islamic
world? 3. How was Venice politically
structured? 4. Who were Mehmet II and Suleiman
I? 5. What was the devshirme (devsirme)?
  • The Ottoman Empire
  • The Ottoman dynasty was founded by Turkic people
    who migrated into Anatolia in the mid 13th
  • After securing dominance, the Ottomans began to
    expand in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries.
  • After defeating the Byzantines in 1453, Istanbul
    became the capital. The Ottomans continued to
    expand into the Balkan peninsula, as far north as
  • Many diverse ethnic and religious groups lived
    within the Ottoman Empire. Millets were
    communities of non-Muslims who had some degree of
    autonomy in the empire.

  • The Ottoman Janissaries
  • The janissaries were another important and
    powerful force in the Ottoman system.
  • Elite infantry divisions of the imperial army
  • Most janissaries were conscripted from the
    Christian Balkans. Young boys were recruited,
    educated, and converted to Islam
  • Over time, the janissaries became a powerful,
    conservative political force
  • Resistance to modernization within the army was
    one of the signs of decline in the Ottoman empire

Registration of boys for the devsirme. Ottoman
miniature painting from the Süleymanname, 1558.
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Suleiman (Suleyman) the Magnificent
  • Suleiman the Magnificent (r. 1520-1566) was
    sultan during the height of the Ottoman Empire in
    the 16th century.
  • 1. modernized the army
  • 2. conquered territory in Mesopotamia, North
    Africa, and Eastern Europe
  • 3. Improved justice system (known as the
  • 4. self-proclaimed protector of the sacred
    places meaning Mecca and Medina
  • 5. art and literature flourished under

  • Eventually, lagging industry and reliance on
    agriculture, over-taxing the peasants, revolts,
    and disputes with neighboring kingdoms and states
    led to Ottoman decline.
  • Plus, new challenges (especially economic)
    resulting from the rise of the West weakened the
  • Signs of decline began in the late 17th century,
    though the empire lasted all the way up to WWI.

What areas that were once part of the Ottoman
empire have experienced regional conflicts in
modern times?
  • Article Questions Ottoman Inter-communal
  • What diverse groups does the article mention as
    living in Ottoman lands?
  • How has the word Turk been used by different
    groups at different times in history?
  • Explain how millets functioned economically,
    politically, and legally.
  • What two conflicting views are given by Bulgarian
    Christians regarding their Ottoman rulers? Which
    do you find more reliable? Why?
  • What role did Islam play in the Ottoman world?
  • What were the Tanzimat Reforms?
  • What is your assessment of the Ottoman system
    regarding diverse minority groups? Was the
    Ottoman empire successful in tolerantly and/or
    fairly treating non-Muslims? Does Ottoman
    history give us any insight into modern day
    conflicts in the region?

...A remarkable thing which I saw in this
country was the respect shown to women by the
Turks, for they hold a more dignified position
than the men. ... I saw also the wives of the
merchants and common men. Their faces are
visible for the Turkish women do not veil
themselves. Sometimes a woman will be accompanied
by her husband and anyone seeing him would take
him for one of her servants. -Excerpt from the
journal of Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan traveler in
the 1300s (at a time when we first start to see
the growing prominence of Turkic peoples in the
Muslim world.)
Miniature depicting Suleiman marching with an
army, summer 1554
Miniature of Suleiman the Magnificent receiving
an ambassador.
Ottoman elite at a feast.
  • The Safavid dynasty was founded after the fall of
    the Mongols and Timurids in the 14th century.
  • The Safavids were Shia, and spread Shia beliefs
    and traditions among Turkic and Persian peoples.
  • Modern Iran, which was the heart of the Safavid
    empire, is overwhelmingly Shia to this day.
    Territorial and religious disputes often broke
    out between the Sunni Ottomans and Shia Safavids.
  • In 1501, the Safavid king Ismail was proclaimed
    shah after a series of struggles with rival
    groups. Tabriz became the capital, though later
    it would be moved to Isfahan.

Safavid Persia
  • The greatest Safavid ruler was Shah Abbas the
    Great (r. 1588-1629).
  • - centralized the government
  • - improved and organized the military
  • - allied with European states against
  • the Ottomans
  • - tolerant policies toward non-
  • Muslims
  • - built a capital at Isfahan
  • The Safavid Empire declined after the death of
    Shah Abbas.
  • Eventually, religious disputes and rebellions
    (such as that of the Sunni Afghans) caused the
    empire to weaken. Like the Ottomans, an
    inability to compete with the West also caused

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Safavid Art
Remember, Persian art and culture was highly
esteemed by the educated and elite throughout the
Islamic world since Abbassid times.
Nobles at the Court of Shah Abbas I
The Mughal Empire
  • The Mughal Empire ruled most of India and
    Pakistan in the 16th and 17th centuries.
  • It consolidated Islam in South Asia, and spread
    Muslim (and particularly Persian) arts and
  • The Mughals were Muslims who ruled a country with
    a large Hindu majority. However for much of their
    empire they allowed Hindus to reach senior
    government or military positions.
  • The Mughals brought several changes to India
  • Centralized government which brought together
    many smaller kingdoms
  • Delegated government with respect for human
  • Persian art and culture
  • Persian language mixed with Arabic and Hindi to
    create Urdu
  • Periods of great religious tolerance
  • A style of architecture (e.g. the Taj Mahal)

  • Akbar (grandson of Babur, founder of the Mughal
    dynasty) became ruler of the empire in 1556 at
    the age of 13. (Elizabeth I, Phillip II, and
    Shah Abbas I ruled in the same time frame.)
  • He expanded the empire throughout much of
    northern India.
  • Centralized and reformed the government by
    appointing military governors in charge of
    different regions.
  • Began taxing the nobility as well as lower
  • To win over Hindus, Akbar eliminated the jizya
    and pilgrimage taxes levied by previous Muslim
    rulers in India.

Akbar the Great
  • Akbar married 5000 wives for political reasons
    mainly to cement relations with regional
  • His favorite wife was a Hindu princess their
    son Jahangir became the next Mughal emperor.
  • Akbar allowed for a great degree of regional
    autonomy within the empire.
  • Hindus were allowed to retain their own laws and
  • This loose style of government became the model
    also used by the British when they began building
    their colonial government in the 18th and 19th
  • Discontent among Hindus, unrest, and the
    weakening of the Mughal empire marked the harsh
    reign of Aurangzeb, the great-grandson of Akbar.
    The British would eventually capitalize on these

  • Supplementary Reading Qs The Mughal Empire
  • Compare the reigns of Akbar and Aurangzeb.
  • Read the first sentence in the 3rd paragraph of
    the article. What is meant by the statement that
    Aurangzeb has beensubjected to the communalist
    reading of Indian history?

Small group discussion Discuss and answer in
your notebooks. Compare the Ottoman, Safavid, and
Mughal empires. How do they compare socially,
politically, and economically? What were some
main differences among these three empires?