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Ottoman History

The Ottoman Dynasty – Rise of Muslims Episode 6

Based entirely on the book by Ali Mahmood titled “Muslims” –

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The Ottoman dynasty governed the Muslims and built one of the largest empires the world has ever seen

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When the Ottomans almost conquered Italy

In 1480 Memet the Conqueror launched the most audacious expedition of his leadership.

He sent an army under the Grand Admiral of the Ottman Navy, Gedik Ahmet Pashato Southern Italy to capture Otranto.

The army moved inland towards Brindisi, Taranto and Lecce, but Duke Ferrante of Naples led a counterattack.

The army was pushed back to Otranto and majority of the Ottoman Army sailed away.

However, they left a group of troops stationed at Otranto whilst the Greek Island of Rhodes was being captured.

When the Island of Rhodes was abandoned, the Ottomans returned and continued fighting well into 1481.

The occupation of Italian lands so close to the main altar of Christiandom caused a great level of concern and panic.

Blame was shifted around in Italy. Venice people were acused of doing nothing and even accused of helping the Ottomans.

In spite of the retention of Rhodes, fear of the Ottomans was now at the highest.

Mehmet the Conqueror himself was said to be coming to Italy and the Pope considered fleeing to Avignon.

Instead he asked for assistance. But what saved Italy from the Ottomans was only the eventual death of Mehmet in 1481.

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How an Ottoman Sultan Helped Ireland During the Great Famine

The Great Famine in the mid-19th century was one of the most devastating events in Irish history.

Between 1845 and 1852, potato blight hit the island’s potato crop. The potato was a staple item of food in Ireland. A lack of good harvesting led to mass starvation, disease, and the deaths of nearly a million people.

One of the unexpected sources of aid in this crisis was the Ottoman Caliphate. Sultan Abdul Majeed I the First, went out of his way to try to help so he could ease the suffering of the Irish people.

Sultan Abdul Majeed was only 23 years old in 1847 when he personally offered £10,000 in aid to Ireland, but he had already ruled the Caliphate for nearly ten years.

In that time, he earned the admiration of many of his own subjects and others around the world. But this time he would have to scale back his generosity.

British diplomats advised him that it would be offensive for anyone to offer more than Queen Victoria, who had only donated £2,000.

It was suggested that he should donate half of that amount, so he gave £1,000.

The Sultan’s donation was appreciated by the public in Britain and Ireland as well. One English religious journal published an article titled “A Benevolent Sultan” in which the author wrote,

“For the first time a Mohammedan sovereign, representing multitudinous Islamic populations, manifests spontaneously a warm sympathy with a Christian nation. May such sympathies, in all the genial charities of a common humanity, be cultivated and henceforth ever be maintained between the followers of the crescent and the cross!”

The press also blamed the British diplomats in Constantinople for rejecting the initial donation of £10,000 just to avoid embarrassing Queen Victoria.

Meanwhile, Sultan Abdul Majeed had found other ways to help.

Today, the port town of Drogheda in Ireland includes a crescent and a star, both of which are symbols of Islam, in its coat of arms.

Local tradition in the town has it that these symbols were adopted after the Ottoman Empire secretly sent five ships loaded with food to the town in May 1847.

The reason for the secrecy is that the British administration had allegedly tried to block the ships from entering Drogheda’s harbor.
Evidence that story these claims include newspaper articles from the period and a letter from Irish notables explicitly thanking the sultan for his help.

The nationalist Irish Freeman’s Journal celebrated these efforts.
“The conduct of Abdul Majeed on the occasion referred to,” the author wrote, “was that of a good, humane, and generous man. A believer in Mohammedanism, he acted in the true spirit of a follower of Christ, and set an example which many professing Christians would do well to imitate.”

Though Abdul Majeed probably hadn’t expected any kind of returns on his aid to the Irish, some of them rallied to his side in 1854, just two years after the famine ended.

Britain had become involved in the Crimean War to defend Ottoman territory against an expanding Russian Empire.

In addition to Irish nurses and engineers (and some of the first war journalists in history), about 30,000 Irish soldiers served in the war.

Despite the suffering that they and their families had endured during the Great Famine, they were noticed to be serving enthusiastically in defense of the territory of the sultan who had helped them in their time of need.

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When the Ottoman Caliphate Saved Britain

When the Ottoman Caliphate Saved Britain

From her accession to the throne in 1558, Queen Elizabeth began seeking diplomatic, commercial and military ties with Muslim rulers.

In 1570, when it became clear that Protestant England would not return to the Catholic faith, the pope excommunicated Elizabeth and called for her to be stripped of her crown.

