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Expansion and consolidation of the
Ottoman state, 1300–1683

From their beginnings in western Anatolia, the Ottoman state in the following centuries expanded steadily in a nearly unceasing series of successful wars that brought it vast territories at the junction of the European,
Asian, and African continents. Before turning to the factors which explain the Ottomans’ expansion from their initial west Anatolian–Balkan base, we need to briefly enumerate these victories (map 2).

Usually, historians like to point to the reigns of two sultans – Mehmet II (1451–1481) and S ¨uleyman the Magnificent (1520–1566) – as particularly impressive. Each built on the extraordinary achievements of his predecessors. In the 100 plus years before Sultan Mehmet II assumed
the throne, the Ottomans expanded deep into the Balkan and Anatolian lands.

By the time of their crossover from west Anatolia into the Balkans, the Ottomans already had seized the important Byzantine city of Bursa and made it the capital of their expanding state. In 1361 they
captured Adrianople (Edirne) in Europe, a major Byzantine city that became the new Ottoman capital, and used it as a major staging area for offensives into the Balkans. Less than half a lifetime later, in 1389,
Ottoman forces annihilated their Serbian foes at Kossovo, in the western Balkans. After 1989, the reinvented memory of Kossovo became a powerful catalyst to the formation of modern Serbian identity. This great
victory was followed by others, for example, the capture of Salonica from
the Venetians in 1430.

At Nicopolis in 1396 and Varna in 1444, the Ottomans defeated wide-ranging coalitions of west and central European states that were becoming painfully aware of the expanding Ottoman state
and the increasing danger it posed to them. The international aspect of
these battles was marked by the presence of forces from not only Serbia,
Wallachia, Bosnia, Hungary, and Poland, but also, for example, France,
the German states, Scotland, Burgundy, Flanders, Lombardy, and From its origins to 1683 21

Scholars have considered Nicopolis and Varna as latter day Crusades, the continuation of eleventh-century European efforts to destroy local states in Palestine. And yet, at both battles (see below), Balkan princes were present who fought on the Ottoman side while Venice, at
Nicopolis, negotiated with each side to gain commercial and political advantage.

So, when Mehmet the Conqueror took power, he had a strong foundation on which to build. Just two years later, in 1453, he fulfilled the long-standing Ottoman and Muslim dream of seizing thousand-year-old
Constantinople, city of the Caesars. Mehmet immediately began restoring the city to its former glories; by 1478, the population had doubled from 30,000 living in villages scattered inside of the massive fortifications
to 70,000 inhabitants.

A century later, this great capital would boast over400,000 residents. Mehmet’s conquests continued and, between 1459 and 1461, he brought under Ottoman domination the last fragments of
Byzantium in the Morea (southern Greece) and at Trabzon on the Black
Sea; he also annexed the southern Crimea and established a long-standing
set of ties with the Crimean khans, successors of the Mongols who earlier
had conquered the region.

For a time, perhaps as part of a plan to conquer
Rome, his armies occupied Otranto on the heel of the Italian peninsula.
But the effort failed, as did his siege of Rhodes, an island bastion of a
crusading order of knights.

Sultan S ¨Suleyman the Magnificent had the good fortune of succeeding
Selim I (1512–1520). In his short reign, Selim had thoroughly beaten
a newly emergent foe, the Safevid state on the battlefield of C¸ aldıran
in 1514. (The Safevids, a Turkish-speaking dynasty who had acquired
an Islamic and Persian identity, became the major opponent on the
Ottoman eastern frontiers during the fifteenth through the seventeenth

Selim then (1516–1517) conquered the Arab lands of the
Mamluk sultanate based in Cairo, filling the treasury and bringing the
Muslim Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina under the Ottoman rulers’ dominion. During the long reign of S ¨Suleyman the Magnificent (1520–1566) the Ottomans enjoyed considerable power and wealth. Under S ¨Suleyman’s leadership, the Ottomans fought a sixteenth-century world war.

Sultan ¨Suleyman supported Dutch rebels against their Spanish overlords while
his navy battled in the western Mediterranean against the Spanish Habsburgs. At one point, Ottoman troops wintered on the modern-day Riviera at Toulon, by courtesy of King Francis I of France who also was fighting
against the Habsburgs (see chapter 5).

On the other side of their world, Ottoman navies warred in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, as far east
as modern-day Indonesia. There they fought because the global balance
of power and wealth had been overturned by the Portuguese voyages of.

Alparslan Bolum 20 Bangla Subtitles

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