The Islamic Empires

Timeline created by Phil Gilmartin
In History
  • Jan 1, 1289

    Beginning of Ottoman Empire

    Beginning of Ottoman Empire
    In 1289, Osman Bey unifies a plethora of small, Turkish States and forms it into the Ottoman Empire. Little did he know, he had given rise to one of the most long-lived and prosperous empires in all of history, surviving until the year 1923. Defined early on by its military prowess, religious acceptance, and strong economy, to name a few, the Ottoman Empire became somewhat of a world power.
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    Jan 1, 1289
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    Ottoman Empire

    Lasting a total of 634, the Ottoman Empire was perhaps the most tenured empire in history. Its territories covered the majority of Egypt, the ex-Byzantine Empire, and the majority of the Middle East. It had one of the most potent economies and militaries of history, as well.
  • Apr 6, 1326

    Capture of Bursa

    Capture of Bursa
    Under Osman in 1317, the Ottoman Turks began what would be a nine-year battle for the siege of Bursa, Anatolia. In 1326, as Osman lay dying from unknown ailments, Bursa finally fell to the Turks. Orkhan, Osman's son, came into control upon his death and named the captured city capital of the Ottoman Empire. Orkhan worked to restore the city after the battle and it soon became a hub of economy and society.
  • Jan 1, 1352

    Seize of Fortress of Gallipoli

    Seize of Fortress of Gallipoli
    In 1532, the Ottomn Turks ascertained the city of Edirne from the Byzantine Empire. Within this city stood the fortress of Galliploi, a fortress located on the Italian coastline . This city was named the second capital of the Ottoman Empire and the empire soon reaped the effects of the natural resources the area had. The Ottoman military would soon spread into Greece and other surrounding regions.
  • Jan 1, 1451

    Reign of Mehmed II

    Reign of Mehmed II
    Born in 1432 in the city of Edirne to rather wealthy parents, Mehmed II began his political obligations at a young age. At the age of 21, he conquered the entire Byzantine Empire and made it Ottoman territory. Known in some cases as Mehmed "the conquerer," he continued the proliferation of the Ottoman Empire, capturing regions in Asia. He fell from power in 1481, after his death.
  • Jan 1, 1453

    Capture of Constantinople

    Capture of Constantinople
    Led by Mehmed II, the Ottoman Turks captured the major city of Constantinople in the Byzantine Empire. Having a military of approximately 100,000 men and 320 naval vessels, he invaded the city. Surrounded both on land and on sea, the Turks won rather easily. This was a significant win world-wide. The once strong and mighty Byzantine had fallen to the military power of the Turks.
  • Jan 1, 1501

    Beginning of Safavid Empire

    Beginning of Safavid Empire
    Under the leadership of Shah Ismail I, the Safavid Empire was procured in the region of Persia. Shah Ismail was a rather charismatic leader who followed the Shi'ite way of Islam. He forced upon his subjects his own religious preference in a forceful way and he was also known for his expansion attempts in regions such as Azerbaijan. His reign ended in 1524 after his death.
  • Period:
    Jan 1, 1501
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    Safavid Empire

    Lasting only 235 years, the Safavid Empire covered all of Persia and some surrounding regions. The Safavid, though it had a strong military, was a more politically and religiously-based Empire. It felt constant pressure from its neighboring Ottoman Empire and lived in the shadow of what that empire was for a very long time.
  • Jan 1, 1512

    Reign of Selim the Grim

    Reign of Selim the Grim
    In 1512, Selim the Grim came into power as the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Like the majority of Ottoman Emperors, Selim was renound for his military prowess and he vastly expanded the Ottoman Empire into Syria and Egypt, to name a few regions. Also, Selim himself was a Sunni Muslim and, as previously discussed, this clashed with the beliefs of Shah Ismail. He played a major role in the Battle of Chaldiran. His reign ended in 1520, after dying from the plague.
  • Jan 1, 1514

    The Battle of Chaldiran

    The Battle of Chaldiran
    Under a policy of the persecution of Shi'ites and invasion of the Safavid Empire, Selim I, of Selim the Grim, took a strong Ottoman army into Safavid landholdings. At the Battle of Chaldiran, the Ottoman Janissaries and heavy artillery easily defeated the ill-armed Safavid army. This instance of victory was a defining factor of strength in the middle east. The Ottoman Empire was not to be fought with.
  • Jan 1, 1520

    Reign of Suleyman the Magnificent

    Reign of Suleyman the Magnificent
    Being the son of Selim the Grim, Suleyman took power in 1520 after his father's death. He was well-known for his promotion of Ottoman expansion both in Southwest Asia and in some parts of Europe. He was also well-respected for his administrative reform within the Ottoman Empire, as well. His reign ended in 1566 after his death at the age of 71.
  • Jan 1, 1521

