A Brief And Short History Of Turkey

History Of Seljuks, Ottomans And Turks

Ottoman Empire was born from the ashes of Seljuk Turks. To learn more about the Seljuks and their Empire we have to focus on the Central Asian steps of 11th century.

A Brief And Short History Of Turkey

Seljuk Turks

Seljuks were nomad people, who lived in Central Asian steps. Turks lived in the hordes of Central Asia for hundreds of years. They lived alongside with the Mongol hordes as well as the Turkish hordes. Turks and Mongols lived together for hundred years though.

Seljuk Turks Warriors
Seljuk Turks

Eventually in the 11th century majority of Turkish clans moved to the westwards passing through the Caucasus mountains. They arrived to the plateaus of Persia, and settled to one of the major cities of Iran, Isfahan. Isfahan became the central city of Seljuks, while they were capturing the neighboring lands. They became a serious power in the surroundings of Persian lands. The leader of Seljuk Turks, Tughril (Toghrul I), became a prominent lord in the Middle East after all. Seljuks are finally assigned as the protector of Islam in the Middle East by the Caliph (Religious Leader Of Islam) of Abbasid Caliphate.

Seljuks reached to their peak point by the time of Sultan Alp Arslan. They defeated Byzantine Empire, in the Battle of Manzikert and invaded the majority of Anatolia as well.

Map Of Anatolia or Asia Minor
Asia Minor Map

Seljuk Sultanate Of Rum

When Empire of Seljuk Turks collapsed following the Crusades, Anatolia (Asia Minor) became the heartlands of the Turks. Because the next Turkish State, Seljuk Sultanate of Rum is established in the Anatolia. Much smaller then the previous Seljuk Empire, but still a promising civilization that flourished in the valleys of Anatolia. They built many caravanserais, palaces, mosques in Anatolia, while maintaining the present churches and synagogues. Turks became famous with their tolerance against other religions.

Ottoman State

Seljuk Sultanate Rum is destroyed by the harsh Mongolian attacks from the east. Battle of Kösedağ, became the end of this culturewise abundant Sultanate and its finally torn into pieces. Many small states emerged from the collapse of Turkish Sultanate. The Anatolia was then shared by the Byzantine Empire and vassal Greek States (Empire of Trebizond) and Turkish States. Ottomans were one of them too. Ottoman princedom is founded by a leader called Osman Bey (Osman Ghazi).

Battle Of Mohacs
Ottoman Turks

Foundation Of Ottoman Empire

Ottomans lived long years on the valleys of Sogut and Domanic, in the meantime they extended their boundaries to the North-west direction. They created enormous pressure over the Byzantine Empire, or what it left from it. Because despite the name of Byzantine “Empire”, the once-mighty Byzantium was reduced into a princedom too. They had only Constantinople and some surrounding cities.

Byzantine Empire’s most precious cities were Adrianople (Edirne), Prussa (Bursa) and Nicaea (Iznik). They are seized by the Ottoman warlords one by one. Ottomans first captured  Nicaea, a very significant center for Christianity in the history. Then captured the Adrianople and declared it as their new capital. Ottomans built their first great palace in this city though.

After possessing Adrianople, they started dreaming about to conquer the Constantinople. The greatest city of the Eastern world. The most civilized city of the world from 6th Century to the 13th Century. To capture the Constantinople and having it proclaimed as their new capital, Ottoman Empire’s ultimate goal.

Map Of Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire Map

Ottoman Empire

Ottomans conquered the Constantinople in 1453. They converted the Hagia Sophia into a mosque. Constantinople became the new capital of Ottomans, with the name of Istanbul. The king of Ottoman Empire was Sultan Mehmed II, he was also known as Mehmed The Conqueror. He is given that title by the locals, due to his great success, during the siege of Constantinople.

Conquest Of Constantinople

Mehmed II was a very well educated man. He maintained the original texture of Istanbul city, and he never ever expelled the previous inhabitants of the Constantinople. Former Romans (Byzantines) settlers of the city, carried on their normal life and business. They lived alongside with the Turks until the late Ottoman time, in other words until the World War I.

Ottoman Empire Map

Ottoman Empire reached to its greatest extent in the 16th Century. The Ottoman Empire reached to gigantic scale that it became the largest Empire of the known world for then. It’s stayed neutral from mid 16th Century to the end of 17th century and began shrinking after that.

People Of Ottoman Empire
Ottoman People

World War I

WWI was the end of this long-surviving multi-coloured, multi-national Empire. The Ottomans were exhausted fighting constantly from 1912 (Balkan Wars) to 1918 so they no longer resist the allied invasion. Former soldiers of the Ottoman Empire re-united under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and fought against Brits, Greeks, Italians and French the occupiers of Ottoman heartland, Anatolia.

Modern Day Turkey

The new Turkish Republic eventually established by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1923 after securing the modern day Turkey, the homeland of the Turks from the time of Seljuks, Asia Minor or in other words Anatolia.

Check out more information Byzantine Empire short history article which is related to the subject of this post.

Further Reading

The Ottoman Empire Map

Empire of Great Seljuk Turks

A Brief And Short History Of Turkey

Serhat Engul

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Shahid Waqar Malik says:

    Nice compile from history but ErTugrul is mentioned indifferently.
    The problem I see is that the Muslim did not preserve their history hence no connect is available and the West does not want to write it. Till far even in 21st century no book is published on Muslim history.
    Whereas, in my region Indians are mutilating history of Indo-Pakistan and a new distorted version is being uploaded in Wikipedia which is absolutely different to what I read during my juvenile.
    Likewise great history of Turks is not available in compiled form.


  2. Shahid Waqar Malik says:

    I would love to read more on Turks history


  3. serhateng says:

    Hello Shahid, thank you for the review. I recommend you this aritcle: https://istanbulclues.com/short-history-of-ottoman-empire/


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