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Constantinople Taken by the Ottomans

The great city of Constantinople was founded in AD 324 by the Roman Emperor Constantine. Many enemies tried to invade the city in the past, but none of them succeeded as it was heavily fortified. The Ottoman Turks led by Murad II also tried to invade the city in 1422 but they, too, were unsuccessful. Finally, in 1453, Constantinople was taken by the Ottomans after a successful siege led by Mehmed II.  These events are recorded on the Biblical Timeline Chart with World History during that time.

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Endings and Beginnings

Murad II’s young son, Mehmed II, reigned as Turkish sultan back when his father abdicated in 1444. However, Mehmed II’s first reign ended several months later when war with the Hungarians and the rebellion of the Turkish elite soldiers (janissaries) threatened the Ottoman Empire. Murad came back to lead the Ottomans in defeating the Hungarians in the Battle of Varna in November 1444. Murad II later died on the 3rd of February 1451 in the Turkish capital of Edirne (formerly Adrianople). His ambitious son, Mehmed II, then came back to rule a stronger Ottoman Empire.

Mehmed had learned his lesson when he was temporarily removed as a ruler in the past. He was still ambitious, but he became cautious and smart. After ordering the death of his younger brother to secure his throne, he allowed his father’s competent vizier Halil Pasha to stay. He also made peace with the surrounding kingdoms early in his reign as he wanted to focus on capturing Constantinople.

To prepare for the siege of Constantinople, Mehmed ordered for a fortress called Boğazkesen to be built on the northwestern shore of the Bosporus. Boğazkesen meant ‘Cutter on the Strait’ in Turkish, and it was located a few kilometers away from Constantinople. The Boğazkesen as well as other smaller camps that surrounded the walls of Constantinople served as a jump-off point for the siege. For several months, the residents of Constantinople watched helplessly as the fortress was being built. They knew that it was only a matter of time before the dreaded siege of the city started.

A Desperate Emperor

Mehmed II shown entering the city of Constantinople on May 29, 1453.

Constantine XI Palaiologos succeeded his brother John VIII as Byzantine Emperor in 1449. Just like the past Palaiologi rulers, he inherited a poor and reduced Empire. Despite the empire’s loss, he still tried to build the defenses of Constantinople by having the city walls repaired. A Hungarian engineer named Orban approached Constantine in 1452. He proposed to make a supergun to counter the Turks, but the emperor refused to hire him as he found Orban’s salary too high. Letting Orban go, however, proved to be a costly mistake.

Orban left Constantinople and offered his services to Mehmed II instead. The sultan then hired him and gave him all the materials that he needed. Orban, with the help of Turkish iron founders, created the cannon that changed the history of Constantinople and of warfare. During the early months of 1453, Mehmed and his troops camped out near the walls of Constantinople. His army (which numbered between 160,000 to 400,000) outnumbered the Byzantines who came up with only a pitiful 5,000 defenders. But it was the supergun (or bombard) designed by the Hungarian engineer Orban that became the game changer.

Constantine asked the rulers of the cities of Genoa and Venice for help. Genoa sent him some troops, and Constantine assigned them to defend the western side of the city. Venice, meanwhile, added to the Byzantine naval fleet but those were not nearly enough. None of the neighboring kingdoms were also prepared to help Constantinople. The emperor’s brothers who ruled in the Peloponnese were unable to help as they, too, were hemmed in by Mehmed’s troops in Greece.

The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks

The siege of Constantinople started on the 6th of April 1453. The Turkish troops loaded large round stones inside the bombard designed by Orban and hurled them toward the walls of the city. The bombardment continued for 45 days, but each time the Byzantines repaired the walls so that the Turks could not enter the city—yet. The chain which protected the Golden Horn from many enemies in the past was also deemed useless when the Turks completely bypassed it. The Ottomans knew that they would not be able to breach the chain in a conventional way, so they attached wheels on their ships and pulled them over land and into the sea.

Constantine made another attempt to negotiate for peace with Mehmed, but the sultan refused. Mehmed was simply too determined to wrest Constantinople away from the Byzantines. In the weeks that followed, the Turkish bombardment of Constantinople intensified. They finally breached the city walls on the 29th of May 1453. The Turks attacked the city in full force so that even Constantine XI himself joined the battle and died in 1453. Many of Byzantine soldiers and residents also died with him. The domination of the Eastern Romans in Constantinople started with an emperor named Constantine in AD 324. In 1453, the Eastern Roman Empire went out with a bang with a Constantine on the throne, too.

Mehmed entered the city via the gate of St. Romanus on the morning of May 29, 1453. It took him 54 days of unrelenting siege to capture the city. His visit to the Hagia Sofia and its later conversion to a mosque meant that the city was fully in the hands of Muslims. The Byzantine Empire ended, but Mehmed was not yet done. Since his people now saw him as a capable and independent ruler, he immediately ordered his father’s old vizier Halil Pasha to be executed.

