Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Simon Davis

Subject Categories

Economic History


Ottoman, Economic, History, Political Institution, Dissolution


Tribes of Turkish speaking people (“Turks”) migrated in the 11th century from the Central Asian Steppes to what we consider the Middle East. Over the next two centuries this community would expand north, west and south to form a vast empire: the Ottoman Empire. Possibly the peak of the size of this empire would probably occur during the 16th century under the rule of the Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent (1494- 1566) where the population of the Ottoman Empire was estimated to be up to 30 million. Yet there would be rivals. To the East was the Safavid Empire (today Iran), to the Northeast was the Russian Empire, and to the North and Northwest were the European states and empires (e.g., The Spanish-Hapsburg Empire, Venice, and Portugal then later Great Britain and France). As the empire evolved there would be a variety of internal and external challenges to its integrity. Such challenges would include cultural and religious factors, nationalist and separatist movements, internal political dynamics and what is mostly addressed in this study, economic challenges.

This study will review some of the various theories about how the Ottoman Empire faced change and we will also examine the various economic studies which will suggest why it was slowly losing its integrity in the nineteenth century as events take the empire to World War I.