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Modernization of the Ottoman Empire (1789-1839)

Modernization of the Ottoman Empire (1789-1839)


The year is 1787 in the Ottoman Empire is at war with Russia the Ottoman objective for the war was to retake Crimea back from the Russians which they out lost during the Russo-Turkish war of 1768 but the war would be a total disaster for the Ottomans which saw the region of Yedisan being annexed by the Russian Empire the war had shown how ineffective and unorganized the Ottoman army was Compared to its western counterpart during the war the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid I died from natural causes And was succeeded by his nephew Sultan Selim III Selim III would start to reform and modernized Ottoman States after major defeats against Russia in the past decades These liberal reforms from Selim III were called the Nizam-I Cedid or the new order reforms The reforms would result in the Ottoman Treasury and other fiscal departments being restructured for the first time in centuries The reforms also saw the opening of many schools throughout the empire with the goal of raising the literacy rate among the common people Many teachers from Europe were brought into the Empire and they provide new curriculum for these schools in Addition to this Ottoman embassies were opened all around Europe which was part Selim III’s plan of connecting the Ottoman Empire closer to other European nations The primary goal of the Nizam-I Cedid reforms were for the Ottomans to form a bond with Europe in order to quickly catch up with them economically and Technologically. Dozens of young Turkish men from the Ottoman government were sent all around Europe to study at societies and governments This would make many conservative members of the Ottoman state worried as the state was becoming more influenced by Christian/ European ideas, perhaps the most important reform of the Nizam-I Cedid was the military forms Which saw the creation of a new army. These military forms were very important since the conventional Ottoman army performed really poorly during the last war with Russia The elite slave Janissary order which was crucial to early Ottoman successes during the 1400s and 1500s had now become a corrupt and politically active order. For the past 200 years The Janissaries opposed any reforms which might downgrade their privileged position in Ottoman State This is why they were against the Nizam-I Cedid reforms introduced by Selim III Selim III knew that the Janissary Corps with their outdated weapons and tactics had to go and that’s why he created new Military Corps caught the Nizam-I Cedid order or the new order army in 1789. This order received Western military training by French officers Which saw the order being equipped with up-to-date guns and artillery and new French styled uniforms They were also drilled in Western tactics of warfare like fighting in lines like line infantrymen in Europe Ottoman military officers were also sent to France to receive training as well The new order army was quite expensive to maintain which again Ottoman ministers and angered the Janissaries But Selim III’s expensive investment on the new order army paid off during the sudden French invasion of Egypt in 1798 by Napoleon. The new military corps outperformed conventional Ottoman troops in the 1799 defensive Acre against Napoleon Bonaparte, which would be a turning point in the war Alongside of their British allies the Ottomans would push out the French out of Egypt thus winning the war However, during the start of the war the French officers that were training the new order army in Constantinople were sent back to France. So the modernization of the rest of the army was paused for the moment During the next decade the Ottomans would play a minimal role during the following Napoleonic Wars which saw them flip-flop between the European coalition and France Due to the recent French success against Russia during the battle Austerlitz in 1805 Napoleon was trying to convince it in the third to declare war against Russia Promising to give Selim III Lost Ottoman land back from Russia after the war. Selim III agreed with Napoleon and the Ottomans were once again at war with Russia by 1806 During this time the new order army numbered around 23,000 troops but Selim III was unable to integrate the force with the Regular Army due to the unrest it created among the Janissaries who fused to serve alongside the new order during battle The new order army was forced by Janissary pressure to play a limited role during the war to come The Janissaries feared that the new order army might one day replace their ancient order so they often Protested to Selim III to protect their influence and the Ottoman state The war with Russia was a huge failure, which saw the Ottomans being pushed out at the Danubian principalities Due to the poor conventional Ottoman army and ability to fight effectively against the Russian army The conventional Ottoman army simply were routed to easily against a smaller enemy force with far better technology and tactics Also the corrupt Janissaries were more concerned with getting their next paycheck rather than actually fighting on the field Dissatisfied with the army Selim III wanted to expand the new order army into the Balkans Which panicked the Janissary Corps who were mostly from the Balkans. At this point many Ottoman Nobles and even the general public was starting to get concerned by the new order Army and Selim III other Western reforms. Many saw the new order army as a threat to the established order of Ottoman Society. For more than 500 years the Janissary Corps with their Islamic Institutions was the heart of the Ottoman army and with the arrival of the secular new order army many religious zealots in the Empire rose up in a rebellion against Selim III. In addition the general public was unhappy with the new order army due to the introduction of conscription which was never before used in the Empire and what the increase in taxes needed to outfit the new force Many also thought the new force was inaudible in its nature and Constituted a concession to the west by a young brainwashed Selim III the last straw came when Selim III started a investigation among the janissary Corps and fired men who were not in fact Janissaries but were still receiving Janissary salaries due to corrupt practices A Military coup was launched by Kabakci Mustafa A military officer and the Janissaries in 1807 which saw Selim III abdicate his throne to his more conservative minded cousin Mustafa IV All of Selim III’s reforms would be reversed and the new order army was disbanded During the aftermath of the coup the Janissaries