References:

Picture by: Fausto Zonarohttp://www.worldvisitguide.com/oeuvre/O0025022.html, Public Domain, Link

Barbaro, Nicolo. “The Siege of Constantinople in 1453.” De Re Militari. Accessed December 28, 2016. http://deremilitari.org/2016/08/the-siege-of-constantinople-in-1453-according-to-nicolo-barbaro/.

Finkel, Caroline. Osman’s Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1923. New York: Basic Books, 2006.

Mikaberidze, Alexander. Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic world: A Historical Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2011.

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Ottomans Take Adrianople

Several years after the death of the Turkish Bey Osman, his people swept westward and entered Europe. Their goal was to conquer the territories the Byzantines still kept in Thrace. The Byzantines had no choice but to watch helplessly as the Turks took these territories away from them during the middle part of the 1300s. One by one, Thracian cities fell into the hands of the Turks until finally, the Ottomans took Adrianople (capital of Thrace) in 1362. This event is recorded in the Biblical Timeline Chart with World History around that time.

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From Orestias (Odrysus) to Edirne

The city of Adrianople in Thrace was founded during the antiquity. Its first recorded name was Uskudama. It was also known to the Greeks as Orestias or Odrysus. The Roman Emperor Hadrian (AD 117-138) developed this prosperous Thracian city and named it Hadrianople. The city became the capital of the Roman province of Thracia. Its name later turned to Adrianople. Thrace was given to Byzantium when Emperor Diocletian split the Roman Empire in two.

Its location near Constantinople made it the site of several battles during the Medieval Period. One of the major battles in Adrianople was between the Roman co-emperors Constantine I and Licinius in AD 323. The Roman soldiers led by Emperor Valens were also defeated in Adrianople when they fought against the Goths in 378. It became a battleground once again in 1205 when the Latin Emperor Baldwin I and his troops were defeated by the Bulgarians led by Tsar Kaloyan.

The Latin Empire ended in 1261, but the restored Byzantine Empire still struggled afterwards. It never recovered as Ottoman Turks who settled in Anatolia rose up and pushed their territory westward into Europe. They were led by their bey Osman, and his son Orhan continued his conquests after the bey’s death.

ottomans_take_adrianople
“Ottoman külliye and hospital built by Bayezid II” located in Edirne (Adrianople)

Civil War and Displacement

Orhan made an alliance with the Byzantine ruler John VI Kantakouzenos by marrying the emperor’s daughter Theodora. When his co-emperor John V Palaiologos rebelled against him, John VI immediately called on his new son-in-law Orhan to help him. John V had attacked Adrianople with the help of allied Serbian soldiers, so Orhan sent thousands of Turkish troops to support Thrace’s governor and John VI’s son Matthew Kantakouzenos. However, the Turks led by Suleyman Pasha had more soldiers, so they defeated John V’s troops in Thrace.

While they were in Thrace, the Ottomans started to occupy the fortress of Tzympe near Gallipoli in 1352. The Turks gained a better foothold in Europe after the huge earthquake on the Aegean Sea in 1354. Most of the cities in Thrace were destroyed, and thousands of the Greeks who lived there became homeless after the earthquake. The Turks led by Suleyman Pasha arrived in droves in Thrace and rebuilt the houses. They later declared the Thracian cities as their own and resettled the homeless Greeks into Anatolia.

Suleyman Pasha died in 1357 and was succeeded by his brother Murad as military leader of Thrace. With the help of his tutor, Beylerbeyi Lala Sahin Pasha, they conquered the Greek city of Didymoteicho in 1359. The Ottomans led by Lala Sahin Pasha finally took Adrianople in 1362. They renamed it Edirne. The Turkish Bey Orhan also died in the same year. He was honored with the title of Sultan and succeeded by his son Murad I.

Lala Sahin Pasha ruled Thrace on Murad’s behalf, and the seat of the sultan was later moved to Edirne. The Turks also resettled some Arab nomads from Anatolia to Thrace, while the Greeks were sent to Anatolia. Lala Sahin Pasha also ordered for all the fortifications and castles in Thrace to be destroyed so that these would not be used by the rebels against the Turks.

References:
Pictures By Nevit Dilmen – Own Photograph, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Finkel, Caroline. Osman’s Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1923. New York: Basic Books, 2006.
Fleet, Kate. The New Cambridge History of Islam: The Western Islamic World, Eleventh to Eighteenth Centuries. Edited by Maribel Fierro. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
Lemprière, John, 1765?-1824. Bibliotheca Classica: Or, A Classical Dictionary: Containing a Copious Account of the Principal Proper Names Mentioned In Ancient Authors; With the Value of Coins, Weights, And Measures, Used Among the Greeks And Romans; And a Chronological Table. New York: G. & C. & H. Carvill [etc.], 1833.
Smith, William. “HADRIANO´POLIS.” Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854). Accessed December 21, 2016. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0064:id=hadrianopolis-geo.
Uyar, Mesut, and Edward J. Erickson. A Military History of the Ottomans: From Osman to Atatürk. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Security International/ABC-CLIO, 2009.
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Latin Empire, End of the 

