1800 century Middle East

By the early 18th century, the Ottoman Empire, which ruled the Middle East, was in decline. Weak rulers left the way open for power struggles between officials, religious experts, and Janissaries (Guards). Provincial administrators and landholders colluded to drain revenue from the central treasury. The general economy suffered from competition with the West as imported goods ruined local industry. European rivals took advantage of Ottoman weakness. The Austrian Habsburgs pushed the Ottomans from Hungary and the northern Balkans. The strengthened Russian state expanded into the Caucasus and Crimea. The subject Christian peoples of the Balkans challenged their rulers: the Greeks won independence in 1830, Serbia in 1867. By the 1870s, the Ottomans had lost nearly all of the Balkans, and their capital was often threatened by Balkan or Russian armies.

Faced with difficult challenges and the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Mahmud II initiated a set of reforms. Mahmuds successors followed with the Tanzimat, or reorganization, a sweeping set of reforms designed to modernize the Ottoman Empire.

What were the Tanzimat Reforms and were they effective in allowing the Middle East to catch up to the West?

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