Much discussion has arisen about the Middle East, and how it became the way it is. How the modern borders were drawn, why the area seems rife with conflict. These things can, in many ways, be summed up in one phrase: The Ottoman Empire.
|Ottoman Empire at its Height|
A significant event occurred when a league of European kings and princes formed an armada to curb the growing power of the Turkish navy. At the battle of Lepanto 1571, the European naval forces heavily defeated the Turkish navy and altered the path of the Empire as a whole. From that date the Empire fell into significant decline and was know by other nations as "the sick man of Europe." By the end of the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire had fallen behind Europe in the industrial revolution and had seen the British, Russian, Italian, and French nations pick away various parts of the empire. Indeed, the only reason the empire lasted so long was that the French and British could not see the Russians in control of Constantinople. However, at the beginning of the 20th century, the empire made one last attempt to reassert itself and regain some of its former glory. In 1914, it joined World War I on the side of Germany and Austria. Whether they lost or won, the Ottomans had tied the fate of their empire to the outcome of the war.
Next week's post will feature part 2 of this series and will relate the events that followed the beginning of World War I.