Soon the might of Catholic Spain was against her, an invasion was imminent.

English merchants were prohibited from trading with the rich markets of the Spanish Netherlands.

Economic and political isolation threatened to destroy the newly Protestant country.

Elizabeth responded by reaching out to the Ottoman Caliphate. Spain’s only rival was the Ottoman Empire ruled by Sultan Murad III.

The Ottomans had been fighting the Hapsburgs for decades, conquering parts of Hungary.

Elizabeth hoped that an alliance with the Sultan would provide much needed relief from Spanish military aggression and enable her merchants to tap into the lucrative markets of the East.

The Caliphate was far more powerful than Elizabeth’s little Island nation floating in the soggy mists off Europe.

Elizabeth wanted to explore her new trade alliances, but couldn’t afford to finance them. Her response was to exploit the obscure commercial innovation – joint stock companies.

The capital from the companies was used to fund the costs of commercial voyages.

Elizabeth enthusiastically backed the Muscovy company which traded with Persia and went on to inspire the formation of a company that traded with the Ottomans and the East India Company which would eventually conquer India.

In the 1580s she signed a commercial agreement with the Ottomans that would last over 300 years granting her merchants free commercial access to Ottoman lands.

As money poured in, Elizabeth began writing letters to her Muslim counterparts extolling the benefits of reciprocal trade.

She wrote as a supplicant, calling Murad “The most mighty ruler of the Kingdom of Turkey, sole and above all, and most sovereign monarch of the East Empire.”

She also played on their mutual hostility to Catholicism, describing herself as “the most invincible and most mighty defender of the Christian faith against all kind of idolatries.”

Thousands of English traders crossed many of today’s regions, like Aleppo and Mosul which were far safer than they would have been on a journey through Catholic Europe where they risked falling into the hands of the Inquisition.

Some Englishman even converted to Islam such as Samson Rowlie, a Norfolk merchant who became Hassan Aga.

English aristocrats delighted in the silks and spices of the East, exchanged it for munitions that were shipped out to Turkey.

The sugar, silks, carpets and spices transformed what the English ate, how they decorated their homes and how they dressed.

Despite the commercial success, the British economy was unable to sustains its reliance on far-flung trade.

After Queen Elizabeth’s death in 1604, the new King, James I, signed a peace treaty with Spain ending England’s exile.

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5 Weapons Used By The Ottomans


The yatagan or yataghan is a type of Ottoman knife used from the mid-16th to late 19th centuries

Yatagans consist of a single-edged slightly curved blade, 60-80CM Long with a bone or ivory hilt

In Ottoman period, yatagans were made in all the major cities of the Ottoman Empire, particularly Constantinople, Bursa and Filibe

One of the finest and earliest examples of the type was the weapon made for Suleiman the Magnificent, who ruled over the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to 1566.


The Kilij, (from Turkish kılıç, literally “sword”)  as a specific type of sabre associated with the Ottoman Turks and the Mamluks of Egypt,

it was recognisable by the late 15th century. The oldest surviving examples sport a long blade curving slightly from the hilt and more strongly in the distal half.

The Central Asian Turks and their offshoots begun using curved cavalry swords beginning from the late Hsiung-Nu period.

The earliest examples of curved, single edged Turkish swords can be found associated with the late Hsiung-nu and Kok Turk empires.

Ottoman Mace

Maces are a type of weapon used by many in history, with each having their own designs, usually blunt or and relatively short

Maces where designed to be used with brute force to damage armoured opponents as bladed weapons struggled to penetrate foot soldiers armour

Ottomen maces where blunt with no/little sharp edges as they could get caught and stuck in their opponents plating.

Volley Gun

The Ottomen where one of the first people to use volley type guns

Crafted out of pure bronze, the ottoman used 9 barreled-Wheeled cannons able to thin out infantry groups

They fired stone pellets hundreds of feet towards there enemy at tremendous speeds.

Dardanelles Gun

The Dardanelles Gun was cast in bronze in 1464 by Munir Ali

with a weight of 16.8 t and a length of 5.18 m it was able to fire 24.8 inch stone/Marble boulders weighing up to 1000 Pounds up to a mile

it was used in many Widley known battles such as the Dardanelles Operation, siege of Constantinople and many more

Along with other huge cannons, the Dardanelles Gun was still present for duty more than 340 years later in 1807 and was used to fight the British.








The Ottoman-Portuguese War

The second Ottoman-Portuguese War (1538–1559) was an armed military conflict between the Portuguese Empire, the Kingdom of Hormuz and the Ethiopian Empire against the Ottoman EmpireAjuran Sultanate, and Adal Sultanate, into the Horn of Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and in East Africa.


