A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire

Publication Year


"At the turn of the nineteenth century, the Ottoman Empire straddled three continents and encompassed extraordinary ethnic and cultural diversity among the estimated thirty million people living within its borders. It was perhaps the most cosmopolitan state in the world—and possibly the most volatile. A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire now gives scholars and general readers a concise history of the late empire between 1789 and 1918, turbulent years marked by incredible social change.   Moving past standard treatments of the subject, M. Sükrü Hanioglu emphasizes broad historical trends and processes more than single events. He examines the imperial struggle to centralize amid powerful opposition from local rulers, nationalist and other groups, and foreign powers. He looks closely at the socioeconomic changes this struggle wrought and addresses the Ottoman response to the challenges of modernity. Hanioglu shows how this history is not only essential to comprehending modern Turkey, but is integral to the histories of Europe and the world. He brings Ottoman society marvelously to life in all its facets—cultural, diplomatic, intellectual, literary, military, and political—and he mines imperial archives and other documents from the period to describe it as it actually was, not as it has been portrayed in postimperial nationalist narratives. A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the legacy left in this empire's ruins—a legacy the world still grapples with today."   TABLE OF CONTENTS List of Figures
Note on Transliteration, Place Names, and Dates
Chapter 1: The Ottoman Empire at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century
Chapter 2: Initial Ottoman Responses to the Challenge of Modernity
Chapter 3: The Dawn of the Age of Reform
Chapter 4: The Tanzimat Era
Chapter 5: The Twilight of the Tanzimat and the Hamidian Regime
Chapter 6: From Revolution to Imperial Collapse: The Longest Decade of the Late Ottoman Empire
Further Reading in Major European Languages
  Reviews and Endorsements "[T]his book raises a series of new questions and calls for developing new approaches and ideas to analyze the last Ottoman century and understand better the rise of national states in the Balkans and the Middle East, especially Turkey. . . . In short, this is a thought-provoking book and I recommend it highly."—Kemal H. Karpat, American Historical Review   "Forgoing 'the worn-out paradigms of modernization and Westernization,' Hanioglu opts instead for a consideration of Ottoman responses to the challenge of modernity. . . . [This book] is a pleasure to read."—Kate Fleet, Journal of Islamic Studies   "The Ottoman Empire was the longest-lived regional regime in the Middle East since antiquity; it was also the most recent, and left enduring traces. Şükrü Hanioğlu's A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire is a major contribution to the better understanding of the region. His account is based on intimate knowledge of the Ottoman archives, as well as of many other sources, both internal and external. Concerned with trends more than events, this book illuminates the ideas and movements that shaped the course of history."—Bernard Lewis, Middle East Strategy at Harvard   A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire deserves only unqualified praise. It is well written and comprehensive in its coverage—with diplomatic, economic and intellectual history interacting."—Peter Clark, Asian Affairs   "The strength of A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire is its view of the late Ottoman Empire both from the imperial inside as well as from a reflective and inspiring historical distance. This concise book is very appropriate for general history classes."—Hans-Lukas Kieser, H-Net Reviews   "Without a doubt or reservation, this brief history is must reading for scholars and students of Ottoman history, and the author is to be commended for his excellent approach to the study of this period, for this reviewer cannot think of any other scholar better equipped intellectually to analyze and place it in the proper perspective for a meaningful understanding of this critical phase of an empire on the verge of disintegration."—Caesar E. Farah, Historian   "Historians and general readers embarking on an introduction to the Ottoman Empire could do far worse than to start with M. Sükrü Hanioğlu's A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire. Concise, well-written, and narrative, it nonetheless successfully revises decades of misconceptions about the Ottoman Empire, creating a new model for our understanding of this long-lived system. The author presents several key arguments worth presenting. He encourages his readers to move beyond previous interpretations of Ottoman history, including the perception of the empire as a decrepit and dynastic straitjacket for nationalisms."—Wayne H. Bowen, Canadian Journal of History   "Without doubt the best history of the development of political ideas in the late Ottoman Empire. Hanioğluu situates this history of ideas in the context of the political and diplomatic history of the empire as well as in the history of European political thought, of which he demonstrates a deep knowledge."—Erik J. Zürcher, author of Turkey: A Modern History   "A significant contribution, not only to the historiography of the late Ottoman Empire but also to the field of comparative studies of empires."—Fikret Adanir, coeditor of The Ottomans and the Balkans
Princeton University Press
Princeton, NJ