West Africa 1300-1615
Central, South Africa 1300-1615
Byzantine, Balkan Decline 1300-1453
Ottoman Empire to 1520
Ottoman Empire 1520-1615
Persia in the 14th Century
Timur, Timurids, and the Safavids
Ibn Khaldun on History
Africa and the Middle East 1300-1615
North Africa 1300-1615
By 1275 the Mamluk empire in Egypt had annexed the northern part of the Nubian kingdom that was Christian. When Sanbu became king of Nubia at Dongola, Mukurra officially converted to Islam and made the cathedral a mosque in 1317. After 1320 the Manfalut province paid tribute to the Egyptian sultan, and it became a slave market. Despite Nubian efforts to regain their independence led by Kanz al-Daula (d. 1323) and Banu 'l-Kanz, Dongola was destroyed. In 1365 Kenuz and Ikrima Arabs ravaged southern Egypt and murdered the Nubian king, and the capital was moved to Du. The monarchy collapsed in 1397 when the king of Du fled to Cairo. Islam replaced Christianity in Nubia, and in the next century 'Alwa was also overrun by pastoral Egyptian Arabs. 'Alwa was destroyed in 1504 when Amara Dunkas (d. 1534) became the first Funj king of Sennar, replacing the Christian kings. After the Funj were defeated by the Turks at Hannak in 1520, the Nubians appealed to Ethiopia for Christian priests. Funj king Dakin b. Nail (r. 1569-1586) was considered a good administrator.
Mamluk means slave, and this dynasty rose in Egypt during the later crusades through military discipline and by seizing the throne of Egypt in 1250. Al-Nasir Muhammad, the son of Kala'un (r. 1279-1290), became sultan and was deposed twice before his third long reign (1310-1341). In 1316 he implemented military feudalism with his cadastral survey that redistributed lands as fiefs and taxed agricultural products. A hundred thousand workers lengthened the Alexandria canal so that a dozen new dams could irrigate more land. Karimi merchants helped the sultan and his governors endow madrasas and waqfs for charitable purposes and to patronize poets and scholars, who often criticized the luxurious lives of the ruling class. During this era Egypt produced and gave hospitality to several outstanding historians. In mid-century the black plague killed about 900,000 people in Cairo. Christians were persecuted, and the Coptic patriarch Marcos was imprisoned in 1352. For forty years after al-Nasir's death his eight sons, two grandsons, and two great-grandsons struggled for power. In 1365 Cypriots, Venetians, and Genoese attacked and plundered Alexandria. Turkish slaves were being replaced by Circassians, and a Circassian named Barquq (r. 1382-1399) became sultan; but the
Mamluks in Syria revolted against his son Faraj, who was finally killed in 1411.
Then two Mamluk's named al-Mu'ayyad (r. 1412-1421) and Barsbay (r. 1422-1437) tried to restore order. Barsbay gained wealth by monopolizing sugar and by taxing the spice trade from India that passed through Egypt to Europe. He also banned the use of European gold coins in his realm. Karimi and European merchants protested and explored other routes. Egypt's navy fought corsairs in the Mediterranean, and in 1425 they captured Cyprus king James of Lusignan, who became a vassal and promised tribute; but later attempts to conquer Rhodes failed. Mamluk sultans Jaqmaq (r. 1438-1453) and Inal (1453-1461) used diplomacy to fend off an invasion from the Ottoman Turks; but in 1481 Sultan Qait Bay (r. 1467-1496) made the mistake of giving refuge to the Ottoman prince Jem, who was challenging his brother, Sultan Bayezid II. In 1485 the Ottomans invaded Cilicia, but the Mamluks fought them off for five years. Conflicts with Europeans caused the two Muslim empires to get along for a while.
In 1501 the Mamluks elected Qansawh al-Ghawri, and he complained to the Pope about the Portuguese navy that had rounded Africa and entered the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. Qansawh al-Ghawri had a fleet built that defeated a Portuguese squadron off the coast of Malabar in 1508; but the following year the Egyptian fleet was destroyed by the Portuguese navy at Diu. The Mamluks built another navy and got help from the Ottomans and were able to defend Aden from a Portuguese attack in 1513. Selim I became Ottoman sultan in 1512 and attacked the Mamluks in Asia Minor four years later before invading Syria. The Mamluk cavalry was no match for the Turks' use of firearms. The Mamluks elected Tuman-bay sultan in 1516 at Cairo, but the governors would not let him be viceroy under the Ottoman rule. In January 1517 the Ottoman army defeated the Mamluks near Cairo; Tuman-bay fled but was captured and hanged. Egypt became a part of the Ottoman empire with Khayr Bey as governor.
Ahmad Pasha al-Khayr claimed the sultanate of Egypt and was killed in 1524. The next year Turkish vizier Ibrahim Pasha inspected Egypt and codified a new administrative policy. Seliman (r. 1525-1538) became the pasha of Egypt. In the middle of the 16th century the Ottomans established garrisons at Aswan, Ibrim, and Bay, calling the territory Berberistan, and Sinan Pasha sent an expedition to Yemen in 1568. Military troops in Egypt revolted in 1586 and again three years later. Troop mutinies accelerated after 1598, climaxing in the killing of another Ibrahim Pasha in 1605; but an uprising four years later was suppressed by Muhammad Pasha, who became known as "Breaker of Mamluks."
After attacking and annexing Damot, Hadya, Gojjam, and Falasha, Ethiopian emperor Amda-Siyon (r. 1314-1344) invaded Ifat, defeating and killing its king Haqedin I. Dawaro and Sharka made treaties with this growing Christian empire; but ruling from a mobile camp, Amda-Siyon had to quell Christian rebellions in Tigre and along the Eritrean coast. In 1332 Ifat king Sabredin revolted by attacking Christian garrisons, burning churches, enslaving and forcing clergy to accept Islam, and arresting even Muslim merchants doing business for Amda Tseyon. Ifat formed an alliance with Dawaro, Sharka, Bali, and Adal, but they were all defeated and forced to submit to the forces of Amda-Siyon. His son and successor as emperor of Ethiopia, Saifa Harud (r. 1344-1372), managed to divide the Muslims of Ifat by cooperating with some of them. In retaliation for the persecution of Copts in Egypt, in 1352 Saifa Harud imprisoned Egyptian merchants and executed those refusing to become Christians.
The Muslim ruler of Zeila, Se'adedin (r. 1373-1403), attacked the Christian army in Dawaro and Bali, taking many slaves and cattle as booty; but he was eventually driven back to Zeila and executed by Ethiopian emperor Dawit (r. 1380-1412). Conflicts continued as Dawit's sons and successors, Tewodros and Yeshaq (r. 1414-1429), were killed fighting Adal princes. Adal ruler Ahmad Badlay (r. 1432-1445) led a jihad against the Christian highlands and recaptured Bali; but in an attack on Dawaro he was killed. His Muslim army was badly defeated by the forces of Ethiopian emperor Zara Ya'qob (r. 1434-1468), who centralized power at the new capital Debre-Birhan. In 1453 Zara Ya'qob persecuted Stephanists who refused to worship the Virgin. His son Beide-Maryam (r. 1468-1478) pardoned the political prisoners and relaxed the strict controls of his father that had led to rebellions.
Ewostatewos, who encouraged his students to produce their own food, led a second monastic movement; he prohibited accepting gifts from the wealthy or those in authority. He denounced the slave trade some Christian chiefs practiced, and he urged people to follow the teachings of Christ, refusing to deal with those who would not. He insisted on observing the Sabbath and eventually went to Palestine, Cyprus, and Armenia, where he died in 1352. Followers of Ewostatewos were excommunicated by Egyptian bishops in Ethiopia and in fleeing persecution spread to the frontiers; their main monastery in the Eritrean plateau was founded in 1390. Conflicts between the two monastic groups finally led Emperor Zara Ya'qob in 1450 to call a council, which managed to resolve the differences by accepting the Sabbath. Zara Ya'qob sent a letter to Egyptian sultan Jaqmaq protesting the demolition of the Coptic church of Mitmak, and not liking the reply, he detained an Egyptian diplomat for four years. He formed a relationship with Rome, and he also instituted an inquisition against heresy that killed innocent people falsely accused, including members of the royal family.
Thriving Mogadishu had a mosque in the 13th century and supported Adal's efforts against Christian Ethiopia a century later; by then the people in Mombasa and Kilwa were staunchly Muslim. Based on Bantu with strong Arabic influences, Swahili was the main language in East Africa. The Book of the Zanj tells how Arab merchants had a Zanj patron (sahib), who with his tribe would support them in disputes with another Zanj. If an Arab stole Zanj goods, the debt was paid by taking goods of another Arab. In the region of the great lakes the Kitara empire was established by the warrior king Ndahura and his son Wamara in the 14th century. However, a famine, followed by a plague that devastated cattle, spread dissatisfaction, and Wamara's military commander Kagoro massacred the Bachwezi, ending their empire. By the 15th century the ports of Sofala and Kilwa were becoming prosperous, trading ivory and gold for Arab, Indian, and Chinese goods.
In Ethiopia the Portuguese arrived at the Red Sea port of Massawa in 1520. Adal's Muslim general Ahmad ibn Ghazi, called Gran for "left-handed," led a jihad in 1529 that defeated Ethiopian emperor Lebna Dengel (r. 1508-1540), though the Ethiopian Royal Chronicles reported that he had 16,000 cavalry and 200,000 infantry against Gran's 560 cavalry and 12,000 soldiers; but Adal had firearms. The battle was bloody as Adal lost 5,000 men and Ethiopia even more. The Muslims plundered southern Ethiopia for many years. After Lebna was succeeded by his son Galawdewos (r. 1540-1559), the Portuguese sent 400 musketeers led by Christavao da Gama and helped defeat Adal near Lake Tana in 1543, killing Gran. In 1557 Turks led by Ozdemur Pasha took over the port of Massawa. Jesuit priest Andre de Oviedo from Portugal tried to convert them but was resisted by people in Tigre. Two years later Nur led by Harar invaded Fatagar and killed Galawdewos in battle.
Sarsa Dengel (r. 1563-1597) became emperor of Ethiopia as a child, but he fought the Turks in Tigre successfully in 1578 and 1589. He sold about ten thousand slaves a year to the Turks. Jesuits, led by Pedro Paez, converted emperors Za-Dengel (r. 1603-1604) and Susenyos (r. 1607-1632). Za-Dengel was killed by nobles for trying to implement radical tax reforms, and Susenyos was kept from submitting his country to the Pope in Rome by the prudent advice of Paez in 1612; but ten years later he adopted the Roman Catholic faith and was eventually forced to abdicate in 1632 during a civil war.
In the Maghrib the Marinid ruler Abu Ya'qub Yusuf (r. 1286-1307) conquered as far as Algiers in 1299 and besieged Tlemcen for eight years, building a new town. After Abu Ya'qub was murdered by a eunuch, his army retreated, and the new town was destroyed. For the next thirty years independent Tlemcen prospered. After a succession struggle in Fez, Abu Ya'qub's brother Abu Sa'id 'Uthman (r. 1310-1331) gained the throne but had to put down revolts by his son Abu 'Ali, who was governor of Sijilmasa. Abu Sa'id's son Abu'l-Hasan (r. 1331-1348) defeated his brother Abu 'Ali and exerted greater control over his realm. Tlemcen was besieged in 1335 and conquered two years later. In 1340 a combined Marinid and Hafsid fleet defeated the Spanish off Gibraltar. In 1347 Abu'l-Hasan conquered Tunis and took over Ifriqiya from the Hafsids; but he was also fighting the Spaniards, and the next year his army was defeated by the Hilali Arabs at Kairouan. His son Abu 'Inan Faris (r. 1349-1358) was governing Tlemcen and went to Fez to proclaim himself sultan. Abu'l-Hasan returned by sea, losing ships in a storm, failed to take Tlemcen, and retreated to Sijilmasa in 1350. Defeated in battle by his son, Abu'l-Hasan died the next year. Abu 'Inan reconquered the central Maghrib in 1352 and Tunis five years later; but the next year Arabs forced him to retreat, and he was murdered by one of his ministers in Fez.
The Marinids had never been able to subdue the Berbers in the mountains, and now chaos resulted. Of the seventeen Marinid sultans between 1358 and 1464 seven were murdered, and five were deposed. Tlemcen flourished in the second half of the 14th century, and Abu Hammu Musa II (r. 1359-1389) was aided by the wise historian ibn Khaldun. After Abu Hammu was deposed by his son Abu Tashfin II (r. 1389-1394), Tlemcen declined and was dominated by Aragon. However, to the east in 1370 Abu'l-'Abbas (1357-1394) managed to reunite Ifriqiya, and his son Abu Faris (r. 1394-1434) was able to maintain harmony between Almohads, Arabs, and Andalusians while tolerating Jews and Christians. Abu Faris took over Algiers in 1410. He was followed by the peaceful reign of his grandson Abu 'Amr 'Uthman (r. 1435-1488), who also tolerated Jews and was popular because of his justice, suppression of illegal taxes, building projects, and support for Muslims.
After conquering the last Muslims on the Spanish peninsula at Granada in 1492, the Spaniards invaded the Maghrib. In 1510 the crown of Spain authorized the selling of Africans in America, and the first shipload of slaves from the Guinea Coast directly to America was made in 1518. Algerians gained the military aid of the Muslim corsairs, brothers 'Aruj and Khayr al-Din Barbarossa. 'Aruj got permission from the Hafsid sultan to use the island of Jerba as a base, and he captured Jijelli in 1514 and took over Algiers in 1516 when he defeated the Spaniards. Spain besieged Tlemcen, and 'Aruj was killed in 1518; but Khayr al-Din founded the Algiers Regency and was appointed commander by Ottoman sultan Selim. Khayr al-Din was defeated by the Spaniards but fought back to win ports and regained Algiers by 1525, massacring Arabs and Kabyles who resisted him. In 1527 Algeria accepted the overlordship of the Ottoman empire with its Turkish governors. Khayr al-Din fought the Hafsids and extended his domain, occupying Tunis in 1534 and sponsoring piracy; but the next year the Spanish liberated thousands of Christian slaves from Tunis as the Turkish garrison fled to Algiers. Khayr al-Din made a treaty with France, and the next year went to Istanbul to command the Ottoman navy.
Hasan Agha (r. 1536-1543) repelled the Spaniards and was succeeded by Khayr al-Din's son Hasan Pasha (r. 1544-1552), making Tlemcen a military fortress for the Turks. The next Algiers beylerbeyi, Salih Re'is, was killed attacking Oran in 1556. When the Janissaries tried to install their own beylerbeyi, Sultan Suleiman sent Hasan Pasha back to govern Algiers. The Turkish corsair Turghut (Dragut) fought Ahmad Sultan (r. 1543-1569) of Ifriqiya (Tunisia) and the Spaniards for several years. Turghut captured Tripoli in 1551 and was made its Ottoman governor three years later. He and Piyale Pash led the Ottoman fleet to victory over the Spanish navy and exterminated their garrison at Jerba in 1560. Under 'Uluj 'Ali (Kilij 'Ali) the Turks expelled Ahmad Sultan in 1569 and dominated Algiers and Tunisia until1587. The Spaniards conquered Tunis in 1573, but the Turks regained it the next year. In 1581 Philip II of Spain relinquished his claims in Africa when he made a truce with the Ottomans. Under their rule the countries of Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya developed. When the Ghadames refused to send the Ottoman commander in Tunis five young eunuchs and eight pretty girls in 1609, he forced them to pay their tribute by cutting down their palm trees. That year the Janissaries in Tripoli overthrew the Ottoman governor and set up their own regime that lasted until 1711.
After the Portuguese conquered at Qasr al-Kabir in 1458, religious agitation erupted in Fez when the Jewish advisor Harun ended the tax exemptions of the marabouts (Sufis) and Sharifs. The last Marinid sultan 'Abd al-Haqq was murdered as Jews were massacred in 1465. The leader of the Sharifs ruled as imam for seven years until the first Wattasid sultan Muhammad al-Shaykh (r. 1472-1505) conquered Fez; but he could rule only Fez as the Portuguese invaded the Atlantic coast of Morocco. His son Muhammad al-Burtughali (r. 1505-1524) could not stop the Portuguese advance either, and by 1515 they had reached Marrakesh. Sharif Ahmad al-A'raj entered Marrakesh in 1524 and gained allegiance. Al-Burtughali's son Abu'l-'Abbas Ahmad (r. 1524-1548) made a truce with the Portuguese in 1528 and besieged Marrakesh, but his army was defeated by the Sharif's forces in 1537. Ahmad al-A'raj was deposed by his brother Muhammad al-Mahdi, who defeated the Portuguese at Agadir in 1541, the same year Spain attacked Algiers and was defeated. Al-Mahdi besieged and conquered Fez in 1548 and ruled Morocco for eight years; his son al-Harran captured Tlemcen the next year, but al-Harran ventured east and was defeated by the Ottomans and their Berber allies, which reconquered Tlemcen.
The marabouts objected to the taxes of al-Mahdi. The Ottoman army took over Fez in 1554 and set up the Wattasid Abu Hassun as their vassal; he was supported by the people even though he had to pay off the Ottomans. Abu Hassun formed an alliance with Ahmad al-A'raj to attack Marrakesh; but when Abu Hassan was killed battling the Sa'dis in September 1553, his army fled, enabling al-Mahdi to reconquer Fez a year later. He had two hundred wealthy people executed and confiscated their property, taking over religious endowments also. Three years later al-Mahdi was murdered by his Turkish commander, who had been hired by Hassan. Al-Mahdi's son 'Abdallah al-Ghalib (r. 1557-1574) made an alliance with the Spaniards to take Tlemcen and was succeeded by his son Muhammad al-Mutawakkil, who was overthrown at Fez two years later by 'Abd al-Malik but later returned with the Portuguese. 'Abd al-Malik declared a jihad and was able to destroy the Portuguese army of 20,000 in 1578. Both kings and the Portuguese Don Sebastian died in the "battle of the three kings," and the victorious Mawlay Ahmad took the title al-Mansur.
Al-Mansur (r. 1578-1603) reigned over Morocco with an extravagantly rich court and, as we shall see, defeated the Songhay empire south of the Sahara Desert. He suppressed opposition by the zawiyas and the Berbers, developed agriculture and the sugar industry, and used force to collect taxes. A revolt by the Baranis Berbers was crushed in 1596. A civil war followed the death of Mawlay Ahmad (al-Mansur) in 1603. By 1613 Marrakesh had changed rulers three times in five years.