rioted throughout Constantinople, looting and murdering anyone who appeared to support Selim. Former officers from the new order army were killed and tortured to death out in public by the Janissaries The entire city was in full anarchy and even kabakci Mustafa The leader of the coup couldn’t stop the Janissaries from plundering the capital 14 months had passed with no end to the chaos in Constantinople. The Ottoman lord of Bulgaria Elmander Mustafa Pasha who’s part of Salem’s pro-reform movement decided to march on Constantinople to end the bloodshed and reinstate Selim III back on the Ottoman throne. Hearing of Elmander Mustafa Pasha’s march to Constantinople with 15,000 troops Sultan Mustafa IV ordered the deaths of Selim III and his step brother Sehzade Mahmud in order to become the sole surviving member of the Royal Ottoman family Thus having to remain the Sultan. Selim III would be violently killed in his bedroom in the middle of the night while trying to fight off the assassins sent by Mustafa IV However, Sehzade Mahmud would luckily escaped this assassination attempt by hiding on the roof of the royal palace. Being too late To save Selim III, Elmander Mustafa Pasha instead installed Sehzade Mahmud on the Ottoman throne once he entered Constantinople Sultan Mustafa IV would be killed along with Kabackci Mustafa and other coup leaders by the orders of Mahmud Sultan Mahmud II would spend the next decade Trying to rebuild his empire from all the wars and coup attempts that took place before his ascension to the throne Mahmud II wanted to reform the Ottoman army again. In 1808 Mahmud IIi and his new Grand Vizier Alemdar Mustafa Pasha tried to revive the new order army with the creation of the Sekban-i- Djedid order but failed to do so because of the Janissaries revolting against Mahmud II and killing Alemdar Mustafa Pasha in the process. Mahmud II knew he had to end the janissary corps first before trying to attempt to reform anything at all so he spent the next decade secretly putting loyal men to him in the Janissary Corps in the hopes of Disbanding the corps in the future. In the meanwhile Mahmud II would sign a peace treaty with Russia in 1812 To end the Russo-Turkish war which would see Russia annex half of Moldavia By the 1820s the Ottoman state was in huge trouble the Greek revolt had broken out in southern Greece in which most of Europe was supporting The rebels. There was also a Wallachian uprising and to make things worst Persia declared war on the Ottomans in destroyed a entire Ottoman army during the Battle of Erzurum in 1821 Ottoman influence in Egypt was also slipping away ever since the Albanian Pasha Muhammad Ali Seizing power and becoming the region’s de facto leader constant Serbian revolts in the Balkans also broke out and Russia seemed like it was going to declare war at any second to help those Serbian rebels as things weren’t bad enough The Janissaries were still causing a ruckus in the Empire. The Ottoman Empire was on the brink of collapsing. In 1826 Mahmud II went into action He began forming a new army and started hiring European Gunners in the hopes of luring the Janissaries into a trap Mahmud II predicted that the Janissaries will revolt against him due to his announcement of forming a new military corp So he made plans of finally disbanding the disloyal Janissary order Mahmud II was right with his prediction and the Janissaries mutinied as usual and rioted on the streets of Constantinople. Mahmud II would send out the Sipahi Calvary Corps who were still loyal to him on the streets of Constantinople and they effectively counter attacked the Janissaries back to their barracks At this point the local population were sick of the Janissaries revolting and plundering of their shops and homes Mahmud II knowing this opened up his palaces armory and armed the local population against the Janissaries Thousands of more Janissaries died on the streets of the capital as they were slaughtered by the Sipahis and the Ottoman citizens. By the end of the day. The Janissary barracks were set ablaze Mahmud II then issued bounties for the killing ofJanissaries all around the empire The famous 500 year-old Janissary order ceased to exist Public records and gravestones of Janissaries were destroyed in the attempts of wiping their name from history. Mahmud II could now begin reforming the Ottoman state. A new military order was established called the Asakir-i Mansure-i Muhammediye or the victorious soldiers of Muhammad Like the new order army, they were drilled in European-style warfare and weared western military uniforms New governmental departments were made in order to make the state more efficient The old political hierarchy was replaced with a new political class of Ottomans in an attempt to end bribery and to raise loyalty to the state. Mahmud II also personally set an example reform by regularly attending in Devan or State Council instead of secluding himself from the labors of state Ever since the death Suleiman I many of the Ottoman Sultan’s backed away from the chores running the empire by placing the power of running the state to their Grand Viziers and other ministers Mahmud II by regularly attending the Divan was indicating that he was a different Sultan from his predecessors and he was trying to put the Ottoman Empire back on track to becoming a great power once again Mahmud II gave top priority to rebuilding a strong Ottoman naval force after the navy’s defeats during the Russo-Turkish wars. The first steam ships of the ottoman navy were acquired in 1828 Also the ottomans built a flagship called the Mahmudiye which had 128 cannons on three decks and carried about 1,300 sailors on board Which means the big ship-of-the-line in the world Mahmud II’s most important reformed was his clothing reforms it began by officially adopting the fez for the military which signified a break from the old-style military dress Mahmud II wanted the population to adopt this as well as he decide a homogeneous Look for the Ottoman society Unlike past Sultanic clothing decrees Mahmud II wanted all levels of government and Civilians and himself to look the same like in European societies Mahmud II reforms helped pave the way to modernization of the empire and the start of the Tanzimat era however, the ottomans were still in trouble from constant revolts inside the empire. By the 1850s the ottomans would be bankrupt due to the many reforms passed during the Tanzimat era The Ottoman Empire even with its modernization and reforms would still crumble within a hundred years However Sultan Mahmud II laid the seeds of westernization for the Turks in which the future successor State to the Ottomans Turkey would follow this trend with Ataturk’s reforms

