Slavery In The Ottoman Empire In Europe

Slavery In The Ottoman Empire In Europe

The Ottoman Empire, driven by Islamic beliefs and supported by Islamic institutions, was the one of the biggest and most enduring empires in the history of the world. This empire came to replace the Byzantines as the most powerful force in the eastern part of the Mediterranean. Reaching the heights of power in 1566 under Suleiman the Magnificent the empire then encroached into the Balkans and Hungary.
This vast realm was administered through a regime of steely discipline and highly centralised inter connecting administrative agencies.


When power needed to transfer, this was also to a single VIP rather than divided between competing royal families, and overall, the Sultan was revered as the protector of Islam. Stability reigned as the Ottoman Empire was successfully ruled by a single family for 7 centuries. Strength and control also came from keeping both the education system and the judicial system under state administration. Local chieftains were harshly dealt with as power and promotion were only given to those who adhered to the state ideology.
The empire built alliances across racial and political groupings and gradually these became united and strengthened by Islamic beliefs and ideology.
The army, bolstered by slaves, subscribed to an Islamic warrior code with the aim of ideal of expanding Muslim territories through Jihad. When they encountered other faiths, they solicited their loyalty and kept some of the new ideas if they worked, absorbing them into their own culture, but the private power and wealth of individuals was reigned in. Gunpowder was developed by the military and the army became stronger and larger, spreading a military attitude through the whole society.
As all of these strategies strengthened the empire, so it sustained and drove the army to new heights, and the empire condoned the taking of slaves for the strong military to use. The army encouraged the loyalty of slaves to the Islamic cause by sharing their religious beliefs and inventing a more elite brand of slavery where loyal brave soldiers could be lauded and enriched but never pass on their wealth. They acquired the slaves by force, when they conquered new lands.
Non-Muslims in parts of the empire had to give their children to the state as a tax under the devshirme or 'gathering' system brought in during the 14th century. Some of them were trained up for local government , where they could get highly promoted, and others were taken into the Janissaries, the elite army regiment of the Ottoman Empire which was almost entirely composed of forced converts from conquered Christian lands. The devshirme military slaves played a major part in Mehmet's conquest of Constantinople, and from then on they were given elite positions in the Ottoman government system.


The Ottoman Empire Grows Stronger

Slaves were owned in every Islamic society, both nomadic and fixed , ranging from Arabia to North Africa in the west and to Pakistan and Indonesia (as we know them now) in the east.
Some Islamic states, such as the Ottoman Empire, the Crimean Khanate, and the Nigerian Sokoto caliphate must have to be called slave societies because slaves there were significant due to their number and their assignment to politics.
The Ottomans thought that a body of well trained slaves loyal only to the emperor and completely dependent on his good will would serve the government more effectively and reliably than a royal family whose interests might be at odds with those of the ruler.
Historians have been fascinated by the uniqueness of the Mamluk elite soldier slave concept. It was unjust in some ways as Mamluks were not allowed to leave their positions and privileges to their sons but it provided Islam with a strong effective army and an excellent political system.

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