The Latin Empire that was established after the Sack of Constantinople in 1204 went into a steady decline in the years that followed. It was divided into several groups to start with, and rival empires also rose to weaken it further. The rulers who succeeded Emperor Henry were hounded with bad luck or were weak in the first place. Finally, the last Latin Emperor Baldwin II was driven out of Constantinople. This signalled the end of the Latin Empire in 1261, which is where it is recorded on the Biblical Timeline Chart with World History. Although he tried, he was not meant to return to Constantinople to get his throne back. Baldwin II died in Italy in 1273.

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The Beginning of the End

The Latin Emperor Henry died without an heir, so the Empire was given to his brother-in-law, Peter II of Courtenay. The new king lived in Western Francia at that time, so he let his wife Yolanda travel to Constantinople ahead of him to rule as his regent. He left Francia in 1217, but he disappeared while passing through the Despotate of Epirus (led by Theodore Komnenos Doukas). Because of the mysterious disappearance of the emperor, Yolanda was forced to rule Constantinople until her own death in 1219.

latin_empire_ends
“Capture of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in 1204.”

A couple of years passed before her son, Robert I, accepted the position of Latin Emperor. He was a weak ruler, and by 1225, John III Vatatzes of Nicaea had reduced the Latin Empire into nothing more than the city of Constantinople. When he died, Robert left Constantinople to his younger brother, Baldwin II, who was a young boy at that time. The Regency was assigned to John of Brienne, King of Jerusalem, who ruled from 1229 to 1237.

When Baldwin II came of age, Constantinople had become so poor that he was forced to pawn or sell off some of the remaining treasures in the palace. In 1261, the Byzantine general Alexios Stratigopoulos and his troops entered Constantinople. Baldwin II fled Constantinople and returned to Western Francia which ended the reign of the Latin emperors. He lived until 1273 but never recovered Constantinople.

References:
Picture By Palma Le Jeune (1544–1620) – Lebédel, Claude (2006) Les croisades, origines et consequences, Ouest-France ISBN: 978-2-7373-4136-6., Public Domain, Link
Jacoby, David. The New Cambridge Medieval History C. 1198-1300. Edited by David Abulafia. Vol. V. Cambridge: University Press, 1995.
Madden, Thomas F. Crusades: The Illustrated History. Ann Arbor, MI: Univ. of Michigan Press, 2004.
Phillips, Jonathan. The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople. New York: Penguin Books, 2005.
Roberts, J. M., and Odd Arne. Westad. The History of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
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Philadelphia Settled 1681

The Lenape were some of the first peoples who called the city of Philadelphia their home. Dutch and the Swedish colonists built their own outposts along the banks of the Delaware River, but their population remained small for many years. Eager to flee the hostilities in England, the Quaker merchant William Penn petitioned the king for a land in the New World. The king granted his request, and in 1681, the Quaker settlement of Philadelphia finally began.  This event is recorded on the Biblical Timeline Chart with World History during that time.

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Early Settler and the European Arrival

Located at the confluence of the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers, the area that is now Philadelphia was once home to an Algonquian-speaking people called Lenni Lenape (or Delaware). Henry Hudson was the first known European to visit the Delaware Bay area in 1609. It was not until 1616, however, that the Dutch scout Cornelius Hendrickson explored its coast on board the ship Onrust. Between 1623 and 1624, the fur trader Cornelius Mey explored the coast of modern New Jersey while looking for a new capital for New Netherland. His ship came close to what is now the location of Philadelphia, but the plan was abandoned. The Dutch instead chose to build Fort Nassau (present-day Brooklawn, New Jersey) on the opposite side of the Delaware River.

In 1633, the Dutch bought the land on the eastern side of the mouth of the Schuylkill River from the Lenape people and built Fort Beversrede. Their dominance in the area, however, was challenged with the arrival of Swedish colonists. In 1648, the new emigrants built their own outpost (Fort Nya Korsholm) directly opposite the Dutch fort. The Dutch later demolished Fort Beversrede and built another fort along the bank of the Christina River.

But the population and number of colonies of the Dutch and Swedes still lagged behind their English counterparts. English settlers even slowly migrated to New Jersey and established new colonies there. In 1664, the outnumbered and outgunned Dutch colonists led by Peter Stuyvesant gave up their claims to New Netherland after the land was claimed by the English. The Netherlands completely gave up its colonies in North America in 1674 when its leaders signed the Treaty of Westminster.

The Foundation of Philadelphia

The Governor of Pennsylvania, William Penn, paid the Native Lenape people for their land and negotiated a treaty. He also named the city of Philadelphia, which is Greek for “brotherly love”.

