The Tanzimat was basically a period during which the Ottoman Empire was reorganized and reformed starting from the early eighties. The main idea was to bring about development in the empire through tax revenue collection for military support in order to ensure complete control of its territory and prevent colonization by the powerful nations.
The reformations made became the major root of Ottomanism among the majority ethnic groups in the empire which led to formation of nationalists movements. One main attempt of the reformations was to bring together non-Muslims and non-Turks and incorporate them into the Ottoman social believes and norms. They were to get liberty to allow them to exercise equal right to the Turks (Goodwin 1).
Changes on the Ottoman Empire during Tanzimat
The transformations that were brought during the Tanzimat era resulted to certain changes in the territory some of which were positive while others affected the Turks negatively. The most affected fields by these changes were national economy as well as the cultural backgrounds.
For instance, the taxation system changed from use of goods to cash based taxation especially with the increased Jewish migrations during that period, who contributed to the empire’s economic growth. As the economy continued to grow many people from upcountry moved to the urban areas from where they could access employment opportunities much easily.
Other significant changes occurred in the reformation and restructuring of many structures in the state. The traditional administration was abolished and a new modern one established that would deliver more effectively to the people. Some changes also occurred in the social way of life with many people getting aware of education and sending them to the Islam schools that were available during that time.
Traditional systems in education were replaced with western schools which produced quality graduates and the madrasa system, as well, was reformed to a modern one. The court system was changed to consist of panel judges although Islam courts were still in place to promote centralized administration.
However, these modernization attempts led to the weakening of the empire before the western powers who gained power over the territory. Some western countries such as Europe gained power to control the empire as they had certain privileges in economy and diplomacy since they claimed to be protecting the Ottoman communities.
Many people were influenced by the western powers to convert from Islam to Christianity especially Catholicism which was the major religious group. As other religious groups grew, competition on religion increased and as a result non-Muslims were forbidden from joining Islam (Berald 1).
European impact on the Ottoman Empire
Exchange of culture has been, over the years, a very common doing between many nations worldwide. As the Ottoman Empire was getting more and more dominated by western nations, Europe used the chance to market itself in the territory as a way of assisting them.
During and after World War I and II, many powerful nations had plans to get Europe out of the dominance position it acquired in many less powerful nations especially in Asia and Africa. As a result, Europe’s powers on economy and military decreased drastically within those nations.
However, its civilization and technological knowhow have remained deep rooted in many countries. Scientific technologies were introduced in the Ottoman communities and just like many other nations, the territory become under the influence of Europe. The Ottoman’s communities benefitted as they advanced their body health as well as gaining knowledge on general issues and intellectual capabilities.
Structures in the Ottoman’s community were improved leading to a better planned city and a consequential societal livelihood. Classical music was also developed with much influence from the European nations. Cultural traditions were abolished and new forms of social ways of living were adopted. European traders were eager to start trading in many regions including the Ottoman society which benefited by getting availability of goods that are not locally produced.
However, boundaries by the Europeans did not put into consideration the differences that occur between different ethnic groups and this affected the Ottoman communities’ ways of living since each ethnic group has its own norms and way of live. These boundaries caused displacement of many large volumes of populations as well as splitting of families and loss of land for cultivation and grazing for those who were still practicing agriculture (Acer 1).
How Russia acquired dominance in the Ottoman Empire
Despite the formation of an alliance between Ottoman and Germany to prevent Russia’s dominance over the Empire, Russia still managed to dominate over the Ottoman Empire. Russia got the chance to dominate Ottoman from World War I when the empire harbored Germany ships which were used to attack the Russians.
In the first periods of the war, the Ottoman communities had gained some victory in several occasions but as the war progressed, some difficulties were faced. Later during the war, Ottoman’s government prohibited the deportation of Armenians.
However, despite this prohibition, the Armenians were forcefully brought to the Ottoman communities. In 1916, the Ottomans power on the war reduced drastically and resulted to assignment of its territories to the Russian empire. Being the first neighbor to the Ottoman community, Russia had the advantage of dominating over Turkey which was crumbling at the time.
This gave Russia more access to the Empire than the other European powers and this is partly why Russia gained dominance. Besides being the nearest to the Ottoman community, Russia used other strategies to gain dominance. For instance, it claimed the right to protect the Orthodox Christians since it was the leading powers over the church group. This provided the Russians with greater opportunities to engage indirectly in affairs involving Turkey.
Geographical features connecting Russia and Turkey also gave easy access to the region making it easy for the Russians to exercise power in the Turkish territories. Communication ships and other modes were used by the Russian military to get better access to the Ottomans communities. Russia had an added advantage in an agreement which blocked the use of these channels by all European nations except for Russia in case of a crisis (Simon 1).
The Tanzimat period had very useful changes especially in the education forum which is still and more beneficial today. Other developments such as in revenue generation and service delivery by the state have been of great help in bringing equal civilization and modernization in all the communities.
It was therefore a great move by the Ottoman society to realize that it had lagged behind and to accept help and modernization from the western nations. The social life of the Ottomans society as a whole changed to the better with the introduction of modern schools since quality education is the key to a better life.
Acer, Zabit. “Ottoman Modernization and Effects of the Tanziman Edict on Today”. 2009. Web.
Berald, Gerry. “The Age of Western Imperialism”. 2002. Web.
Goodwin, Kevin. “ The Tanziman and the Problem of Political Authority in the Ottoman Empire: 1839 – 1876”. 2006. Web.
Simon, Viviane. “Europe and nations, 1815-1914”. 2005. Web.