Tanzimat Reforms Essay

1204 Words5 Pages
Tanzimat Reforms The Ottoman Empire was one of the lengthiest lasting empires in history. One of the reasons for its permanence was, to some measure, that it accepted the presence of multiple faith societies. As such, ten million Turks were able to rule over 250 million people on three continents. The Ottomans governed their subordinates through the Millet (communities) structure; each community had its own independent courts and could govern according to its own religious laws. They also respected religious miscellany (Cleveland-2013). During the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire was at the crest of being a world super power, but by the mid-18th Century it had significantly enfeebled. It underwent increasing defeats on the battlefield and its regions began to shrink. Internal and external rebellions became commonplace and the empire’s failure loomed on the horizon. These veracities pushed reformist Sultans and prominent intellectuals to look for new resolutions to the empire’s difficulties. The first Sultan to identify the empire’s serious weakening was Selim III (1789-1807). After being declared Emperor, he began an agenda of reforms along European influence. He started by commencing deviations in education, legal and military systems. These reforms were not welcomed by the Janissaries (Ottoman soldiers) who, through the trepidation of Europe, had now become unsuccessful on the battlefield. When Selim began arising an infantry force known as the Nizam-i Cedit (New Order) it awakened acrimonious opposition among the Janissaries who saw this new army as a menace to their existence. The Janissaries ultimately acknowledged the European-inspired reforms to be contrary to Islamic law and with the backing of the Shaykh al-Islam (grand scholar of the Ottoman Empire), they mutinied. They prospered in overthrowing (and later murdering) Selim and replacing him with
Open Document