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Topic ClosedOttoman Turks and New World Expansion

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Kastrophylax kai Tzaousios

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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Ottoman Turks and New World Expansion
    Posted: 24-May-2005 at 00:32
In studying European expansion and the exploration of the New World (North and South America), I have always wondered why the Ottoman Turks did not at least attempt a trans-Atlantic voyage or expansion beyond the Mediterranean Sea.

At the time of Columbus's voyages in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, I doubt the Ottomans could have outfitted and manned vessels that could have withstood a long term voyage to the New World. Secondly, at that time, the Ottomans had not conquered the Mediterranean waters as they had territory on land, such as the remnants of the Byzantine Empire, the Balkans, and Anatolia. However, during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman navy was expanded along with the land army. Suleiman and his immediate successors won great victories against the Hapsburgs and established the Ottoman Turks as a threat in Mediterranean waters -- they even conducted raids along the coast of Spain in the 1530s. Experienced and talented sea captains such as Barbarossa and Piri Reis were in Ottoman service; if anyone was capable of leading an expedition to the New World, it would have been these men.

1. Why do you think the Ottomans did not attempt to expand into the New World? All of the evidence seems to suggest that they were capable.

2. If they had made the voyage(s) and had established colonies in the New World, how would they have interacted with the native populations and the European colonists? Would there be war or peaceful trade?

3. How might Ottoman culture and Islam have changed (if at all) in the New World, being relatively cut off from its source in the Old World?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-May-2005 at 00:55
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