    Capture of Belgrade

    Capture of Belgrade
    In 1521, Suleyman the Magnificent made preparations to invade the Hungarian city of Belgrade, something his predecessors were unable to do. The capture of the city, and Hungary, was truly all that stood between the Ottomans and Europe, so, with only about 700 men, Suleyman advanced and captured the city of Belgrade. This rose concern within the Catholic community and the Ottoman Empire had no opposition left in its expansion into Europe.
  • Jan 1, 1523

    Reign of Zahir al-Din Muhammed

    Reign of Zahir al-Din Muhammed
    Zahir al-Din Muhammed, also known as Babur the Tiger, claimed descent from Chinggis Khan and Tamerlane and soon became a powerful name as leader of the Mughal Empire in India. Babur was a different type of ruler, not interested in becoming a "religious warrior" as Safavid and Ottoman Emperors. He proved to be a soldier of fortune and an adventurer, very good to his people. His more impressive action was capturing northern India. His reign concluded upon his death in 1530.
  • Jan 1, 1525

    Reign of Tahmasp

    Reign of Tahmasp
    Beginning his reign in 1525, Tahmasp was the longest-reigning shah of the Safavid Empire. The son of Ismail I, he took over directly after his father's death. Tahmasp himself enjoyed a 30-year period of peace with the Ottoman Empire under the Peace of Amasya, who he formed with Suleyman. He acted rather independently of the Ottoman Empire in that period and he is perhaps most well-known for his proliferation of the Persian rug business. He died in 1576 and his reign ended.
  • Jan 1, 1526

    Battle of Mohacs

    Battle of Mohacs
    Under the power of Suleyman the Magnificent, Ottoman forces engaged the Hungarians in the famous Battle of Mohacs. After the devastating loss of Belgrade, Hungary was shot. The Ottomans cherished the oppurtunity and engaged the Hungarians. In a rather decisive victory, the Ottomans defeated Hungary, killed their King, and brought the land under Ottoman control. The Ottomans now had a large amount of land security in Europe.
  • Jan 1, 1526

    Mughals take Delhi

    Mughals take Delhi
    With the help of his son, Babur engaged Ibrahim Lodi in intense combat over landholdings in northern India. Although he had a much smaller army at times, Babur was capable of defeating Ibrahim. Babur's army sought out Ibrahim, killed him, and then his army soon fell. This allowed Babur to take Delhi, a signifcant city in Southern Asia.
  • Jan 1, 1526

    Beginning of Mughal Empire

    Beginning of Mughal Empire
    Riding the power of the acquisition of Delhi, Babur the Tiger formed a loose union of regions he had conquered into the Mughal Empire. Just like the other Islamic Empires, the Mughal was a military power, but the empire was also known for its advances in science and technology. Also different from the other Islamic Empires, the Mughal proved to be far more lenient in terms of religion and other freedoms.
  • Period:
    Jan 1, 1526
    to

    Mughal Empire

    Lasting about 332 years in length, the Mughal Empire covered all of India and some of the regions surrounding it. The Empire was rather powerful and influential during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Hoever, the Mughal Emire began to struggle with its identity and stability as early as 1707. From there, the empire met a sad end.
  • Jan 1, 1534

    Conquer of Baghdad

    Conquer of Baghdad
    As part of the Turko-Persian War, the Ottomans, under Suleyman the Magnificent, engaged the Safavids, under Tahmasp I, in battle and took over their current capital city. To say it was a battle is inaccurate. Rather, the Safavids more or less handed over the city to the Ottoman forces after fleeing and leaving it undefended. Overall, the city was a huge loss because of its position on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. It also served as a step in the Ottoman conquer of all of Mesopotamia.
  • Jan 1, 1534

    Istfahan Named Capital

    Istfahan Named Capital
    Because of the Safavid loss of Baghdad to the Ottoman Turks, they now needed a capital. Under Tahmasp I, it was named capital and it was well known as a culturally diverse and extravagant city, with mosques, libraries, etc. It became one of the most prosperous and populated cities in the world during the seventeenth century.
  • Jan 1, 1556

    Reign of Akbar

    Reign of Akbar
    After the death of his father Hamayun, Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar took the Mughal throne in Delhi at the age of fourteen. He was a rather charismatic ruler who was well-respected by his people. He set up a vast administrative structure within the empire and began to absorb the region of Vijayanagar into Mughal landholdings. Not only was he a formidable leader, he was also religiously tolerant and a patron of the arts. His reign ended in 1603 after his death at the age of 63.
  • Jan 1, 1564

    Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi

    Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi
    Ahmad Sirhindi was an Indian mystic and theologian of his time. Very active during the reign of Akbar, he sought to spread the way of the Islam in the Mughal Empire in an attempt to avoid the following of a mass-religion. He was a revolutionary from his time, frequently labeled as "the reviver of the second millenium." His effect on Islam and its ways has lasted to this day and continues to do so.
  • Jan 1, 1580

