The Ottoman Empire stood for nearly five centuries. As an Islamic empire, it followed in the footsteps of earlier Islamic powers in how it expanded to the Near East and the Mediterranean. The heart of the Empire, however, was in Asia Minor, or modern-day Turkey. This strategic location at the intersection of Europe, Asia, and Africa was a major source of its power. Controlling trade between these continents generated great economic revenue. Not only could the empire tax this trade, but the empire’s great cities like Istanbul and Damascus grew in importance and wealth as the Empire’s star rose.
This set of resources provides background information about trade and commerce in the Ottoman Empire and its relation to the empire’s population growth and decline. As you review these resources, think about the relationships between trade, commerce, and diversity.