West Africa 1300-1615
In the forests of West Africa farmers and some pastoralists, like the Ibo and Tiv, had egalitarian societies based on family kinship and tribes that were free of tribute, tax, and rent. Elders administered justice and communal activities in small groups. The Akan people were matrilineal but had a king with attending ministers. A council could remove the king, who might be obligated to commit suicide; they could stop the king from going to war if they believed it was unjust. Wolof and Serer kings of Senegambia were elected by the nobility but were considered divine and had more power, appointing local chiefs to collect taxes. Women could hold powerful positions, and in Walo could even be chief of state. Wolof and Serer societies were very hierarchical with defined classes of royalty, nobility, warriors, peasants, servants, and many slaves, some of whom held privileged positions, even advising the king. Society was also graded by age, and secret societies enforced customs and standards of behavior, promoting virtue in women and honor among men. Kola nuts were chewed as a stimulant and were often given in friendship. The art of Ife indicated it was an important center in the 11th century. Oyo was the primary state of those later called the Yoruba people. The Oyo king had to work with the council representing seven wards or face suicide. The secret society of the Ogboni was a check on the council. Tradition held that the Benin line of kings to the east was started by an Oyo king about the 14th century.
Mali king Mansa Musa (r. 1312-1337) was celebrated by Muslim historians for making a famous pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324; his spending about 30,000 pounds of gold in Cairo depreciated the precious metal there. In choosing between gold production or proselytizing the Muslim faith in Wangara, Musa abandoned the latter. The Mossi pillaged and reduced Timbuktu to ruin by about 1330 and again in 1338. Musa broke tradition by leaving the kingdom to his son instead of the oldest male in the family, Sulayman, who took the throne four years later and maintained the Mali empire for twenty years. Ibn Battuta visited Mali in 1353 and noted a failed plot to overthrow the king. After Sulayman's death a civil war over the succession was won by Mari-Djata II, who ruled so oppressively from 1360 to 1374 that he depleted the treasury and almost ruined the kingdom. In the next reign the chief minister carried out military expeditions against rebellions in Gao and beyond. In the fifteenth century Mali's royal power declined, as the Mossi raided the subject state of Macina.
The Songhay royal house at Gao on the Niger River had converted to Islam by the 11th century; in the 14th century the Sonni dynasty gained strength, and in 1420 Songhay's Sonni ruler Muhammad Da'o raided Mali territory. In 1433 the Tuareg chief Akilu-ag-Malwal occupied Timbuktu and Walata, and in 1450 Macina became independent. Two hundred miles up the Niger River, the fishing village of Jenne had grown into a center of Islamic learning and trade. When Mali lost control of Timbuktu, Jenne also became independent for a half century. Sonni 'Ali (r. 1464-1492) of Songhay continued to practice his native religion but gave contributions to mosques. Yet he mistrusted Muslims and often persecuted them. He recaptured Timbuktu in 1468 and conquered Jenne about four years later. Naba Nassere invaded Baghana and Walata in 1477, but in 1483 Sonni 'Ali drove his army out of the region. The Songhay army also pushed the Mossi south of the Niger and raided their territory. Arab historians criticized Sonni 'Ali for tyrannically oppressing Muslims, but for the Songhay empire he was its founding hero. Both the Mali and Songhay empires traded slaves for horses in order to field a professional cavalry. Jews were resented for having become prominent, and in 1492 the qadi al-Maghili incited a massacre of Jews in Tuat.
For fifty years after 1482 over 400 kilograms of gold were sent annually from El Mina to Lisbon, Portugal. Led by Tengella and his son Koly, the Denianke Fulani fought a war against Mali between 1481 and 1514. Tengella invaded Zara but was defeated and killed about 1512 by the Songhay; Tengella had led the Fulani into Futa Toro and Jolof. Mali retained authority from Gambia to Casamance, and the mansa maintained diplomatic and trade relations with the Portuguese, as Mansa Mahmud III in 1534 received envoys from Joao de Barros, who governed at Fort El Mina.
Muhammad Ture (r. 1493-1528) founded Songhay's Askiya dynasty. He went on a pilgrimage and got the caliph in Cairo to recognize his authority over Takrur (West Africa). When he returned in 1497, he implemented Islamic law by appointing qadis, such as Mahmud b. 'Umar in Jenne. That year Muhammad Askiya declared a jihad to convert Nassere, the Naba of Yatenga; so many Mossi resisted that he had to build a special quarter for the captives in his capital at Gao. Muhammad fought wars against Mali governors, conquering the provinces of Baghana, Kaarta, and Galam; he drove the Tuareg back into the Sahara, captured Air in the east, and took over the salt mines at Taghaza. The Mali retreated south of the Niger delta to Malinke territory. However, Songhay failed to conquer the Bariba of Borgu, who defeated their army in 1504. Muhammad invaded the Hausaland, conquering Katsina and Zaria and killing their rulers; but Songhay had to withdraw from the Hausaland in 1515 because of the Kebbi revolt led by Kuta Kanta. Muhammad Askiya revived learning at Timbuktu but did not force the common people to become Muslims. The Songhay empire declined as Muhammad aged; in 1528 he had become blind and was finally deposed by his son.
Dynastic conflicts among the Askiya family caused short reigns in the next decade. Muhammad Benkan overcame the pagan Gurma but was defeated by the Kebbi before he was deposed in 1537. Ishaq I (r. 1539-1549) was elected but was so suspicious that he had governors killed and dismissed. After he died, Dawud (r. 1549-1582) gained the throne peacefully. Dawud also tried to subdue the Mossi and was praised for memorizing the Qur'an and supporting learning and religion. He even forced two scholars to become judges (qadis). A struggle with the sultan Muhammad al-Shaikh caused the loss of the salt mines at Taghaza in 1557. Dawud reorganized the Songhay army and won victories over the Mossi, Borgu, Gurma, Hombori, Bandiagara, Mali, Fulani of the Sahel, and Arabs in the desert, though a cavalry raid on Katsina failed. When al-Mansur (r. 1578-1603) of Morocco imposed a tax, Dawud sent him 10,000 mithqals of gold but did not recognize it as a tax. Al-Mansur sent an expedition in 1583 that in three years took over the Sahara oases at Tuat and Gurara for Morocco, which exchanged diplomatic gifts with al-hajj Muhammad II (r. 1582-1586) of Songhay. Civil war caused by another succession struggle then weakened the Songhay empire, and Moroccan spies captured a brother of Askiya Muhammad Bani (r. 1586-1588) and Askia Ishaq II, taking him to Marrakesh in 1589.
The next year al-Mansur demanded a tax of one mithqal of gold for every load of salt from Taghaza, but Askia Ishaq II answered his letter with spears. Al-Mansur sent 4,000 men under his Spanish eunuch, the pasha Judar. This force met the Songhay army of about 40,000 or more about 35 miles north of Gao in March 1591. The small Moroccan force had muskets and prevailed. Ishaq submitted and offered a heavy annual tribute, as Judar's troops occupied Gao and Timbuktu. The latter, led by qadi 'Umar b. Mahmud Aqit, refused to cooperate with the conquering army, which tore down people's houses. Judar was replaced by pasha Muhammad b. Zarqun. After a disturbance when a former Songhay governor of Timbuktu returned and was killed, 'Umar sent three 'ulama (clerics) to Marrakesh. People put their goods in the houses of leading jurists; but in 1593 Mahmud sent the seventy jurists, including the great scholar Ahmad Baba, to Marrakesh in chains. Pasha Sulayman (r. 1600-1604) restored order in Timbuktu by punishing criminals and by not letting Moroccan soldiers out after sunset. Mali mansa Mahmud IV attacked Jenne in 1599 but was defeated by Moroccan reinforcements. Jenne revolted in 1609 with Songhay aid; but eventually the Moroccan army subdued the region. After 1612 the sultans of Morocco abandoned control of Timbuktu, and without Sudanese trade it fell into anarchy. The Fulbe and Tuareg plundered the fallen Songhay empire, which was divided among local pashas.
In the early 14th century four Kanuri kings, all sons of 'Abd Allah b. Kaday, were killed fighting the So, though Idris ibn Ibrahim Nikale managed to get along with the Bornu people and ruled for about 25 years. The second half of the century was filled with wars against the pastoral Bulala, again killing four Kanem kings in a row and forcing the next mai (divine king) Umar ibn Idris to move the capital to Bornu west of Lake Chad. In 1391 mai Bir ibn Idris complained to the Egyptian sultan Barquq of Arab raids on his Kanem people, but he ruled a third of a century. In the late 14th century nomadic Arabs came in to the western Sahara and raided caravans so much that trade shifted to Timbuktu in the east. In the 15th century the Kanuri revived in a second empire.
Some political history of Kano survived in "The Song of Bagauda." Population increased in this fertile land as others suffering famine migrated to Kano. Larger territory was conquered by a series of kings called sarki. Gijimasu (r. 1095-1134) had established the city of Kano, and his son Tsaraki (r. 1136-1194) subdued most of the chiefdoms in the area except Santolo. Muslims helped Yaji (r. 1349-1385) conquer the Santolo and destroy its religious center of traditional sacrifices. The 15th sarki Kananeji (r. 1390-1410), using horse armor, iron helmets, and coats of chain-mail, invaded and occupied Zaria (Zazzau). The wealthy war-chief Dauda (r. 1421-1438) brought a more sophisticated administration with Bornu titles. When a deposed Bornu ruler took refuge in Kano about 1425, the Bornu mai made the Hausaland towns pay tribute to Bornu during the reign of Kano sarki Abdullahi Burja (r. 1438-1452). Katsina had to send a hundred slaves each year to the Bornu capital at Ngasargamu. In the 15th century the most powerful states in the Hausaland were Katsina, Kano, Zaria, and Gobir. The spread of Islam put more emphasis on the higher Hausawa god Ubangiji rather than possession by the oskoki spirits that were subordinated as jinn.
During the Kano reign (1452-1463) of Ya'qub, kola nuts were introduced into Hausaland. The Kano sarki Muhammad Rumfa (1463-1499) made Kurmin Jakara into a market, built mosques, and consulted a council of nine, letting trusted slaves handle finances. His conversion to Islam was marked by his cutting down the sacred tree and replacing it with a mosque. During his reign the series of wars between the Kano and Katsina began and were continued by his son 'Abdullah (r. 1499-1509) and grandson Muhammad Kosoki (r. 1509-1565).
Sarki Muhammad Korau (r. 1445-1493) founded the walled city of Katsina at the site of an iron mine. His successor Ibrahim Sura (r. 1493-1498) imprisoned his subjects who refused to pray, and Katsina ruler 'Ali (r. 1498-1524) was known as a religious warrior. However, tradition credits Katsina chief Ibrahim Maje (r. 1549-1566) with being a religious reformer. Kuta Kanta led Kebbi by invading the Hausa states and defeating the Bornu army; but after he died in 1556, Kano and Katsina regained their independence. Rumfa's elderly son Yakufu let the Katsinawa ravage the country while he devoted himself to religion; he was deposed in 1573. Kano sarki Muhammad Shashere (r. 1573-1582) was defeated by Katsina; but his successor Muhammad Zaki (r. 1582-1618) was victorious over them. Zamfara south of Gobir gained strength and fought a war for about fifteen years with Katsina that ended in 1609.
Mai 'Ali Gaji founded a Bornu dynasty about 1472 at Ngasargamu east of the Songhay empire and ruled for a quarter century. His son Idris, called Katakarmabe, inherited a peaceful kingdom but attacked the Bulala sultan Dunama ibn Salama, driving him out of Njimi before departing. Dunama was killed by his brother Adam, who reoccupied Kanem. Mai Idris then invaded Njimi again. Traveler Leo Africanus considered Bulala more powerful than Bornu because of its flourishing trade with Egypt. Mai Muhammad (r. 1525-1543), son of Idris, was attacked by the Bulala sultan Kadai b. 'Abd al-Jalil, but Kadai was defeated and killed. Bornu's Dunama (r. 1545-1562) opened diplomacy with the Ottoman Turks, who had occupied Tripoli in 1551. Dunama and his son 'Abdullah (r. 1562-1569) continued to battle the Bulala. The mother of Bornu mai Idris Alooma (r. 1571-1603) was a Bulala princess. Idris Alooma led a campaign against the Kano, Tuareg, and Teda, and he also suppressed internal resistance of the Kotoko, Buduma, Ngizim, and the So. After fighting Kanem, Idris Alooma made a peace treaty with the Bulala. Trade with the Ottomans in Tripoli enabled him to employ Turkish musketeers. In 1582 Idris Alooma asked for military aid to fight infidels, and al-Mansur used this opportunity to extend his imperial influence from Morocco.
In 1415 the Portuguese captured Ceuta on the Moroccan side of the Gibraltar Straits. After their fleet was destroyed at Tangier, they abandoned it in 1437; but they began colonizing the Azores two years later. In 1441 Antam Gonçalves seized two Africans on the coast of Rio d'Oro and took seven captives back to Lisbon. Two years later Nuno Tristao took captives from the Senegal region, and the next year a company was set up in Lagos to exploit the African slave trade. A fort was built at Arguin in 1445, and the next year Portuguese explorers arrived in western Malinke. Ten years later a Venetian reported that the Portuguese were stealing about a thousand people a year from the west African coast, and plantations were established on the Canary Islands, the Cape Verde Islands, and on Sao Tomé, using African slaves.
The Portuguese attacked Tangier in 1471, also taking Arzila and Larache. That year the expedition led by Fernao Gomes discovered the lucrative region they called the "Mine" (El Mina) that became known as the Gold Coast. The Sao Jorge da Mina fortress was built in 1482, and the next year Portuguese captain Diogo Cao reached the Kongo; missionaries tried to convert the natives to Christianity while ambassadors and goods were exchanged with Lisbon. In 1485 d'Aveiro began trade and diplomatic relations with the Benin empire. Portuguese Jews and criminals were sent to colonize Sao Tomé as the slave trade was organized. In 1506 Pereira wrote that every year they were getting 3,500 slaves, plus ivory, gold, and cotton. The Portuguese took over the Cape Verde Islands in 1484 and required a license to travel to Guinea in 1514. By 1582 the Cape Verde Islands had 1600 Europeans, 400 free Africans, and 13,700 slaves.
Central and South Africa 1300-1615
Bantu flourished in the Kongo and crossed south of the Limpopo by the 11th century. Kikuyu entered the eastern highlands during the 13th and 14th centuries. Family, clan, community, and age group were important to the Kikuyu. District councils of elders were formed, and from these were chosen a national council. Group discussion and public opinion made government responsive. In central Africa in the 16th century Tutsi and Hima rulers had vassals or clients similar to the feudal system.
Portuguese explorer Bartholemeu Dias reached the Cape of Good Hope in 1488. Three years later a Kongo embassy went to Lisbon, and by 1506 the Kongo king was baptized as Afonso I; the Portuguese renamed his Mbanza capital Sao Salvador. The Portuguese tried to impose a feudal hierarchy on this king. They sent an embassy to Ngola in 1520, and Balthasar de Castro was held captive for six years. In 1526 Afonso complained to his "royal brother" in Lisbon that their population was being depleted as people were captured for slavery; but he was not able to expel the Portuguese. Raiding the country for slaves made enemies in Mbundu; four to five thousand slaves were being shipped annually from the Kongo. In 1532 Portugal required that all trade with Ngola (Angola) be through the Kongo.
Ngola Inene requested missionaries in 1557, and three years later Jesuits arrived with ambassador Paulo Dias; but the next year Ngola stopped cooperating with the Portuguese and held the Jesuits captive until 1565. Afonso II became Kongo king that year but was killed at mass. Jaga cannibals invaded the land west of the Kwango River and sacked Sao Salvador in 1568; but the Kongo kingdom was defended by 600 Portuguese musketeers from Sao Tomé, reinstating Kongo king Alvaro I in 1574. The Jaga turned toward Angola and eventually settled in the area by the Kwango they had conquered from Yaka. The Portuguese also wanted the silver from the Ndongo mountains; a century of wars over this began in 1575, causing Ndongo to become depopulated. The Portuguese suffered major defeats by Ngola in 1585 and five years later by a coalition army of Ndongo, Kongo, Matamba, and Jaga. About 1600 a Luba king named Kibinda Ilunga moved west and founded a new state among the Lunda in the south by the Kasai River. The Portuguese sent reinforcements, and in 1607 Angola governor Manuel Pereira Forjaz was able to make peace with Mbundu for four years; but his successor Bento Banha Cardoso launched campaigns against Mbundu and their Ngola. By 1612 the Portuguese were shipping about 10,000 slaves a year from Angola.
The impressive buildings of the Great Zimbabwe were started about 1300. In the 14th century Zimbabwe culture south of the Zambesi was governed by the Mbire, Bantus from the Lake Tanganyika area who revitalized the Shona kingdom. Although about 1425 Karanga king Mutota attempted to conquer the plateau between the Zambesi and the Limpopo, usually the spread of the Bantu seems to have been based on their knowledge of working iron more than on military conquest. A village chief with a council of elders usually governed. Spiritual beliefs and respect for ancestors helped sustain traditions and strengthen sanctions. Mutota's son Matope became a powerful ruler, gaining the title "lord of the plundered lands," which the Portuguese later took over, calling it Monomotapa. Matope moved his capital from the Great Zimbabwe to the north; deforestation and grazing had exhausted the region, though oral tradition blamed a lack of salt. Changa and Togwa rebelled against his empire. After Matopa died about 1480, Changa was able to establish an independent kingdom in the southern region that is now Zimbabwe. Inland the Zambezi kingdom of Urozwi was beyond Portuguese influence; but in the north Portuguese gold-seekers established military authority and markets in Monomotapa near Mount Darwin.
In 1498 Vasco da Gama reached Mozambique and Mombasa, and the next year he bombarded Mogadishu. Kilwa had long prospered from the gold trade at Sofala and was reached by Pedro Alvares Cabral in 1500; da Gama began imposing tribute two years later. In 1505 the Portuguese led by Francisco d'Almeida built a fort at Sofala near the mouth of the Zambezi River before sacking and garrisoning Kilwa; Mombasa, Hoja, and Brava were only plundered. At Mozambique a hospital, church, factory, warehouse and fort were built in 1507. Only Mogadishu was strong enough to maintain its independence from these attacks. By 1512 the Portuguese garrison and Franciscans left Kilwa, and Sofala also suffered because of lack of gold. Nuno da Cunha plundered Mombasa again in 1528. The Turks raided the east coast down to Malindi in 1540. By then posts were established at Sena and Tete for gold mining up the river. The Portuguese destroyed the shipping at Mogadishu in 1541. Led by Francisco Barrero, they invaded the Zambezi lowlands in 1571 and massacred Muslim traders. Another Portuguese invasion three years later forced the Uteve ruler to pay tribute to Sofala. Yet the Mutapa state managed to retain its independence on the eastern plateau.
