4. The Ottoman Empire linked Europe, Asia, and Africa for six centuries
The Caucasus and Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and much of North Africa existed as a single state under the official name of The Sublime Ottoman State for six hundred years. In the mid-fifteenth century the Ottomans conquered Constantinople, bringing down the Byzantine Empire. By the 16th century the Ottoman Empire stretched along the North African Mediterranean coast from present-day Morocco to down the Nile below Cairo. On the other side of the Dead Sea it reached the Horn of Africa. Much of modern-day Eastern Europe came under its rule, including Greece, Hungary, the Caucasus, portions of Ukraine, and Crimea.
Over the course of its existence the Empire became a dominant naval power in the Mediterranean. Centuries of religious warfare between the Christian Europeans and Catholic Iberians against the Muslim Ottoman Empire became a global conflict. Ottoman forces were dispatched to Southeast Asia and fought Christian forces throughout the Indian Ocean and the Spanish Indies (today’s Philippines). Ottoman diplomats became major players during the many religious wars and wars of succession across Europe. In the late 18th century, a long period of peace in the Ottoman Empire caused them to lose much of their military strength. They failed to keep up technologically with the Christian Europeans, busily warring with each other.
The Empire was multinational, with numerous ethnic groups and though the official religion was Islam, Christianity was tolerated, with schools and churches prevalent throughout its lands. The Ottomans were among the first to use steam powered engines in industrial applications. They built many extensive libraries and observatories, and achieved numerous advancements in medicine and surgery. The Ottoman Empire did not survive the aftermath of the First World War, a partitioned Empire retained its Sultan until Ataturk succeeded in the Turkish War of Independence in 1922. The last Sultan left the country in November, 1922.