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Chapter 31: Societies at Crossroads. The Ottoman Empire in Decline Height of Ottoman military expansion in late seventeenth century. The Ottoman Empire in Decline. At its height in the 1600s, the Ottoman Empire had 29 provinces and several tributary states.

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Chapter 31 societies at crossroads

Chapter 31: Societies at Crossroads

The ottoman empire in decline height of ottoman military expansion in late seventeenth century
The Ottoman Empire in DeclineHeight of Ottoman military expansion in late seventeenth century

The ottoman empire in decline
The Ottoman Empire in Decline

At its height in the 1600s, the Ottoman Empire had 29 provinces and several tributary states.

Provinces Become More Independent: Semi-independent local warlords use mercenaries and slave armies to support sultan in return for imperial favor.

Central Government Receives Less Revenue: Many local administrators carry out massive corruption, misusing tax revenues. Central government becomes less effective.

Defeats in War: In the 1700s and 1800s, territorial holdings are gradually diminished through many defeat in wars.

The ottoman empire in decline1
The Ottoman Empire in Decline

  • The Austrians, Russians, and British, among others, beat the Ottomans in many different wars largely due to European advances in technology and strategy.

  • Russo-Turkish Wars (1735-1739; 1768-1774; 1787-1792; 1806–1812; 1828–1829; 1877–1878)

  • Austro-Turkish Wars (1716–1718; 1787–1791)

  • Crimean War (1853-1856): Conflict between Russian Empire against the French, British, and Ottomans.

The ottoman empire in decline2
The Ottoman Empire in Decline

British painting of a Janissary in the early 19th century

The elite Janissary corps, the best Ottoman soldiers, become corrupt and less fearsome warriors. They become more interested in palace intrigue than fighting wars.

The ottoman empire in decline3
The Ottoman Empire in Decline

Portrait of Muhammad Ali in 1840

  • Napoleon’s unsuccessful invasion of Egypt (1798-1801) triggers local revolt against Mamluks/Ottomans under Muhammad Ali (r. 1805-1848)

    • Muhammad Ali fights two wars against the Ottomans (1831-1833 and 1839-1841)

    • Nominally subordinate to Sultan, butthreatened the capture of Istanbul in 1839

  • British support Ottomans only to avoid possible Russian expansion

The ottoman empire in decline4
The Ottoman Empire in Decline

  • Nationalist uprisings drive Ottomans out of Balkans

  • Greek War of Independence (1821-1832)

  • Serbia revolts from 1804-1817 and gains some autonomy

  • Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878

  • Kingdom of Romania gains full independence

  • Bulgaria gains full indepence

  • Serbia gains full independence

Ottoman economy
Ottoman Economy

  • Imports of cheap manufactured goods place stress on local artisans; urban riots result.

  • Export-dependent Ottoman economy increasingly relies on foreign loans

    • Exports: raw cotton, grains, tobacco, wool, hides

    • Slave-produced commodities from New World are cheaper, undercutting products of the Ottoman empire

Ottoman economy1
Ottoman Economy

  • By 1882 Ottomans unable to pay even interest on loans, forced to accept foreign administration of debts (took out their first foreign loans in 1854, just as the Crimean War was starting).

  • Capitulations: agreements that exempted Europeans from Ottoman law

    • Extraterritoriality gives tax-free status to foreign banks and businesses

    • Foreign merchants begin to dominate overseas trade

Early reforms
Early Reforms

  • 1800s: Attempts to reform taxation, increase agricultural output, and reduce corruption

    • Sultan Selim III (r. 1789-1807) remodeled army on European lines

    • Janissaries revolt in 1807 and kill the new troops, imprison Selim III

  • Sultan Mahmud II (r. 1808-1839)

    • Massacres and disbands Janissaries in 1826, and creates fully modern army

    • Creates imperial postal service in 1834

    • Rebuilt Ottoman navy

Tanzimat reorganization era 1839 1876
Tanzimat (“Reorganization”) Era, 1839-1876

Abdülmecid I (r. 1839-1861), promotes a new, western-oriented reform program called “Tanzimat.”

Drafted new law codes that strengthened civil rights for minorities to appease rebellious nationalist groups (Albanian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Serbian, Armenian, etc.)

