Socioeconomics of the Ottoman enlargement era

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Part of a series on the
Economic history of the
Ottoman Empire
Coat of Arms of the Ottoman Empire

This article covers the socio-political history of Ottoman Empire beginning from its establishment to the reformation efforts of Selim III.

Prior to the Siege of Vienna (1529), Ottoman Empire was not subjected to regular diplomatic customs, nor was it recognizing the right to existence of the Christian states, which were considered tolerated enemies.[citation needed]


Areas of economic surplus, above self-sustaining bases, were few in relation to the area under Ottoman rule. Such areas focused around an urban centre surrounded by well tilled arable farmland. Populations and population density was huge where substantial rural to urban migration had occurred; famine, conflict and extortion from tax-farms being the main stimulus for this. Cities, as in Europe, were the focuses of manufacture and trade. Ottoman cites had a large out put of goods, where comprehensive guild systems maintained quality at the expense of competition. However, the main source of Ottoman wealth came from less industry reliant goods and raw materials, mainly items from the east such as silk and gems; also the passage of such goods generated revenue due effective taxing measures[citation needed]. In comparison to its neighbours, the Ottoman Empire was immensely wealthy.

The economical problems are reflected on the coins with the decreasing amounts of gold and silver ratios, inflation.[citation needed] Also influx of precious metals into Europe from the Americas had played a role in the price increases of the late 16th century in the Ottoman Empire. Traditional industries and trades, which depend on stable economy, had a big hit with the increasing inflation. The guilds were unable to provide quality goods in competing with the cheap European manufactured goods. Functioning under strict price regulations to keep the state functioning also had a negative effect on the local economy with wide open borders of the empire without restriction because of the Capitulations agreements.[citation needed]


Many official posts required active or previous military experience; Grand Viziers, the equivalent chief ministers of other contemporary nations, often commanded the army in person. Such a social and administrative structure, however, remained effective and efficient in conducting foreign policy, gains in Europe being evidence for this.


The madrasas, the primary education centres of the empire, had staunchly religious doctrines and acted as an expresser of the contemporary Muslim world view.[citation needed]

See also[edit]