Traditions and Encounters, AP Edition (Bentley), 5th Edition

Chapter 27: The Islamic Empires

Interactive Map Quiz


Map A. Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire was an Islamic empire that dominated much of the Mediterranean region from the fourteenth to the twentieth centuries. The empire was founded in 1281, but its great rise to power did not really occur until after the sacking of Constantinople. At that point, Mehmed II claimed Constantinople for the capital of the empire. At its largest phase, the empire encompassed the majority of the North African coast -- what is now Eastern Europe up through Hungary, Anatolia, and parts of the Persian Gulf. However, by the end of the eighteenth century the Ottoman Empire went into a decline, based on the fragmentation of what had once been one of the most impressive militaries in the West. Earlier in Ottoman history, the military utilized all of the most current technology in its corps; however, as conflict grew within the military, and different factions warred amongst themselves, it became impossible for the government to control the disintegration of the various units. When warfare broke out with Russia in the nineteenth century it became evident that what was once a great military power was now hopelessly overpowered. The empire continued its decline, losing much of its territory in the nineteenth century to Russia, Italy, Greece, and Great Britain. The end finally came during World War I, when the Allies defeated what was left of the Ottoman Empire. The territories of the empire were divided up between the victors, with Great Britain and France gaining control over the Middle East, and Greece gaining control over Anatolia.

Explain the role of religion in the social structure of the Islamic Empires.


Discuss how the introduction of new crops changed agricultural practices in the Ottoman Empire.


Place the construction of the city Fatehpur Sikri within the context of Islamic cultural development.


Map B. Mughal Dynasty

The Mughal Empire was the centralizing power on the Indian subcontinent from 1526 to its final defeat at the hands of the British in 1857. Founded by Babur, after he defeated the last of the Delhi Sultans, the empire reached its height during the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The empire itself was Islamic, but the majority of its population was Hindu. Unlike other Islamic empires, here the Hindus were not expected to pay the jizya, which was the tax levied on non-Muslims. It was only after the death of Shah Jahan and the reign of Aurangzeb that religious tolerance towards Hindus declined. It was also during Aurangzeb's reign that the decline of the empire began. From 1707 until 1857, the power and influence of the dynasty gradually lessened, and the empire struggled to hold off invaders from Persia and Afghanistan. One of the most significant threats to the Mughal Empire was from the Marathas in southern India. By the time the British gained control, most of what had been Mughal territory was broken up into smaller, independent kingdoms.

Why did the decline of the Mughal Empire start in 1707? What was happening in the Indian subcontinent that contributed to the fall of the empire?


The Mughal Empire was an Islamic empire. How do you think the Mughals were able to keep control over a primarily Hindu population?


Compare the Mughal Empire to other Islamic Empires studied in this chapter. How is it similar? What are the differences?

Traditions & Encounters, 5e
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