The Ottomans The Ottoman state began as one of many small Turkish states that emerged in Asia Minor during the breakdown of the empire of the Seljuk Turks. The Early Phaseof Ottoman expansion took place under Osman I, at the expense of the Byzantine Empire, Bulgaria, and Serbia. The Great Ottoman Victories of Kosovo Field (1389) and Nikopol (1396) placed large parts of the Balkan Peninsula under Ottoman rule and awakened Europe to the Ottoman danger. The Ottoman siege of Constantinople was lifted at the appearance of Timur, who defeated and captured Beyazid in 1402. The Ottomans, however, soon rallied. Timur in 1402, at Angora, captured the Ottoman sultan, BeyazidI. Timur died in 1405 while planning the invasion of China.The Ottomans, under Mehmet II, in 1453 captured of Constantinople Ottoman expansion reached its peak in the 16th cent. under Sulayman the Magnificent.The Ottoman army comprised ogfconscripts, who were organized as the elite corps of Janissaries, and also numerous Christians volunteers. The Ottoman Empire was at the centre of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for over six centuries. The Empire was dissolved in the aftermath of World War I.
The Safavids The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Persia (modern Iran), and "is often considered the beginning of modern Persian history". They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires after the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islamas the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning points in Muslim history. The Safavids ruled from 1501 to 1722 (experiencing a brief restoration from 1729 to 1736) and at their height, they controlled all of modern Iran, Azerbaijan and Armenia, most of Iraq, Georgia, Afghanistan, and the Caucasus, as well as parts of Syria, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Turkey. Safavid Iran was one of the Islamic "gunpowder empires", along with its neighbours, the Ottoman and Mughal empires. The Safavid dynasty had its origin in the SafaviyyaSufi order, which was established in the city of Ardabil in the Azerbaijan region. It was of mixed ancestry (Azerbaijani,Kurdish,Persian,and Turkmen which included intermarriages with Georgian and Pontic Greek dignitaries). From their base in Ardabil, the Safavids established control over all of Greater Iran and reasserted the Iranian identity of the region, thus becoming the first native dynasty since the Sassanid Empire to establish a unified Iranian state. Despite their demise in 1736, the legacy that they left behind was the revival of Persia as an economic stronghold between East and West, the establishment of an efficient state and bureaucracy based upon "checks and balances", their architectural innovations and their patronage for fine arts. The Safavids have also left their mark down to the present era by spreading Shi'a Islam in Iran, as well as major parts of the Caucasus, South Asia, Central Asia, and Anatolia.
The Mughal Empire was an empire extending over large parts of the Indian subcontinent and ruled by a dynasty of Chagatai-Turkic origin. In the early 16th century, northern India, being then under mainly Muslim rulers, fell to the superior mobility and firepower of the Mughals. The resulting Mughal Empire did not stamp out the local societies it came to rule, but rather balanced and pacified them through new administrative practices and diverse and inclusive ruling elites, leading to more systematic, centralized, and uniform rule. Disregarding tribal bonds and Islamic identity, especially under Akbar, the Mughals united their far-flung realms through loyalty, expressed through a Persianized culture, to an emperor who had near-divine status. The Mughal state's economic policies, deriving most revenues from agriculture and mandating that taxes be paid in the well-regulated silver currency, caused peasants and artisans to enter larger markets. The relative peace maintained by the empire during much of the 17th century was a factor in India's economic expansion,resulting in greater patronage of painting, literary forms, textiles, and architecture. Newly coherent social groups in northern and western India, such as the Marathas, the Rajputs, and the Sikhs, gained military and governing ambitions during Mughal rule, which, through collaboration or adversity, gave them both recognition and military experience. Expanding commerce during Mughal rule gave rise to new Indian commercial and political elites along the coasts of southern and eastern India. As the empire disintegrated, many among these elites were able to seek and control their own affairs.
The beginning of the empire is conventionally dated to the founder Babur's victory over Ibrahim Lodi in the first Battle of Panipat (1526). It reached its peak extent under Aurangzeb, and declined rapidly after his death (in 1707) under a series of ineffective rulers. The empire's collapse followed heavy losses inflicted by the smaller army of the Maratha Empire in the Deccan Wars,which encouraged the Nawabs of Bengal, Bhopal, Oudh, Carnatic, Rampr, the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Shah of Afghanistan to declare their independence from the Mughals. Following the Third Anglo-Maratha war in 1818, the emperor became a pensioner of the Raj, and the empire, its power now limited to Delhi, lingered on until 1857, when it was effectively dissolved after the fall of Delhi during the Indian Rebellion that same year. The Mughal emperors were Central Asian Turko-Mongols from modern-day Uzbekistan, who claimed direct descent from both Genghis Khan (through his son Chagatai Khan) and Timur. At the height of their power in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, they controlled much of the Indian subcontinent, extending from Bengal in the east to Kabul & Sindh in the west, Kashmir in the north to the Kaveribasin in the south. Its population at that time has been estimated as between 110 and 150 million(quarter of the world's population), over a territory of more than 1.2 million square miles. The "classic period" of the empire started in 1556 with the ascension of Akbar the Great to the throne. Under the rule of Akbar, India enjoyed economic progress as well as religious harmony, and the monarchs were interested in local religious and cultural traditions. Akbar was a successful warrior. He also forged alliances with several Hindu kingdoms. Some kingdoms continued to pose a significant threat to Mughal dominance of northwestern India, but they were subdued by Akbar.
Most Mughal emperors were Muslims. However Akbar in the latter part of his life was a follower of a new religion called Deen-i-Ilahi. The reign of Shah Jahan, the fifth emperor, was the golden age of Mughal architecture. He erected several large monuments, the most famous of which is the TajMahal at Agra, as well as other monuments. The Mughal Empire reached the zenith of its territorial expanse during the reign of Aurangzeb.During his lifetime, victories in the south expanded the Mughal Empire to more than 150 million subjects, nearly 1/4th of the world's population. By the mid-18th century, the Mughals had lost much of their territory and internal dissatisfaction arose due to the weakness of the Mughal Empire's administrative and economic systems, leading to the lose of more territory. Mughal power was severely limited and the last emperor, Bahadur Shah II had authority over only the city of Shahjahanabad. He issued a decree supporting the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and was therefore tried by the British for treason, imprisoned, exiled to Rangoon and the last remnants of the empire were taken over by the British Raj.