Osman I

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Osman I, Osman Gazi Khan or Othman I El-Gazi (1258[1] – 1324) Ottoman Turkish, Persian: عثمان بن أرطغرل, Turkish: Osman Gazi or Osman Bey or I.Osman), nicknamed "Kara" for his courage, was the leader of the Ottoman Turks, and the founder of the dynasty that established and ruled the Ottoman Empire. The Empire, named after him, would prevail as a world empire [2] for over six centuries.

Osman announced the independence of his own small kingdom from the Seljuk Turks in 1299. The westward drive of the Mongol invasions had pushed scores of Muslims toward Osman's Anatolian principality, a power base that Osman was quick to consolidate. As the eastern branch of the Ancient Roman Empire declined, the Ottoman Empire rose to take its place.


Origins of empire

Ertuğrul, Osman's father, led the Turkic Kayi tribe west into Anatolia, fleeing the Mongol onslaught. His mother was named Khaima. He pledged allegiance to Sultan Kayqubad I of the Seljuk principality of Rum, who gave him permission to establish an emirate and expand it if he could, at the expense of the neighboring Byzantine provinces. This location was auspicious, as the wealthy Byzantine Empire was weakening to his West, while in the east, Muslim forces under the Seljuk Turks were splintered and distracted in the face of relentless Mongol aggression and internal bickering. Baghdad had been sacked by Hulagu Khan in 1258, the very year Osman I was born. In 1231, Ertuğrul conquered the (Nicean) Byzantine town of Thebasion, which was renamed to Söğüt and became the initial capital of his territory.

Osman became chief, or Bey, upon his father’s death in 1281. By this time, mercenaries were streaming into his realm from all over the Islamic world to fight against and hopefully plunder the weakening Orthodox empire. In addition, the Turkic population of Osman's emirate were constantly reinforced by a flood of refugees, fleeing from the Mongols. Of these, many were Ghazi warriors, or fighters for Islam, border fighters who believed they were fighting for the expansion or defense of Islam. Under the strong and able leadership of Osman, these forces quickly proved a formidable force, and the foundations of the Empire were quickly laid.

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