In the mid-1600, a religious group called the Quakers emerged in England. Just like past breakaway religious groups, the Quakers were treated with hostility in their homeland. Tired of the hostility they experienced, they finally decided to look for a new land where they could live in peace.

In 1680, the influential Quaker merchant William Penn requested for the land north of Maryland to be granted to him. King Charles II owed Penn’s father a large sum of money, so the son’s request was granted in 1681. Penn then received a royal charter which allowed the Quakers to occupy the land between the 43rd parallel north and the Delaware River. Penn’s territory, however, overlapped the lands of the Duke of York and Lord Baltimore in Maryland, so a dispute soon emerged.

William Penn, as governor of the colony, immediately drafted laws for the new colony. After looking for new settlers, he then outlined the layout of the city that he called “Philadelphia” even while he was still in England. He sailed to Pennsylvania in 1682 and immediately granted citizenship to the new settlers upon his arrival.

 Penn envisioned the settlement as a place where the citizens could live in peace and equality. What distinguished him from other colonists was that he worked hard to create peace between his people and the natives. Penn befriended them and even paid for the land that they sold to him.

Settlers from the north and western parts of Europe flocked to Pennsylvania as soon as they heard of the new colony. Its population soon swelled to 8,000 by the time Penn returned to England in 1684. Philadelphia itself became a center of trade and had a robust population of 2,500. The harmony between its inhabitants continued until 1685 until the Quakers themselves fell to division.

References:

Picture by: Benjamin West – Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Public Domain, Link

Carsten, F. L., ed. The New Cambridge Modern History. Vol. 5. The New Cambridge Modern History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1961. doi:10.1017/CHOL9780521045445.

Soderlund, Jean R. “Colonial Era.” Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. Accessed August 15, 2017. http://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/archive/colonial-philadelphia/.

Weigley, Russell Frank. Philadelphia: A 300-Year History. Edited by Nicholas B. Wainwright and Edwin Wolf. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1982.

Young, John Russell. Memorial History of the City of Philadelphia: From its First Settlement to the Year 1895. New York: New York History Company, 1895.






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Montreal Founded by the French 1642

In 1642, a hardy group of French pioneers led by Governor Maisonneuve founded a colony on the island of Montreal. The project was the dream of the French layman Jérôme de la Dauversière who, after seeing a vision, decided to lead a group of pioneers from France into the New World. He worked with the nobleman Baron de Fancamp and the priest Abbe Olier to make the vision come true. After several challenges, his dream was finally realized in 1641 when the first Montreal-bound colonists sailed from France.  These events are recorded on the Biblical Timeline Chart with World History during that time.

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Canada: The Early Years

In 1535, the French explorer Jacques Cartier and his crew arrived in the St. Lawrence River area. He left two of his ships docked near Stadacona (modern Quebec) and sailed with his men to the southern portion of the river. Cartier and his men came across a large village named Hochelaga which was then inhabited by the St. Lawrence Iroquois.

Cartier spent some time in the village, and named the nearby mountain “Mount Royal.” He returned to France in 1541 and many years would pass before the French visited the area again. It was not until 1603 that the French navigator Samuel de Champlain explored the St. Lawrence River area. The village of Hochelaga had long been abandoned, and there were no permanent settlements on the island of Montreal.

The French merchants established a monopoly on the fur trade with the natives who lived nearby. Champlain was then appointed as the governor of the territory, and he established Quebec as the colony’s headquarters. The French government encouraged their people to emigrate, but few people seized the opportunity. The few French pioneers who dared settle in the territory were also left to fend for themselves when the Thirty Years’ War started in 1618. They were forced to establish an alliance with the Wyandot people (Hurons) both for protection and for trade.

However, it seemed that they were not totally forgotten. Jesuit priests arrived in the colony named New France in 1625 and soon sent missionaries to convert the natives. In 1627, the French government created the Compagnie de la Nouvelle France (Company of One Hundred Associates) and granted it the right to govern the colony. It was also given the monopoly on the fur trade and fishing rights to the nearby waters. Despite having administrators, the conditions in the colony continued to worsen, and many of its residents died of starvation.

In 1629, the French government tried to send some reinforcements and supplies to its beleaguered colony, but the ship was intercepted by the English fleet led by Admiral David Kirke. The English fleet then sailed to Quebec where the admiral demanded Champlain’s surrender. The French governor had no choice but to surrender the colony. Kirke had him imprisoned and sent the fur bought by the French back to England. It was not until 1632 that the territory was restored to France and Champlain was reinstated as its governor. Champlain died three years later and was buried in his adopted hometown.

The Foundation of Montreal

A statue of the first governor of Montreal, Paul de Chomedey (Sieur de Maisonneuve)

Back in France, a tax collector and layman named Jérôme le Royer de la Dauversière had a vision while attending mass in the town of La Fleche in Anjou. In his vision, a being commanded him to establish a city on an island. He was also charged to establish a hospital on the same island, as well as a religious order of nursing sisters. He confided this vision to a local priest who then directed him to Pierre Chevrier, the wealthy Baron de Fancamp.

