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Gunpowder empires

Three of the great empires of history—the Ottomans in Turkey, the Safavids in Persia, and the Mughals in India—emerged in the Muslim world between the 14th and the 18th centuries. As powerful societies moved to expand their empires, Turkish, Persian, Mongol, and Arab ways of life blended. The result was a flowering of Islamic culture that peaked in the 16th century. The rulers of all three great Muslim empires of this era based their authority on Islam. They based their power on strong armies, advanced technology, and loyal administrative officers.

Gunpowder Empires

Ottoman empire

Ottoman Empire Turkey, the

In 1453, the Ottomans attacked Constantinople & conquered the Byzantine Empire

By the late 1600s, the Ottomans expanded into the Middle East, Northern Africa, & Eastern Europe


Sultan Turkey, the

Ottoman rulers were called sultans & they governed with absolute power

Suleyman the magnificent

Suleyman Turkey, the the Magnificent

The greatest Ottoman sultan was Suleyman the Magnificent who came to power in 1520

Under Suleyman, Ottoman armies attacked Eastern Europe & the empire reached its height

Gunpowder empires

Suleyman’s greatest accomplishment was creating a stable gov’t for his empire

He was known as “Suleyman the Lawgiver” because he created a law code that governed criminal & civil issues

He created a simplified & fair tax system to raise money for his empire

He granted freedom of worship to Christians & Jews living in the empire


Janissaries gov’t for his empire

The Ottoman army included 30,000 elite soldiers called janissaries who were slaves that were trained to be loyal to the government

Safavid empire

Safavid gov’t for his empire Empire

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Unlike the Ottomans who were Sunni Muslims, the Safavids believed in Shi’a Islam & strictly converted the people they conquered

The Safavid Empire

The Safavids were Turks living in Persia who built a powerful gunpowder army & created an empire in modern-day Iran

Safavid rulers were called shahs, using the Persian title for king

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Shah believed in Shi’a Islam & strictly converted the people they conquered

Safavid rulers were called shahs, using the Persian title for king

Shah abbas

Shah believed in Shi’a Islam & strictly converted the people they conquered Abbas

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The greatest ruler of the Safavid Empire was Shah Abbas who came to power in 1587

Abbas borrowed ideas from outside groups to improve the Safavid Empire

He modeled Ottoman janissaries, used merit to employ gov’t workers, & introduced religious toleration which helped Safavids trade with European Christians

Art flourished, especially carpets that blended Persian & European designs

The decline of the safavid empire
The Decline of the Safavid Empire came to power in 1587

Like the Ottomans, Shah Abbas blinded or killed his most capable sons in order to keep power

As a result, weak leaders led to a rapid decline of the Safavid Empire

While the Ottoman Empire lasted until 1922, the Safavid Empire fell in 1747

Mughal empire

Like came to power in 1587 the Ottomans & Safavids, the Mughals built a powerful army with guns & cannons

Mughal Empire

The Mughals were Muslims who descended from Turks, Afghans, & Mongols living in central Asia


Babur came to power in 1587

In 1494, Babur became king of the Mughals, expanded the army, & began invasions into India to create his empire

Akbar the great

Akbar the Great came to power in 1587

In 1556, Babur’s grandson Akbar became king of the Mughal Empire & expanded the empire into almost all of India

Gunpowder empires

Akbar was the greatest of all the Mughal rulers came to power in 1587

Akbar’s greatest achievement was cultural blending & religious toleration

He held religious discussions with Hindu & Muslim scholars

He ended the tax that non-Muslims were required to pay & created a fair & affordable tax system

Because he was Muslim ruling in a largely Hindu region, Akbar allowed non-Muslims to worship freely

He married many wives, among them were Muslim, Hindu, & Christian women

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Divine Faith came to power in 1587

The Divine Faith was an example of syncretism because it blended ideas from Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, & Zoroastrianism

Akbar hoped the Divine Faith would end conflicts between Muslims & Hindus

But, the Divine Faith never attracted many Muslim or Hindu converts…When Akbar died, so did the Divine Faith

Taj mahal

Taj came to power in 1587 Mahal

The greatest example of Mughal architecture is the TajMahal which was built in 1631 by Shah Jahan

Mughal architecture was known for blending of Hindu & Islamic designs

Qing dynasty

Qing Dynasty came to power in 1587

In 1644, northern invaders from Manchuria conquered China & created the second foreign dynasty in Chinese history, the Qing Dynasty


Manchus came to power in 1587

During this era of Manchu rule, China grew to its largest size by claiming Taiwan, central Asia, Mongolia, & Tibet


Kangxi came to power in 1587

Kangxi was the first emperor to tour China & visit peasant villages

But, Emperor Kangxi earned Chinese respect by keeping Confucian beliefs, lowering taxes, & restoring peace and prosperity to China


Shinto came to power in 1587

Gunpowder empires

Japan’s isolation gave rise to a unique Japanese culture, most specifically the Shinto religion

Shinto is a polytheistic religion based on the respect of nature & ancestor worship

Shinto worshipers believed in divine spirits called kami that live in nature

The most important of the Shinto gods is the sun goddess who gave light to the world

Japanese feudalism

Japanese Feudalism most specifically the Shinto religion

By the mid-1000s, the imperial gov’t grew weak, regional landowners gained power, & Japan became lawless & dangerous

As a result, Japan developed a feudal system


Daimyo most specifically the Shinto religion

Farmers traded land to strong warlords called daimyo who offered protection


Samurai most specifically the Shinto religion

Daimyo were served by loyal warriors called samurai

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Shogun most specifically the Shinto religion

In 1192, the first shogun was named by the emperor

The emperor remained in place, but the shogun held real power & ruled as military dictators

Shoguns’ power varied over time, but the pattern of gov’t controlled by a shogun lasted until 1867

Tokugawa shogunate

Tokugawa most specifically the Shinto religion Shogunate

In 1603, Tokugawa became shogun of Japan, moved to capital to Edo (later called Tokyo), & restored gov’t & order to Japan

Tokugawa ruled until 1615, but he created a line of succession called the Tokugawa Shogunate that ruled Japan until 1867


Tokugawa shoguns most specifically the Shinto religion decided to exclude foreign merchants & missionaries


By 1639, Japan adopted a “closed country policy” & ended almost all foreign contacts


Istanbul most specifically the Shinto religion


Sikhism most specifically the Shinto religion

A monotheistic religion founded in the Punjab region of India in the 15th century by Guru Nanak, and marked by rejection of idolatry and caste. Sikhism is the 5th largest religion in the world.