The Portuguese capital of Angola was founded at Luanda in 1576. Paolo Dias had tried to found a colony on the coast of Ndongo for mining silver in the Cunza valley; but this failed, and Luanda became a center for the slave trade instead. In 1585 Turks led by Amir 'Ali Bey caused revolts against the Portuguese landlords from Mogadishu to Mombasa; only Malindi remained loyal to Portugal. Zimba cannibals overcame the towns of Sena and Tete on the Zambezi, and in 1587 they took Kilwa, killing 3,000 people. At Mombasa the Zimba slaughtered the Muslim inhabitants; but they were halted at Malindi by the Bantu-speaking Segeju and went home. This stimulated the Portuguese to take over Mombasa a third time in 1589, and four years later they built Fort Jesus to administer the region. Between Lake Malawi and the Zambezi mouth, Kalonga Mzura made an alliance with the Portuguese in 1608 and fielded 4,000 warriors to help defeat their rival Zimba, who were led by chief Lundi. In 1614 Mombasa's sultan al-Hasan went to the Portuguese viceroy at Goa in India to complain. When the shaykh returned to Mombasa the next year, he had to flee and was murdered by the Portuguese. His son Yusuf was sent to Goa to be educated.
Byzantine and Balkan Decline 1300-1453
When Andronicus II (r. 1282-1328) was ruling the Byzantine empire from Constantinople, his second wife Yolanda of Montferrat (renamed Irene) urged him to let their three sons by her rule regional provinces. After he refused, she went to Thessalonica to ask the Serbian king Milutin to let one of her sons succeed there; but her son did not like the lack of culture in Serbia. The Byzantine empire was suffering from its recent military adventures that demanded high taxes to pay for its mercenaries. Andronicus cut expenses and depended on the Genoese navy, as the military forces were reduced. The devalued gold coins caused inflation and widespread hunger among the poor. Andronicus made this worse by adding a tax on wheat and barley, though he also restricted some of the tax exemptions of the big landowners. With these taxes he could maintain a navy of twenty triremes and a cavalry of 3,000. One thousand of these were in Asia Minor, though by 1300 most of that region was held by the Turks. Andronicus promoted the authority of the Orthodox Church with a chrysobull, which in 1312 gave the Patriarch jurisdiction over the monasteries at Mt. Athos by letting him appoint the head of their council of abbots.
Serbia's Stephen Milutin (r. 1282-1321) had conquered Byzantine lands, and Andronicus made peace with him by giving him his five-year-old daughter Simonis in marriage in 1299, increasing Greek influence in the Serbian court. That year Genoa made peace with Venice, which nonetheless continued to fight the Byzantine empire for three more years. Then a ten-year armistice confirmed Venetian trading privileges and gave them colonies in the archipelago. The Genoese built a strong fortress at Galata and seized the island of Chios in 1304. Andronicus married his niece Maria Asen to Roger de Flor, the German who led 6,500 Catalans from Spain. The Catalans relieved besieged Philadelphia and defeated the Turks, also in 1304. However, the Catalans plundered both Turks and Greeks, spending the winter at Gallipoli. The next year Roger de Flor and his escort of 330 were murdered by a mercenary Alan captain in the palace of co-emperor Michael IX, son of Andronicus II, causing a war between the Catalans and the Byzantines. Michael's army was defeated, and the Catalans spent two years ravaging Thrace. Bulgarian czar Theodore Svetoslav (r. 1300-1322) used this opportunity to expand his realm until Andronicus made a treaty with him recognizing the conquests in 1307. The Catalans invaded Cassandria and even plundered the monasteries at Mt. Athos, though their attack on the Thessalonica stronghold failed the next year.
In 1302 Charles II of Anjou appointed his son Philip of Taranto to govern Achaea. Philip of Savoy and Isabelle were ruling Morea but had so many enemies that they left before Philip of Taranto arrived in 1307. Charles II sent forces in 1304 to attack Epirus, which pushed them back and took Angevin territory. Charles of Valois made an alliance with Venice in 1306 and got moral support when Pope Clement V condemned the Byzantine emperor with anathema the next year. In 1308 Guy II of Athens died and was succeeded by Walter of Brienne; that year eleven Venetian ships went to Cassandria and gained the fealty of the Catalan Grand Company. However, the Catalans independently gained financial support from Thessaly's John II (r. 1303-1318) and attacked the French duchy of Athens and Thebes, conquering Boeotia and killing Walter in 1311. The Catalans ruled Athens for nearly seventy years, leaving a reputation for cruelty, though they also established a university at Athens. Charles of Valois lost his claim to the Byzantine empire when his wife, Empress Catherine of Courtenay, died in 1308. Her daughter, Catherine of Valois, married Philip of Tarentum in 1313.
Venice made a twelve-year armistice with the Byzantines in 1310. Serbian king Milutin also turned from Charles of Valois to support Andronicus. The Byzantine emperor helped Milutin fight off a challenge from his brother Dragutin. Stephen Dechanski held Zeta and also revolted against his father Milutin in 1314; but he was defeated, blinded, and sent to Constantinople. Andronicus replaced annual governors in Morea by appointing Michael Cantacuzenus and, after he died, Andronicus Asen (r. 1316-1321), son of Bulgarian czar Ivan III Asen and the Emperor's sister Irene Paleologina. After John II died in 1318, the towns of Thessaly were divided, as some submitted to Andronicus II, some were conquered by the Catalans, and some were governed by local nobility. When Milutin died in 1321, his sons Dechanski and Constantine and his nephew Vladislav fought a civil war while his widow Simonis went back to Constantinople and entered a convent. Constantine was defeated and killed at Zeta, and Vladislav fled to Hungary in 1324. In Bulgaria the Terter line died out in 1322, and its Greek population was soon taken over by the Byzantines. Stjepan Kotromanich ruled Bosnia for about 35 years until he died in 1353; Franciscans persuaded him to become a Catholic in 1347.
Michael's son Andronicus III was the favorite of his grandfather Andronicus II until he grew up and became lecherous and extravagant. A follower of young Andronicus plotted to catch a rival lover and assassinated the prince's brother Manuel, and ill Michael died soon after that in 1320. Emperor Andronicus II replaced his grandson in the succession, and the next year Andronicus III left Constantinople and joined an army friends had gathered in Adrianople. To gain a following he promised to relieve taxes, and his army led by Syrgiannes Paleologus marched on the capital. Old Andronicus II made peace and agreed to rule only Thrace and parts of Macedonia as young Andronicus III occupied the palace and ruled the rest. Andronicus II still wanted to control foreign policy, and civil war broke out when John Cantacuzenus alienated Syrgiannes, who left and went over to Andronicus III. The old emperor soon gave in, and Andronicus III was crowned co-emperor in 1325. Two years later conflict erupted again as Andronicus II sided with Serbia against his grandson and Bulgarian czar Michael Shishman, who married Andronicus III's sister Irene. After being recognized as emperor in Thessalonica, Andronicus III without violence persuaded his grandfather to abdicate in 1328. The old man remained in the palace for two more years and then became a monk before he died in 1332.
Andronicus III (r. 1328-1341) established four supreme judges, but by 1337 three of them had been banished for corruption. John Cantacuzenus as Grand Domestic strengthened the military and made an alliance with the Seljuqs against the Ottomans. In 1330 Serbia destroyed the Bulgarian army, killing czar Michael Shishman. The next year the Bulgarian boyars put Ivan Alexander (r. 1331-1371) on the throne, while Serb nobles murdered Dechanski for failing to follow up the victory and replaced him with his son Stephen Dushan (r. 1331-1355). Peace was made when Dushan married Ivan's sister Helena. The Bulgarians regained the cities Andronicus III had taken, and the Serbs began pushing into Macedonia. In 1334 Syrgiannes fled to the Serbs, and Dushan gave him command of an army. After capturing Kastoria and other forts, Syrgiannes was killed by the Byzantine Sphrantzes, who had only been ordered to capture him. Dushan, threatened by Hungarians in the north, made peace with Andronicus. Meanwhile the Turks led by Orchan had captured Nicaea after a two-year siege in 1331, and the Ottomans took Nicomedia in 1337. By then Andronicus and Cantacuzenus had managed to gain Thessaly, Albania, Epirus, and Acarnania.
Since John V was only nine years old when his father Andronicus III died in 1341, John Cantacuzenus continued to govern. When he left the palace, this was challenged by the Dowager Empress Anne of Savoy and Patriarch John Calecas, supported by Alexius Apocaucus who was named megas dux (great leader). Cantacuzenus had himself proclaimed emperor, and another civil war ensued. The country was torn also by a religious conflict over the hesychasts, who believed in practicing silent meditation in order to experience the light of Christ. Theological controversialist Barlaam criticized this mystical practice, but the defense of Gregory Palamas, arguing for a mediating power, was approved by an imperial council in 1341. However, that summer Empress Anne and Patriarch John reversed that decision and had Gregory Palamas imprisoned. Generally the civil war was between aristocrats led by Cantacuzenus believing in hesychasm versus the revolting poor who did not and were led by Apocaucus. His insurrection of Zealots spread from Adrianople into Thrace as the sharp contrast between the wealthy and poor in Byzantine society erupted in class warfare. In 1342 the Zealots took over Thessalonica, expropriating the aristocrats' land as well as monasteries and churches; some of the nobility were massacred in 1346. Thessalonica remained a democracy until John V and
Cantacuzenus regained control there in 1349.
Cantacuzenus withdrew to Serbia for help from Stephen Dushan. Aristocrats in Thessaly declared for Cantacuzenus, who made John Angelus their governor for life, and they regained Catalan possessions. Then Dushan changed sides to the regency in Constantinople. So Cantacuzenus turned to the Turks, both the Seljuqs and Omur, and they helped him conquer Thrace by 1345. That June Alexius Apocaucus was killed by political prisoners while inspecting the dungeons in the capital. His son John Apocaucus left the Zealots and had their leader murdered before he was killed by Andrew Paleologus and the Zealots. Cantacuzenus also made an alliance with the Ottoman Orchan and was crowned emperor at Adrianople in 1346 by the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Anne appealed to the Seljuqs, but they invaded Bulgaria instead before plundering the suburbs of Constantinople. In 1347 Cantacuzenus returned to the capital. He called upon the people to preserve their tradition from threatened foreign encroachment, saying, "Either we save the empire, by keeping our ancient virtues; or we lose it, and live under the domination of our conquerors."1 Byzantines fled when Genoese attacked Constantinople in 1349, but they gained a favorable peace treaty. The Zealots held Thessalonica until John V and John VI Cantacuzenus entered there triumphantly in 1350.
Meanwhile Serbian Stephen Dushan had been crowned emperor of the Serbs and Greeks by the new Serbian patriarch at Skoplje (Scopia) in 1346. He promulgated a new law code that was completed by 1354 over what had become a large Serbian empire. The Byzantine system of pronoia, by which land was granted for a limited time, was adopted in Serbia, which differed in that peasants paid with their labor instead of money, and sometimes the landlords were monasteries instead of the crown. In 1348 the Serbians conquered Thessaly and Epirus; but after Dushan died in 1355 and was succeeded by young Stephen Uros V (r. 1355-1371), the Serbian empire declined rapidly as principalities became independent.
The civil war devastated the already weakened Byzantine society, ruining agriculture and trade so that taxes were even harder to raise. Empress Anne had pawned the crown jewels to Venice, and gold contributed by the Grand Duke of Moscow to restore broken-down St. Sophia was paid to Turkish mercenaries. The terrible plague of 1348 carried off many, and the next year the Genoese destroyed the Byzantine fleet. In 1352 the Venetians financed John V's taking of Adrianople. Cantacuzenus reacted with Turkish troops, who plundered the city. Stephen Dushan sent John V 4,000 cavalry; but they were defeated by 10,000 Turks led by Orchan's son Suleiman helping Cantacuzenus, who in 1353 proclaimed his own son Matthew emperor. Patriarch Callistus refused to crown him, excommunicated Cantacuzenus, and retired to a monastery. Turks crossed into Europe in 1354 when they moved into Gallipoli after a devastating earthquake caused it to be abandoned. John V turned to the Genoese, offering Lesbos, and in November 1354 Cantacuzenus abdicated and went into a monastery, where he lived thirty years and wrote a history of his era from 1320 to 1356. Matthew Cantacuzenus held out in Rhodope until he had to renounce his claim in 1357. However, Manuel Cantacuzenus managed to govern Morea successfully until he died in 1380. He was assisted by his brother Matthew, who succeeded him.
Dushan had appointed his half brother Symeon Dechanski to govern Epirus; in 1356 its former despot Nicephorus II conquered Thessaly and regained Epirus with Aetolia. When Nicephorus was going to abandon his wife Maria Cantacuzenus in order to marry Dushan's widow, the Albanians rose up to defeat and kill Nicephorus in 1359; Maria became a nun at Constantinople. Symeon marched into Thessaly and also reclaimed Epirus. When Symeon preferred to live in Thessaly, Albanians moved into Epirus. About 1366 Symeon founded the monasteries overlooking the Meteora plain. Uros shared his rule by having Vukashin crowned king of Serbia in 1365. Stjepan Kotromanich left a strong army when he was succeeded in Bosnia by Tvrtko I (r. 1353-1391).
John V in 1355 sent a request to Pope Innocent VI for ships and soldiers, even offering to convert his Byzantine subjects; but the Pope only sent two legates. Thrace fell gradually to the Turks, who took Didymotichus in 1361 and Adrianople the next year. Bulgaria with religious strife was deteriorating even faster than Serbia. The Turks took large numbers of slaves away to Asia Minor and colonized the conquered territory. In 1366 John V went to Hungary to ask King Louis for help, and on the way back he was captured by Bulgarians. Fortunately Amadeo of Savoy had launched a crusade and liberated the Byzantine emperor after he took Gallipoli back from the Turks. Three years later John V went to Rome and converted; but the Eastern Orthodox church resisted unification. John V was detained at Venice for his debts until he was rescued by his son Manuel, who was ruling Thessalonica.
A major battle with the Turks occurred at Maritza in 1371 when Serres despot Uglesha and Serbia's Vukashin were defeated and killed. Both their domains were divided up. Lazar of Krushevac and Bosnia's Tvrtko became allied with the Serbian Nicholas Altomanovich, who also negotiated with George Balshich; but threatened Dubrovnik got Hungary to make them dissolve the alliance. The Byzantines agreed to pay the Ottoman sultan 7,500 Venetian ducats. After Uros died, Marko in Macedonia could no longer govern Serbia. In 1373 Serbian prince Lazar and Tvrtko with cavalry aid from Hungary ravaged the lands of Nicholas. Two years later Lazar made peace with Constantinople by renouncing Serbia's right to the imperial claim. However, Tvrtko conquered territory and in 1377 had himself crowned king of Serbia and Bosnia. By 1389 Tvrtko had taken over much of Slavonia, Dalmatia, and Croatia, but he died in 1391.
When John V joined Ottoman sultan Murad I (r. 1362-1389) on campaigns in Asia Minor in 1373, their respective princes Andronicus and Sauji joined forces in a revolt. Murad crushed them and insisted that both sons be blinded. With Andronicus disgraced, John had his son Manuel II crowned co-emperor that September. In 1376 Andronicus had recovered from partial blindness and besieged Constantinople with Turkish approval and Genoese support, imprisoning his father and brother. Venetians helped John V and Manuel II escape, and the Turks supported their side. With the sultan's help they were able to return to the capital in 1379; but Andronicus IV and his son John VII had to be recognized as legitimate heirs and were given principalities. The Hospitaler Knights of Achaea had invaded Epirus in 1378 with a company of Navarrese, who took over Thebes the next year. John V's third son Theodore I began ruling Morea in 1382 and made an alliance with the Florentine banker Nerio I Acciajuoli against the Navarrese, marrying Nerio's daughter Bartholomea in 1385. This enabled Nerio to conquer the Catalans' duchy of Athens in 1388; but the Navarrese violated a safe-conduct and took Nerio prisoner in 1389, forcing Theodore to surrender Argos to Venice, which got Megara after a huge ransom freed Nerio.
The Ottomans advanced to Serres in 1383, then to Sofia, Nish in 1386, Thessalonica in 1387, invading Bosnia and Trnovo along with eastern Bulgaria in 1388. Prince Lazar led the Serbs and Bosnians in their last stand at Kosovo in June 1389. Suspected of treason, Serbian Milosh Obravich pretended to defect to Sultan Murad's camp, murdering him before he was killed himself. However, Serbia was defeated, and Lazar and the nobles were captured and executed, marking the end of Serbian nationalism for many centuries. Sultan Bayezid ordered his brother Yaqub killed; he even managed to control Constantinople and in 1390 put John VII on the Byzantine throne. However, the same year Manuel II drove out John VII and restored his father John V; but Manuel was forced to join Bayezid in the Turkish attack on Byzantine Philadelphia before succeeding his father the next year. Manuel was also a theologian and wrote many essays, including one on the Holy Spirit and another criticizing Islam.
While Bulgarian king John Shishman was appealing to Hungarian king Sigismund, the Ottomans invaded and took control of Trnovo and the Bulgarian empire in 1393. Two years later the Ottomans attacked Mircea of Wallachia for having raided their territory. The young vassals of the Turks, Marko and Constantine Dejanovich, were both killed in the battle and had their lands taken. That year the Ottomans also invaded the Peloponnessus. In 1396 King Sigismund launched a crusade against the Turks with 60,000 Hungarians, 10,000 Wallachians led by Mircea, 10,000 French, 6,000 Germans, and 15,000 from Italy, Spain, England, Poland, and Bohemia. Thousands of Christians were captured at Nicopolis and were held for ransom; Sigismund barely escaped. The Turks followed up their victory by annexing all the territory around Constantinople, which was blockaded. Thus Manuel II (r. 1391-1425) ruled over little more than the capital. In 1399 Marshal Boucicaut arrived with 12,000 French troops, broke through the blockade, and persuaded Manuel to let his nephew John rule while they went to Europe. Manuel visited Venice, Paris, and London, and did not return to Constantinople for three and a half years. Greek learning spread rapidly in Europe after Manuel Chrysoloras was given a chair of Greek at Florence in 1396; he went on to Milan in 1400, making the humanist learning admired by Petrarch available to scholars.
