Turkey 1453 CE

The Ottoman empire captures the great city of Constantinople.

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What is happening in Turkey in 1453CE

In Asia Minor, the Seljuq sultanate of Rum suffered a destructive invasion by the Mongols (1293), and quickly fell apart. It was succeeded by numerous military chiefdoms under the control of Muslim Turkish warriors, called ghazis, committed to fighting against Christian Byzantium.

The rise of the Ottoman empire

One such ghazi, called Osman, established himself in a leading position on the Byzantine frontier. His successors captured the historic Byzantine cities of Nicaea (1331) and Nicomedia (1337), and had soon annexed the whole of north-west Anatolia, once the heartland of the Byzantine empire. From there, they crossed into the south-eastern corner of Europe and moved up into the Balkans.

The growth of this state – known to history as the Ottoman empire – was interrupted by a disastrous defeat at the battle of Ankara (1402) at the hands of Timur.

The fall of Constantinople

However, the Ottoman sultans soon re-established their control, and reorganized their military forces around their fearsomely efficient palace army, the Janissaries. With this new force the Ottomans resumed their conquests, and this year, under sultan Mehmed II, the Conqueror, they capture the city of Constantinople, finally extinguishing the Roman Empire and sending a shock wave throughout Europe.

Next map, Turkey in 1648

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