5. every empire has a life span. The decline

5. DOWNFALL (1828-1923)


Every expansion has an end, and every empire has a life span. The decline
of the Ottoman Empire began from a series of wars between Russia and the
Ottoman Empire, which is the Russo-Turkish wars in the 17th to 19th
century. For instance, Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829 sparked as the Greeks’
fight for independence, in which Russian forces advanced into Bulgaria, the
Caucasus, and northeastern Anatolia itself before the Turks sued for peace. In
September 1829, sultan was forced to sign the Treaty of Edirne and demanded
peace resulting Russia was awarded most of the eastern shore of the Black Sea,
Moldavia and Serbia were gained autonomy within the Ottoman Empire, while
Greece eventually became an independent state.1

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The war in 1831-1833, known as the first Egyptian-Ottoman war was a conflict
of military brought about by Muhammad Ali Pasha’s order to the Ottoman Empire
for control of Greater Syria, as reward for his aid to Greece in Crete. As a
result, Muhammad Ali’s forces temporarily gained control of Syria and marched
north to Adana. 2

Subsequently, the Crimean War (1853-1856) was part of a long-running
competition between the major European powers for influence over the declining
territories of the Ottoman Empire. The financial burden of the war led the Ottoman
state to issue a total of 5 million pounds of foreign loans on 4
August 1854. In the aftermath of the war, about 200,000 of people migrated to the
Ottoman Empire, causing a wave of emigration. Toward the end of the Caucasian
Wars, 90% of the Circassians were ethnically purged and exiled from the Caucasus
homelands to the Ottoman Empire, resulting in the settlement of 500,000 to
700,000 Circassians in Turkey. Some
Circassian organisations provide more numbers for a total 1-1.5 million
deported or killed. Crimean Tartar refugees played a particularly significant role
in the late 19th century in seeking to modernize Ottoman education and in first
promoting both Pan-Turkicism and a sense of Turkish nationalism. 3

treaty of Paris (1856), signed in Paris on 30 March 1856 ended the Crimean War.
The treaty was signed between Russia on one side and France, Great Britain,
Sardinia-Piedmont, and Turkey on the other. The treaty gave special attention
to this problem because the western European powers fought against Russia to protect
Ottoman Turkey. The signatories guaranteed the Turkey’s independence and
territorial integrity.4

            The last
Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878) was also the most important one. In 1877, Russia
and its ally Serbia proposed
to Bosnia, Herzegovina and
Bulgaria in their rebellions against Turkish rule. Russians attacked through
Bulgaria, and after successfully concluding the Siege of Pleventhey
advanced into Thrace, taking Adrianople in January 1878. In March of the same
year, Russia concluded a Treaty of San
Stefano with Turkey. The treaty ended the Russo-Turkish War, 1877-1878 and freed
Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro from Turkish rule, given Bosnia and Herzegovina autonomy and established a huge autonomous Bulgaria
under Russian’s protection. The Britain and
Austria-Hungary were appalled by the Russian gains in the treaty, forcing
Russia to accept the Treaty of Berlin (July
1878), in which Russia’s military-political gains from the war were severely

The Sultanate was a
powerful organization for some time. The decline of sultanate in Ottoman Empire
was one of the primary cause of the decline of the empire. The sultanate
weakened gradually over periods of time. Later in the reign of Suleyman, The
imperial decline began. Although he was the peak of golden age, Suleyman was
less concerned with the affairs of country added to that his two qualified
successors were unfavorable to him. As Selim II became Sultan, he had little
experience in the government operations. After him, the decline of the
Sultanate continued. As the brothers of the Sultans were confined to the harem,
they became incompetent. 6

Another reason to
the decline of the empire was the corruption of the government’s control over
the empire as the Sultans renounced their tradition of training their sons in
related affairs and government. Concomitantly, the balance of power changes because
of the Ottoman military division, the janissary has been fighting and
conquering new lands to became the most powerful nation. As time passed, the fighting
methods of the janissaries became old-fashioned and no longer became an unrivaled
army. In the end, the Ottoman Empire collapsed, the government declined with
the degeneration of the sultanate as well as the Ottomans failed to
industrialize and the empire was destroyed when war overwhelmed it during World
War I.7

            Later, Ottoman Empire started to
collapse. In 1908, the Young Turk Revolution, a reformist and strongly
nationalist group, with many adherents in the army led a revolutionary movement
against the authoritarian regime of Ottoman sultan Abdulhamid II and eventually
the establishment of a constitutional government.8
The Young Turk Movement had inaugurated the Second Constitutional Era and
lasted until the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in 1918.9

            The Balkan War (1912-1913), two
successive military conflicts deprived the Ottoman Empire of almost all its
remaining territory in Europe. The first Balkan War broke out between members
of the Balkan Alliance, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro and the Ottoman
Empire. Turkey’s collapse was complete that all parties were willing to end the
truce on 3 December 1912. According to a peace treaty signed in London on 30
May 1913, the territories of Ottoman Empire lost include all the Macedonia and

In 10
August 1920, the Treaty of
Sevres was signed with the Ottoman Empire after the end of World War I. It
territorially carved up the ‘Sick Man of Europe’. The treaty abolished the Ottoman Empire and obliged Turkey to renounce all rights over
Arab Asia and North Africa. The pact also provided for an independent Armenia, for an autonomous Kurdistan, and for a Greek presence in eastern Thrace and on the Anatolian west coast, as well as
Greek control over the Aegean islands commanding the Dardanelles. Rejected by
the new Turkish nationalist regime, the Treaty of Sevres was replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne in

Finally, the sultanate and the
Ottoman dynasty were abolished on
1 November 1922, and the empire came to an end. The shock of
World War I would destroy the Ottoman Empire once and for all, breaking it into
what have become such Middle Eastern nations as Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia,
Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel. The empire collapsed
completely giving the rise of the modern secular state Turkey.12

1 Russo-Turkish wars. (n.d.). Retrieved from

2 Egyptian–Ottoman War (1831–1833). (n.d.). Retrieved


3 Ibid.

4 Treaty of Paris. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/event/Treaty-of-Paris-1856

5 Ibid.

6 The Decline of the Ottoman Empire Essay. (November 14, 2012).
Retrieved from http://www.antiessays.com/free-essays/The-Decline-Of-The-Ottoman-Empire-349908.html

7 Ibid.

8 Young Turks. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Young-Turks-Turkish-nationalist-movement

9 The Second
Constitutional Period, 1908–1918. (2008). M. ?ükrü Hanio?lu. Retrieved from  https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/the-cambridge-history-of-turkey/the-second-constitutional-period-19081918/2619E59AD2DA03113550FE8FF32909D6

10 Balkan Wars. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Balkan-Wars

11 Treaty of Sevres. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/event/Treaty-of-Sevres

12 The Ottoman Empire. (March 3, 2015). Retrieved from http://www.cssforum.com.pk/css-optional-subjects/group-iv/islamic-history-culture/99478-ottoman-empire-notes.html