The Ottomans invaded southern Greece again in 1397. Theodore tried to give Corinth to Venice, but they would not accept it; so he gave it to the Hospitaler Knights of Saint John in 1400. The Ottoman conquest of Constantinople was delayed, because Timur and his Mongols defeated the Ottomans at Ankara in 1402. Bayezid I (r. 1389-1402) had put his Tatar cavalry in the front line, but they went over to the Mongols. Bayezid was captured, displayed in a cage, and died the next year. Timur's Mongols went on to sack the Knights' Anatolian town of Smyrna. The Knights had rebuilt Corinth's defenses but agreed to leave when given 43,000 ducats they could use to rebuild Smyrna. A civil war over the Ottoman throne occupied the Muslims in Asia Minor, and in 1403 Suleiman made peace with the Byzantines, Serbian despot Stephen Lazarevich, Venice, and Genoa. Byzantium regained Thessalonica.
In 1411 Suleiman was defeated by his brother Musa, who then besieged Constantinople. However, Muhammad I (r. 1413-1421) emerged as the new Ottoman sultan in Asia Minor. His son Murad II (r. 1421-1451) renewed the aggression in Europe. Manuel's son John VIII was crowned co-emperor in 1421 and tried to help Mustafa challenge Murad II, who turned his enmity against Constantinople with another siege the next year. The walls held, and Murad had to leave to secure his throne. In 1423 the Turks plundered Morea until the Byzantines promised to pay tribute the next year. Manuel's son Andronicus tried to save Thessalonica by giving it to Venice, delaying the taking of the city by Murad until 1430.
John VIII (r. 1425-1448) reigned over little besides Constantinople, though his brother Constantine took over the Latin principality of Achaea in 1432. Five years later John VIII went west for help. The humanist Gemistus Plethon explained the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle; he accompanied John VIII to Ferrara and urged Cosimo Medici to found the Platonic Academy in Florence. In 1439 the reunion of the two great Christian churches was proclaimed in Florence. Eastern patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem rejected this capitulation on behalf of the Orthodox Church, and Grand Duke Basil II of Russia had the new metropolitan Isidore deposed and imprisoned in Moscow. John's brother Demetrius took up the Orthodox cause and tried to use it to take over the throne with help from the Turks in 1442, but he was captured and kept under house arrest.
As part of the agreement on church unity, Pope Eugenius IV called for a crusade against the Turks, who had conquered Serbia in 1439 and were raiding Bosnia. King Vladislav III of Poland and Hungary led 25,000 men with Serbian despot George Brankovich and Wallachian knight John Hunyadi, who had driven Turks from their region. Hunyadi won a battle over Turks in Rumelia near Nish, but cold weather and the Ottomans defeated them early in 1444. The Albanian warrior Scanderbeg carried on the struggle, and Constantine fought in Greece, winning over the Turkish vassal Nerio II Acciajuoli. In June 1444 Sultan Murad II made a ten-year truce with the crusaders at Adrianople. Brankovich withdrew; but five months later the Christian army, trying to win back Bulgaria, was defeated by Murad's Muslims at Varna, and Vladislav was killed. Two years later Murad invaded Greece, plundering and taking more than 60,000 captives; Constantine agreed to pay tribute. In 1448 Hunyadi surrendered at Kosovo, but he was released and fought against Brankovich in Hungary and Serbia; Scanderbeg and the Albanians continued to fight in the mountains for twenty years.
When John VIII died childless in 1448, his brother Constantine XI Paleologus (r. 1448-1453) became the last Byzantine emperor. His brother Demetrius plotted with the Turks and fought over Morea against another brother Thomas. Murad II died in 1451 and was succeeded by his son Muhammad II (r. 1451-1481). His siege of Constantinople began in April 1453 and broke through the walls using cannons by the end of May. Venetians stayed to help defend the capital; Genoese came to fight and defeated the Turkish fleet before the noble Giovanni Giustiniani died in the battle. Constantine was killed fighting as a soldier. The rich city was plundered for three days, and many people were murdered; valuable Greek books were removed, sold, or destroyed. The Muslims soon added to their empire the rest of the Greek, Latin, and Slav territories in the Balkans. The Turks captured Athens in 1456, occupied part of Albania in 1457, and took over Serbia in 1459, Morea the next year as Thomas fled, Trebizond in 1461, and Bosnia in 1463. Many Albanians fled or were captured in 1467, and Scanderbeg died in January 1468. Byzantine traditions were carried on in the north by the Russian empire as Moscow became the "third Rome."
Ottoman Empire to 1520
The origins of the Ottomans are indicated by early tales of the Oghuz and Turks attributed to the soothsayer Dede Korkut. According to historian Rashid al-Din (d. 1318), Dede Korkut went on an embassy for Oghuz khan Inal Syr Yavkuy to the prophet Muhammad and was converted to Islam but lived to be 295 years old. The Oghuz migrated west from the Altai mountains and Lake Baikal to the Caspian Sea region. They became Muslims and helped the Seljuk family conquer Persia and Anatolia in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The army of the early Ottoman dynasty was mostly Oghuz. The Book of Dede Korkut was finalized about 1400 but describes the primitive life of the early warriors in heroic terms. The Oghuz warriors prided themselves on telling the truth, courage in battle, and family loyalty. They were devoted to the one God of their Muslim religion and had no qualms about "cutting off heads" and taking booty from infidels. Even a princess could fight in battle or wrestle a prospective husband. The wisdom of Dede Korkut noted, "When a man has wealth as massive as the black mountain, he piles it up and gathers it in and seeks more, but he can eat no more than his portion."2
The most important Oghuz relationship was between father and son. In the story of Dirse Khan's son Boghach, forty jealous warriors slander Boghach, causing the father to shoot his son with an arrow for supposed immorality. The boy is nursed back to health by his mother and is reunited with his father. In these tales the just win their rewards, but the unjust are disgraced. The heroes often win phenomenal victories over the unbelievers or monsters, sometimes for the love of a princess. An Oghuz warrior tells the son of Ushun Koja that every noble has to win his place with his sword and bread, asking him, "Have you cut off heads and spilled blood? Have you fed the hungry and clothed the naked?"3 Young Egrek replies that if this is a clever thing to do, he would like to go on a raid. Egrek is captured by six hundred infidels, but he is rescued by his brother Segrek and is brought home to his family.
The founder of the Ottoman dynasty was Osman Ghazi (r. 1299-1326), son of Ertoghrul, whose band of warriors converted to Islam and grew from four hundred to four thousand. Ghazi implies a holy warrior for Islam, and Osman's army managed to defeat a Byzantine force of 2,000 men at Baphaeon in 1301. Bursa was conquered the year Osman died, and he was succeeded by his son Orkhan (r. 1326-1360), who was chosen by Osman for his military ability over his scholarly older brother Ala-ed-Din. Traveler ibn Battuta called Orkhan the greatest of the Turkman kings, noting that his wealth included a hundred fortresses. Orkhan defeated the Byzantine army of Andronicus III at Pelekanon in 1329 and took over Nicaea two years later. Raiding in the Aegean Sea by a Turkish navy led by Umur Bey caused the Christian nations to begin planning a crusade in 1332. Nicomedia fell to the Turks in 1337.
The Ottomans tolerated Christians, but only Muslims were obligated to serve in the military and thus could have tenure over tax-free land. While Orkhan led the military conquests, Ala-ed-Din organized the Ottoman government in a civilized way. The Ottomans drove out the Greek and Latin landlords that had oppressed the peasants, who found their taxes were lower when the Turkish sultan "owned" their lands. Bordering lands could be held by Christians if they became vassals of the sultan and paid tribute; but the Turks outlawed using the forced labor of peasants by feudal lords or monasteries. The Ottomans encouraged immigration, and many nomad Turks settled in Europe. The motive of holy war (ghaza) continually expanded their empire into Christian lands; but they needed a legal decree (fetwa) from an Islamic cleric ('ulema) to justify attacking other Muslims.
Orkhan gave John Cantacuzenus military aid and married his daughter Theodora in 1346. 6,000 Turkish troops had crossed over into Europe the previous year and ravaged Thrace, besieging Constantinople and enabling Cantacuzenus to return there in 1347. Three years later the Ottoman cavalry helped Cantacuzenus dislodge Serbian Dushan from Salonika; but the Turks did not stay in Europe, returning to Asia Minor with their booty. In 1353 Orkhan's son Suleiman Pasha led an Ottoman force that captured the fortress of Tzympe near Gallipoli, which was occupied by the Turks after a devastating earthquake the next year. The Ottomans made an alliance with the Genoese that year and also took over Ankara. Suleiman Pasha extended their conquests west and cut off Constantinople from Adrianople; but he died in a horse accident. When Theodora's son Khalil was captured by pirates in 1357, his father Orkhan ordered John V to besiege Phocaea. However, John could not persuade his Byzantine navy to maintain the siege, and in 1359 he made a treaty with Orkhan acknowledging his holdings in Thrace.
Orkhan's son Murad I (r. 1361-1389) and the Turks spread terror by taking Demotika and massacring the garrison at Chorlu. Adrianople submitted and replaced Bursa as the Ottoman capital. The Turks defeated the Serbians and Hungarians at the Maritza River in 1364. Two years later Amadeo of Savoy answered a papal crusade and regained Gallipoli before sailing into the Black Sea to attack Bulgarian Christians. He also fought Greeks who would not submit to the Roman Church. However, Sultan Murad accepted thousands of Christian troops into his army and exempted them from taxation on the imperial lands allotted to them. The Turks enslaved those captured in war if they did not convert to Islam, and the Ottoman government received one-fifth of their value; many Greeks bought their freedom. Orkhan had begun the devshirmeh practice of training Christian boys to be Muslim soldiers called Janissaries; they were selected for their ability and were strictly disciplined to serve the sultan, not being allowed to marry, own property, or do other work. Christians criticized this system of military slavery.
By 1369 the Ottomans had taken over the Maritza valley and most of southern Bulgaria, making Shishman a vassal. The Serbian army was defeated again at the Maritza in 1371, and the Turks conquered eastern Macedonia, colonizing Drama and Serres and converting their churches into mosques. Murad was the sultan who had his son Sauci blinded and ordered the same done to the Greek rebels. In the 1380s the Ottoman empire extended into Serbia by taking several major cities; resistance in Anatolia was crushed at Konya in 1387; and they completed the conquest of Bulgaria in 1388. However, Murad was assassinated prior to the Turks' climactic victory over the Serbians at Kosovo in 1389.
Murad's son Bayezid I (r. 1389-1402) was called the Thunderbolt and began his reign by having his brother Yaqub strangled with a bowstring so that the popular commander would not challenge his rule. After killing many Serbian nobles at Kosovo, Bayezid made an alliance with Prince Lazar's son Stephen Bulcovitz, who paid tribute from Serbian silver mines and provided Serbian troops for the Ottoman army, sharing in the booty. In 1390 Bayezid got the Byzantines to help his army defeat the Karamanids and the last Greek city in Asia Minor, Philadelphia. After invading Bulgaria and blockading Constantinople, Bayezid was the first Turk to cross the Danube and raid Hungary, supporting Wallachians who wanted to revolt from Hungarian rule. King Sigismund reacted by invading Bulgaria and capturing Nicopolis, though he was soon driven from there by the Ottoman army. Not trusting his vassal Shishman, Sultan Bayezid had him executed and annexed Bulgaria to his Ottoman empire. Bayezid besieged Constantinople, and Emperor Manuel had to accept a Muslim quarter in his capital under an Islamic tribunal; 6,000 Ottoman troops were garrisoned at Galata. The Turks then conquered Thessalonica and raided Morea. Hungarian king Sigismund's crusade of 1396 was defeated at Nicopolis after the French led a foolish advance; ten thousand were killed as Bayezid had many prisoners beheaded.
Timur the Lame (Tamerlane) was born in 1336 south of Samarqand in Transoxiana and became the leader of the Jagatai tribes, becoming sovereign at Balkh in 1369. Timur was a brilliant strategist and a ruthless warrior. In the next thirty years he led his mobile army in numerous conquests, including over the Golden Horde of Mongols who had been ruling in Russia. He conquered Persia before 1386, and his army of perhaps 800,000 men gained the attention of Bayezid in Anatolia by executing captured Ottomans at Erzinjan. In 1395 while Bayezid was in the Balkans, Timur's forces captured the city of Siwas and massacred 120,000 captives. He then defeated the Egyptian army and had the people of Aleppo slaughtered. In 1398 he crossed the Indus River, and his army sacked Delhi.
The restless Timur quickly returned to his capital at Samarqand and destroyed the rest of the Egyptian army at Damascus. Only a plague of locusts prevented Timur from conquering Jerusalem and Egypt. He conquered "impregnable" Baghdad in 1401; after sparing the lives of imams, scholars, and children, Timur ordered his 90,000 soldiers each to bring a decapitated head as the rest of the inhabitants were slaughtered. He sent messages to his fellow Muslim Bayezid about his encroachments on the western part of his empire; but Bayezid's haughty replies led in 1402 to the battle at Ankara. Bayezid was criticized for his licentiousness that set a bad example and for not paying his soldiers. After the Tatars in the Ottoman army went over to Timur's side, Bayezid was defeated and captured. Timur humiliated the former sultan by keeping him in an iron cage and making Bayezid's wife serve them naked until Bayezid died the next year, probably by suicide. Also in 1402 Timur drove the Knights of Rhodes out of Smyrna. He let his son and grandson rule Samarqand and died on his way to China in 1405.
Bayezid's son Musa was also captured in the battle of Ankara; but his other three sons escaped and began a civil war that lasted a decade. In 1405 Suleiman attacked and killed his brother 'Isa. The next year Musa attacked the combined force of Suleiman and the Byzantine emperor Manuel in Thrace; but when Musa's Serbians and Bulgarians deserted, Suleiman occupied Adrianople. Suleiman married a granddaughter of Manuel but lost the Janissaries because of his drinking and debauchery. In 1409 Musa used Turks and Wallachians to attack Suleiman, who fled and was later killed when he was found sleeping off a binge. Another brother Mehmed was ruling Bursa and was allied with Emperor Manuel. After the Janissaries deserted him, Musa's army was defeated; he was captured, and Mehmed ordered him bowstrung. The youngest brother Qasim was a hostage of Manuel.
Mehmed I (r. 1413-1421) was called the Gentleman, and he made peace with envoys from Venice, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Wallachia. In 1416 he allowed the Knights of Rhodes to build a castle in Lycia for those fleeing from Muslims. That year he went to war with Venice, because their ships were plundering Turkish coasts; but the Turks were badly defeated as 27 of their vessels were captured. Mehmed had several forts erected along the Danube and brought Ottoman organization to that conquered region. When he tried to do the same for the Serbs, Hungarian king Sigismund attacked and defeated the Turks between Nish and Nicopolis in 1419. Young Mehmed had a fit and died when he fell from his horse at Adrianople. He was succeeded by his son Murad.
Murad II (r. 1421-1451) began his reign by besieging Constantinople in 1422; but he had to abandon this to quell a challenge to his throne by Mustafa, who had captured Gallipoli. After defeating Mustafa, Murad made a treaty with Byzantine emperor John VIII in 1423 and resided at Edirne (Adrianople). The Turks fought the Venetians for the next seven years over Salonika (Thessalonica), which was captured in 1430 as the Turks sold 7,000 of its inhabitants into slavery; a treaty allowed Venice trading rights in the Ottoman empire. Murad had signed a truce with Hungary in 1428, and the princes of Wallachia, Serbia, and Bosnia swore allegiance to the sultan.
Hungarian king Sigismund died in 1437, and the next year Murad invaded Transylvania, capturing Semendria and driving out its despot George Brankovich. Serbia was annexed to the Ottoman empire in 1439, but Murad's siege of Belgrade failed. Further Turkish raids into Transylvania were defeated by John Hunyadi, who captured Nish and Sofia. After stopping this army, Murad agreed on a treaty with Hungary's Vladislav and Serbia's George Brankovich in June 1444; but Hunyadi refused to sign. Murad gained a fetwa from an Egyptian 'ulama in order to subdue Karaman for having collaborated with Christians. After accomplishing that, he retired and let young Mehmed II rule.
Cardinal legate Julian Cesarini declared that an oath made to an infidel was not binding, and a crusade was organized against the advice of Hunyadi. The Janissaries at Edirne revolted and gained a raise in pay. Murad's son Mehmed II was only twelve years old and ordered his father to lead the army. About 20,000 Christians met some 60,000 Turks at Varna in November 1444 and were defeated. Vladislav was killed, but Hunyadi escaped. Albanians led by Alexander Bey (Scanderbeg) fought the Turks, and Pope Nicholas V urged the Hungarians and Poles to battle the Muslims also. Hunyadi was appointed to lead an army of 24,000 but did not wait for Scanderbeg and was defeated at Kosovo in 1448 by a large army as 40,000 Turks were killed. Scanderbeg managed to defeat the Turkish army several times, defended Kroja, and fought on for two decades.
After Murad died, Mehmed II (r. 1451-1481) had to choose between the advice of vizier Chandarli Kahlil Pasha, who warned him not to provoke the Western Christians, and Zaganuz Pasha, who urged him to conquer Constantinople. Mehmed, who became known as the Conqueror, began his reign by having his infant brother Ahmad murdered, arguing that this was necessary for the peace and order of the world. After making a treaty with the Byzantine emperor, Mehmed went to quell a rebellion by the Karamanids. While preparing to besiege Constantinople, he made peace with Venice and Hunyadi. A fortress was built in 1452; a Turkish navy of 125 ships was built, and two large Venetian galleys were captured. The next spring a huge cannon manufactured at Edirne hurled projectiles weighing over a thousand pounds to blast the walls of the Byzantine capital. After six weeks the stockade was damaged enough for the Turks to invade the city and kill the last Byzantine emperor. Three days of pillaging ensued, but Mehmed ordered St. Sophia to be converted into a mosque. The last patriarch had fled to Italy in 1451, and Mehmed appointed the monk Gennadius, also known as the scholar George Scholarius, allowing the Christians to use the Church of the Holy Apostles. Orthodox Christians were encouraged to return to the city, now called Istanbul; within a generation the Jews also had their own millet (nation) in the Ottoman capital.
Mehmed II promulgated state laws that were enforced along with the Shari'a (Islamic law) by the local qadis (judges). He ordered a large market built in Istanbul and repaired roads, bridges, and aqueducts. Pious foundations (waqfs) were funded to provide social services in public buildings, mosques, trading facilities, lodgings for travelers, baths, schools, and hospitals. The Sultan collected large revenues by allowing private individuals to have provincial monopolies on such items as salt, soap, and candle-wax. In 1454 Mehmed granted Venice freedom of trade, and their customs duty was fixed at two percent; this was raised to four percent in 1460. Genoese colonies on the Black Sea were forced to pay tribute as the Turks occupied them; the tribal leaders cooperated, because the Turks protected them from the Genoese and the Golden Horde of Mongols in the north.
