Ottoman Empire

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Osmanlı İmparatorluğu
Devlet-i Aliye-i Osmaniye
Ottoman Coat of Arms
Ottoman Coat of Arms
Map of the Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman Empire at the height of its power
Imperial motto El Muzaffer Daima The Ever Victorious (as written in tugra)
Official language Ottoman Turkish
Capital İstanbul (Constantinople/Asitane/Konstantiniyye )
Sovereigns Sultans of the Osmanli Dynasty
Population ca 40 million
Area 12+ million km²
Establishment 1299
Dissolution October 29 1923
Currency Akçe
Flag Flag of Turkey
The flag of the later Ottoman period
Part of the History of Turkey series

Sir: Under the Ottoman Empire, according to your report , Christians, Jews and Muslims co-existed in peace and prosperity.

You fail to mention that Christians and Jews had the subordinate status of dhimmis forced upon them: they had to buy protection from their Muslim rulers by paying the jizya tax, which unlike the Muslim zakat was not voluntary, they had to adopt a submissive posture in the presence of Muslims, they were not allowed to repair their places of worship or proselytise, their men were not allowed to marry Muslim women, though Muslim men were allowed to marry Christian or Jewish women, and their houses and dress had to be modest in comparison with that of Muslims.

A weakened Ottoman Empire did abolish the jizya in 1856 under pressure from European nations, but observers continued to remark the downtrodden status of non-Muslims, and European pressure was not sufficient to prevent the Ottoman massacres of Lebanese Christians in 1840-60, and of Armenian Christians in 1894-6 and in 1915-17.

The myth of a tolerant Ottoman empire dates to the 19th century and was a European creation, designed to prevent Russia from expanding southwards under the pretext of protecting the Christian subjects of the Ottoman Empire.


Financial crisis contributed greatly to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. Whether conscious decisions like the debasing of the currency system, or unconscious decisions like Sivis Year Crisis, the Empire was in financial peril which it projected onto it's minorities.