The two men then traveled to Paris in 1639 where they met Abbe Jean-Jacques Olier. The three talked about the far-off island of Montreal (Mount Royal) and agreed to establish a colony there. Thanks to the well-connected Abbe Olier, they were soon able to secure the patronage they needed from the French court. They were able to create the Société Notre-Dame de Montréal and were soon joined by three additional partners. Other people joined the venture and contributed their money, but the funds were still insufficient. Despite the odds, the members of the Société persisted in raising funds for a couple more years until they finally accumulated the amount that they needed.

In 1636, a member of the Compagnie named Jean de Lauzon acquired the island of Montreal and some lands on the southern portion of the St. Lawrence. He returned to France after staying in Quebec for some time and soon met with the leaders of the Société. They offered to buy the island of Montreal from him, but he initially refused. The negotiations continued, and he was forced to accept after the Jesuits appealed to him. He set the price at 150,000 livres, but the Société found it too steep. The negotiations with de Lauzon continued for months until they finally had an agreement.

After securing the title for the land, the Société then informed the Compagnie of their intention. The leaders of the Compagnie thought that Société’s single goal was to convert the natives, so they easily agreed to let them establish a colony in New France. Members of the Société were allowed to choose their own governor, build their own garrisons, and establish their own courts. The only condition was that the Compagnie retained the ownership of the northern shore, as well as any forts that would be built on it.

Jérôme de la Dauversière then looked for a suitable governor for the new colony. He had heard of a former soldier and nobleman named Paul de Chomedey (Sieur de Maisonneuve) who seemed to be the right man for the job. Dauversière arranged to see him, and he was impressed with Maisonneuve when they finally met. Not only was Maisonneuve wealthy, but he was also popular for his piety which sometimes bordered on puritanical. He was also tireless, disciplined, and generous which made him the right man for the job for Dauversière. Maisonneuve accepted the position of governor of Montreal and prepared for the journey ahead.

The search for volunteer colonists also started while negotiations with Maisonneuve was ongoing.  Skilled artisans and able-bodied single men who could handle muskets were prioritized as colonists. The Jesuit priest Charles Lallemant also recruited the hardy and pious Jeanne Mance to serve as a nurse for the group of Montreal-bound colonists. Though frail, Mance had earned her stripes after her service as a nurse during France’s civil war which made her the perfect candidate for the job.

The Compagnie was able to secure three ships which would bring the colonists to the New World. In June 1641, the ships finally left France and sailed for Montreal. They were beset with bad weather, but all ships arrived in New France safely. The ship that bore Jeanne Mance’s group was the first to arrive in Quebec. It was followed three weeks later by the ships that bore Maisonneuve and the rest of the colonists. The group’s initial reception in Quebec was frosty. They were even discouraged by Governor de Montagny to continue their journey because of the threat of the marauding Iroquois bands.

Maisonneuve refused to be daunted. He invited Montagny and a priest to travel with him to check the island and look for a possible site to settle. Unfortunately, the harsh winter and the frozen St. Lawrence River forced the Montrealers to spend the winter in Quebec. The men used the time to prepare for the journey. Jeanne Mance, meanwhile, volunteered at a hospital in Quebec to improve her skills.

Finally, on the 8th of May 1642, 45 colonists sailed from Quebec to the island of Montreal. Maisonneuve and Mance were among the first group to leave, and they were accompanied by Governor de Montagny to their new home. They arrived on the island on the 17th of May and celebrated the first mass in Montreal on the same day. They immediately cleared the land to build an outpost and spent the summer planting crops and building houses for themselves. The number of settlers soon swelled to 70 when additional colonists joined them from Quebec.

The colonists were able to celebrate mass when they finished the new chapel in August of 1642. Maisonneuve then named the settlement Ville-Marie in honor of the Virgin Mary, and it became the first French settlement on the island of Montreal.

References:

Picture by: Ŝculpture: Louis-Philippe Hébert / Photo: Jeangagnon – J’ai pris moi-même ce cliché, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Atherton, W. H. Montreal, 1535-1914. Montreal: S.J. Clarke, 1914.

Jenkins, Kathleen. Montreal: Island City of the St. Lawrence. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1966.

Rich, E.E. The New Cambridge Modern History: The Decline of Spain and the Thirty Years War 1609-48/59. Edited by J.P. Cooper. Vol. 4. London: Cambridge University Press, 1971.

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Ottoman Empire Founded

The Ottoman Empire was founded in 1299 under the leadership of the Kayi tribal chief (bey) Osman Gazi. It is recorded on the Biblical Timeline Chart with World History during that time. At first, they only raided Greek settlements in Asia Minor. But these later became military operations that expanded their territory westward. By the time of Osman’s death in 1326, the Ottomans had conquered most of southwestern Asia Minor except for a few Byzantines territories. Osman was so revered by his people that the name of the empire itself was derived from him.