Mehmed the Conqueror was intent on eliminating any threatening king and began by subduing Serbia; but in 1456 his army of 100,000 was not able to conquer the Hungarians aided by Hunyadi and the crusading monk Capistrano at Belgrade. Serbian despot George Brankovich died in 1458, and the next year Serbia was annexed by the Ottoman empire. Moldavia also paid tribute. Mehmed tried to subjugate Morea in 1458 and returned two years later. During his second campaign the Paleologus prince Demetrius fled and then surrendered the city of Mistra. The other prince Thomas tried to resist by appealing to Venice but then also fled. Venice held onto some cities, but the Turks took over Athens. Trebizond on the Black Sea was conquered by 1461, and many captives were sold into slavery or raised as Janissaries. The remaining males of the Comnene family were massacred.
Hunyadi's son Matthias Corvinus had succeeded Ladislas V as king of Hungary in 1458, and he made an alliance with the cruel Vlad Dracul of Wallachia in 1461. Vlad was called the Impaler for torturing to death 25,000 prisoners in that manner. His forces won some surprise victories against the Ottomans but were eventually defeated and sold into slavery. The Sultan invaded Bosnia in 1463 after King Stjepan Tomashevich was crowned by Pope Pius II and withheld tribute. Mehmed saw to it personally that Stjepan was beheaded. Albania was invaded in 1466. Mehmed also intervened on the side of Shahsuwar in a conflict with his brother Budak over the throne of Albistan in 1467. Shahsuwar resisted pressure from Egypt's Mamluk Qait Bay but was captured and executed in 1472. Budak Beg then ruled Albistan as Qait Bay's vassal until Mehmed managed to establish Budak Beg's younger brother 'Ala ad-Daula in 1480.
When Greeks surrendered the castle at Argos to the Ottomans in 1463, Venice counter-attacked, launching a war with the Ottoman empire that would last until 1479. Venetians tried to assassinate Mehmed fourteen times. By 1468 Mehmed II had annexed the Anatolian territory of Karaman, but in 1471 Persian ruler Uzun Hasan invaded Anatolia and the next year joined the alliance with Venice, Cyprus, and the Knights of Rhodes, pillaging the city of Tokat. Mehmed gathered his Turkish army of perhaps a hundred thousand and defeated the Persian forces at Bashkent, causing Uzun Hasan to make peace. After having faced the Persian threat, the Crimea became a vassal state of the Ottomans in 1475. Mehmed turned west and approached Venice, besieging the castle at Scutari in 1474 and 1478. Venice finally surrendered Scutari, Croia, and the islands of Lemnos and Negroponte (Euboea) to the Ottomans for trading rights. Venice also agreed to pay 100,000 gold ducats and 10,000 a year, but the latter was canceled in 1482 by Bayezid II. In 1480 the Turks even crossed over to the heel of Italy as they attacked Otranto. They ruined the city of Rhodes but were unable to take it from its valiant knights. Bellini painted a portrait of Mehmed while he was ill before the sultan died in 1481.
Near the end of his reign Mehmed II relied on his vizier Karamani Mehmed Pasha, who was disliked for allowing the cavalry officers (sipahi) to use land transfers to gather taxes. When the Conqueror died, the Janissaries, allied with Ishak Pasha and Gedik Ahmed Pasha in their support of prince Bayezid, managed to keep Mehmed Pasha's envoys from reaching crown prince Jem so that Bayezid could arrive at Istanbul first to become sultan. Jem gathered Turkmen tribes in Karaman and proclaimed himself sultan at Brusa. After his forces were defeated by the Janissaries led by Gedik Ahmed Pasha at Yenishehir, he fled to Mamluk sultan Qait Bay in Egypt. Then Jem joined Karaman exile Kasim Beg, who had been at the court of Uzun Hasan's son Yaqub Beg (r. 1478-1490) at Tabriz, for an attack on Konya; this time Jem fled to the knights at Rhodes. The knights sent Jem to France, where his annual pension of 45,000 ducats was paid by Bayezid II to keep him there. In 1486 Jem was transferred to Pope Innocent VIII. Borgia Pope Alexander VI in 1495 sent Jem to crusading Charles VIII of France; this concerned Bayezid; but Jem died, perhaps of poison, before he arrived there.
Muslims and Christians fought on their borders by the Sava and Danube rivers from Bosnia to the Black Sea, and Hungarian governor Pal Kinizsi of Temesvar ravaged the province of Semendria. Sultan Bayezid II had the defenses strengthened on the river Morava and took over Herzegovina; but in 1483 Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus (r. 1458-1490) made a truce with Bayezid that lasted until the Ottomans invaded in 1492. Bayezid agreed to another truce with Hungary in 1495 for three years. After Bayezid took the Kilia fortress on the Danube, Moldavian prince Stephen became the vassal of Poland's Casimir IV to repel the Ottoman invaders. Since Poland was occupied fighting the Tatars of the Volga, Stephen resumed paying tribute to the Sultan in 1487. Poland made three truces with Bayezid that lasted from 1489 to 1497. The Ottoman fleet was built up to enhance trade, and in 1492 many of the Jews expelled from Spain settled in Istanbul and other cities of the Ottoman empire. An Ottoman war with Venice began in 1499, and the Turkish navy took Lepanto, Modon, Coron, and Navarino in Greece; but they made peace with Venice in 1503. At the same time the Hungarians agreed to a seven-year truce that included other Christian states so that Bayezid would not have to worry about Europe.
War between Mamluk Egypt and the Ottoman empire broke out in 1485 when the Ottoman's Karaman governor Karagoz Pasha seized Adana and Tarsus in Cilicia. Qait Bay sent Mamluk forces that defeated and captured the Ottoman's Hersekoghlu Ahmed Pasha. In 1487 Bayezid sent Grand Vizier Da'ud Pasha to occupy Cilicia; but when 'Ali Pasha was defeated the next year, 'Ala ad-Daula deserted to the Mamluks. So Bayezid tried to restore exiled Budak Beg in Albistan in 1489, but he was captured and taken to Egypt. The next year 'Ala ad-Daula and a Mamluk army besieged Kaysari. A truce was called in 1491, recognizing Egypt's sovereignty over Cilicia, but the revenues from Adana and Tarsus were to be sent to the Islamic sanctuaries in Mecca and Medina.
Prince Selim in Trebizond had been raiding the Safavids since 1505, and he gained the province Kaffa in the Crimea for his son Suleiman. Selim combined these forces with Tatar cavalry and crossed the Danube in 1511 with the intention of attacking Christians. His father Bayezid reluctantly granted him the province Semendria. Fearing the combined armies of his brother Ahmed and 'Ali Pasha, Selim marched on the capital at Edirne (Adrianople) to dethrone his father. The Janissaries liked the warlike Selim but remained loyal to the Sultan and defeated Selim's Tatars in August 1511. Nonetheless the Janissaries at Istanbul refused to accept Ahmed as the next sultan, and so Ahmed took over Karaman without his father's permission and was reported to be seeking an alliance with Isma'il. Bayezid reacted by restoring Semendria to his son Selim. Bayezid's oldest son Korkud governed Tekke but traded it for Sarukhan so that he could be closer to Istanbul; but he was also rejected by the Janissaries. In April 1512 the Janissaries made Selim sultan, and retiring Bayezid died on his way to Demotika the next month. Machiavelli commented that Bayezid II had maintained the empire peacefully because of the conquests of Mehmed II; but he asserted that a peaceful approach by Selim would have ruined the Ottoman empire.
Learning that Ahmed's son 'Ala ad-Din had seized Bursa, Sultan Selim drove Ahmed's forces from there back to Amasya and then had his five nephews in Brusa killed. Korkud was captured in Tekke and was also eliminated. Ahmed was defeated in a battle at Yenishehir, captured, and killed. Selim still feared the Safavids in Anatolia and had 40,000 of them slain or imprisoned. In 1514 Albistan prince 'Ala ad-Daula declined to provide food for the Ottoman army, and his Turkmen attacked them. Selim forced the Persians to defend Tabriz, and at Chaldiran the Ottomans with superior guns defeated the Persian army in August 1514. Prisoners in Tabriz were massacred, but a thousand skilled artisans were sent to Istanbul. The silk trade was banned, and Selim sent the Persian silk merchants from Bursa to the Balkans. He also tried to stop the Mamluk slave trade of Circassians from the Caucasus. In 1515 Janissaries led by Sinan Pasha defeated and killed 'Ala ad-Daula and four of his sons, as the nephew Shahsuwar-oghlu 'Ali was made the Ottoman vassal over Albistan. Kurdish begs asked Selim for help against the Safavids and were led by Idris, who later became an Ottoman historian. After their victories, Idris wisely allowed the independent Kurds to have 24 governments under their own chieftains.
In Egypt Mamluk sultan Qansawh al-Ghawri had lost revenues to the Portuguese, and his increased taxes and raids by soldiers were resented. Selim sent him diplomats, but Qansawh reacted to the taking of Albistan by imprisoning them. The Egyptian sultan sent word to Selim to give back Albistan and warned him not to attack the Persians. Selim replied he would invade Syria instead, intimidating Qansawh into releasing the envoys from Aleppo. In August 1516 the Ottoman army defeated and killed Qansawh at Marj Dabik as the Mamluk army fled and found the gates of Aleppo closed against them. Syria became part of the Ottoman empire as Selim appointed governors for Aleppo, Tripoli, Damascus, and Jerusalem; he installed a strong garrison at Gaza. Selim sent an ambassador to Cairo offering to let Tumar Bay govern Egypt as his vassal, but Tumar Bay had already sent 10,000 men to reconquer Gaza. They were met by 5,000 Janissaries led by Sinan Pasha, and using superior fire-power they scattered the Mamluks. Selim joined Sinan Pasha, and together they conquered Cairo and hanged Tuman Bay in 1517. The former Mamluk governor Khayr Bey was named pasha of Egypt, and on the way home to Istanbul a rebellion in Anatolia was crushed by Selim's army. In 1520 Selim's son Suleiman inherited a vastly enlarged Ottoman empire.
Ottoman Empire 1520-1615
In an era of powerful monarchs, Suleiman came to be known as the Magnificent. Born in 1495, Suleiman began his reign by giving the expected money to the Janissaries for making him sultan; but he also freed 600 Egyptian prisoners and compensated some merchants his father had wrongly punished. Senior officers accused of cruelty were tried, convicted, and executed. Suleiman first conquered the two places Mehmed the Conqueror had failed to take-Belgrade in 1521 and Rhodes the next year. After 145 days the surviving knights capitulated and were allowed to leave Rhodes, wandering for five years until they found a home on Malta. After Pasha Khayr Bey died in Egypt in 1522, his successor Pasha Ahmed rebelled with Mamluk begs and Arab chieftains against the Janissaries to make himself independent. After this revolt was suppressed by the Ottoman forces, grand vizier Ibrahim implemented extensive administrative reforms by 1525 that established Ottoman government in Egypt that would last nearly three centuries.
After three years without a war the bored Janissaries mutinied by plundering customs, the Jewish quarter in Istanbul, and the houses of officers. Suleiman was threatened; but the rebellion was suppressed; the leaders were executed, and others lost their positions. Most of the Janissaries were appeased with gifts of money and a new military campaign. Suleiman led his Ottoman forces against the Hungarians in 1526. On the battlefield at Mohacs King Louis of Hungary was defeated and died while escaping with a head wound. 24,000 Hungarians were killed, and Sultan Suleiman ordered the 2,000 prisoners executed. Mohacs was burned, and the Akinjis ravaged the countryside. After stealing the treasures and library from Buda, the entire city was burned down except for the palace occupied by the Sultan. A bridge was constructed with boats, and the Turks also ignited the city of Pest. Hungarian nobles elected John Zapolya as their new king, and he was recognized by Suleiman. However, Germans supported Bohemian king Ferdinand, resulting in a civil war. His envoys went to Istanbul but were imprisoned there. Meanwhile Turkmen had revolted in Cilicia and were not subdued by grand vizier Ibrahim Pasha until 1528.
Ferdinand was allied with Emperor Charles V. Delayed by rains and floods, Suleiman's Ottoman army had to abandon the siege of Vienna in October 1529; about 40,000 Turks and 20,000 Christians were killed in the useless war. Suleiman led a campaign against the imperial forces in 1532 but encountered stubborn resistance by the town of Guns. The Akinjis and the Tatar allies plundered Styria in Austria as Suleiman retreated back to Belgrade. Ferdinand sent an envoy and was granted a truce in 1533.
Meanwhile Persian shah Tahmasp (r. 1524-1576) was fighting off rivalries with his own brothers and Turkmen amirs. In Kurdistan the khan of Bitlis was fighting for the Shah, and the Persian governor of Baghdad was murdered before Ottoman aid could reach him. Grand Vizier Ibrahim forced Shah Tahmasp to retreat, and Suleiman arrived at Tabriz in 1534, entering Baghdad amid snow in November. Thus Iraq was conquered, and the new province of Erzerum was added to the Ottoman empire. In Persia the Ottoman treasurer Chelebi hated Vizier Ibrahim and was accused by him of embezzlement. Before he was executed, Chelebi wrote a letter to Suleiman charging Ibrahim with treason for calling himself sultan. Ibrahim, a Christian, was suspected of disrespecting the Qur'an, plotting with the French, and was resented for his enormous wealth. In 1536 Suleiman invited Ibrahim to dinner, and the vizier was found murdered the next morning. For six generations Ottoman sultans had had children by women in their harem without marrying; but a year after the Sultan's mother died, Roxelana persuaded Suleiman in 1534 to marry her and exile Mustafa's mother Gulbehar. After Ibrahim was removed, Roxelana had more influence than the succeeding viziers.
The Ottoman navy used galleys that were rowed by war captives in miserable conditions. The successful pirate Khayr al-Din was given command and captured Tunis in 1534. This city was attacked by Emperor Charles and his armada led by admiral Andrea Doria the next year and sacked, as drunken Spaniards and Germans murdered, raped, and looted. Khayr al-Din, known as Barbarossa for his red beard, fled and then dressed his men as Spaniards and under that flag plundered the Balearic Islands, taking 5,700 prisoners from Port Mahon in Minorca. In 1536 the Ottomans built two hundred ships in order to invade Italy, and Otranto was taken the next year; ten thousand Italians were sold in the slave markets of Istanbul. In 1537 Venetians joined a "holy league" with the imperial forces against the Turks, but the Ottoman navy defeated them enough at Corfu and in the Gulf of Arta to enable the Turks to dominate the Mediterranean for the next third of a century. They agreed on a truce in 1540, but Venice had to give up Morea and its Aegean islands. Meanwhile ghazi soldiers were fighting a jihad in Austria, and in 1538 Suleiman had occupied Suceava, the capital of Moldavia.
Suleiman was praised by imperial envoy Busbecq for his justice and for appointing men of ability and merit to government offices. In 1535 the grand vizier Ibrahim had made a treaty with the French that enabled them to trade freely with the Ottoman empire. Suleiman's empire included twenty different ethnic groups and 21 governments; most of it was in Muslim Asia, but he treated European Christians with some tolerance after conquering them. His law code was updated by Mullah Ibrahim of Aleppo from the traditional Islamic law. Christians came under the Code of the Rayas, and their tithes and capitation taxes were so moderate that some peasants fled Christian lords in Hungary to be under Ottoman rule. Punishments were modernized with fines replacing corporal punishment, mutilation and death in many cases, although efforts to enforce honesty still could mean severing a hand for false witness, forgery, or passing bad money. Interest rates were limited to 11%. Beasts of burden were to be treated kindly.
Suleiman was fabulously rich with an annual income of about twelve million ducats; his wars were paid for by booty (including selling many as slaves) and by tribute from Christian vassals. Later in his reign he began demanding gifts from officers he appointed to higher positions. Judges (qadis and muftis) were immune from taxation and confiscation of their property, making them a privileged elite. Eight colleges met at principal mosques, and schools studied grammar, syntax, logic, metaphysics, philology, metaphors, rhetoric, geometry, astronomy, and astrology. Higher education usually emphasized Islamic law.
In 1541 Emperor Charles V failed to take Algiers, and two years later Khayr al-Din ravaged Naples and Sicily. After their landing at Marseilles, the French let the Ottoman navy go to Toulon; but the Turks' raiding of French villages caused many to flee. In 1544 an epidemic killed many galley slaves, and the Turks captured French Christians to replace them. Francis I suggested they attack Nice, which was held by the Emperor's ally, the Duke of Savoy, whose castle was sacked. Khayr al-Din died in 1546. Finally in 1554 Francis ended this alliance by bribing the Turks with gifts. Turghut, who had been captured and spent four year years as a galley slave before being ransomed, eventually became Ottoman admiral and took Tripoli from the Knights of St. John in 1551; but they got their revenge when Turghut was killed in the failed siege of Malta in 1565.
John Zapolya, urged by Hungarian nationalist Martinuzzi, married Polish princess Isabella shortly before he died in 1540. Their one-year-old son Stephen was proclaimed king of Hungary, but the Ottomans still occupied his country. After Ferdinand tried to retake Pest, Suleiman in 1543 returned to Hungary and converted a Buda cathedral into a mosque. A treaty was eventually worked out in 1547 that included France, Venice, and Pope Paul III; Ferdinand agreed to pay the sultan 30,000 ducats annually. This enabled Suleiman to invade Persia again to recapture Tabriz and take the city of Van the next year. In 1551 the monk Martinuzzi persuaded Isabella to give Transylvania to Ferdinand as part of Austria in exchange for land in Silesia. Suleiman reacted to this by imprisoning the Austrian envoy for two years, but Martinuzzi was made an archbishop and cardinal. The Sultan sent Mehmed Sokollu with an army that took over and garrisoned Lippa in Transylvania. Ferdinand besieged Lippa and had Martinuzzi murdered for plotting with the garrison. Turkish troops invaded and defeated Ferdinand again in 1552. The next year Suleiman left on his last Persian campaign that recaptured Erzerum and devastated Persian land across the Upper Euphrates. A truce led to a treaty of peace at Amasya in 1555.
