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Ottoman perceptions of the "New World(s)"

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    Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 07:06
In the All Empires archives, you will find a topic that I started entitled "Ottoman perceptions of the New World".  Also, there is my other topic "Ottomans in the Indian Ocean"
 
In these threads we discussed various aspects of Ottoman economic and technological vitality, or lack thereof, and their relationship to the Empire's ability and will to fund overseas expansion and exploration.  Naturally, these led to discussions more on the "what-ifs" of Ottoman expansion rather than a realistic treatment of what they actually did and knew.
 
Here I would like to discuss the actual Ottoman perceptions of other lands and peoples at the fringes of the Empire's provinces in Africa, Asia, and the Eastern Mediterranean during the early modern period (c. 1500-1800).
 
Some guidelines to begin the discussion:
 
1. What do the primary sources (i.e. travel accounts, imperial correspondence, etc.) say about lands and peoples on the fringes of or outside the Ottoman imperial pervue?  How might cultural and religious conditions color their perceptions differently than that of Europeans?
 
2. How do cartographic and geographic sources describe these lands and peoples?  Do maps and lists portray Ottoman perceptions, filtered European perceptions, or both?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jul 2009 at 07:04
Interesting topic but I really know little about Ottoman history. I have read a few books but that is all. It would be an interesting topic to follow though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jul 2009 at 09:06
Originally posted by eaglecap eaglecap wrote:

Interesting topic but I really know little about Ottoman history. I have read a few books but that is all. It would be an interesting topic to follow though.
 
Thanks for the interest, at least.  I hope all of our Turkish members and those interested in Ottoman history have not left!
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prince of Zeila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jul 2009 at 01:55
Greetings Byzantine Emperor!
 
1500-1800 hmm..In the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea the Ottomans supported Somali leaders of Adal and Ajuuraan against the Ethiopian Solomonids and the Portuguese both out of Islamic brotherhood and to protect important trade routes.  The episode of Ottomans aiding Aceh in South East Asia is also another good example of representatives from the Caliphate forming an alliance with a power not subject to the Ottoman Caliph or it's predecessors. 
 
as for America, if you have access to J-stor you should read '''Ottoman Response to the Discovery of America and the New Route to India''' by Abbas Hamdani, in this study he discusses the Ottomans intention to conquer the new world. One Ottoman World map by Piri Reis based on a earlier map from Colon-bo a.k.a Columbus has the Americas shown as an Ottoman province called Vilayet Antilia
 
The inspiration for this ambitious plan seems to have come from the capture of several Spanish ships off Valencia by Kamal Reis(brother of Piri). One of the captives had been on a voyage with Columbus and related the entire story to his captors, his story was corroborated by his possession of a world map. From then on it seems the Ottomans(admirals) send spies into Portugal and Spain to keep track of Iberian progress in exploration, the spies then reported their findings back to Ottomans.
 
Despite the naval power, equipment and monotary resources of the Ottomans to turn this ambitious plan into a reality, too many obstacles such as the Saidis in North Africa, the Safavids in the Middle East and various powers in Europe contributed - to quote Abbas- ''the permanent Ottoman loss of interest in the New World''.  However Svat Soucek in his study about Piri Reis(1994) attributes Ottoman failure to capitalize on the inside information of the New world to the myopic nature of the Ottoman elite of the day. The execution of a visionary individual like Piri Reis and the destruction of Taqi al Din's observatory are probably the real reasons behind the aforementioned ''loss of interest'', it's a bit like Zheng He and the Ming.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jul 2009 at 05:07
Prince of Zeila, thanks for posting! Smile
 
Originally posted by Prince of Zeila Prince of Zeila wrote:

1500-1800 hmm..In the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea the Ottomans supported Somali leaders of Adal and Ajuuraan against the Ethiopian Solomonids and the Portuguese both out of Islamic brotherhood and to protect important trade routes.  The episode of Ottomans aiding Aceh in South East Asia is also another good example of representatives from the Caliphate forming an alliance with a power not subject to the Ottoman Caliph or it's predecessors.
 
In the scholarship there is a question as to the extent of Ottoman control of Aceh and expansion into the Indian Ocean.  Some say it was short and nominal.  Others, most recently Giancarlo Casale, argue that it was quite important for the Ottomans that they suppress the Portuguese in the area.  Casale also argues that Ottoman expansion into the Indian Ocean should be considered as theirs (and the Muslim world's) contribution to the "Age of Discovery."  What is your opinion?
 
Also, what did the imperial government and the Constantinopolitan ulema think of the Somali leaders you mentioned?  Did they define policy towards them based only on the fact that they were Muslim?  What did ambassadors think of their cultural practices as compared to Turks?
 
Originally posted by Prince of Zeila Prince of Zeila wrote:

as for America, if you have access to J-stor you should read '''Ottoman Response to the Discovery of America and the New Route to India''' by Abbas Hamdani, in this study he discusses the Ottomans intention to conquer the new world. One Ottoman World map by Piri Reis based on a earlier map from Colon-bo a.k.a Columbus has the Americas shown as an Ottoman province called Vilayet Antilia.
 
