In an age of Empires three of the strongest empires that were formed were The Ottoman, The Safavid and The Mughal Empire. Each empire had many similarities but were also different in several ways. In talking about these empires, we will discuss a few things they had in common, how they ended and an example of their ruler, or emperor.
All three empires reached their best points around the 16th and 17th century and were in the same area of the world. The empires were founded in what we now know as the middle east and because they were all in this area, they controlled all these areas in similar ways with distinct focus on physical, ethnic, and religious environments. A common thing for each empire was they all had strong military forces and skilled fighters. Their army’s strength is one of the things that made them empires because they could takeover land from others easily.
In this part of the world most of the rulers for all three empires were from Turkish ethnic background and had religions that were Islamic. Even though the religions were almost the same each group also had to contend with religious divisions but overcame them and placed them in various groups. Since they all were located very close to one another when they ruled, they had trade and conflicts between each other. If you can tell there was a good amount of similarities but now there is also some differences too.
Out of all three of the empires, the Ottoman empire is the only one that had their own leadership, legal system, and education systems that were advanced and well established as important parts of their culture. The Ottoman’s ruling class and people grew larger and got more diverse, and it was important for each various group. Ottoman rulers tried to teach and encourage, but didn’t force, the Christians and Jews to convert to their religion and language of Islam, the language which the Ottomans used.
Unlike any of the other three groups the Safavid’s faced the most religious struggles. The Safavid’s had more religions such as Muslim vs non-Muslim as well as other mystical Muslim beliefs. Just like the Ottoman’s converted Jews the Safavid did it with the Christians and Zoroastrians. Unlike the Ottomans, the Safavids went farther in persecuting non-Muslims these persecutions never lasted long.
The Mughals had the largest religious divide between the Muslims as well as the presence of the larger Hindus within their empire. Within the Mughal empire they never started a religion-based hierarchy in the ruling class. Since they could not form a common religion leadership the people proved their loyalty to their empire by serving the emperor. While early Mughal rulers tried to focus on promoting universal religious tolerance, later Mughal rulers emphasized the need to preserve their leadership and establish a society.
With each difference one of the focal points observed was the rulers of each empire. The Ottoman’s ruler Mehmed II, or Mehmed the conquer, achieved the most dramatic feat in Ottoman history. By the time Mehmed wanted to take power over Constantinople (later the capital of the empire) in 1453 at the age of 21 the Ottoman Empire was one of the most powerful empires of that time. The city was built around walls, so Mehmed started shooting cannons at the wall with 1,200-pound boulders. Then he used a tactic to go around and flank Constantinople with 70 more ships which stunned them.
The city held out for 7 weeks, but finally crumbled and the Ottoman’s broke into the city and took over a powerful empire at the time. Mehmed proved he could be a powerful conquer and as well as a fantastic warrior. He opened the whole city of Constantinople to different religions such as Jews, Christians, and Muslim, Turks and non-Turks flowed into the city. Mehmed was a powerful ruler at such a young age but was he one of the best emperors out of the 3 powerful empires well everybody has different opinions so let’s see about the Safavids powerful emperor.
For the Safavids they had a 12-year-old as one of their best emperors and his name was Isma’ili. Before he was our age Isma”ili had already began to seize land most of what now is Iran and Iraq. To celebrate his achievement, he took the top spot to be known as the Persian king. After conquering the land, he established Shi’a Islam as the state religion. Isma’ili became obsessed with himself and a religious freak, everybody that wasn’t following his religion, also known as Shi’a, was put to death. Isma’ili destroyed the Sunni population of Baghdad with his confrontation with the Ottomans. Selim the Grim ordered to execute all the Ottomans and killed 40,000 for not converting to Shi’a. I’m not sure what happened to Isma’ili after all of this but I’m pretty sure he died during the war.
Now the last and final emperor is from the Mughal empire. The last emperor’s name is Akbar who was also known as the “Great Akbar”. He ruled in what is now known as India with wisdom and tolerance for 49 years. Akbar had military power as one of his strengths and was aggressive, so his neighboring countries won’t attack him. He used heavy artillery and cannons to break walls a lot easier. He used a brilliant move to appoint some raj as officers and instead of potential enemies he turned them into good allies.
His military power and wisdom helped him conquer 10 million people which was more than Europe put all together at that time. He allowed other people to practice other religions in his country and he was teaching Hindu and Muslim. He also established tax on Hindu and non-Muslims. Akbar started to spread cultural differences in the kingdom such as art, language, politics, and education.
From this comparison the three empires are interesting with their cultures, religions, and emperors. Each of the three of these empires rose to extreme power and influenced many people and world impacts some of which are still seen in the middle east of the world.