EI+08+ME+NAfrica+1453-1914

As a reward for its help france requested commercial

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Unformatted text preview: intervened on the side of the Ottoman Empire, denying Russia any significant territorial gains. As a reward for its help, France requested commercial concessions for French merchants which were known as the Treaty of Capitulations. The Capitulations opened the Ottoman Empire to French merchants, exempted them from local taxes, and limited Ottoman import taxes to a maximum of 3%. In addition, the principle of “extra-territoriality” was established, which meant that French people in the Ottoman Empire would be judged according to French and not Ottoman law. The Ottoman ruling elite, recognizing the need to modernize its army, began a series of westernizing reforms. The Sultan hired French military experts to modernize the army, exchanged ambassadors with the nations of Europe, fostered the study of western science, history, and geography, and encouraged the imitation of western fashion. In the reign of Catherine the Great (1762-96), Russia decisively defeated the Turks in two major wars and could have drastically rolled back Ottoman rule in the Balkans. This was prevented by European powers who began to fear Russia more than Turkey and supported the status quo in the Balkans. This is the origin of the “Eastern Question” which was: how would the Balkan Peninsula be divided up when the Ottoman Empire collapsed? Russia and Austria both had their eyes on the Balkan Peninsula, and it was their mutual mistrust and the desire of Europe to avoid a war that preserved the Ottoman Empire. Egypt and Syria, provinces of the Ottoman Empire, were also invaded and occupied by Napoleon’s armies in the late 1790s. Ottoman sultans renewed their efforts to modernize their governments and military forces on western models. Selim III (1789-1807) reorganized the government, founded engineering academies, modernized the navy, imported French military technology, and hired French officers to create a new Ottoman army on Western lines. Conservative forces opposed these reforms, and in 1807, the Janissaries, the traditional elite corps of the Ottoman army, revolted. They deposed Selim, repealed his reforms, and replaced him with a puppet. Sultan Mahmud II, however, realized that reform was essential. After secret preparations, he destroyed the Janissaries in 1826 using his modern army, and he then established western-style schools, limited the power of the Muslim clergy, and established printing presses for books and newspapers. In 1845, Mahmud's son and successor Abdul Mejid introduced the Tanzimat, the continued reorganization of the empire on western lines, including Western ideas of equality of all citizens before the law. He instituted free and compulsory primary education and a system of secondary and higher education. The government also began to replace Muslim and customary law with commercial, maritime, penal, and civil codes on the French model. State courts replaced traditional Islamic judges. One goal of adopting western law was to repeal the Capitulations, but Ottoman subordination...
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