    Portuguese Jesuits

    Portuguese Jesuits
    In a rather unfulfilled attempt, Portuguese Jesuit priests entered Akbar's Mughal Empire in 1580 in an attempt to convert him and his people over to Christianity. Though welcoming and kind to the priests, Akbar rightfully declined their extension of Christianity, saying he would be alienating his people by making the switch. Rather than converting, Akbar created an exclusive religion known as the "divine faith." This faith emphasized devotion to the emperor and took from many other religions.
  • Reign of Shah Abbas the Great

    Reign of Shah Abbas the Great
    Considered the greatest ruler of the Safavid Empire, Abbas took control over the empire after his father's failure. He was well known for his seize of land and his constant battles with the Ottoman Empire and the Uzbeks. He also returned much Safavid land from other empires by force. Furthermore, he pronounced Isfahan the capital of the empire (for 2nd time). His reign ended after his death in 1629.
  • Abbas the Great makes Peace with the Turks

    Abbas the Great makes Peace with the Turks
    An extremely rare occurence within the Islamic Empires, Shah Abbas of the Safavid Empire made peace with the Ottoman Turks in 1590. This treaty he proposed called for peace and certain areas of land. The Ottomans accepted the treaty and the Safavids were now able to focus on the pesky Uzbek Empire who had physically hounded the Safavids.
  • Safavids Return Lost Land

    Safavids Return Lost Land
    Using an army similar to that of the Janissaries, Shah Abbas I of the Safavid Empire was able to enter lost areas and retake them from the Ottoman Empire. Being that the Ottomans were busy fighting their own battles in Europe, the Safavids met almost no resistance in returning Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Tabriz. From there, Shah Abass took his army, and, riding large amount of confidence, attacked Ottoman landholdings in Iraq with some success.
  • Production of the Taj Mahal

    Production of the Taj Mahal
    Under Shah Jahan of the Mughal Empire in 1631, the production of an incredibly large and extravagant mausoleum began. Ending some twenty years later, it was finally finished. Jahan created it in memory of his late third wife and it still stands in pristine condition today. It is still known today as one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in all of history. Being that it was built for Jahan's wife, it a still standing symbol of true love.
  • Reign of Aurangzeb

    Reign of Aurangzeb
    Coming into power after the mastermind of the Taj Mahal, Aurangzeb too over as the sixth Mughal Emperor and would be the second longest-reigning Mughal Emperor. Under Aurangzeb, the Mughal Empire reached its greatest extent in terms of land. Also, Aurangzeb was a rather conservative and strict ruler over his people, destroying the art of music completely. His reign ended in 1707 with his death and the Mughal Empire began its decline.
  • Isfahan is Lost

    Isfahan is Lost
    In 1722, and Afghan army, under the leadership Mahmud, attacked the core of the Safavid Empire. In the Battle of Gulnabad, the Afghan forces were able to easily overtake and force out Safavid forces. The Safavids forfeited the capital and named the Afghans in control after Shah Soltan Hosein abdicated the throne.
  • Shah Tahmasp II retakes Isfahan

    Shah Tahmasp II retakes Isfahan
    Under control of Shah Tahmasp II of the Safavid Empire, the Safavids retook control of the capital of Isfahan. At the battle of Damghan, the Safavid forces were able to force the Afghan forces back into their homeland and retake control of the major city. It was again made capital of the Safavid Dynasty.
  • Fall of Safavid Empire

    Fall of Safavid Empire
    After the reign of Shah Abbas II, the Safavid Empire was in free-fall. Several factors played a role in the fall of the empire. Most significantly, the Safavids were struggling with their Ottoman and Uzbek enemies, as well as additional forces from Russia. A lack of trade caused by changing routes hurt the empire economically. Also, a lack of political effectuality led to poor control over a vast empire. All leaders were now known as Shahs of Iran, and no longer Shahs of the Safavid Empire.
  • Spread of Printing Press

    Spread of Printing Press
    In both Mughal and Ottoman lands, the printing press took hold, primarily for the production of religious works. Though not incredibly popular because the scholars preferred hand-written text, it allowed for the mass production of texts for study in India, Persia, etc.
  • Fall of Mughal Empire

    Fall of Mughal Empire
    As in the Safavid Empire, the Mughal Empire slowly declined after the reign of the great emperor Aurangzeb. Also as in the Safavid Empire, the Mughals fell to foreign powers. From Persia and Afghanistan came rather powerful forces seeking the throne. In hope for protection, the Mughals relied on protection from the British East India company (of course a huge mistake). The Mughals lost their army and their identity and slowly decayed as the British and other foreign powers took control of India.
  • Fall of Ottoman Empire

    Fall of Ottoman Empire
    In a nutshell, the Ottoman Empire fell because of its inability to keep power over the vast lands it encompassed. Communication technologies lacked and independent, greedy political leaders began to take control over small regions of the empire. The economy was failing as well, for it was not integrated throughout the entire empire. Despite their better efforts, the Ottoman Empire could not control ethnic and racial issues that arose as well. Eventually, the vast Ottoman Emire fell.