EARLY YEARS: Osman Bey of the Oghuz Turks
established the Ottomans in northwest Anatolia, when he declared
independence from the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum in 1299 AD. His
son, Orhan Bey, captured Bursa in
1324 AD and made it the capital city. Two key victories were: capture of Thessaloniki
from Venice in 1387 AD; defeat of Serbs at
Kosovo in 1389 AD. Christian forces failed to halt Ottoman advances in the last
crusade at Nicopolis in 1396 AD. Byzantine
forces received a temporary respite when Timur defeated the
Ottomans at Ankara in 1402 AD. After the battle, Timur captured Sultan
Bayezid and nearly destroyed the Ottoman Empire. Only Timur's death three years later
prevented its collapse.
Ottoman rulers likewise reduced the power of Venice
through a series of wars. They captured fortresses at Argos
and Negroponte. In 1499 AD, Venice allied with
France and fought another war with the Ottomans.
They lost a sea battle at Zonchio. A coalition of
208 Christian ships, including 110 galleys, soundly defeated a similarly large Ottoman fleet at
Lepanto in 1571 AD. However, Ottomans seized the last
Venetian stronghold on Cyprus at
Famagusta during the same period. In 1714 AD, the Turkish Ottomans
declared war with Venice and eventually seized the Kingdom of Morea.
TURMOIL IN EUROPE:
The Greek War of Independence (1821-1832 AD) presented western Europe with a dilemma,
as they were not sure how to handle degeneration of the Ottoman Empire.
On 20 October 1827 AD, a combined naval force from France,
Great Britain and Russia defeated an Ottoman armada in the
Battle of Navarino. Greek troops won a
battle at Petra (26-28 July 1829 AD), which resulted
in Greek independence.
In October 1853 AD, Russia declared war with the Ottomans and attempted to seize the
Crimean peninsula. To prevent Russian expansion in the
region, a coalition (Britain, France and Sardinia) helped the
Ottomans. Russian forces destroyed an Ottoman fleet at Sinop,
but eventually lost a fortress at Sevastopol
and the Black Sea became a neutral area.
A British "Charge of the Light Brigade"
during the battle of Balaclava was immortalized.
WORLD WAR I:
In August 1914 AD, a "Young Turk" government signed a secret treaty with
Germany. Ottomans gained a few early
victories during World War I: Battle of Gallipoli
and Siege of Kut. In 1915 AD, a Russian
army and Armenian volunteers invaded the
Caucasus region. Ottomans
responded by slaughtering between 1 and 1.5 million people in the
Armenian Genocide. Ottomans lost most of their territory
during an Arab Revolt in 1916 AD and to victorious allied forces at the end of World War I. A
Turkish war of independence (1919-1922 AD)
resulted in Ottoman collapse and exile for the Sultan and his family.