Tanzimat reorganization era 1839 18761
Tanzimat (“Reorganization”) Era, 1839-1876

Abdülmecid introduced paper bank notes (1840)

Proclaimed a national anthem and flag (1844)

Replaces turban with fez as official male headgear

Established first modern universities and academies (1848)

Gets rid of higher taxes on non-Muslims (1856)

Undermined power of traditional religious elite

Tries to rein in corruption in government

Tanzimat reorganization era 1839 18762
Tanzimat (“Reorganization”) Era, 1839-1876

The reforms were fiercely resisted by the religious conservative establishment and entrenched bureaucracy

Also drew opposition from radical Young Ottomans, secret group of intellectuals founded in 1865, who were influenced by Enlightenment ideas and wanted a constitutional monarchy

The young ottoman takeover of 1876
The Young Ottoman Takeover of 1876

  • Young Ottomans stage a coup in 1876 and install Abdül Hamid II as Sultan (r. 1876-1909)

    • Constitution adopted

    • Representative government: Parliament with members of Senate elected by the Sultan and members of Chamber of Deputies elected by the people

The young ottoman takeover of 18761
The Young Ottoman Takeover of 1876

  • Abdul Hamid II suspends the constitution by 1878 under emergency conditions (war with Russia)

    • Takes back power through brutal repression

    • Imprisons and executes many radicals

    • Many reformers go into exile in Europe

The young turks
The Young Turks

  • Ottoman Society for Union and Progress

    • Founded by medical students in exile in Paris in 1889, with many non-Turkish members; wanted to reinstitute 1876 constitution

    • Called for rapid, secular reforms

    • “Congress of Ottoman Opposition in Paris in 1902: Started to be called “Young Turks” instead of “Young Ottomans”

    • Young Turks force Abdül Hamid II to restore parliament in 1908, and then dethrone him in favor of Mehmed V Rashid (r. 1909-1918).

Young turk rule
Young Turk Rule

  • Replaced “Ottomanism”—legal encouragement of many nations living together—with Turkish nationalism

  • Attempted to establish Turkish hegemony over far-flung empire

    • Turkish made official language, despite large numbers of Arabic and Slavic language speakers

  • Yet could not contain forces of decline

The russian empire under pressure
The Russian Empire Under Pressure

  • Russia a massive, multi-cultural empire

    • Only approximately half speak Russian and observe Russian Orthodox Christianity

  • Romanov tsars rule in a highly autocratic fashion

  • Powerful class of nobles exempt from taxation and military duty

  • Nobility benefit from an exploitative serfdom; serfdom had declined in Western Europe by the 1400s, but persists in Russia

The crimean war 1853 1856
The Crimean War, 1853-1856

Russians expand into Caucasus in larger attempt to establish control over weakening Ottoman Empire

Threatens to upset balance of power; British and French Empires intervene to help Ottomans

Russia driven back from Crimea in humiliating defeat

Demonstration of Russian weakness in the face of western technology and modern strategy

Reform emancipation of the serfs
Reform: Emancipation of the Serfs

  • Serfdom source of rural instability and peasant revolt in the wake of the Crimean War loss

  • Tsar Alexander II emancipates serfs in 1861, without alleviating poverty, land hunger

    • Forced to pay for lands they had farmed for generations

  • Limited attempts to reform administration, small-scale representative government

    • Network of elected district assemblies called zemstvos

Industrialization in russia
Industrialization in Russia

  • Witte System

    • Count Sergei Witte (1849-1915), serves

      as minister of finance, 1892-1903

    • Oversaw construction of Trans-Siberian railroad (started in 1891; completed in 1916)

    • Oversaw State-Sponsored Industrialization

    • Peasants uprooted from rural lifestyle and pushed into factories to work for low wages, long hours

    • Led to massive discontent


  • Intelligentsia class spreads radical ideas for social change

    • Socialists, anarchists

    • Terror tactics, assassinations

    • Attempt to connect with the mistrustful peasantry in 1870s, who often denounce them

    • Many of the intelligentsia sent into Siberian exile


  • Tsarist authorities turn to censorship, secret police

  • Nationalist sentiment seething in Baltic provinces, Poland, Ukraine, Georgia, and central Asia

  • Period of upheaval contributes to great literature

    • Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881)

    • Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)

    • Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

    • Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883)


  • Radical anarchist group, the People’s Will movement (“Narodnaya Volya), assassinates Tsar Alexander II in 1881

    • Previous attempts on his life: one in 1866 and two in 1879, and one in 1880; People’s Will tried to blow up his train and set off a charge in the Winter Palace

    • Bullet-proof carriage protects emperor from first blast, but gets out and a second bomb is thrown at him, killing him

    • Prompted widespread pogrom attacks on Jews

    • Assassination leads to repression under the grim Alexander III (r. 1881-1894), who relied heavily on the Okhrana (secret police) to crack down on radicals.