Roxelana's daughter married the Bulgarian financier Rustem Pasha, who was made grand vizier in 1543. She also lobbied for her three sons Selim, Bayezid, and Jehangir; but Suleiman preferred Gulbehar's son Mustafa, who was governing Amasya in Asia. The aging sultan sent Mustafa to lead the third Persian invasion; but intrigues and suspicion of his ambition caused Suleiman to have his own son strangled with a bowstring. Mustafa had been popular with the Janissaries, but the Sultan pacified them by dismissing Rustem and giving them a half million ducats. However, his successor Ahmed Pasha was beheaded for treason within two years. Rustem was re-appointed and had 1,700 slaves at his death. After Roxelana died, the Janissaries preferred the more capable Bayezid to the alcoholic Selim; Jehangir had died. When Suleiman gave his two sons positions away from the capital, Bayezid refused to go. In the civil war the Sultan supported Selim, and Bayezid was defeated at Konya in 1559. The prince fled to the Persian court, where Shah Tahmasp was bribed with 400,000 gold coins to have him turned over for execution in 1561. Bayezid's five sons were also strangled with bowstrings.
The siege of Malta failed in 1566; more than 20,000 Turks died fighting and from disease, while 7,000 Maltese and Spaniards lost their lives. The aged Suleiman left in a carriage before an army of 200,000 on his last campaign to Hungary. The target was Count Nicholas Zrinyi, who had murdered the favored Muhammad of Trikala at Siklos in 1552. They besieged the fortress at Szigetvar; but before the victory Suleiman died of a heart attack on September 6, 1566. Grand Vizier Sokollu Mehmed Pasha concealed the Sultan's death, executed the doctor for secrecy, and had Suleiman's body embalmed and not buried until the battle was won and Selim II could take power in Istanbul. In his last years Suleiman had restricted alcohol and became more religious; but the first edict of Selim "the Sot" was to make wine easily available. For a while Sokollu managed the government. In 1568 he made a treaty with the Habsburg emperor and sent an Ottoman army to attack Astrakhan and to dig a canal between the Don and Volga rivers to unite the Ottoman Black Sea with the Caspian Sea. Astrakhan on the mouth of the Volga on the Caspian Sea had fallen to the Muscovites in 1554 and could not be taken, as the Crimean Tatar khan Devlet Ghiray (r. 1551-1577) also opposed them; thus the canal project failed. A similar project at Suez was abandoned because of a revolt in Yemen.
The Ottoman navy tried to help the Moors against Spain in North Africa. Istanbul renewed its treaty with Venice in 1567, but then the mufti Abu'l Su'ud issued a fetwa decreeing that treaties could be broken to retake lands that had once been Muslim. A Portuguese Jew and financier, Joseph Nasi, persuaded Selim to attack Cyprus for its fine wine and gold ducats, and Sokollu's objections to taking on Venice were to no avail. Sokollu's rivals Lala Mustafa commanded the army and Piala Pasha the fleet. Nicosia was taken by 50,000 Ottomans in six weeks; but Farmagusta, the second fortress on Cyprus, held out for eleven months before surrendering. Mustafa accused Bragadino of torturing Ottoman prisoners and had him tortured to death. Pope Pius V formed another holy League with Spain and Venice in 1571 for the thirteenth crusade against the Ottoman Turks with two hundred galleys including six large galleasses. The Turkish fleet was even larger and sailed out of the Gulf of Lepanto only to be badly defeated by the Christians, who had superior artillery. About 230 Ottoman galleys were sunk or captured, while the Christian alliance lost only fifteen galleys and half as many men as the Turks. Selim reacted by ordering the Spaniards and Venetians in his empire executed; but Sokollu canceled that horrendous edict.
By 1572 a new Ottoman fleet of 250 ships with eight galleasses was built and deterred the Christians from trying to retake Cyprus. Venice made a treaty, ceding the island of Cyprus. Tunis had been taken along with Cyprus but was lost the next year to the navy of the Lepanto victor, John of Austria; but now Uluz 'Ali Pasha recaptured the La Goletta fortress, and Tunis became part of the Ottoman province that included Algiers and Tripoli. Morocco was added to the Ottoman empire in 1578. In 1574 Moldavia led by Ivan Ivonia revolted with help from Polish grandees and Zaporozhian Cossacks; the Ottomans suppressed this with aid from the Crimean Tatars led by 'Adil Giray.
The drunk Selim II fell, cracked his skull, and dyed in 1574. His son Murad III ceded, and ordered his five brothers strangled. The vices of Murad were avarice and lust. He had so many concubines that the price of girls in the slave market at Istanbul doubled, and he sired more than a hundred children. He was influenced by the Venetian sultana Safiye Baffo, who also swayed her son Mehmed III. Ottoman diplomacy renewed treaties with Poland and the Habsburgs in 1577 so that they could turn toward Persia. Corruption increased as the favorite Shemsi Pasha sold offices in revenge for the Ottomans supplanting his ancestral Seljuk dynasty. He and Mustafa Pasha hated Sokollu and led a campaign against Persia by way of the Crimea in 1578. The Sultan was concerned that Sunni travelers were finding it difficult to make pilgrimages through Safavid Persia to Mecca and Medina. Sokollu warned the Sultan that the troops would get out of hand, and increased expenses could not be met, that the peasants would be oppressed, and even if Persia was conquered, they would not become subject to Sunni rule. Sunni 'ulema issued fetwas declaring Shi'i enemies of the faith so that those captured could be sold as slaves.
Simon Luarssab became king of Georgia in 1558; but when he refused to conform to Shi'i policies of the Persian Safavids, he was imprisoned in 1569 and replaced by his brother Davud, who converted to the Shi'i faith. Simon became a Muslim and was released in 1576. After Georgia king Davud abandoned Tiflis to the Turks in 1578, it was garrisoned by Ottoman forces under Mustafa Pasha, gaining the Shah's income from silk, salt, rice, and petroleum. Ottoman convoys and reinforcements were often harassed by Safavids and their Georgian allies. Simon with released Georgian prisoners led their struggle against the Ottomans until he was captured in 1600.
Sokollu's enemies had him murdered in his council chamber in 1579. Osman Pasha led successful victories for the Ottomans against the Persians culminating in his victory by the Samur River in 1583 that conquered Daghestan and Shirvan. He had help from the Giray family, but the Tatars refused to give up their raiding to follow the Ottoman policy of protecting the lives and property of Muslims. The next summer Murad III rewarded Osman by making him grand vizier. In 1585 Osman died after capturing Tabriz, but in the next three years the Turks took over Azerbaijan. The Persians were vulnerable, because they lacked artillery. Operating as beglerbeg of Baghdad, Chigala-zade Sinan Pasha occupied the western Persian provinces of Luristan and Hamadhan. Three years after the Turkmen chiefs deposed Shah Khudabanda, the Persians made peace with the Ottomans in 1590 and ceded them much of Azerbaijan, Shirvan, Georgia, Derbend, and Kurdistan.
Border raids were threatening to break the 1568 treaty with Austria. In 1591 and 1592 Bosnian beglerbeg Hasan Pasha raided Croatia and besieged Sisak, which was lost when he was killed the next year after the Ottomans went to war with Austria. The Turks now learned that the Christians had developed better handguns and cannons. The Hungarian war (1593-1606) was aggravated by the 1594 revolt of Moldavia, Wallachia, and Transylvania. The Ottomans captured the fortress of Raab, but in 1595 they lost the bulwark of Gran. The Crimean Tatars made a treaty with Moscow in 1594, and led by Gazi Giray Khan, they helped the Ottomans in their war with Hungary.
Sultan Mehemmed III (r. 1595-1603), after having his nineteen brothers strangled and six pregnant concubines drowned, tried to turn the tide by campaigning himself in 1596 as they took the Hungarian fortress of Erlau, killing thirty thousand Germans and Hungarians despite mass desertion by the sipahis. In 1598 the Christians retook Raab, but their siege of Buda failed. Many bloody battles were stalemates, though the Christians gained Pest in 1602. Transylvania, led by Stephen Bocskai, came back over to the Ottomans in 1605, enabling them to regain Gran and other strongholds. The treaty of 1606 recognized the independence of Transylvania, and Emperor Rudolf II gave the Sultan 200,000 gulden but was then was regarded as an equal with no further tribute. In thirteen years of bloody war the Turks had only gained Erlau and Kanizsa. Ahmed (r. 1603-1617) was only 13 years old when he became sultan and was the first who had not served as a provincial governor; but he allowed his only brother to live because he was insane. Ahmed spent most of his short life in his harem and was influenced by his favorites.
The Janissaries could no longer be replaced by capturing Christians as children (devshirme). They were allowed to marry, often became artisans, and positions became hereditary. English merchants had been granted commercial privileges by the Ottomans in 1580 and supplied them with tin for bronze cannons as well as iron, steel, lead, copper, arquebuses, muskets, sword-blades, brimstone, saltpeter, and gunpowder. British ambassadors William Harborne (1583-1588) and Edward Barton (1588-1598) tried to persuade the Ottoman navy to attack Spain, and Barton accompanied Mehemmed on the 1596 campaign that took Erlau.
The imperial wars caused much inflation in the Ottoman empire as gold and silver imports from the new world also raised prices. Their currency was debased in 1584 to pay soldiers, and the ratio of the akche to the ducat went from 60 to 200. Officials on fixed incomes turned to corruption and malpractice, and the Janissaries rebelled in 1589 when they were paid with debased coins. The sipahis (knights) mutinied three years later, because they were not fully paid. In 1596 thirty thousand sipahis refused to fight at Mezo-Keresztes in Hungary and lost their lands. A revolt in the capital by the sipahis in 1603 was suppressed by Grand Vizier Hasan Pasha and the Janissaries. Increased population was also a factor, and in Asia Minor peasants called levendat turned to brigandage and rebellions that lasted from 1596 to 1610. It took Grand Vizier Murad Pasha four years to crush these Jalali rebels. Land became concentrated in fewer hands with absentee landlords. Heredity and nepotism often replaced merit. Tax collectors squeezed people and pushed them off their lands. Uncultivated soil resulted in famines, and private estates were turned into ranches for livestock. Interest rates reached 50%. Judges became corrupt and took bribes.
The Ottoman decline was explained in a treatise by the Bosnian Hasan al-Kafi in 1597. Justice was no longer being administered, because less capable men were given the highest offices. The armies had lost their discipline, courage, and skill as the sultans languished in self-indulgence. Soldiers exploited subjects and failed to use the latest weapons. Viziers intrigued against each other as corruption, favoritism, greed, and negligence spread through the Ottoman government.
The Ottoman Turks wrote fables and poetry. A fine example is "The Rose and the Nightingale" by Fasli (d. 1563), who was a secretary to the council (Divan) of Prince Mustapha. Near the end of his poem Fasli explained the deeper meaning of the story.
The Shah, the radiant monarch of the Spring,
Is intellect that bides for evermore.
The Rose, which is the daughter of the Shah,
Is genius, offspring of the intellect.
The city which is named the rose garden
Is life when spent on beds of luxury.
The Nightingale upon the rose parterre
The human heart, which after genius longs.
The heart by genius is perfected,
And therefore is of genius amorous.
The East Wind is the breath of suffering,
Which ever blows between the heart and soul,
And the clear vision which in life abides
Is the narcissus in the rose parterre.
The tulip, in a circle bends its cup,-
'Tis friendship with its tender-heartedness.
The cypress, I would fain expound to you,
Is the free symbol of integrity.
The rivulet is purity of soul,
Wherein the well-beloved is mirrored clear.
And in the dew which serves the flowers for wine
Is seen the shining tenderness of God.
What is the lily else but bravery?
The violet is loveliness of heart,
The hyacinth is bitter jealousy,
The thorn is anger which estranges all.
And that which Summer I and Winter call,
Must also have a double sense to thee.
For one brings many blessings to thy life,
The other desolates this world of ours;
And on the character of each of these
All of the year's vicissitudes depend.
The one is strong as anger in its day,
And with it carries off the strength of man;
For man when fiery ardor rules the sky
Finds all his life with flames of heat consumed.
And this is August burning like a brand,
Which desolates the city of the soul.
Thus will be clear to thee how any fire
Destroys the happiness of monarch Spring.
So soon as suffering seizes on the life
It overcomes the soul and intellect.
For intellect its office fails to fill,
So anger has with all things laid it waste.
The other source of strength is love of kind,
Which always brings a blessing in its train.
Its action is to deepen graciousness,
And give new color to the sense of life.
And so I name it Autumn: well is known
Its character as separate and distinct-
Since rage and passion then are satisfied,
And life into a mellow twilight comes.
While all the time nature in calm decay
Is like the chill of man's declining day.
And thus the king of winter seems at last
The human life and spirit to usurp.
The king who does the rose garden restore
Is but the light and health that clears man's soul.
Anger and passion both give way to him,
And God's own light at last pours blessing down.
This king brings help to heart and intellect,
And takes possession of the whole domain.
He frees the spirit from the charge of sense,
And widens out the prospect of the soul;
Then heart and spirit in a kiss unite,
The bridal of the Rose and Nightingale.4
Persia in the 14th Century
In 1295 the Mongol ruler Ghazan and ten thousand others had converted to Islam. He conquered Damascus in 1299 but lost it when he was defeated by the Egyptians in 1303. Ghazan inaugurated the Il-khan era with Islamic justice and financial reforms. His brother Uljaytu Khuda-banda (r. 1304-1316) confirmed the Shari'a laws, and converting Jews had to eat camel's meat soaked in milk. Uljaytu conquered Herat in 1307 and was succeeded by his only surviving son, 13-year-old Abu Sa'id. A rebellion by Yasawur in Khurasan was put down by Abu Sa'id and his amir Chuban in 1319. Egyptian sultan Nasir married a Mongol princess in 1320, and a treaty was agreed upon three years later. Court intrigues led to a conflict with the Chuban family, which was eventually eliminated. Abu Sa'id had fallen in love with Chuban's married daughter Baghdad Khatun; but Ibn Battuta reported that when Abu Sa'id died of poisoning in 1335, she was executed for the deed.
Shaikh Safi al-Din (1252-1334), a descendant of 'Ali, founded the Safavi religious order in Azerbaijan about 1300, making the city of Ardabil a pilgrimage center and a refuge for the persecuted and oppressed. The Mongol rule over Persia faded after the death of Il-Khan Abu Sa'id (r. 1316-1335), as a struggle for the throne resulted in several murders until Hasan-i Buzurg, who knew Safi al-Din, founded the Jalayarid dynasty at Baghdad in 1340 by defeating Jahan Temur. The Aq Quyunlu (White Sheep) and the Qara Quyunlu (Black Sheep) began to feud over the destruction of Erzerum in 1332. The last Chobanid coins were minted in 1353, the year Togha Temur, the last Chingizid ruler, was murdered by a Sarbadar. For two generations until the invasion by Timur, Iran was ruled by local chieftains, who often fought with each other.
In Fars and Isfahan the house of Inju dominated; their last ruler, Abu Ishaq, claimed Shiraz and invaded Kirman in 1347 and Yazd three years later. The Muzaffarid Mubariz al-Din Muhammad besieged Shiraz; but Abu Ishaq escaped back to Isfahan with help from the Jalayarid Hasan-i Buzurg. There he was besieged again by Mubariz, who captured and executed him in 1357. Mubariz overthrew the Golden Horde's governor in Tabriz but was forced to retreat by Jalayarid forces. His tyranny was resisted by his son Shah-i Shuja, who captured Mubariz and put his eyes out; but Shah-i Shuja was defeated by his brother Shah Mahmud, who ruled Isfahan and was assisted by Baghdad's Uvais, son of Hasan-i Buzurg. Uvais (r. 1356-1374) had been a vassal of the Golden Horde but conquered Azerbaijan in 1360. Husain (r. 1374-1382), brother of Uvais, fought his Muzaffarid brother-in-law, Shah Mahmud, who marched from Isfahan to Tabriz but could not hold it. When Shah Mahmud died in 1375, Isfahan reverted to Shah-i Shuja. He occupied Tabriz but could not keep it either, because Fars was too unstable. The conflicted Muzaffarids ruled in Kirman and Yazd until they were conquered by Timur in 1393.
In the east the Sarbadar reformers were primarily Shi'a and governed from Sabzavar in Khurasan until 1381. 'Ala' al-Din Muhammad got help from Jalayarid troops but had to raise taxes to pay his soldiers. Amir 'Abd al-Razzaq killed a government official and led a rebellion in Sabzavar, taking over the city in 1337; but he was stabbed to death by his brother Vajih al-Din Ma'sud. In Khurasan Shaikh Khalifa was murdered for preaching to Shi'is, but he was replaced by his disciple Hasan Juri. Ma'sud considered Khurasan part of the Il-Khanid empire, which was Sunni; but he accepted the popular Hasan Juri into his government. Ma'sud used his 12,000 soldiers and 700 Turkish slaves along with Hasan Juri's dervishes to conquer Nishapur and expand the Sarbadar state; but in a battle at Zava in 1342 against Kartids of Herat led by Mu'izz al-Din Husain, who was allied with Togha Temur, Hasan Juri was killed. Believing he was assassinated by Ma'sud's agent, the dervishes fled. As the Sarbadar army retreated, Ma'sud was captured and executed.
After a struggle for power, Sabzavari dervish Shams al-Din 'Ali (r. 1347-1352) was praised by historian Daulatshah for reforming the tax system, living simply, and regulating prostitution, drugs, and alcohol. His successor Yahya Karavi (r. 1352-1356) took some men into the Mongol winter camp and assassinated Togha Temur. Like many Sarbadar rulers in this period, Yahya was murdered; but after a civil war 'Ali-yi Mu'ayyad (r. 1361-1381) drove out the dervishes. The Kartid sons of Husain forced 'Ali-yi Mu'ayyad to retreat to Amir Vali, where in 1381 he asked for help from the powerful Timur.
'Ubayd-i-Zakani was from Qazvin but moved to Shiraz, where he wrote ribald satire during the reign of Shaikh Abu Ishaq Inju and until he died in 1371. He poked fun at the decadent morals of the time in his "Ethics of the Aristocracy," which was written in 1340. The seven chapters portrayed the upper classes rejecting the four classical virtues of wisdom, courage, chastity, and justice as well as generosity, fidelity, and mercy. Instead of recognizing the rational soul that gets wisdom from God, they believed that there is nothing beyond the body. Courage is avoided as stupid foolishness that results in being killed. Scholar E. G. Browne found the chapter on chastity too ribald to translate. Justice is considered disastrous. The aristocrats point out that Genghis Khan gained wide sovereignty by destroying millions of people, and Hulagu Khan devastated Baghdad; but when Abu Sa'id adopted justice, the Mongol dynasty soon came to an end. In 1350 'Ubayd-i-Zakani mixed good sense with satire in his "Hundred Counsels," and his "Joyous Treatise" told funny stories in Arabic and Persian. Here is an example:
A certain man claimed to be God.
He was brought before the Caliph, who said to him,
"Last year someone here claimed to be a prophet,
and he was put to death."