This war took place upon the backdrop of the Ethiopian-Adal War. Ethiopia had been invaded in 1529 by the Somali Imam Ahmed Gragn. Portuguese help, which was first asked by Emperor Lebna Dengel in 1520 to help defeat Adal while it was weak, finally arrived in Mitsiwa on February 10, 1541, during the reign of Emperor Galawdewos. The force was led by Cristóvão da Gama (second son of Vasco da Gama) and included 400 musketeers, several breech-loading field guns and few Portuguese cavalry as well as a number of artisans and other non-combatants.

War begins

Major hostilities between Portugal and the Ottoman Empire began in 1538, when the Ottomans with 54 ships laid siege to Diu, which had been built by the Portuguese in 1535. The Ottoman fleet was led by Suleiman I‘s governor of Egypt Suleiman Pasha, but the attack was not successful and the siege was lifted.

The Portuguese under Estêvão da Gama (first son of Vasco da Gama) organized an expedition to destroy the Ottoman fleet at Suez, leaving Goa on December 31, 1540 and reaching Aden January 27, 1541. The fleet reached Massawa on February 12, where Gama left a number of ships and continued north. The Portuguese then sacked the Ottoman port of Suakin. Reaching Suez, he discovered that the Ottomans had long known of his raid, and foiled his attempt to burn the beached ships. Gama was forced to retrace his steps to Massawa, although pausing to attack the port of El-Tor (Sinai Peninsula).

On February, 1542, Cristóvão da Gama and his forces were able to capture an important Adalite stronghold at the Battle of Baçente. The Portuguese were again victorious at the Battle of Jarte, killing almost all of the Turkish contingent. However, the Gragn then requested aid from the Ottoman governor of Yemen in Aden, who sent 2000 Arabian musketeers, 900 Turkish pikemen, 1000 Turkish foot musketeers, some Shqiptar foot soldiers (with muskets) and Turkish horsemen. In the Battle of Wofla, Somali and Turkish forces defeated the Portuguese, Gama was captured and killed by Gragn himself upon refusing to convert to Islam.

Gelawdewos was eventually able to reorganize his forces and absorb the remaining Portuguese soldiers and defeated Gragn (who was killed) at the Battle of Wayna Daga, marking the end of the Ethiopian-Adalite war (although warfare would resume not long after, at a much diminished scale).

Elsewhere in the Indian Ocean naval combat was also intense. In 1547 the Admiral Piri Reis took command of the Ottoman-Egyptian fleet in the Indian Ocean and on 26 February 1548 recaptured Aden, in 1552 sacked Muscat. Turning further east, Piri Reis failed to capture Hormuz,[2] at the entrance of the Persian Gulf. In 1554 the Portuguese soundly defeated an Ottoman fleet led by Seydi Ali Reis in the Battle of the Gulf of Oman and in 1557 the Ottoman captured the port of Massawa to the province of Habesh. Finally, in 1559 the Ottomans lay siege to Bahrain but the Portuguese successfully repel the attack.


Unable to decisively defeat the Portuguese or threaten their shipping, the Ottomans abstained from further substantial action in the near future, choosing instead to supply Portuguese enemies such as the Aceh Sultanate. The Portuguese on their part enforced their commercial and diplomatical ties with Safavid Persia, an enemy of the Ottoman Empire.

See also
  1. Mesut Uyar, Edward J. Erickson, A military history of the Ottomans: from Osman to Atatürk, ABC CLIO, 2009, p. 76, “In the end both Ottomans and Portuguese had the recognize the other side’s sphere of influence and tried to consolidate their bases and network of alliances.”
  2. Holt, Lambton, Lewis, p. 332
  • Peter Malcolm Holt, Ann K. S. Lambton, Bernard Lewis The Cambridge history of Islam 1977.
  • Attila and Balázs Weiszhár: Lexicon of War (Háborúk lexikona), Athenaum publisher, Budapest 2004.
  • Britannica Hungarica, Hungarian encyclopedia, Hungarian World publisher, Budapest 1994.

Original Source – https://www.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=Ottoman%E2%80%93Portuguese+conflicts+(1538%E2%80%9357)

50 pictures of the late Ottoman era that will blow your mind

A poster calling for the unification and mobilization of Muslims to support the Caliphate during World War I, 1914.

A poster calling for the unification and mobilization of Muslims to support the Caliphate during World War I, 1914.

Illumination of Eminönü New Mosque during Ramadhan in 1811.

Kaaba, Ottoman-era Makkah, early 1900’s.

The tomb of Kanunî Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, Istanbul, 1817.