Nicholas II (r. 1894-1917): Weak and vacillating tsar enters into war with Japan (1904-1905)

Humiliating defeat exposes government weaknesses

Social discontent boils over in Revolution of 1905; revolt fails, but triggers massive discontent

Workers’ strikes force government to make political concessions, like the creation of a national representative body, the Duma

Qing empire chinese restrictions on european trade
Qing Empire: Chinese Restrictions on European Trade

Since 1759, European commercial presence limited to port of Guangzhou (the British called it Canton)

Chinese restrictions on european trade
Chinese Restrictions on European Trade

  • Foreign merchants forced to deal solely with a small group of licensed Chinese firms called cohongs who only accepted one currency of trade: silver bullion

  • Not much Chinese demand for European goods

  • British East India Company heavily involved in opium trade

    • Opium grown in India, sold in China for silver, silver used to buy other Chinese products

The opium trade
The Opium Trade

The Opium Plant

British East Indiaman at port

©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The opium trade1
The Opium Trade

Portuguese first bring opium to China in 1600s

Practice of mixing it with tobacco begins in mid-1600s

1729: Emperor outlaws sale of opium, but the law is poorly enforced

Practice of smoking plain opium evolves by late 1700s

British East India company’s expansion in India leads in later 1700s leads to larger volume of opium sold into China

Increasing trade and social ills evident by late 1830s

The opium trade2
The Opium Trade

Chinese move to enforce ban in 1830s under Chinese official, Lin Zexu (1785-1850)

British agents engage in military retaliation in the First Opium War (1839-1842)

British naval forces easily defeat Chinese with superior technology

Hong Kong ceded to British in Treaty of Nanjing (1842) and five ports are opened to British traders

The opium trade3
The Opium Trade

Steam-driven warship Nemesis destroys Chinese junks in 1841

Unequal treaties
Unequal Treaties

Second Opium War (1856-1860): British and French attack Chinese since China resists opening more ports and legalizing opium importation

China forced into a series of disadvantageous treaties known as “Unequal Treaties”

Extraterritorial legal status granted to British subjects

Later other European countries conclude similar treaties

East asia in the nineteenth century
East Asia in the Nineteenth Century

The taiping rebellion 1850 1864
The Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864)

Large-scale rebellions in later nineteenth century reflect poverty, discontent of Chinese peasantry

Population rises 50% between 1800-1900, but land under cultivation remains static, leading to frequent famine

Nian rebellion (1851-1868), Muslim rebellion (1855-1873), Tungan rebellion (1862-1878)

The taiping rebellion 1850 18641
The Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864)

The Taiping rebellion was led by Hong Xiuquan (1814-1864), a schoolteacher who called for destruction of Qing dynasty

Hong declared himself the brother of Jesus Christ

By 1850, he had between 10,000 to 30,000 followers, alarming the authorities

Taiping platform
Taiping Platform

  • Abolition of private property

  • Creation of communal wealth

  • Prohibition of foot binding, concubines

  • Free public education, simplification of written Chinese, mass literacy

  • Prohibition of sexual relations among followers (including married couples)

    • Yet leaders maintained harems

Taiping defeat
Taiping Defeat

  • Taipings captured Nanjing in 1858 and make it their capital

  • Attack on Beijing with force of 1 million, but turned back

  • Imperial army unable to contain Taipings, so regional armies created with Manchu soldiers and outfitted with European weaponry

  • Hong commits suicide in 1864; Nanjing recaptured

    • 100,000 Taipings massacred

The self strengthening movement 1860 1895
The Self-Strengthening Movement (1860-1895)

  • High point is in 1860s-1870s

  • Slogan “Chinese learning at the base, Western learning for use”

  • Blend of Chinese cultural traditions with European industrial technology

    • Building of shipyards, railroads, academies

  • Ultimately changes to Chinese economy and society were superficial

  • Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) nominally supports technological development of the movement, but is suspicious of Western ideologies

Empress dowager cixi
Empress Dowager Cixi

Cixi (1835-1908) unofficially rules China from 1861 to 1908; two emperors are essentially her puppets (her son, then nephew)

