The following blog post was originally posted here: The 400 Year Caliphate…Turkey’s Significance pt 3
From the years 1299AD to 1922 AD,the Holy Land of the Bible, Egypt, Libya,Tunisia, the entire Arab world, and the former Christian Middle East as well as the former Byzantine Christian Empire was ruled alternately by the Mameluke dynasty of Egyot, end eventually came under the rule of the Turkish Pashas of the Ottoman Empire.
By the late 15th century, Constantinople became Istanbul, Hagia Sophia Church became the great Mosque and The city of Constantine and the Christian emperors of Byzantium became the seat of the Caliphate.
The Caliphate is the central ruling authority of Sunni Islam, led by a combination political and religious leader, the Caliph, which means “the successor” to Mohammed. The Caliph is also called the ‘Prince of the Faithful and to him every Sunni Muslim must pledge ‘Bayat’, i.e. allegience.
The Mamelukes in Egypt were the primary Muslim State and kept a Caliph in Cairo, but in the years after the capture of Constantinople, the Ottomans overcame the Mamelukes and the Holy Land came under the power of the Turkish Caliphate.*
Caliphs are the ones who prosecute Jihad against all of the world of the infidels, and every Sunni is honor bound to participate fully with the Caliph.For almost six hundred years the Caliphate was centered in Turkey.
Thus the Ottomans were a constant threat to western Christian Europe, making raids upon coastal cities, engaging in the white slave trade, (At the height of the western African enslavement period, there were more than two million white slaves throughout Africa and the Muslim world) and controlling trade routes to the far East.It was in the year 1492 that Spain finally drove out Muslims from the Arab and North African world, after 700 long years of occupation.
Muslim stranglehold on trade is what initiated the age of discovery, for the Spanish and Portugese explorers were trying to find a way to bypass Ottoman checkpoints where they would be heavily taxed if not outright robbed and killed.
The Ottomans had nearly unbroken success in attacking and devouring much of Eastern Europe, taking Greece, Serbia,Albania,Bosnia,Montenegro, much of Hungary,Bulgaria, and other lesser eastern European Kingdoms.These lands would languish under the humiliation and impoverishment of Dhimmi status for hundreds of years.
But eventually the West was able to push back.
In 1571 The ‘Holy League’, a coalition of Roman Catholic maritime powers ,had assembled a large naval force, which confronted and defeated a massive armada of the Ottoman Navy off of the gulf of Corinth. The Holy League was financed by Spain and sanctioned by the Pope. This victory was the first major setback of Ottoman power by Western forces and for a while it stopped Turkish expansion of influence.
The Turkish fleet had been powered by more than 20,000 captured Christian galley slaves, 12,000 of whom had been freed by the end of the battle.Turkish elite troops included Jannissarries, which were Christian children taken as tribute from their parents in Eastern Europe and brainwashed and martially trained to be elite crack troops.
Ottoman rule over Eastern Europe had impoverished and crushed the people of Serbia, Macedonia,Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary, Albania and Bosnia and was designed to pressure them to convert to Islam and thus to be relieved of the constant oppression of the Jizya tax, and the confiscation of children as Jannisary warriors and daughters as Harem wives.
It is a testament to the faith of so many that they would not renounce Jesus Christ or the Orthodox faith in spite of the constant oppression they suffered by Ottoman Muslims. Of course many did convert to Islam as well and thus the Balkan area of Europe has been deeply divided to this day.
The Ottomans kept attacking and probing western Europe , expecting to conquer it also.As late as 1683,Polish King and General Jan Sobieski saved Europe from invasion by Turkish forces when he broke a long siege of Vienna,Austria defeating and turning back the Ottoman hordes of Mehmed the Fourth.
Eventually European technology began to surpass the martial prowess of the Ottoman, and it became evident that though a constant threat, the menace of Turkish conquest of the Catholic (and Protestant) West began to fade away.The scholar of Islam,Bernard Lewis has written a book about the impact of the West leaving the Ottomans and the rest of the Muslim world in the dust if history, technologically and culturally. The book is called “What Went Wrong?”, because to the Muslim psyche, to be left behind by Western ‘Kaffirs” in all areas of progress, is inexplicable.
The Ottoman Empire maintained for the next two centuries, but decay, and corruption enfeebled it considerably. In 1822 the Greek nation waged of successful war of Independence, throwing off the yoke of the Ottomans, and Bulgaria,Montenegro and Serbia also threw off the Ottoman yoke.By 1900 the Ottoman Empire was considered to be the “Sick man of Europe”, and nearly ready to die.
Shattering events would soon take place on the earth which would signal the very end the world order, yeah even the of the age and the preparation for the judgments prophesied to occur in the very end times. We have a God who rules over history.
*Corrections made since publication…