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From Wanderers to Empire-Builders

ottoman_empire
“Illustration of Osman rallying Gazi warriors into battle.”

Large groups of Turkic peoples migrated westward from their homeland in Central Asia during the eleventh century. Over the years, many of them were captured and brought to Mesopotamia and Egypt as slaves. They eventually converted to Islam, and became warriors under the Abbasid and Fatimid Caliphates. As these caliphates weakened, the Turkic ghilman (slave-soldiers) and mamalik (mamluk or slaves) became more powerful. Two former mamalik even ruled their own territories (Ghaznavid Empire and Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt).

The members of the Kayi tribe of the Oghuz Turks were some of the last ones to rise out of their obscure origins in Central Asia. Early records showed that they occupied a beylik (state) near the Byzantine border during the domination of the Mongol Ilkhanate. The Seljuk Empire had crumbled at that time so that independent Turkish beyliks sprouted in Asia Minor during the late thirteenth century.

The Kayi tribe under Osman started to expand its territories in 1299. The raids the Turks organized drove out and pushed the Greeks further into the western coast of Asia Minor. The Ottoman Turks gradually became powerful so that the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos II Palaiologos needed to hire mercenaries to counter them. The Turks proved to be unstoppable, and before Osman died in 1326, they had expanded into the coast of the Sea of Marmara.

References:
Picture by: Public Domain, Link
Finkel, Caroline. Osman’s Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1923. New York: Basic Books, 2006.
Fleet, Kate. The New Cambridge History of Islam: The Western Islamic World, Eleventh to Eighteenth Centuries. Edited by Maribel Fierro. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
Shepard, Jonathan. The Cambridge History of the Byzantine Empire C. 500-1492. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Uyar, Mesut, and Edward J. Erickson. A Military History of the Ottomans: From Osman to Ataturk. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Security International/ABC-CLIO, 2009.
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Ahuitzotl, Rule of Aztec Emperor

King Ahuizotl was an Aztec emperor who ruled from 1486 until his death in 1502 which is where he is recorded on the Biblical Timeline Chart with World History. He was the eighth tlatoani (ruler) and was best remembered as the ruler who expanded the empire’s borders into Guatemala. The years of his reign was considered the Aztec’s golden age.

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Emperor Ahuitzotl

King Moctezuma I had many sons. Three of them came to rule the Aztec Empire after his death in 1469. The first son, King Axayatl, ruled for twelve years. His reign as king was not as good as his father’s. The second son, King Tizoc, ruled from 1481. He was regarded as a weak ruler who did not expand the Aztec borders. To compensate for his lack of achievements, he ordered Aztec sculptors to carve stone reliefs that depicted him as a conqueror. It was, however, the past kings who conquered these cities, so his people looked down on him. He was poisoned by the members of his own army five years after he was crowned as king.

Two sons of Moctezuma I were not good kings so the members of the council of elders were not excited to elect another son to lead them. But the youngest, Ahuitzotl, was a renowned warrior who was popular because of his youth and his bravery. So the council decided to crown him as king. Many noblemen, however, were not confident that the new king would be as great as his father. They had no choice except to submit.

ahuitzotl
“Huitzilopochtli”

Ahuitzotl was crowned as the new Aztec emperor in 1486. Since he was a warrior, he had the solid support of the army behind him. The Great Temple of Huitzilopochtli was finished during the reign of Ahuitzotl although it was his father who started its construction. They celebrated its completion with a great feast that was attended by nobles and commoners alike.

It was said to be one of the greatest celebrations in Aztec history. Four of the most powerful men in the empire led the event. The main attraction was the gruesome human sacrifice in honor of the god Huitzilopochtli. The Aztecs even sacrificed as much as 80,000 captives and slaves within four days. The captives’ hearts were cut out during the ceremony, and their bodies were tossed down the temple stairs afterwards. The people who waited at the foot of the stairs scooped up the blood and spread it on their houses and temples so that their gods would bless them.

Over the years, Ahuitzotl expanded his empire by conquering the cities on the coast of present-day states of Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Chiapas. He also led his army to conquer the state of Guerrero which opened the Pacific trade to the Aztecs. The Aztecs under Ahuitzotl pushed their borders as far south into modern Guatemala. Ahuitzotl reigned over as many as 25 million people during the Aztec Empire’s golden age.

Ahuitzotl fell sick in 1502 after he returned from a war in Oaxaca. He became weak and died in the same year while inaugurating an aqueduct. The popular warrior-king was mourned by his people and was succeeded by Moctezuma II.

