Ottoman Turks

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The Ottoman Turks (or Osmanlı Turks) were the subdivision of the Ottoman Muslim Millet (today Turkish people) that dominated the ruling class of the Ottoman Empire. Reliable information about the early history of the Ottomans is scarce. According to some sources (references needed), the leader (khan) of the Kayi tribe of the Oghuz Turks, Ertugrul, left Persia in the mid-13th century to escape the invading Mongols. He took service with the sultan of Rum and was permitted to invade and conquer lands in Bithynia, adjacent to the Byzantine territories of Nicomedia (Izmit), Nicaea, and Bursa. He was successful in this quest, founding an amirate which rapidly grew in military strength because the lure of Byzantine booty attracted mercenary gazis from neighboring amirates. His son and successor, Osman I (reigned ca. 1299-1326), became the eponymous founder of the Osmanli (later corrupted by Europeans into "Ottoman") dynasty, which ruled the Ottoman empire during most of its 620 year rise and history.


Brief history

The "Ottomans" became first known to the West in 1227 when they migrated westward into the Seljuk Empire, in Anatolia. However, the Ottoman Turks would create a state in Western Anatolia under Ertugrul, the capital of which was Sögüt; near Bursa to the south of the Marmara, the body of water between the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea. Ertugrul established a principality, as part of the decaying Seljuk empire. His son Osman expanded the principality; and for him, both the empire and the people were named by Europeans as "Ottomans". Osman's son Orhan expanded the growing empire, taking Nicaea, present-day Iznik, and crossed the Dardanelles strait, in 1362. But the Ottoman Empire came into its own when Mehmed II captured the Byzantine Empire's capital, Constantinople (subsequently to be known as Istanbul), in 1453.

The Ottoman Empire would come to rule much of the Balkans, the Fertile Crescent, and even Egypt, over the course of several centuries; with an advanced army and navy. The Empire lasted until the end of the First World War, when it was defeated by the Allies. It was succeeded by the modern Republic of Turkey, founded by Kemal Atatürk in 1923.

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