Compare and Contrast the Ottoman, Safavid, Munguhl Empires Essay

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The Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughals were all gunpowder empires. The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast the differences between all of these empires mentioned. Each fall into five different categories. Socially, the Ottoman Turks were each millet, or a nation, inside the empire and had separate social customs in accordance with the religion of the millet. Muslim women had harsh restrictions as with Islamic law, but the non-Muslim women were subject to separate laws. Even Muslim women had more rights than in other Muslim nations. In the Safavid empire socially, they were a mixed society just like the Ottoman empire.

The aristocrats had limited power and influence. They were also Turkic-speaking tribal groups. In the Mughal empire socially, were Hindu population. They had been threatened by the ruling Muslims. Akbar, who was originally a Muslim gave the Hindu more rights. On the Political side, the Ottoman Turks was the most successful at maintaining power for a longer time. It was able to survive until modern times. The two other empires collapsed by the seventeenth century. The leader of the Ottoman Turks was known as the Sultan which was similar to an emperor. It was hereditary.

Islamic Law was applied to all Muslims. Regarding the Safavid empire politically, the Shahs walked around the streets in disguise in order to find the sincerity of the citizens. The high positions were given by merit and often were foreigners. In the Mughal Empire politically, Even though the population was predominately Hindu most high government positions were held by Muslims. Functioned by dynasties, and leadership was hereditary. This created power struggles between the military and the power families which led to their demise. Examples would be the struggle between Shah Jahan’s sons.

Another main factor in the demise of the Empire was when the British got a seat on the imperial court of Agra. Economically speaking, beginning in the 15th century, pottery, rugs, silk, other textiles, jewelry, arms and armor, and calligraphy flourished. Justinian had brought cultivation of silkworms to the area in the 16th century. Silks were produced under the Sultan leaders, but rugs were a peasant industry. Separate villages had their own distinctive designs. All rugs though use the “Gordian knot” from the Gordes region. Tribal leaders collected the taxes. For the Safavids economic side, They took direct interest in economy.

They were engaged in manufacturing and trade. The King monitored the economy very closely. They would also kill people for dishonest business practices. However, the Safavids were probably not as wealthy as Ottoman or Mughal. For Economics to the Munguls Empire, they were at peace and stability under Akbar. This caused commerce and manufacturing to thrive. Their goods, like textiles, tropical food, spices, and precious stones were exported. They Imported gold and silver. The had tariffs on imports were quite low. Foreign commerce was mostly carried on by the Arabs since the Mughals like the Indians did not like to travel by sea.

Also, Internal land trade was carried on by large merchant castes, that were active in handicrafts and banking as well. On a religious point of view for all the empires. The Governments in all 3 were muslim based. Mughals were the only group that was not predominately Muslim. Muslims were only a small minority Ottomans were Sunni Muslims. The Ottoman titles were claimed to be caliphs. They maintained Islamic law called Sandri’a. Only applied to Ottoman Muslims. Ottoman minorities were mostly Greek Orthodox Jews. Muslims were prohibited from adopting other faiths.

Each group was organized into administrative unit called millet (nations). Women were treated much like other women in Muslim societies. They could own property, even their own dowries. Non Muslims didn’t have to follow muslim law. This was a common practice throughout all 3 empires. Safadids were Shi’ite Muslims. Mughals were Sunni and very similar in government to the Ottomans. Safavid Shahs claimed to be spiritual leader of all Islam. On the military standpoint, the Ottoman empire sacked Constantinople and renamed it Istanbul. They eventually control the Bosporus and the Dardanelles.

The Ottomans eventually moved from the Bosporus to set up their first European base at Galilipoli. The new emperor Murad developed the Janissaries, they were taken from the Christian population, trained in the Balkans, converted to Islam and then trained as foot soldiers or administrators. Also when they changed firearms it spread in the late fourteenth century. Turks began to master this new technology making cannons and muskets. For the Safavid Empire, in 1501 The Safavids defeated much of Iran and Iraq. The Ottomans attacked the Safavids and forced them to sign a peace treaty were the Safavids lost much land.

Shah Abbas, the leader of the Safavids at that time strengthend his army during the peace and then tried to take back the lost land. However he was for the most part unsuccessful. For the Munguhls, Babur, the descendant of Tamerlane was driven south by the Uzbeks and the Safavids in Persia and took Kabul in 1504. He then marched into northern India. He used mobile cavalry and artillery to great advantage. In 1526 Babur attacked Delhi with only 12,000 troops against an army nearly ten times his size. A british historian described Babur’s son Hamuyan as intelligent but lazy and when Babur died most of the military victories were taken away.

All in all, the 3 empires all led to downfall. The Ottoman, when the Janisaree became hereditary and no longer got the best troops. They lost territory in the battle of Carlowitz. The Sultan also became hereditary. The Safavid, when Shah Ismail wanted to convert the Ottomans to Shiite. After the Shah died there became a lot of problems. The Mughul, Akbar lowered taxes, married a hindu princess that used a lot of his money, which made him need to tax the people more. His son Araazah, took over and all he did was drink and gamble. This caused the downfall because he didn’t care anymore.

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