The Ottoman Empire fall is an important historical tale. The Ottoman Empire started with several tribes, who gathered under the name of their religion.

The empire rose to its peak and took over many cities, countries, and territories before it eventually fell on its feet.

Read ahead about the rise and downfall of Ottoman Empire and the reason that its name disappeared from the map of the world.

Why Did the Ottoman Empire Fall

This question has been asked many times before, and the answer can be subjective. The empire that once held control over the silk routes and multiple countries at one time, lost its credibility in front of its people and the world. To understand the whole record of the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire, we must start from its beginning.

The Origin of the Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire started when Osman I of the Kai tribe in Sogut, Anatolia urged the nearby tribes to come together and fight in the name of their religion. These nomadic tribes contained warriors that were fighting non-believers for quite a long time. At that time, at the start of the 13th century, the crusaders were also fighting in the name of their religion and taking over cities, one by one.

Osman Gazi was a devout Muslim and an exceptional warrior. He and his people lived simple lives. Osman gathered similar tribes, that lived simply and believed in the religion of Islam. The name Ottoman was derived from the name of its founder Osman.

After he put down the routes of the Ottoman Empire, he and his people, the Turks set up a formal government and expanded their territories. Osman I launched raids against the weakened Christian Byzantine Empire. The headquarters of the empire was moved to Bursa in 1326, and the rise of the Ottoman Empire began.

The Rise of the Ottoman Empire

The descendants of Osman I took his vision and made it a reality. The Ottoman Empire was now a dynasty. The empire was run under the orders of the Sultan. The Ottoman Empire was now in a strong position, military and wealth-wise. They expanded their territories and took many countries under their rule.

Some of the important countries that controlled were:

  • Greece
  • Bulgaria
  • Egypt
  • Hungary
  • Macedonia
  • Romania
  • Jordan
  • Palestine
  • Lebanon
  • Syria
  • Some parts of Arabia and North Africa coastal strip

The End of the Byzantine Empire

In 1453, the sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Mehmed II, laid siege to the once thought of as an unconquerable city, Constantinople. Constantinople was the capital of the Byzantine Empire. It was named after Constantine, the first Christian ruler of Rome. The Turks took over the city and put an end to the Byzantine Empire, which was ruling for more than 1000 years.

It was a great victory for the Ottoman Empire. Sultan Mehmed renamed Constantinople Istanbul and designated it as the new capital of all operations of the Ottoman Empire. Mehmed died in 1481 after ruling successfully for many years and bringing utmost glory to the Ottoman Empire.

The Peak of the Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire reached its peak in the 16th century. Between 1520 and 1566, it was the strongest empire in the whole world. This period was under the rule of Suleiman the magnificent. The empire saw utmost stability, wealth, and power. Sultan Suleiman was seen as religious as well as a political ruler.

He fulfilled all the gaps his kingdom was lacking. He introduced new and improved governing rules that benefited everyone. He welcomed the culture of arts and music from all around the world. Specific taxation and custom laws were put in place that boosted the economy of the Empire like never before.

Special attention to the medical and architectural sectors was given. As the Ottoman empire used to import most of its medicines and medical equipment, Suleiman set up colleges and educational institutes for learning and creating. A lot of work on sciences was also done under the reign of Sultan Suleiman the magnificent.

A total of 36 sultans ruled the Ottoman Empire in their own time. It was a successful empire until the start of the 16th century. It is hard to believe that an empire like the Ottoman empire, so ahead of its time, could fall.

But it did, and the reasons behind its fall are various. Let us now look at the reasons for the Ottoman Empire decline.

The Fall of the Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire collapse started with them losing their stability, power, and wealth at the start of the 16th century. They lost their military and economic power and control over Europe around the same time. There are many reasons for the decline of the Ottoman Empire, and here we discuss them one by one:

– Fratricide

As the Ottoman Empire was essentially a dynasty. The successors of the Sultan concentrated more on who will sit on the throne and enjoy the riches rather than thinking about how to keep their control over the empire. In the reign of Sultan Selim, the concept of Fratricide was introduced. It was a vile and brutal concept.

