59 votes
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Is there a reason why Turkey took the Balkan territories of the Ottoman Empire, instead of Greece or another of the Balkan states?

The borders of Turkey were established first by the Treaty of Sevres and then by the Treaty of Lausanne. Turkey lost as a party of WWI, and the negotiations followed. Turkey did not accept the first ...
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57 votes

Why did the Ottomans not change their capital to an Arab city?

The Ottoman Empire was not an Arabian empire, but a Turkish one. So they had no reason to uproot their capital from Turkish lands and move it to an Arabian region. In addition, Constantinople ...
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  • 4,506
35 votes
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Did the Ottoman empire suppress the printing press?

There is some truth in it, but the printing press adoption delay was only a late symptom of an attitude that began much earlier. In short is was more of contempt for the culture and aesthetics of ...
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34 votes
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Why is it called the "Ottoman" Empire in English language?

The explanation seems to be related to the attempted spelling of the Arabic for Osman, which came out as utman or Uthman. From wiktionary.org From Middle French Ottoman, from post-classical Latin ...
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30 votes

Why did the Ottomans not change their capital to an Arab city?

Location: it is a strategic point, the central point for which Black Sea trade must pass. If you are under siege and you have a fleet, you can get supplied indefinitely; if the enemy assaults the ...
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27 votes

Is today's Old City of Jerusalem the Jerusalem of the Crusades' period?

Yes. Quite closely resembling: See that structure in the South-East? The temple mount? That's were the Knights Templar took their name from. This is almost a fixed point in time. ...
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25 votes
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Who is in this c.1866 photo?

It looks to be a photograph of Abdül Aziz, the 32nd Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. He reigned between 25 June 1861 and 30 May 1876, which fits with the 1866 date. Here is a similar photograph by an ...
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23 votes
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Why were Albanians the only nation in the Balkans who converted to Islam during the Ottoman occupation?

Based on what I've found, I would say that it was a combination of factors that all amplified each other. The conquest of Albania was particularly brutal compared to the rest of the region, and was ...
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  • 5,912
21 votes
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How significant was the Fall of Constantinople as an event leading to the Age of Exploration?

The Fall of Constantinople had a negligible effect on the launching of the Age of Discovery, school textbooks notwithstanding. It was well under way a generation earlier, due to the perfection of the ...
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21 votes

Why did the Ottomans not change their capital to an Arab city?

Two more factors: The Ottoman Turks considered themselves to be the successors of the Roman Empire. Before they captured Constantinople, their territory was known as the Sultanate of Rum. After ...
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20 votes

Why were Albanians the only nation in the Balkans who converted to Islam during the Ottoman occupation?

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a second largely Muslim state in the Balkans, with most ethnic Bosnians traditionally professing the Muslim faith. However the Bosnian, Serb and Croat populations in this ...
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20 votes

Why did nationalism in all of Europe surge in the 19th century?

Who protects your daily security? Who does your loyalty belong to? Initially (in the middle ages), the answer was your local nobleman, and, through him, via the duke and/or kind, to the Holy Roman ...
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18 votes

Why didn't "Europe" support the Byzantine Empire against the Turks?

There was a certain amount of natural antagonism between the west and the Byzantines. Part of this was religious: They belonged to different sects of Christianity, and thus often viewed each other as ...
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18 votes
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Why didn't the Ottomans conquer (what is now known as) Morocco?

To put it simply, the Ottomans did invade Morocco multiple times, and they were also allies with various Moroccan Dynasties too. The relations boil down to rivaling Dynasties in Morocco in the 16th ...
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18 votes

Did the Ottoman government rationalize the Armenian Genocide and other instances of ethnic cleansing as a response to Russian expansion?

This question can be very much opinable, but I want to address some points: Did the architects of the Armenian Genocide during World War I plan their actions in part as a reciprocal population ...
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16 votes
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Was it ever deemed illegal to translate the Qu'ran?

