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The Ottoman and Mughal Empires Essay

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Updated: Dec 7th, 2021

The history of the Asian countries presents special interests for study. The principles and traditions according to which European political life developed in the past were inapplicable for Asia, as there the authority and the supreme absolute power of the head of the state were undoubted. Accordingly, the politics was much dependent upon the personal preferences of the statesmen rather than on rational considerations (Stearns, Gosch, & Grieshaber, 2005). Evidently, there were considerable differences and similarities in the development of the Ottoman Empire and the Mughal Empire in India, and this paper will focus on their consideration and explanation.

To begin with, it is necessary to state that the Ottoman Empire takes its roots from c. 1281 when Sultan Osman founded “the Ottoman Dynasty” (Brummett et al., 2006, p. 350). Descending from the Middle Eastern Arab tribes, the Ottomans soon spread their influence over the whole Middle East and directed their attention at Europe. In 1453 they captured the capital of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople, and established themselves as one of the most serious powers in world politics (Stearns, Gosch, & Grieshaber, 2005). To prove their status, the Ottomans used military force and propaganda: “[Osman’s] dynasty, like the tree, did endure and expand to control many and prosperous territories.

As the dynasty grew more powerful, the Ottomans also falsified the genealogy linking them to the prophet Muhammad” (Brummett et al., 2006, p.350). With its development, the Ottoman Empire acquired new possessions and authority internationally. The military development was accompanied by the cultural rebirth of the Arabic art: “Ottoman success resulted in a vigorous cultural renaissance, most evident in the monumental architecture and decorative tile work” (Brummett et al., 2006, p.356).

As contrasted, the Mughal Empire in India displays certain differences and similarities with the Ottoman Empire. Starting with the differences, the major one among them was the status of the Empire in the international arena. While the Ottoman Empire was a dominant player in world politics, the Mughal state influenced only India, Persia and a part of the modern territory of Afghanistan (Stearns, Gosch, & Grieshaber, 2005). Moreover, the timeframe of the Mughal Empire is smaller than that of the Ottoman Empire (1281 – 1923), as the Mughal state existed from the middle of the 16th century, when Babur captured Delhi and founded the kingdom, till 1857 when the failure of the Indian Rebellion against the British rule resulted in the exile of the last Emperor of Mughal, Bahadur Shah II (Stearns, Gosch, & Grieshaber, 2005).

However, the Mughal Empire is similar to the Ottoman Empire in its being the highly developed Muslim state of great riches, especially under Shah Akbar (1556 – 1605): “Akbar’s capital at Agra, for example, housed 200, 000 people – twice the population of contemporary London” (Brummett et al., 2006, p.364). Culture was also on the rise in the Mughal Empire that developed literature, sculpture, and architecture: “In 1632 the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, commissioned the building of the resplendent Taj Mahal as a memorial to his late wife” (Brummett et al., 2006, p.364). Thus, the economic and cultural development of the Mughal Empire can be equaled to that of the Ottoman Empire, while the political authorities of the two states were rather different.

To conclude, the Ottoman Empire and the Mughal Empire were the two powerful states of medieval Asia. The Ottoman Empire was more powerful in the political and military senses, while the cultural and economic development of both Empires was on the similar level. Despite the fact that the Mughal Empire was destroyed almost a century before the Ottoman Empire, both states left a considerable trace in world history.

Works Cited

Brummett, Palmira J., Robert R. Edgar, Neil J. Hackett, George F. Jewsbury, Barbara S. Molony. Civilization: Past & Present, Volume II: From 1300. Longman, 2006

Stearns, Peter N., Stephen S. Gosch, Erwin P. Grieshaber. Documents in World History: The Modern Centuries, Volume 2 (From 1500 to the Present). Longman, 2005.

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