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Exploring the Effects of the West on The Ottoman Empire Essay

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In the course of approximately four hundred years, Western European colonists and prominent historical figures were particularly known for exploiting and devastating distant cultures and civilizations around the world. This included groups ranging from the Aboriginals and the Aztecs in the remote “New World”, to groups in East Asia such as the Chinese and the Mughals. However, historians today debate whether or not these prevailing and prospering Western European nations were as successful at influencing the cultures of nearer empires such as the Ottoman Empire. It is questionable as to whether or not the Ottoman Empire should be compared to other cultures devastated through their interactions with the West, largely due to the Ottomans’ vast success in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries and eventual internal problems. However, the Ottoman Empire’s inability to remain as successful as its adjacent Western neighbours indicates that they too, were a victim of Western dominance. As the Ottomans began its descent, much of the West continued its prevalence. Therefore, it is fair to say that the Ottoman Empire’s considerable interaction with the West led to the demise and alteration of its culture. The Western powers’ economic supremacy, exploitation of the Ottomans’ internal failures and influence on its religious state each significantly contributed.
Unlike most “victimized” cultures of Western European domination, the Ottoman Empire was considerably successful and powerful for many years, particularly in the sixteenth and early seventeenth century under the rule of Sulayman the Magnificent (Haberman, 132). By 1520, the Ottoman Empire had secured much of the Arab Middle East, Belgrade and most of Hungary (Haberman, 132...


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... non-Muslim communities, called millets, to freely practice their religions as long as they continued to pay taxes. Nevertheless, they remained largely secluded from high culture and influential positions (Muhlberger). This had changed by the early nineteenth century, as a result of the European-imposed Capitulations. Christians within the empire became heavily privileged via their contact with the Christian European powers as they were able to access the European markets (Muhlberger). Like the European merchants, the Christian inhabitants in the empire too did not necessarily have to abide Ottoman regulations under the Capitulations (Muhlberger). The resulting economic and political leverages naturally caused their status in Ottoman society to ascend (Muhlberger). Once considered a source of income, Christians became deemed as a potential threat to Ottoman society.


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