According to it, when a sultan died, and a new sultan was to be picked, the brothers and cousins of the legitimate heir were murdered or imprisoned for life. This was done to eliminate any chance of a staged coup or unfair takeover.

The concept of fratricide did more damage than good. Young boys were killed in their sleep, fathers and brothers were taken away from their families because the sultan could live without fear.

This was one of the main reasons for the fall of the Ottoman empire. They became more concerned with the throne than the duty itself.

– Industrial Revolution in Europe

Europe was going through an industrial revolution. They were getting stronger in their trade with India and America. Due to the problems of succession back at the capital of the Ottoman Empire, the empire’s representatives in Europe were getting weaker. Europeans thought it was the best time to regain their land and authority, so they did as they knew the weaknesses of the Ottoman Empire.

– The Balkan Wars

The Europeans started revolting and forming alliances with external forces against the Ottoman Empire. Many different wars were fought between the Europeans and The Ottomans. The Balkan Wars took place between 1912 and 1913.

Greece, Vienna, Bulgaria, Romania, and Serbia gained their independence, and the Ottomans lost nearly all of their control over Europe. With no control over the European states and major instability back home, the Ottoman Empire was pretty shaken.

– The Debt of the Ottoman Empire

Around the time when the Ottomans lost Europe, they were 716,000,000 pounds in debt. 60 percent of this debt was owed to France, 20 percent to Germany, and 15 percent to Great Britain. From here, we can deduce how much the Ottoman empire was in crisis.

– The Young Turk Revolution

The Young Turks of the empire took it upon themselves to bring equality and justice in the judicial system of the empire. They were against all and any discrimination.

As the Ottoman empire was mainly Muslim, they did not have many flexible laws for non-Muslims. Also, the young Turks were highly giant in the dynasty system and wanted fair elections for electing men in power.

This revolution shook the Ottoman empire as its people stood up against it and wanted justice. The dynasty agreed to elections.

The young Turks formed their political party called the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP). In the election of 1908, many political parties came into the election, but the elections did not go as planned.

There was no conclusive outcome, so Sultan Abdul Hamid II took control over the empire once again. In 1913, alongside the Balkan wars, the CUP took control of the Ottoman government and ousted the dynasty. Even though the dynasty’s rule was now finished, the empire still faced a lot of internal and external threats.

– The World War 1

World War 1 started in 1914. The war was between the Allies (France, Russia, Great Britain, and other countries) and the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria). The war was dubbed as the war to end all wars. The Ottoman Empire took the side of the Central Powers and eventually lost, as the Allies won.

The war ended in 1918, and this was when the name of the Ottoman Empire was erased from the world’s map. The war left the empire broken and up for grabs. Its territories were divided and given to neighboring countries.

– The Armenian Genocide

As the Ottoman Empire was broken down and given to other countries, the Turkish leaders secretly planned to take revenge. They slaughtered more than 1.5 million Armenians in answer to their country being torn apart. This genocide is, to date, the most inhumane and damning event associated with the Ottoman empire.

It is illegal to talk about the Armenian Genocide in Turkey today, and no one is answerable to why and what prompted the leaders to take such drastic steps.

And just like this, the Ottoman empire that ruled for more than 600 years took Europe under their rule and gave the world such a rich culture, died down.


The Ottoman Empire was one of the greatest empires in the world. They started with humble beginnings under the rule of Osman Gazi and spread over a big part of the world. The empire eventually declined after the first world war. The reasons for their fall were numerous, mostly internal and alarmingly external as well.


  • Baram, Uzi, and Lynda Carroll, editors. A Historical Archaeology of the Ottoman Empire: Breaking New Ground (Plenum/Kluwer Academic Press, 2000)
  • Barkey, Karen. Empire of Difference: The Ottomans in Comparative Perspective. (2008) 357pp, excerpt and text search


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