On June 1, 1911 in Ottoman history, the Ottoman Air Force (Kıtaat-ı Fenniye ve Mevaki-i Müstahkame) was founded.

An Ottoman soldier, Istanbul, 1870’s.

Tarawih prayer in Hagia Sophia mosque during the month of Ramadhan, Ottoman Istanbul.

The first dig phase of the construction project of the Istanbul-Baghdad railway, Konya-Baghdad Line, 1903.

Camels resting outside the Fatih mosque, Istanbul, 1900’s.

Galata tower, Ottoman Istanbul, 1911.

Circassians in Ottoman Istanbul, c1900.

Selimiye mosque, built in Edirne by the Master Architect Mimar Sinan between 1568-1574

An Ottoman miniature of Makkah, 1800’s.


Transport of Ottoman ships over land during the conquest of Constantinople, May 29, 1453. Done upon the orders of Fatih Sultan Mehmed, this military tactic has entered into history as one of the most strategic moves in military history.

The Ottoman ‘Şahi’ cannons used during the conquest of Constantinople on May 29, 1453.

May 29, 1453 in Ottoman history marks the conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul) by Fatih Sultan Mehmed, following a 53-day siege of the city. Sultan Mehmed II’s conquest which led to the fall of the Byzantine Empire was prophesied by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in his famous narration (hadith):
“Verily you shall conquer Constantinople. What a wonderful leader will he be, and what a wonderful army will that army be!”

The conquest of Constantinople by Fatih Sultan Mehmed, May 29, 1453.

A grandfather and his grandson reading Qur’an, Istanbul, 1800’s.

The public procession of Sultan Abdülhamid II, Ottoman Istanbul, 1800’s.

The Ramadan cannon being fired from the Tower of David in Jerusalem, Ottoman Palestine, 1900’s.

Topkapı, Ottoman Istanbul, 1890’s.

An Ottoman mosque between the columns of an ancient temple in Latakia, Ottoman Syria, c1800.

Ottoman Istanbul, late 1800’s.

Ottoman gold coin from the era of Sultan Selim II, Baghdad, 1566.

The Ottoman army led by the Grand Vizier Koca Yusuf Pasha advancing towards Sofia in 1788 during the Austro-Ottoman War.

A picture of one of the most famed Ottoman photographers, Pascal Sébah (middle) sitting at the Fountain of Sultan Ahmed III, Istanbul, 1870.

The Süleymaniye mosque, Ottoman Istanbul, 1680

The Bodrum Castle, 1860’s.

Ottoman guards at the Port of Iskenderun, Anatolia, c1800.

Ottoman Istanbul, late 1800’s.

Hejaz Railway, Damascus-Haifa line, early 1900’s.

Ottoman children, early 1900’s.

Ottoman Medina, 1850’s.

Map of Vilâyet-i Kosova‎, Ottoman Empire, late 1800’s

Bazaar time in Istanbul, 1800’s

Topkapi Palace, Ottoman Istanbul, 1600’s.

Ferik-i Evvel (Field Marshal) Hüseyin Nâzım Pasha, the Turkish Minister of War of the Ottoman Empire, First Balkan War, 1913. He was assassinated in the same year.

Travelling through Ottoman Syria, 1837.

Conducting business in the street, a bustling venue for sales, Ottoman Istanbul, 1920. This is a practice that has popularly continued into the present-day.

Sultan Mahmud Han’s II calligraphy with the saying of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in the first line: “My intercession will be for those of my community who committed great sins.” In the second line the Sultan begs for the intercession of the Prophet.

A British map of the political landscape between Ottoman Istanbul and Burma, 1912.

United States Embassy in Ottoman Istanbul, World War I.

Interior of the Sultanahmet Blue mosque, Ottoman Istanbul, 1890’s.

Turkish women, Ottoman Istanbul, 1919

Men from the Ottoman Içel Sanjak region (Mersin) of different ethnic backgrounds, 1890’s.

The Ottoman city of Çorlu, 1800’s.

Ottoman Istanbul, c1850.

Doctors from India (modern day Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India) volunteered in treating Ottoman wounded soldiers during the Balkan wars by serving in the Ottoman Red Crescent (Hilâl-i Ahmer), 1912. They arrived at Istanbul using their own personal expenses or via funds donated by fellow Muslims in India. This mission was led by Dr. Muhtar Ahmad Ansari. Abdur Rehman Peshawari (third row, second from left) was forced to sell all of his belongings to come to Istanbul. He continued to defend and serve in the Ottomans until his death.

Süleymaniye mosque, Istanbul, 1800’s.

An Ottoman Turkish coffee pot, 1800’s.

250mm cannon of the Mesudiye Ironclad battleship, 1876.

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