11 comments on “Modernization of the Ottoman Empire (1789-1839)

  1. I would say "attempted modernisation". Ottomans never managed to modernize despite the efforts. The closes they came to modernisation was in the Great War and even then its armies underperformed most of the time.

  2. Very informative and really interesting!
    Really loved the visuals which made the video even more entertaining.
    Also, may İ suggest you cover certain Grand Vizier's of the Ottoman Empire, seen as they aren't talked about that much, even though they were really influential during the days when the Sultans weren't doing their own direct duties.
    Keep up the great work!

  3. Did you know that the word Nizam-I Cedid isn’t even an a Turkish word ?

    It’s a fully Arabic word,it was converted to Turkish
    It’s spelled(in Arabic)a’nitham al-jadeed,(النظام الجديد)

    Even the asakir-I mansur-I Muhammadiye.
    It’s spelled(in Arabic)al-asakir al-mansurah al-Muhammadiya,(العساكر المنصورة المحمدية)

    Btw,Ataturk’s turkey is very different from the Ottoman Empire,they are nothing alike,the Ottomans are an Islamic Empire.while turkey is a secular one,that man abolished the Caliphate(Ataturk).

  4. The students of the Islamic schools weren’t always against the reforms,the sheikh ul-Islam was with the reforms,but he died,only for a man that was against the reforms to take his position.

    He was the one that provoked the students.

  5. Its tragic how the elite janissaries become so much corrupt and constantly revolted against the sultans. If they had accepted the new modernization of military tactics with modern weapons they could have been very productive for the Ottoman state

  6. I just finished watching your entire channel. It is very interesting. Maybe you would also be interested in checking out Micahistory 2

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