References:
Public Domain, Link
Aguilar-Moreno, Manuel. Handbook to Life in the Aztec World. New York: Facts on File, 2006.
Read, Kay Almere, and Jason J. González. Mesoamerican Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs of Mexico and Central America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.
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Moctezuma I and His Conquest of Eastern Mexico, Reign of Aztec Emperor 

Moctezuma I, also known as Motecuhzoma I Ilhuicamina, was the Aztec’s fifth tlatoani (ruler). He ruled between 1440 and 1469 which is where he is recorded on the Biblical Timeline Chart with World History. His name means the “Archer of the Sky” and the “Angry Lord” in the Nahua language. During his reign, he led his army in conquering large portions of central and eastern Mexico. His expansionist policy also turned the Aztec state into an empire.

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The Emperor of the Aztec Triple Alliance

King Moctezuma I was the grandson of the first Mexica king Acamapichtli. His father was King Huitzilihuitl, and his mother was Queen Miahuaxihuitl. He succeeded his uncle, King Itzcoatl, as ruler of the Mexicas when the king died in 1440. The elders and priests of the Mexicas elected him as the new ruler. They celebrated his accession with a great feast. The people favored him after he gave away some of his wealth to nobles and commoners alike during the feast.

One of the most important people who attended the celebration was Moctezuma’s cousin King Nezahualcoyotl of the city of Texcoco. During the feast, King Nezahualcoyotl asked his cousin to enter into an alliance with him as Texcoco was always invaded by other tribes. Moctezuma agreed to help Texcoco, but he also wanted to keep the Mexica’s fearsome reputation. To make sure that their common enemies would still fear the Mexicas, Moctezuma and his warriors pretended to attack Texcoco. Nezahualcoyotl was in on the secret and he, as well as his people, also pretended to submit to the Mexicas so that they could formalize the alliance. From then on, the city of Texcoco became the Mexica’s independent ally.

aztec_conquest_eastern_mexico
“Map showing the expansion of the Aztec empire showing the areas conquered by the Aztec rulers. The conquests of Moctezuma is marked by the colour pink.”

The Temple of Huitzilopochtli and the War Against the Chalcas

Moctezuma then decided to build a temple for the Mexica’s god Huitzilopochtli, so he ordered his warriors to stop all wars against other tribes. He also required the cities that the Mexica conquered to contribute labor and construction materials to the new temple. The rulers of the other cities agreed. They began the construction of a magnificent temple that took around twelve years to build.

After twelve years, the chief designers of the temple wanted to carve a sculpture of their god. So they told the workers to look for a large stone. But the Valley of Mexico did not have a stone large enough for the statue, while the nearest place where they could get this kind of stone was in the territory of the distant Chalca people. Moctezuma then sent his men to the Lord Cuateotl, the Chalca leader, to request for this kind of stone, plus workers as tributes to Tenochtitlan. Lord Cuateotl was unhappy with Moctezuma’s demands. He replied that he would not send tributes to Tenochtitlan. He also warned the Mexica king that his people were ready to defend themselves if they were attacked by Tenochtitlan.

This reply angered Moctezuma, and he immediately ordered his soldiers to prepare for battle against the Chalcas. They met in a fierce battle, but the Chalcas asked for a five-day rest to worship their god when it looked like that the Mexica would defeat them. Moctezuma agreed to this request, and they, too, worshipped Huitzilopochtli. When they met again, the Mexicas completely defeated the Chalcas in Cocotitlan that they were forced to ask for another reprieve. The Mexicas did not grant their request and instead, Chalca warriors were burned to death, and their hearts were cut out as sacrifices to the god Huitzilopochtli. The Mexicas also conquered the Chalca territory and its people.

Expansion and Death

The Chalcas were not the only ones who bowed down to the Aztecs as they also conquered eastern Mexico which was occupied by the Huastec people, as well as the state of Oaxaca. The Aztec king reigned for thirty years and made the empire very wealthy. He died in 1469  and was succeeded by King Axayacatl.

References:
Picture By enwiki/Maunus – en wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Aztecexpansion.png, Public Domain, Link
Aguilar-Moreno, Manuel. Handbook to Life in the Aztec World. New York: Facts on File, 2006.
Brundage, Burr Cartwright. A Rain of Darts: The Mexica Aztecs. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1972.
Hardoy, Jorge Enrique. Pre-Columbian Cities. New York: Walker, 1973.
Lee, Jongsoo. The Allure of Nezahualcoyotl: Pre-Hispanic History, Religion, and Nahua Poetics. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2008.
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Aztec City of Tenochtitlan Built on an Island in Lake Texcoco

The Aztec city of Tenochtitlan was built on an island in Lake Texcoco in 1325 where it is recorded on the Biblical Timeline Chart with World History. It was one of ancient Mesoamerica’s greatest and most impressive cities until it was sacked by the Spanish soldiers led by Hernan Cortes. The Spaniards later drained the lake because of massive flooding and built the modern Mexico City on the place where the great Tenochtitlan once stood. The ancient city was largely forgotten, until on the 21st of February 1978 some electricians accidentally uncovered a part of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan Aztec.

