III. The Postclassical Period, 500–1500 > B. The Middle East and North Africa, 500–1500 > 2. The Muslim Middle East and North Africa, c. 945–1500 > d. The Ottoman Empire > 2. Defeat, Recovery, and Imperial Expansion
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
2. Defeat, Recovery, and Imperial Expansion
TIMUR'S INVASION AND OTTOMAN NEAR-COLLAPSE. The central Asian conqueror Timur advanced into Anatolia with a large force, occupying Ottoman lands and restoring the old Turkoman principalities. Bayezid moved against him, and in the battle of Ankara (July 28) his army was completely defeated and he himself was taken prisoner. He died in captivity (Mar. 9, 1403), by suicide according to some accounts.  1
THE INTERREGNUM. The decade following the defeat at Ankara was a period of power struggles for the Ottomans, with a real danger of dismemberment and collapse facing the empire. Bayezid's extensive acquisitions in Anatolia were lost to the revived principalities, and three of his sons recognized Timur's suzerainty and were installed as local rulers: Isa in Bursa, Mehmed in Amasya, and Suleyman in Edirne. When Timur died in 1405, the three princes and their brother Musa (who had been in captivity with his father) entered into a struggle for sole control of the state. Their battles with each other, and their shifting alliances with domestic groups and neighboring rulers in Anatolia and Europe, continued until 1413, when Mehmed emerged victorious.  2
SULTAN MEHMED I. After his triumph over his brothers, Mehmed set about restoring Ottoman strength. He succeeded in holding the Ottoman domain together during a crucial period in which the weakened empire had to deal with challenges from several directions: the restored Anatolian principalities, European neighbors, and domestic rebels.  3
Death of Tajuddin Ibrahim Ahmedi (b. 1334), among the greatest of the early Anatolian poets. He composed the famous Iskendername, a life of Alexander the Great in verse, dedicated as a panegyric to Bayezid I's son Suleyman.  4
Ottoman recapture of Izmir and territories previously recovered by the principality of Karaman.  5
Confrontation with Venice (See 1416), provoked by raids of pirates based in the Aegean islands. The Ottoman fleet, still in its early stages of development, was completely routed near Gallipoli (May 29, 1416). The peace concluded in 1419 recognized Ottoman and Venetian interests in Albania.  6
Ottoman capture of the areas of Kroya and Avlonya in Albania, restoring the Ottoman hold in the area that had been lost during the interregnum.  7
The revolts of Mustafa and Bedreddin. A man claiming to be the son of Bayezid I, and known in Ottoman tradition as the False Mustafa, organized an uprising against the sultan, with the backing of the rulers of Byzantium and Wallachia as well as some Ottoman notables. His forces were defeated, and he fled to refuge with the Byzantine emperor. (He was killed by the Ottomans in 1422, after he launched another revolt.) At the same time, a popular religious scholar and mystic named Sheik Bedreddin raised major revolts in the European provinces as well as in Anatolia, also drawing on the support of external enemies and masses of discontented subjects. It took a large-scale military expedition to suppress his rebellions, and he himself was put to death.  8
1421–44, 1446–51
SULTAN MURAD II. After his father's efforts to hold the empire together, Murad began the process of restoring Ottoman imperial expansion. Although generally cautious in his foreign policy, he responded forcefully to challenges from the Anatolian principalities and his European neighbors, and extended Ottoman power in Europe and Asia. Domestically Murad restored the recruitment of slaves and their training for government service (the devshirme), promoting the slaves as a counterweight to the political power of the Turkish notables. Slave recruits became the basis of the Janissary infantry.  9
War with Venice. Ottoman ambitions in Macedonia and Albania, and especially Murad's interest in recovering the port of Salonika, which the Byzantines transferred to Venice in 1423, precipitated the first major war between the two powers (See 1425–30). The Ottomans besieged Salonika and captured it (Mar. 1430). In the Peace of Lapseki (July 1430) Venice confirmed Ottoman control of Salonika while Murad recognized the Venetian possessions in Greece and Albania.  10
The Ottomans annexed the Turkoman principalities of Aydin, Menteshe, and Teke, thus regaining control of western Anatolia and its Aegean coastline.  11
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.