"It was well done," replied the man, "for I did not send him."5
Shams al-Din (1320-1389) of Shiraz became known as Hafiz for having memorized the Qur'an. Hafiz worked in a bakery and fell in love with the aristocratic Shakh-i-Nibat, passing by her window every day; but the legend is that having met the angel Gabriel, the mystic Hafiz declared he wanted God. After staying awake for forty consecutive nights at the tomb of poet Baba Kuhi, Hafiz found a spiritual teacher named Muhammad Attar. Hafiz was strongly influenced by the poets 'Attar, Rumi, and Sa'di, and his verse was patronized at the court of Abu Ishaq. Hafiz lost his position teaching Qur'anic studies when Mubariz Muzaffar closed the taverns and wine-shops in 1353; but he regained it after Shah-i Shuja blinded his dictatorial father in 1358. After Shiraz was taken over by Shuja's brother Mahmud, the enemies of Hafiz forced him to go into exile to Isfahan in 1368 for four years. After studying with Attar for forty years, Hafiz became enlightened in 1381, and half of his poetry was written in his last eight years. Much of his poetry is about the joys of wine and romantic love; but many believe these are metaphors symbolic of divine intoxication and mystical love.
Hafiz wrote 569 ghazals, which were collected into his Divan. After his death these poems were used by some as an oracle. Hafiz also wrote Rubaiyat quatrains. Here are four examples:
You, Your eye: deceit and sorcery keep raining from it;
Hey, many swords, war's weaponry, keep raining from it;
Too quickly You become wearied and upset with friends;
Your heart: stones that do injury, keep raining from it.
My soul is sacrificed for that One, Who worthwhile is;
If you place my head at those feet, it a peaceful pile is.
Do you desire to understand all the truth about hell?
Truthfully, hell the society of the worthless and vile is.
If winning the hearts of the poor is what you wish to do,
Gaining respect of those who today are discreet too,
Don't criticize the Christian, the Muslim and the Jew,
And all the world will be thankful and recommend you.
Although it is the right thing to be careful of mankind,
It's best that to no one in word or action one is unkind.
Although you will not find any faithfulness in this life,
It's best to leave all the seeds of all tyranny far behind.6
In "A Mad Heart" Hafiz wrote of a man who loved God well but did not know that God was in him. In "Not All the Sum of Earthly Happiness" he warned that the sultan's precious crown is dangerous, because the conqueror's reward is not worth the army's long-drawn woes; it is better to find treasure in a mind at rest than to ask the slightest favor from the base. In his later poems Hafiz spoke of unity and his soul yearning for paradise like a homing bird. He compared pilgrims looking for God in a temple to his own direct experience of God. Because he knows God, he knows that God loves all. Here are some passages from the Ghazals:
Hafiz, don't take offense at autumn's wind over the field of the world.
Think rationally: where is the thornless rose?
The philosopher's stone that turns the black heart to gold
Is the intimacy of dervishes.
The face that kings desire and seek with prayer
is found in the mirror of their face.
From one border to the other rides the army of cruelty, but
from before creation to beyond time is the domain of dervishes.
Everyone who has a clear mind and a lovely friend
is an intimate of bliss and a companion to good fortune.
I speak frankly and that makes me happy:
I am the slave of love, I am free of both worlds.7
The following two ghazals are presented in their entirety:
Preachers who display their piety in prayer and pulpit
behave differently when they're alone.
It puzzles me. Ask the learned ones of the assembly:
"Why do those who demand repentance do so little of it?"
It's as if they don't believe in the Day of Judgment
with all this fraud and counterfeit they do in His name.
I am the slave of the tavern-master, whose dervishes,
in needing nothing, make treasure seem like dust.
O lord, put these nouveaux-riches back on their asses
because they flaunt their mules and Turkic slaves.
O angel, say praises at the door of love's tavern,
for inside they ferment the essence of Adam.
Whenever his limitless beauty kills a lover
others spring up, with love, from the invisible world.
O beggar at the cloister door, come to the monastery of the Magi,
for the water they give makes hearts rich.
Empty your house, O heart, so that it may become home to the beloved,
for the heart of the shallow ones is an army camp.
At dawn a clamor came from the throne of heaven. Reason said,
"It seems the angels are memorizing Hafiz's verse."
O ignorant one, try to become a master of knowledge.
If you are not a traveler, how can you become a guide?
In the school of truth listen carefully to the tutor of love
so that one day, O son, you can become a father.
Like those worthy of the path, wash your hands of the copper of existence
so that you can find the philosopher's stone of love, and become gold.
Sleeping and eating have kept you far from your station.
You will arrive at your self when you give up sleeping and eating.
If the light of the love of truth falls on your heart and soul,
by God, you will become lovelier than the sun in heaven.
For a moment drown yourself in the sea of God and don't believe
that the seven seas will wet a single hair.
From head to toe you will become the light of God
when you lose yourself on His glorious road.
Once God's face becomes the object of your sight,
there is no doubt that you will become a master of vision.
When the foundations of your existence become topsy-turvy,
have nothing in your heart, for you will also become topsy-turvy.
O Hafiz, if desire for union fills your head,
you must become dust in the doorway of those who see.8
Timur, Timurids, and the Safavids
Timur was born on April 9, 1336 near Shahrisabz and became a warrior leader during civil wars in Sistan. After the Qara'unas amir Qazaghan was murdered in 1358, Timur was appointed governor of Qashqa-Darya by Tughluq-Timur Khan. Timur soon allied himself with Amir Husain by marrying his sister. Timur and Husain led a wild life of raiding; but both were captured and imprisoned for two months near Marv in 1362. The next year Timur was wounded by arrows in his right arm and leg, giving him his Persian name Timur-i-lenk, meaning "the Lame," which became Tamerlane or Tamburlaine in Europe. In a 1365 battle against Mughal khan Ilyas-khoja, Husain fled before Timur did, and their army lost ten thousand men. In Samarqand the Sarbadars had been named for their willingness to risk hanging in standing up to Mongol tyranny. They survived a siege by Ilyas-khoja's army and established their own government in 1366. Husain and Timur treacherously invited their leaders and then charged them with crimes; but Timur defended their rights. Husain was also disliked for being greedy and parsimonious. For the next four years Timur and Husain were rivals and plundered Transoxiana.
In 1370 Timur met the Sayyid Shaikh Baraka, who became his spiritual advisor. Timur besieged Husain at Balkh but allowed the chief Kay-Khusrau to kill Husain for having murdered his brother; Husain's men then killed Kay-Khusrau. Timur had the Chagatai khan, who had supported Husain, killed and installed his own man in Balkh. Timur married Husain's widow, a Chaghatayid princess descended from Genghis Khan, enabling him to take the imperial title Gurgan (son-in-law) when he was enthroned and crowned "Conqueror of the World." Timur abandoned the completely nomadic life of the Mongols by fixing his capital at Samarqand, which he fortified and enhanced over the years. He combined the nomadic asceticism of the Mongols with feudal discipline. All his warriors were assigned to units which they were not allowed to leave. He fed their predatory appetites by continually providing them with new lands to conquer and plunder. His motto was "Truth is safety," and he punished theft by requiring nine times the value or severe punishment. The Mongols had learned about gunpowder from the Chinese and used it for mining and sapping.
In 1372 Timur attacked the Sufis at Khwarazm but came to terms with them when they offered to let a Mongol princess marry his son Jahangir. In 1375 Timur invaded Mughalistan, forcing Qamar al-din to flee and marrying his daughter. When Jahangir died, his widow was married to Timur's son Miran Shah. Timur helped Tokhtamish become Khan of the White Horde by 1378. Miran Shah was proclaimed Chaghatayid governor of Khurasan, which they invaded in 1381. The Kartid capital at Herat submitted, and Timur released two thousand war captives. When Khurasan revolted two years later, the city of Isfizar was destroyed with live captives cemented into its walls. The next year Sistan was ravaged, and its capital at Zaranj was destroyed; Qandahar was also taken. Sultan Ahmad Jalayir fled Azerbaijan as Timur seized Sultaniya.
Timur invaded Persia in 1386 and spent the next three years there, plundering Georgia, Armenia, and the Muzaffarids in the southwest. He offered special protection to Muslim clerics, Sufis, and others who provided him with useful intelligence. He transferred human and material resources to Transoxiana. His usual method for those surrendering was to seal off all the gates of a city but one and then send in torturers and tax collectors to confiscate valuables, including pack-animals to transport them. His plundering soldiers treated those resisting cruelly, killing or enslaving them and leaving the very young and old to die of starvation. Isfahan in 1388 made the mistake of attacking the tax collectors, and historians reported that 70,000 heads were piled up in pyramids. After that, Fars and Shiraz submitted as the Muzaffarids became his vassals. Timur returned to punish Khwarazm and Mughalistan, while Miran Shah destroyed the Kartid dynasty of Khurasan in 1389. Tokhtamish and his Golden Horde had been harassing the Chaghatayid empire from the north for several years, and so in 1391 Timur forced him to flee and then celebrated his victory on the Volga, wintering in Tashkent.
Timur began a five-year campaign to the west in 1392, attacking the Kurds in Persia. Georgia was devastated so that the Golden Horde could not use it to threaten northern Iran. Muzaffarid prince Shah Mansur was finally defeated in 1393. That year Timur caught Baghdad by surprise in August by marching there in eight days from Fars; Sultan Ahmad Jalayarid fled to Syria, where the Mamluk sultan Barquq protected him and killed Timur's envoys. Timur left the Sarbadar prince Khwaja Mas'ud to govern Baghdad, but he was driven out when Ahmad returned. Ahmad was unpopular but got some dangerous help from Qara Yusuf of the Qara Quyunlu but fled again in 1399, this time to the Ottomans. Meanwhile Timur attacked Tokhtamish several times and crushed his Qipchaq army in 1395. The next year Timur left Yazda intact after a siege in order to preserve its textile manufacturing. Timur returned to Samarqand and spent some time overseeing building.
Timur conquered India in 1398. After returning to Samarqand, the next year he ravaged Georgia. In 1400 Timur took Sivas from the Ottomans and captured Aleppo from the Mamluks in Syria. The next year Chaghatai warriors pillaged both Damascus and Baghdad. In 1402 Timur clashed with the Ottoman army near Ankara, captured Sultan Bayezid, and kept him in a cage, demanding a ransom of 9,000 gold florins. Timur then captured the Smyrna stronghold of the Knights of St. John. Having overcome the rulers of the Golden Horde, Persia, India, the Mamluks, and the Ottomans, Timur turned his ambition to China, where the Mongol dynasty had been overthrown in 1368, and now the first Ming emperor had just died. He held an assembly near Samarqand in September 1404 and then marched east in the winter cold; but after three days of drinking wine, Timur died on February 18, 1405.
'Usman Beg was the son of an Aq Quyunlu chief and a Trebizond princess; he began ruling the Aq Quyunlu in 1389 and ten years later did homage to Timur, gaining the fief of Diyarbakr after helping in the battle at Ankara in 1402. Ahmad Jalayarid came back to Baghdad again with Qara Yusuf; but they quarreled, and Yusuf expelled Ahmad. In 1403 Timur's grandson Aba Bakr drove out Yusuf, who was imprisoned with Ahmad by the Mamluks. They agreed that Ahmad should rule Baghdad while Qara Yusuf would have Azerbaijan with Tabriz. Qara Yusuf overcame Aba Bakr by 1408; but learning that Ahmad had taken Tabriz, he defeated and executed Ahmad two years later. Qara Yusuf's son Shah Muhammad took over Baghdad in 1412 and ruled it until his younger brother Aspand drove him out in 1433.
Timur had left his empire to his grandson Pir Muhammad ibn Jahangir, who governed Qandahar but was murdered by his vizier in 1407. Another grandson, Khalil Sultan ibn Miran Shah, governed Farghana and took over Samarqand. His wife Shad Mulk was resented for raising the lowly to high positions, and after a famine Khalil Sultan went back to Farghana. In 1409 Timur's son Shah Rukh, governor of Herat, occupied Samarqand, appointed his son Ulugh Beg governor of Transoxiana, captured Shad Mulk, and sent her back to Khalil Sultan, whom he made governor of Ray. When Kahlil Sultan died in 1411, his wife committed suicide. Shah Rukh moved back to Herat, from where he governed the Timurid empire until his death in 1447. Qara Yusuf fought the Aq Quyunlus in eastern Anatolia and invaded Georgia and Shirvan, conquering Sultaniya, Tarum, Qazvin, and Sava in 1419. The next year Qara Yusuf died as Shah Rukh invaded Azerbaijan and Armenia. Yusuf's son Iskander regained control until Shah Rukh returned in 1429 to install the Qara Quyunlu prince Abu Sa'id as his vassal; but two years later Iskander reoccupied Tabriz and had Abu Sa'id executed. In 1434 Shah Rukh installed Iskander's brother Jahan Shah as his Timurid governor in Tabriz. Iskander was defeated by Jahan Shah in 1436, fled, and was murdered by his own son.
Shah Rukh was succeeded by his son Ulugh Beg, who had reigned as a prince of Transoxiana in Samarqand for forty years and was known for his erudition and entertaining court. He tried to subjugate rebellious Khurasan but was shah for only two years, being defeated by his son 'Abd al-Latif in 1449. Ulugh Beg was allowed to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca but was executed along the way after a questionable trial. 'Abd al-Latif was killed by a conspiracy after ruling only six months. The Timurid Abu Sa'id, using military aid from the Uzbek Abu'l-Khair Khan, overcame his rival in 1451 and ruled until 1469. The Qara Quyunlu led by Jahan Shah's son Pir Budaq conquered most of Persia and Mesopotamia in 1452; but in the east Abu Sa'id was able to hold on to Herat and regain much of Khurasan. Yet the Timurid empire west of there was lost when Abu Sa'id was defeated and executed by the Aq Quyunlu in 1469. Abu Sa'id was influenced by the Sufi shaikh Khwaja 'Ubaid-Allah Ahrar, who persuaded him to reinstitute the religious law (Shari'a) in Samarqand and Bukhara. The Timurids governed a feudal society, but Shah Rukh, Ulugh Beg, and Abu Sa'id were famous for constructing irrigation systems that improved agriculture.
Shaikh Junaid was the great great grandson of Shaikh Safi. When the Safavids developed military power, Jahan Shah banished him from Ardabil in 1449; Junaid fled to Karaman, and his teachings spread. He tried to conquer Trebizond in 1456. He was a Persian, but in 1458 he married the sister of Turkman Uzun Hasan, the Aq Quyunlu leader. Junaid was banished again by Jahan Shah in 1459 and was able to defeat the Circassians; but the next year Junaid was attacked and killed by Shirvan-Shah Khalil-Allah.
Uzun Hasan had seized Diyarbakr in 1453. He defeated the Qara Quyunlu and killed Jahan Shah in 1467, and two years later he overcame the Timurid Abu Sa'id and made Tabriz his capital. In 1471 Uzun Hasan invaded Anatolia, and the next year he allied himself with Venice, Cyprus, and the Knights of Rhodes, pillaging and destroying Tokat; but he was defeated by the Ottomans' firearms and artillery in 1473. Uzun Hasan revised the law code and protected people from arbitrary taxation. He was succeeded by his son Khalil Sultan, who was quickly overthrown by his younger brother Ya'qub (r. 1478-1490). In Transoxiana Shaikh Khwaja Ahrar said that his task was not to teach but to protect the innocent from tyrants and to prevent wars; he was influential until his death in 1490. The poet Jami (1414-1492) was popular and also wrote extensively on Sufism. Sultan Husain Baiqara (r. 1469-1506) reigned over a long and peaceful era in Herat. The Uzbeks rose to power, and in 1501 Muhammad Shaibani conquered Samarqand.
Junaid's son Haidar married Uzun Hasan's daughter, and he campaigned against the Circassians from 1483 until he was killed in battle in 1488. Haidar began the custom of wearing the red hat (qizilbash) that became the name of the Turkmen who supported the Safavids. The Aq Quyunlu kept four Safavid brothers in prison for several years. Sultan 'Ali was released but was killed in 1494. His brother Isma'il managed to escape, and in 1500 without the aid of the Aq Quyunlu, he led the Safavids to a victory over the same Shirvan-Shah, Farrukh-Yasar, who had killed his father. Isma'il fought his way to the Turkmen capital at Tabriz, where at the age of fourteen in 1501 he founded the dynasty that ruled Persia for more than two centuries. He kept the Aq Quyunlus vizier Shams al-Din Zakariya Kujuji as his vizier. Isma'il combined the Turkmen warriors with Iranian civil servants as lords of the sword and the pen, winning religious devotion as a Shi'i Twelver. The Qizilbash soldiers gave the battle cry, "My spiritual leader and master, for whom I sacrifice myself."9 Though most Persians had been Sunni, Isma'il made his domain Shi'a by confiscating Sunni property and their religious endowments while executing or exiling many Sunnis. In 1502 Sultan Bayezid II reacted by ordering the Qizilbash persecuted in Anatolia.
Isma'il defeated the Aq Qunyulu at Hamadan in 1503 and ended their Turkmen dynasty in 1507. That year his Safavid army defeated 'Ala ad-Daula to conquer Kharput and Diyarbakr and occupy Kurdistan while assuring the Ottomans and Mamluks that he was not hostile to them. Baghdad was captured the next year. The death of Timurid Husain Baiqara in 1506 had allowed the Uzbek khan Shaibani to take Herat the next year; but Isma'il defeated the Uzbeks at Marv in 1510 when Shaibani was killed. That year the Ottomans quelled a Safavid revolt in Tekke led by Shah Kuli. The next year Grand Vizier 'Ali Pasha with 4,000 Janissaries and prince Ahmed's forces from Amasya defeated and killed Shah Kuli near Kaysari; but 'Ali Pasha died too. The rebels fled to Isma'il. Prince Ahmed and his son Murad rebelled against the Ottoman sultan and negotiated with the Qizilbash. Bayezid abdicated and was replaced by his son Selim, who had 40,000 Qizilbash massacred in his Ottoman empire.
In 1511 Safavid forces helped Babur conquer Samarqand and Bukhara; but the Qizilbash warriors deserted Isma'il, because he chose another Iranian vakil (viceroy). Sultan Selim took advantage of this dissension by invading Persia in 1514. Isma'il considered the use of firearms and artillery cowardly, and at the battle of Chaldiran the Safavid army was decisively defeated. This shattered Isma'il's aura of invincibility; he went into mourning and never fought another battle. Selim pursued him and took Tabriz but later abandoned it. In 1516 Sultan Selim banned trade imports from Persia. Shah Isma'il sent officers to fight the Uzbeks in 1521. He favored Iranian landowners and died in 1524, the year after his Iranian viceroy was assassinated.