Supposedly diverted governmentfunds for her own aesthetic purposes, according to rumors

Was in general xenophobic and conservative; foremost concern was protecting the dynasty

Spheres of influence
Spheres of Influence

  • Qing dynasty loses influence in southeast Asia, losing tributary states to Europeans and Japanese

    • Vietnam: Lost to France in 1886

    • Burma: Lost to Great Britain in 1885

    • Korea, Taiwan, Liaodong Peninsula: Lost to Japan as a result of the Sino-Japanese War of 1895

  • China itself divided into spheres of influence by European powers in 1895

Spheres of influence1
Spheres of Influence

1898 French political cartoon

Empress Dowager Cix

Hundred days reforms 1898
Hundred Days Reforms (1898)

Kang Youwei (1858-1927) and Liang Qichao (1873-1929): Two popular scholars and journalists who start a reform movement.

Interpreted Confucianism to allow for Western-style changes to system: wanted to make China a constitutional monarchy

Favored rapid industrialization through capitalists means

Emperor Guangxu (r. 1875-1908) attempts to implement reforms

Empress dowager Cixi nullifies reforms and imprisons the emperor, her nephew

The boxer rebellion 1898 1901
The Boxer Rebellion (1898-1901)

Cixi supports Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists (“Boxers”), an anti-foreign and anti-Christian militia

1899 fought to rid China of “foreign devils”

Misled to believe European weapons would not harm them, 140,000 Boxers besiege European embassies in 1900

Crushed by coalition of European forces: Russia, Britain, France, U.S., Japan, Germany, Austro-Hungary & Italy

Brutal repression of Boxers by Western forces;

China forced to accept stationing of foreign troops on her soil

Death of the dowager empress
Death of the Dowager Empress

Emperor Guangxu dies a mysterious, sudden death on November 14, 1908 at age 33; later discovered to be arsenic poisonng

Cixi dies one day later

She places two-year-old Puyi placed on the throne before dying

Revolution in 1911: Main goal was to replace Manchu government with a Han one. First president of new republic is Dr. Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925)

Puyi abdicates in 1912; film The Last Emperor tells of his life. He dies on 1967.

Transformation of japan
Transformation of Japan

Emperor Meiji

(r. 1867-1912)

Transformation of japan1
Transformation of Japan

  • Japanese society is in turmoil in early nineteenth century

    • Poor agricultural output, famines, high taxes

    • Daimyo and samurai classes decline, peasants starving

  • Tokugawa government attempts reforms, 1841-1843

    • Cancelled daimyo and samurai debts

    • Abolished merchant guilds

    • Compelled peasants to return to cultivating rice

    • These reforms ultimately ineffective

Foreign pressure
Foreign Pressure

Europeans and Americans attempt to establish relations in 1840s; country is closed

Japan only allowed Dutch presence in Nagasaki

U.S. in particular was looking for a Far East Pacific ports for whalers and merchants

In 1853 Commodore Matthew Perry sails gunships into Edo harbor (Tokyo) and forces Japanese to open port

Perry’s black-hulled steam warship makes an impression

Sparks conservative Japanese reaction against shogun, rally around emperor in Kyoto

Foreign pressure1
Foreign Pressure

Images of Perry and

his ship

The meiji restoration 1868
The Meiji Restoration (1868)

Mutsuhito takes throne in 1867 as figurehead

Brief civil war between imperial and Tokugawa forces in 1867-68; shogun’s forces are defeated

1868: With the shogun gone, Emperor Mutsuhito (Meiji, 1852-1912) takes full power; changes name of Edo to Tokyo

Goals of prosperity and strength: “rich country, strong army”

Resolves to learn western technology

©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Meiji reforms
Meiji Reforms

  • Travelers Fukuzawa Yukichi (1835-1901) and Ito Hirobumi (1841-1909) travel to U.S., Europe

    • Argue for adoption of western legal proceedings, technology

  • Meiji government removes privileges for daimyo and samurai

    • Conscript army replaces samurai mercenaries

    • Samurai rebellion crushed by national army

  • Tax reform: payment in cash, not kind (grain)

©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Constitutional government
Constitutional Government

1889 constitution promulgated

Conservative: only 5 % of male population allowed to vote in 1890 election

Economic reforms to promote rapid industrialization

Dramatic improvement in literacy rates

Government holdings sold to private investors: zaibatsu financial cliques develop

©2011, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.