Translation of Qu'ran was always problematic question in Islamic theology. In Islamic world there is doctrine called I'jaz that holds that Qu'ran is miraculous, both in content and in form and that no ...
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  • 2,283
16 votes
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When was the Ottoman mosque within the Parthenon demolished?

There were actually two mosques built within the Parthenon, the first was mostly destroyed when the explosion took place in 1687. The second mosque, which you are referring to is discussed in The ...
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15 votes

How did the ruling class in the Muslim world react to the discovery and colonization of the Americas?

During the time period from the fall of Constantinople in 1453 until its dissolution in 1918, the Ottoman Empire was pre-occupied with the Balkans, Middle East, and North-East Africa. During the ...
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14 votes
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Why did Ottoman Army use camels in the Siege of Vienna 1683?

SHORT ANSWER The Ottomans used camels because they have several advantages over horses. Among other things, they can carry more than horses and adapt well to a variety of climates (even cold ones) ...
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13 votes

Why didn't "Europe" support the Byzantine Empire against the Turks?

Please keep in mind that the IVth Crusade mentioned in the first answer has resulted in taking of Constantinople by mostly Venician troops in 1204. This has resulted in a long-lasting civil war ...
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13 votes

Was it not clear to the WWI allies that they were over-reaching with the treaty of Sevres?

You are correct, the Turkish National Movement heavily resisted treaty of Sevres which culminated in the Turkish War of independence...the treaty didn't last long. Isn't it obvious that that treaty ...
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  • 2,674
12 votes

Why didn't the European Christians take back Constantinopole?

There was no "good" time for Europeans to take back Constantinople. As late as 1683, the Ottomans had the upper hand, besieging Vienna. Up to that point, Europe was more concerned about defending ...
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12 votes

What does it mean: "French was a lingua franca in the Ottoman caliphal court?"

A small edit to put this answer into a broader perspective. In a broader perspective, French acquired the status of lingua franca amongst the European powers in the areas of commerce, science and ...
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  • 221
12 votes

Does the Ottoman Empire count as a colonial power?

Colonialism in its strict and historic sense means the practice of settling a large number of colonists in subject countries, as did the British in North America, Ireland, Southern Africa, Australia, ...
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  • 9,473
12 votes

Which submarine was invented first?

The first submarine was developed by Cornelis Drebbel, a Dutchman, in 1620. The first submarine that went into action was the Turtle, developed by David Bushnell in 1776. It went in action, but never ...
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12 votes
Accepted

Was there a bribery attempt by the UK to get the Ottomans to switch sides in World War I?

Short answer Yes, there was an attempt to bribe the Ottomans but it was an attempt to keep them out of the war, rather than to change sides. During WWI, the British offered, or considered offering, ...
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11 votes

How significant was the Fall of Constantinople as an event leading to the Age of Exploration?

It had a significant effect. It was not just Constantinople itself that was important but several other strategic areas as well. Constantinople was a key trading center on both the northern and ...
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  • 37.2k
11 votes

Was Napoleon's General Joachim Murat of Turkish descent?

A valid premise for research might be that simply "Murat" is looking and perhaps even sounding like a word or name of Turkish/Arabic origin, therefore Joachim Murat may have a family name of similar ...
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  • 75.4k
11 votes
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What would the Wikipedia page for Spain have said in 1490?

First, there would have been no Wikipedia page for Spain, because: The internet and the Wikipedia wouldn't be exist for 5 centuries, and There was no "Spain"; there were Castilla, Aragón and Navarra (...
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  • 12.1k
11 votes

Is there a reason why Turkey took the Balkan territories of the Ottoman Empire, instead of Greece or another of the Balkan states?

Let's look at the map in 1913: (click for large) Detail view 1913: Omniatlas: Europe 1913: Aftermath of the Balkan Wars "Greece according to the Treaty of Sèvres", in Wikipedia: ...
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