history of ottoman empire

“This passion, likewise reigns in the Society of Women; they dies with amorous affections one to another; especially the old women court the young, present them with rich garments, jewels, money, even to their own impoverishment and ruine, and these darts of Cupid are shot through all empire, especially Constantinople, the seraglio of the Grand signor and the apartments of Sultans”.

“The Present State of the Ottoman Empire ” (1670) Sir Paul Rycaut  (1629–1700) was a British diplomat and historian, and authority on the Ottoman Empire.

In 1664

Hungary (and Slovakia): Yay! We finally did it! We won! No more Turks on our land!

Austria: By the way I signed a peace with Turkey to stop the attacks, and I gave them the land you protected, making this whole battle meaningless and non-existent. 

Hungary (and Slovakia): ….

Hungary (and Slovakia): ….

Hungary (and Slovakia) : …

Hungary: You son of a -  

A letter from Turkish Sultan Mehmed IV to the Zaporozhian Cossacks in 1676,

As the Sultan; son of Muhammad; brother of the sun and moon; grandson and viceroy of God; ruler of the kingdoms of Macedonia, Babylon, Jerusalem, Upper and Lower Egypt; emperor of emperors; sovereign of sovereigns; extraordinary knight, never defeated; steadfast guardian of the tomb of Jesus Christ; trustee chosen by God Himself; the hope and comfort of Muslims; confounder and great defender of Christians - I command you, the Zaporogian Cossacks, to submit to me voluntarily and without any resistance, and to desist from troubling me with your attacks.

Reply from the Zaphorozhian Cossacks,

O sultan, Turkish devil and damned devil’s kith and kin, secretary to Lucifer himself. What the devil kind of knight are you, that can’t slay a hedgehog with your naked arse? The devil excretes, and your army eats. You will not, you son of a bitch, make subjects of Christian sons; we’ve no fear of your army, by land and by sea we will battle with thee, fuck your mother.

You Babylonian scullion, Macedonian wheelwright, brewer of Jerusalem, goat-fucker of Alexandria, swineherd of Greater and Lesser Egypt, pig of Armenia, Podolian thief, catamite of Tartary, hangman of Kamyanets, and fool of all the world and underworld, an idiot before God, grandson of the Serpent, and the crick in our dick. Pig’s snout, mare’s arse, slaughterhouse cur, unchristened brow, screw your own mother!

So the Zaporozhians declare, you lowlife. You won’t even be herding pigs for the Christians. Now we’ll conclude, for we don’t know the date and don’t own a calendar; the moon’s in the sky, the year with the Lord, the day’s the same over here as it is over there; for this kiss our arse!


The pride of the Topkapi Palace Museum and its most valuable single exhibit is the 86-carat pear-shaped Spoonmaker Diamond, also known as the Kasikci. Surrounded by a double-row of 49 Old Mine cut diamonds and well spotlighted, it hangs in a glass case on the wall of one of the rooms of the Treasury.Its origin is not clear. Like many other historic diamonds, it is difficult to seperate fact from fancy. One of the versions of the findings of a diamond described it as thus:

“In the year 1669, a very poor man found a pretty stone in the rubbish heap of Egrikapi in Istanbul. He bartered it to a spoonmaker for three wooden spoons. The spoonmaker sold the stone to a jeweler for ten silver coins.The jeweler consulted another jeweler who knew immediately that the pretty stone was really a precious diamond. When the second jeweler threatened to disclose the whole matter, the two men quarreled bitterly. Another jeweler heard the story and bought the diamond, giving a purse full of money to each of the angry jewelers. But now the Grand Vizier, Kopruluzade Ahmed Pasha, has heard of the gem. When Sultan Mehmed IV is told of the affair, he orders the stone be brought to the palace, and he takes possession of it. Whether he paid for it is not revealed. And, of course, no one knows what history preceded it being thrown into the garbage heap.”


Laskarina Bouboulina (1771-1825) was a Greek naval commander and a heroine of the 1821 War of Independence. Married to a wealthy shipowner, she took control of her husband’s fortune and company after he was killed by pirates. She also had more ships built for her, including the warship Agamemnon.

She was a great force in the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire, leading naval blockades, battles, and sieges. It is said that she rescued most of the sultan’s harem during the defeat of the Ottoman garrison at Tripolis. She was posthumously awarded the rank of Admiral for her military skill.

Ahmet Ali Çelikten’s grandmother came to the Ottoman Empire as a Nigerian slave. During World War I, her grandson joined the Ottoman Aviation Squadrons. He received his “wings” in 1914, making him probably the first black military pilot in history. After World War I, he went on to fly for Turkey during its war of independence.

The Ottoman siege of Vienna, 1683. The outskirts of Vienna was the farthest that Ottoman forces made it into central Europe after conquering most of the southeastern part of the continent. Ottoman forces effectively starved the city over the course of two months, until a combined force of German, Polish, and Lithuanian forces surprised the Ottoman army in their mountainside camp and defeated them. Over the ensuing decades and centuries, European nations, especially Austria and Russia, slowly pushed back the borders of the Ottoman Empire. 

after mehmed ii conquered byzantine, he declared himself the roman emperor and protector of the orthodox church (even as to his east, moscow would style itself the third rome) – “in old times, the roman empire was pagan, catholic, and orthodox. now it is muslim.

Photo: Original act of the Warsaw Confederation

Warsaw Confederation (January 28, 1573) was an important development in the history of Poland and Lithuania that extended religious tolerance to nobility, free persons and also for the peasants and others within the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. It is considered as the formal beginning of religious freedom in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and in fact is the first such document in Europe. While it did not prevent all conflict based on religion, it did make the Commonwealth a much safer and more tolerant place than most of contemporaneous Europe.

Late 16th century Poland stood between the Orthodox Muscovy in the East, the Muslim Ottoman Empire to the South, and Western Europe, torn between Reformation and Counter-Reformation, to the North and West. Its religious tolerance made it a welcome refuge for those escaping religious persecution elsewhere; in the words of Cardinal Stanislaus Hosius, it became “a place of shelter for heretics”. The confederation legalized the previously unwritten customs of religious tolerance.