Quatr.us home > Medieval Islam > Islamic History > Ottomans > Ottomans after 1500
When Mehmed II conquered Constantinople in 1453 AD, he made it the capital of the Ottoman Empire, and he took for himself the title of “Kayser-i-Rum” - Caesar of Rome, or Roman Emperor. It was impossible to think of the Roman Empireas being ended, and the Ottoman sultans thought of themselves as continuing the power of the Roman Emperors, in their own capital at Constantinople.
The Ottoman Empire in 1566
As the Altaic peoplepushed further south out of Central Asia, the Ottoman rulers were forced to extend their empire in other directions - mainly south and west. At first they thought they would reconquer the land of the old Roman Empire. By 1517, the Ottomans had defeated the Mamluks to gain control of Egypt, and gradually they extended their control over the North African coast to conquer the Hafsids and the Marinids as well. The Ottoman Empire also ruled all of south-eastern Europe, as far north as southern Poland.
In 1529 AD, under the rule of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottomans besieged the city of Vienna in the Habsburg Empire, but in the end Ferdinand, Charles V's brother, managed to fight them off. Still, by the time Suleiman died in 1566, the Ottomans controlled most of the Mediterranean Sea, most of Eastern Europe, and most of West Asia.
Suleiman ruled side by side with his wife, Hurrem Sultan, and many other Ottoman women ruled after Suleiman died. Suleiman’s son Selim II succeeded him, but Selim’s Vizier controlled the real power. Selim’s son Murad was equally powerless; his mother Nurbanu (probably originally fromVenice) ruled through him for nine years starting in 1574 (perhaps inspired by her neighbor, the Mughal queen Hamida Banu). Nurbanu and Queen Elizabeth of England talked about an alliance against Spain, but Nurbanu died before the alliance would have been useful. Nurbanu also negotiated with Catherine de’ Medici, who was ruling France as regent for her sons. Nurbanu died in 1583, and Murad’s wife Sofia Baffo, another Venetian, succeeded to power.
More about the Ottomans