Tahmasp (r. 1524-1576) was only ten years old when he became shah, and for a decade his tutor (atabeg) and the Qizilbash amirs governed his empire, resulting in many battles between the Turkmen tribes. He continued the tradition of appointing Iranians as viceroy and bureaucrats. Wars with the Uzbeks over Khurasan were fought until 1540. Tahmasp began commanding in 1533 and won victories over the Uzbeks, Ottomans, and Mughals, overcoming his own Qizilbash as well, though Baghdad was lost to the Ottomans in 1534. Four Persian expeditions to Georgia and Armenia resulted in about 30,000 women and children being brought back as slaves; the children were raised to serve in the government and provided a new generation of leadership that lessened the influence of the Qizilbash. Tahmasp moved his capital in 1548 from the western Tabriz to Qazvin. After a second war with the Ottomans, Tahmasp made a peace treaty at Amasya in 1555. He fell ill in 1575 but recovered and died from poison the next year.
After the 52-year reign of Shah Tahmasp, an ethnic struggle in Persia was won by Isma'il II. He had been in prison since 1558, but the Qizilbash tribes, the Kurds, and the Daghestanians helped him overcome the Georgians and Persians and beheaded their candidate Haidar Mirza. Shah Isma'il tried to reinstitute the Sunni faith, and he ruthlessly killed or blinded nine of his Safavid relatives. This hated monarch was killed by poisoning his opium in 1577, and the Turkmen amirs enthroned his half-blind brother Muhammad Khudabanda (r. 1578-1587). Grand Vizier Mirza Salman vied for influence with the princess Pari Khan Khanum and Queen Khair al-Nisa Begum, both of whom were murdered. The Ottoman war that began in 1578 did not prevent Shah Khudabanda from subduing the rebellion by 'Ali Kuli Khan in Khurasan in 1581, but two years later Mirza Salman was executed by the Turkmen amirs. Young prince 'Abbas was groomed in Mashhad and became shah in 1587 when these amirs seized the capital at Qazvin and deposed Khudabanda. The Qizilbash left Herat to do this, and in the next two years invading Uzbeks of Transoxiana captured Herat, Mashhad, and Nishapur in Khurasan. This threat persuaded 'Abbas to make peace with the Ottomans in 1590, and he ceded them much of Azerbaijan, Shirvan, Georgia, Derbend, and Kurdistan.
Persian shah 'Abbas (r. 1587-1629) took on the Turkmen amirs by executing those who had murdered his brother Hamsa and by suppressing the conflicts between their tribes. He gathered an army of 10,000 cavalry and 20,000 infantry, using the Circassian, Armenian, and Georgian slaves. Persia purchased firearms from Moscow in 1595 and from Venice in 1613 as well as 1500 arquebuses from the English, who trained them to use muskets and improved their cannons. Persia soon had 12,000 men in the artillery using 500 bronze and brass cannons. These improvements enabled them to drive the Uzbek Turks out of Mashhad, Herat, and Khurasan by 1602, but they could not regain Transoxiana. The English navy also helped push the Portuguese out of Hurmuz. Shah 'Abbas tried to eradicate the Sunnis, and thousands of Kurds were transferred to the eastern frontier. The next year he began a new war with the Ottomans. In 1606 Sultan Ahmed sent Ferhad Pasha into Asia without adequate funds to fight the Persians, causing a mutiny among the Janissaries. In five years the Ottomans lost Tabriz, Erivan, Ganja, Derbend, Baku, Shamaki, Tiflis, and Kars to the Safavids. In 1610 Murad Pasha plundered undefended Tabriz, but in the treaty of 1612 the Ottomans had to cede the territories they had gained in the previous war with Persia.
Shah 'Abbas centralized the Persian state and made the provinces of Qazvin, Kashan, Isfahan, some of Kirman, Yazd, Qum, Mazandaran, Gilan, Astara, and Gaskar his own royal domains; their revenues did not go into the state treasury nor could they be used for enfeoffment. In 1598 'Abbas transferred the capital from Qazvin to Isfahan, which was built into a splendid city. Armenian and Jewish communities were moved into Isfahan and kept their cultural identities as the Shah tolerated Christianity and Judaism. In 1615 'Abbas had crown prince Safi Mirza stabbed to death, because he believed this son was plotting to overthrow him. That year the English East India Company was granted trading privileges and factories in Persia.
Ibn Khaldun on History
Ibn Khaldun was born in Tunisia on May 27, 1332 into an aristocratic and political family that had migrated from Seville in 1248. Brought up in the Hafsid court life of Bone and Tunis, he was well educated in Islamic traditions. In 1354 Ibn Khaldun went to serve Merinid sultan Abu 'Inan at Fez, where he became a prominent scholar. He was suspected of disloyalty and imprisoned for 21 months just prior to Abu 'Inan's invasion of Tunisia; he was released when Abu 'Inan died in 1358. Then he served Vizier al-Hassan ibn 'Umar and Abu 'Inan's successor Abu Salim. In 1362 Ibn Khaldun went to Granada and helped Ibn al-Ahmar Muhammad V to find refuge at the court of Abu Salim with the renowned scholar Ibn al-Khatib. Two years later he headed a diplomatic mission for Castile king Pedro to negotiate a peace treaty with the Arabs in Seville. He declined a generous offer from Pedro to restore his family estate and in 1365 went to Bougie to serve as prime minister for Hafsid ruler Abu 'Abdallah, who had been his companion in prison. After Abu 'Abdallah fell, Ibn Khaldun raised a force of Arabs for the sultan of Tlemcen.
A few years later young 'Abd-al-'Aziz became the ruler of Fez, defeated the sultan, and arrested Ibn Khaldun for one night. He went into a monastery to do scholarly work but was soon enlisted to serve 'Abd-al-'Aziz for two years. After he died in 1372, Ibn Khaldun was not allowed to move his family to Spain, and they took refuge in Oran. In the next seven years he wrote his History with its lengthy Introduction (Muqaddimah). In 1373 he returned to Tunis but soon moved on to Cairo, where the ruler appointed him a professor and then a judge. In 1384 the wife and five daughters of Ibn Khaldun died in a shipwreck. He made a pilgrimage to Mecca in 1387, was appointed to an academic position in Cairo, and in 1399 resumed being a Malekite judge. He was removed from that high office and reinstated five times. Ibn Khaldun visited Damascus and reported his interviews with the famous Timur. The conqueror requested information on the Maghrib (northwest Africa) from the historian. Ibn Khaldun died in Cairo on March 17, 1406.
After a prayer, Ibn Khaldun in his Introduction (Muqaddimah) suggested that the meaning of history is to explain the causes and origins of events; thus it is rooted in philosophy. He warned against the blind trust of traditions and advised being critical of suspect accounts. He gave the example that Moses could not have had 600,000 Israelites in the desert and explained why. He also doubted the story of Harun al-Rashid and his vizier Ja'far as uncharacteristic of their family traditions. He noted that changes in institutions and customs often result from changes in the rulers, because the common people follow the rulers. He observed how Islamic society was transformed as its intellectual culture developed, because professional men and artisans seek power and authority. He asserted his faith that God guides and helps weak and fallible men.
The first book of Ibn Khaldun's History on the nature of civilization is also considered part of the Muqaddimah. He warned that partisanship for a particular opinion or sect can obscure the critical faculty and allow falsehoods to be accepted. Relying on transmitters is another reason for untruth appearing in histories. Praising powerful and high-ranking people also causes distortions; but the biggest problem is being ignorant of the various conditions in civilization. Ibn Khaldun agreed with jurists that adultery confuses pedigrees, murder destroys the human species, and injustice leads to the destruction of civilization. Humans are distinguished from other animals by their ability to think in sciences and crafts, by the restraining influence of authority, by using various means of making a living cooperatively, and by living in cities for companionship and to satisfy human needs.
Ibn Khaldun noted that a single individual is not capable of providing enough food to live but must cooperate with other human beings. Individuals also need help from their fellows for defense. Manual skill and crafts enable people to procure instruments for defense. Humans also need some authority to restrain their aggressive instincts and prevent injustice; Ibn Khaldun called this mulk (royal authority). Religious law ordained by God and revealed by a human being also helps people restrain themselves. Ibn Khaldun discussed different geographical zones and their influence on human character. Humans by spiritual perception can be inspired, and prophets usually recommend prayer, charity, and chastity. Others he called kahanah (psychics) may be faulty in their perceptions.
In the second chapter Ibn Khaldun discussed Bedouin civilization. Paradoxically, he described them as being more savage but having better habits and more courage than sedentary (hadara) civilizations that follow laws. Governmental authority can prevent injustice except what comes from the ruler himself. Ibn Khaldun observed powerful group feeling in the desert tribes that often enabled them to overcome sedentary civilizations. He described four generations that begins with the builder of the family's glory. In the second generation the son learns by study from the practical experience of his father. The third generation's imitation of that son becomes tradition, which is another inferior step. Finally the fourth generation despises those and destroys what was built. The development of luxuries and a life of ease is often a prelude to the inevitable destruction of the group feeling.
Ibn Khaldun credited group feeling or solidarity ('asabiyya) with developing such good qualities as generosity, forgiveness of error, tolerance of the weak, hospitality to guests, support of dependents, maintaining the indigent, patience in adverse situations, faithfully fulfilling obligations, liberal spending to preserve honor, respecting religious law and teachers, and avoiding fraud, cunning, and deceit. Everyone is fairly assigned their proper station, resulting in justice. The ruler is followed, as children imitate their parents, and students learn from their teachers. Ibn Khaldun also noted that the Bedouins live without laws, caring only for the property they take, and that such anarchy ruins civilization.
Ibn Khaldun described the stages he observed in the history of Muslim civilization from the rise of the Bedouin tribes to the powerful 'Abassid empire, which became luxurious and was replaced by rising tribal groups. In the long third chapter he discussed the Muslim dynasties and their government. Group feeling enables power to be won, because of their "affection and willingness to fight and die for each other."10 Once a royal family has established a dynasty, the group feeling tends to fade, though the religious propaganda usually maintains its power for a while. People are offered divine rewards for cooperating and being virtuous, as laws prohibit evil practices. At first the zealous group feeling enables expansion, but later the empire reaches the limits of what it can conquer militarily. The size of the empire depends on the number of its supporters. The royal family claims all glory for itself; but as its wealth succumbs to luxury it loses its discipline. When its income no longer covers its expenses, the decline begins. High taxes and the army must be reduced. Luxury also brings corruption and eventually the ruination of the ancestral prestige.
Ibn Khaldun defined five stages of a dynasty. First, opposition is successfully overthrown as the royal authority gains power, becomes a model for the people, collects taxes, and defends property with a strong military. In the second stage the ruler claims all authority for himself and his clients but prevents others from sharing it. Third, the fruits of royal authority are enjoyed in leisure and tranquility as property is acquired and more taxes are collected. The ruler becomes famous and is still independent. In the fourth stage the ruler is complacent and follows the traditions established. Finally in the fifth stage the ruler wastes treasures on pleasures and amusements by being too generous to his inner circle. Important matters are handled by those less qualified, and senility sets in. Sometimes the ruler loses control to his vizier. Ibn Khaldun warned that excessive harshness damages royal authority and leads to destruction. Like Aristotle, he recommended a moderate path between extremes. When royal authority becomes tyrannical and unjust, it goes against religious law and will be held accountable on the day of judgment. People are restrained either by the authority of religious laws or by the rational means of political power. Every individual should realize that injustice is forbidden by the authority of the intellect.
Ibn Khaldun observed that at first the caliphate had great religious authority; but when the group feeling declined, it was replaced by royal authority. He described the offices of the mufti (religious jurist), judges, police chief, official witnesses, and market supervisors, who handle lesser cases. The vizier began as the "helper" of the ruler but often gained the greatest power. The main purposes of their government are to protect the community with a military, communicate with distant people, and collect taxes and pay expenses. A doorkeeper was assigned to keep people from disturbing the ruler with requests. The 'Abassid empire overthrew the Umayyad dynasty, which survived only in Spain, where the doorkeeper (hajib) became the most powerful vizier. The Umayyad ruler was eventually replaced by local governors (reyes de taifas). The 'Abassid vizier often had more control than the caliph preoccupied with luxuries. They were eventually overcome by the Seljuk Turks, who were overthrown later by the Mongol invasion of Hulagu. The Shi'a dynasty of the 'Ubaydid-Fatimids arose in Egypt. In the Maghrib desert tribes of the Berbers had strong solidarity, and group feeling enabled the Almohad dynasty, the Hafsids, and the Merinids to govern.
Ibn Khaldun wrote that war was caused by a desire for revenge that comes from jealousy or envy. Competing families and tribes often go to war. A second kind of war is the raiding done by desert tribes to gain property. A holy war called by religious authorities is a third kind. The fourth type of war is a dynastic war against those disobeying or attempting to secede. Ibn Khaldun considered the first two kinds unjust but believed that the latter two types were holy and just. He also noted that in luxurious dynasties which are declining, custom duties are increased to meet rising expenses. Ibn Khaldun advised the government against engaging in commercial activities that force farmers and merchants to sell things at low prices to the government and then buy its products for high prices. He explained that this ruins the economy and decreases tax revenues. He noted that the Persians did not allow their rulers to interfere with private property so that capital could grow and be taxed.
When the ruler starts to spend accumulated treasure on efforts to restore his dynasty, the decline begins. As the ruler needs more money, his authority shrinks, because he cannot pay his officials and soldiers. Attacking people's property is the injustice that ruins the dynasty. People stop doing business, and civilization decays. If the ruler gives tax breaks to friends and fiefs to sluggards, they do not produce. Such civilizations are ruined, because those with authority and power are allowed to get away with injustice. Ibn Khaldun complained about the injustice of forced labor also. Religious law may allow cunning in trading, but at least it forbids depriving people of their property illegally. He concluded that political norms are a combination of religious laws and ethical rules.
Then the jurist and philosopher of history quoted a long letter that Tahir ibn al-Husain wrote in 821 to his son, who was appointed a governor in Egypt by al-Ma'mun. The caliph was so impressed by its good advice that he had copies sent to all his officials. His main duties are to be just, to see that rights are observed, and to make sure that families are protected. He advised praying regularly and not being swayed from justice by likes and dislikes. Moderation leads to right guidance and success. Do not be suspicious of those who work for you, but inquire and investigate them if necessary. Work on improving yourself, and love good and just people; yet be friendly with the weak. Control your anger with dignity and mildness. Do not be greedy but invest your treasure in the welfare of the people. Do not justify or support vices. Consult with jurists and the wise. Do not be lenient when judging the noble or wealthy or friends and do not impose excessive fines. Help the poor and indigent. Learn from the affairs of the world and the history of rulers.
Ibn Khaldun considered large cities products of royal authority. Cooperation raises the standard of living and increases prices. Addiction to the crafts that provide elegance leads to diversified luxury. Government bureaucracy and customs duties cause more inflation. People have to increase their profits and spend them, or they fall into poverty. The many desires and pleasures that result from luxury cause immoral habits, including obscenity, fraud, and deceit. Diversifying the pleasures of sex leads to adultery and homosexuality. Individuals by nature seek superiority and domination, and so they compete with each other and form groups that compete.
Ibn Khaldun defined profit as the gain achieved by making a living, whether it be from agriculture, crafts, or commerce. Merchants must buy at low prices and sell at high ones, and so they inevitably use trickery; but it is legal. He observed that rank is useful for securing property because of the respect it gives. Many are obsequious or flatter those with rank in order to succeed in business. In commerce one must dispute, be clever, and persist despite quarrelling. Those who are too proud to stoop to this must depend on their own labor and are often poor, such as poets and artists. He also noted that religious authorities and teachers are usually not wealthy either. Ibn Khaldun did observe that there were many crafts in China, India, among the Turks, and in Christian nations. The most necessary crafts are agriculture, architecture, carpentry, tailoring, and weaving; but he also considered midwifery, writing, book production, music, and medicine to be noble crafts. He believed that most diseases come from food and suggested dieting as the main medicine.
God distinguished humans by giving them the ability to think Ibn Khaldun discussed various sciences. He observed that thinking starts with what comes last in the causal chain, and then action begins with what comes first. He described the experimental intellect that is developed by learning from experience. He quoted the famous saying that whoever does not learn from one's parents will have to be educated by time. Prophets can gain knowledge from angels. Teaching is also a craft. Ibn Khaldun believed that theology is based on the oneness of God; but the cause of perceptions in the soul is not known. He described the mystical methods of Sufism.
The approach is based upon
constant application to divine worship,
complete devotion to God,
aversion to the false splendor of the world,
abstinence from the pleasure, property, and position
to which the great mass aspires,
and retirement from the world into solitude for divine worship.11
He lamented that very few people practice the self-scrutiny of the Sufis; even the pious only are obedient.
Ibn Khaldun outlined the intellectual sciences as logic, physics, metaphysics, and the mathematical sciences of geometry, arithmetic, music, and astronomy. He observed that learning arithmetic helped give one the discipline to be truthful. He noted that philosophers learned how to distinguish the spiritual essence from the corporeal perceptions. Ibn Khaldun suggested that scientific subjects be taught gradually. He warned that using severe punishment could harm a student, because it causes bad habits and makes students and servants feel oppressed, inducing them to be lazy, deceitful, and insincere. The same is true of nations that fall under the yoke of tyranny and experience injustice. Ibn Khaldun completed his study of civilization by discussing language and speech. In his conclusion he hoped that other scholars would take up this new science of civilization and improve on what he had started.
1. Quoted in Byzantium: The Decline and Fall by John Julius Norwich, p. 307.
2. The Book of Dede Korkut tr. Geoffrey Lewis, p. 190.
3. Ibid., p. 161.
4. Turkish Literature tr. Epiphanius Wilson, p. 354-355.
5. Quoted in Literary History of Persia, Volume 3: The Tartar Dominion 1265-1502 by E. G. Browne, p. 255.
6. Love's Perfect Gift: Rubaiyat of Hafiz tr. Paul Smith, p. 42, 52, 86.
7. The Green Sea of Heaven: Fifty ghazals from the Diwan of Hafiz tr. Elizabeth Gray, Jr., p. 49, 61, 87, 131.
8. Ibid., p. 103, 145.
9. Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 6, p. 214.
10. Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah tr. Franz Rosenthal, Volume 1, p. 313.
11. Ibid., Volume 3, p. 76.
© 2002 - 2003 by Sanderson Beck
China 30 BC to 1300
India Under Muslims 1300-1615
Southeast Asia, Korea, and Japan 1300-1615