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The Migration of the Mexica People

In the early twelfth century, a group of people left their homeland in the mythical place of Aztlan and travelled south into what is now modern Mexico City. Aztlan means “Land of the White Herons” or “Place of Whiteness” in Nahua language; it was also the mythical island located inside a lake in northwestern Mexico. On the way to the Valley of Mexico, the migrants were divided into seven tribes who lived temporarily in seven caves called Chicomoztoc. These seven tribes included the Tlahuica, Xochimilca, Tepaneca, Acolhua, Chalca, and Mexica. All the other people left the caves of Chicomoztoc first, but the last ones to leave were the members of the Mexica who later founded the city of Tenochtitlan.

The war god Huitzilopochtli was said to have summoned the Mexica out of the cave and into their land. The Mesoamerican god of war and human sacrifice also gave these people his other name which was Mexitl. The Mexica arrived in the Valley of Mexico in early 1300, but many groups of people already lived there. They had to move from one place to another until the people of Colhuacan allowed them to stay in their city.

Tenochtitlan
“The Western side of the shallow Lake Texcoco. Tenochtitlan is the southern part of the main island (under the red line). The northern part is Tlatelolco”

They worked as peasants for the people of Colhuacan and slowly gained their trust. The people of Colhuacan were so happy with them that they even gave their own princess for the Mexica chief to marry in 1313. The Mexica were so violent that they killed her in hopes of turning her into a war goddess. Their horrified masters became angry for the murder of their princess, so they drove the Mexica out of their city.

Foundation of Tenochtitlan and the Creation of the Aztec (Triple Alliance)

They travelled again around the Valley of Mexico until they came upon the islands on the western shore of Lake Texcoco. The group split into two and each group built separate settlements in the lake. First was the Tenochtitlan group who built their city on the lake in 1325. The second group named themselves Tlalelco. They settled on an island north of Tenochtitlan. The water between the two settlements later receded so that the two islands became one.

In 1367, the Mexica of Tenochtitlan became hired soldiers for King Tezozomoc Yacateteltetl of the neighboring city of Azcapotzalco. Together they conquered the other tribes in the Valley of Mexico and ruled the people in the years that followed. Nine years later, the Mexica became more powerful through their first king Acamapichtli. They defeated other tribes and became the sole dominating force in the Valley of Mexico. They formed the Triple Alliance with the neighboring city-states of Texcoco and Tlacopan. This powerful alliance was later called the “Aztec” in the Nahua language.

References:
Picutre By Hanns Prem – Own work, Public Domain, Link
Aguilar-Moreno, Manuel. Handbook to Life in the Aztec World. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007.
Carrasco, David. The Aztecs: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011.
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Ghana Empire, Height of the 

The Ghana Empire flourished between AD 300 and 1200; it is recorded on the Biblical Timeline Chart with World History around 1000 AD. It was one of the richest empires in Africa at its height between AD 750 and 1000. The Empire, also known as Wagadou, was located in the western part of the Sahel region. It was also the largest and most powerful empire in the southern edge of the Sahara Desert. The modern countries of Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso occupy the former territories of the Ghana Empire.

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The Sahel region seemed incapable of sustaining life at first glance. Thanks to the Senegal, Gambia, and Niger rivers, people had inhabited this region for thousands of years. The first settlers of the Ghana Empire were hunter-gatherers who settled in to farm the land. The small settlement grew into a village where the people made a living by planting crops, mining, and trading with other tribes. The tiny village grew into a kingdom ruled by their king or as they called it, the ghana in the local Soninke language.

ghana_empire_map
“The Ghana Empire at its greatest extent”

Gold Trade in the Ghana Empire

The Ghana Empire first appeared on the records of learned men such as al-Khwarizmi and al-Fazari who called it “the land of gold.” The most important source of information on the Ghana Empire was the historian al-Bakri who visited its capital, Koumbi Saleh. In his records of the Ghana royal court, al-Bakri told his audience that the king wore many gold jewelry. This was not strange at all since he kept the finest gold nuggets while the common people only kept gold dust.

The abundance of gold in the Ghana Empire was the reason behind their wealth. It also fueled the gold and salt trade that thrived in the region during the Medieval Period. Berber merchants were the Ghana Empire’s best trading partners as they brought in salt that was important to the Sahel region. Salt was such a prized product for its people that they taxed a donkey-load of salt at one dinar when it entered the empire. Another two dinars were required each time it was sent out of the empire. The Ghana Empire traded with the Berbers for hundreds of years. But they sometimes fought because the Berbers liked to raid even the people they traded with.

References:
Picture By LuxoImage:BlankMap-World gray.svg, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Cohen, Robert Z. Discovering the Empire of Ghana. New York, NY: Rosen Publishing, 2014.
Conrad, David C. Empires of Medieval West Africa: Ghana, Mali, and Songhay. New York: Chelsea House, 2010.
Fage, J. D., ed. The Cambridge History of Africa:. The Cambridge History of Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979. doi:10.1017/CHOL9780521215923.