Actually, I do have access to J-STOR and have a copy of this very article. Big smile
 
It has been a while since I looked at it, but I seem to recall that Hamdani says that the Ottoman desire to "conquer the New World" amounted to imperial propaganda and posturing against the Spanish and Portuguese. 
 
One of the main factors that stymied any real considerations of Ottoman exploration in the west was ideological.  The ulema maintained a very conservative "Old World" mindset as pertained to the expansion of Islam and the geographic conception of the extent of the world.
 
Originally posted by Prince of Zeila Prince of Zeila wrote:

The inspiration for this ambitious plan seems to have come from the capture of several Spanish ships off Valencia by Kamal Reis(brother of Piri). One of the captives had been on a voyage with Columbus and related the entire story to his captors, his story was corroborated by his possession of a world map. From then on it seems the Ottomans(admirals) send spies into Portugal and Spain to keep track of Iberian progress in exploration, the spies then reported their findings back to Ottomans.
 
This is what I have read too, in English at least, about the Piri Reis map.  I can't read Turkish so I know very little about what those scholars have to say.  Most of the geographic and demographic knowledge the Ottomans had of the Americas was filtered through European sources.  It is an amazing statement though by the Porte to label the Americas as an Ottoman province!
 
Are there any accounts of those Ottoman spies extant that talk about their findings on the European exploration projects?
 
You should check out this study of Ottoman knowledge of the Americas:
 
Goodrich, Thomas D. The Ottoman Turks and the New World: A Study of Tarih-I Hind-I Garbi and Sixteenth-Century Ottoman Americana.  Near and Middle East Monographs, New Series, no. 3. Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz, 1990.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Prince of Zeila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jul 2009 at 07:36
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

Prince of Zeila, thanks for posting! Smile
 
In the scholarship there is a question as to the extent of Ottoman control of Aceh and expansion into the Indian Ocean.  Some say it was short and nominal.  Others, most recently Giancarlo Casale, argue that it was quite important for the Ottomans that they suppress the Portuguese in the area.  Casale also argues that Ottoman expansion into the Indian Ocean should be considered as theirs (and the Muslim world's) contribution to the "Age of Discovery."  What is your opinion?
 
In my opinion i think establishing relations with Aceh was a very important decision because it enabled the Ottoman navy to keep an eye on the Portuguese in Asia. The Ottomans never shied away from engaging the Portuguese, i bet if a Aztec/New world group - turned muslim - appealed to the Ottomans against the Iberians, that there would have been a Portuguese-Ottoman engagement somewhere in the Americas. 
 
Quote Also, what did the imperial government and the Constantinopolitan ulema think of the Somali leaders you mentioned?  Did they define policy towards them based only on the fact that they were Muslim?  What did ambassadors think of their cultural practices as compared to Turks?
 
Well no real study on the letters exchanged between the two groups has ever been done, and the opening up of private libraries in Somalia, in places like Amud, Maduna, Zeila and Merka would help us understand the Somali and Horn African viewpoint of the O.E as would the archives of the Ottomans themselves. The Ottomans however controlled places like Syria, Egypt and Yemen where sizable Somali communities of scholars, advisers and merchants were already present since the Fatimid period, so they would have been familiar with them. 
 
 
Quote Actually, I do have access to J-STOR and have a copy of this very article. Big smile
 
It has been a while since I looked at it, but I seem to recall that Hamdani says that the Ottoman desire to "conquer the New World" amounted to imperial propaganda and posturing against the Spanish and Portuguese. 
 
One of the main factors that stymied any real considerations of Ottoman exploration in the west was ideological.  The ulema maintained a very conservative "Old World" mindset as pertained to the expansion of Islam and the geographic conception of the extent of the world.
 
The aforementioned alternative historic moment of an Aztec/new world muslim polity requesting assistance from the Ottomans would change this conservative view because they as a Caliphate saw themselves responsible for all the muslims in the world.   
 
 
Quote This is what I have read too, in English at least, about the Piri Reis map.  I can't read Turkish so I know very little about what those scholars have to say.  Most of the geographic and demographic knowledge the Ottomans had of the Americas was filtered through European sources.  It is an amazing statement though by the Porte to label the Americas as an Ottoman province!
 
It's sad that a visionary man like Piri Reis was seen as the oddball of the Porte by his peers from other professions(architects, poets, painters etc) because an Ottoman foothold in the Americas would have benefited the Porte immensely both commercially and in terms of prestige.
 
Quote Are there any accounts of those Ottoman spies extant that talk about their findings on the European exploration projects?
 
Not that i know off, but i will see if i can find something on that. 
 
Quote You should check out this study of Ottoman knowledge of the Americas:
 
Goodrich, Thomas D. The Ottoman Turks and the New World: A Study of Tarih-I Hind-I Garbi and Sixteenth-Century Ottoman Americana.  Near and Middle East Monographs, New Series, no. 3. Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz, 1990.
 
 
Thanks, i will check my library for this bookSmile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2009 at 01:12
Originally posted by Prince of Zeila Prince of Zeila wrote:

The Ottomans never shied away from engaging the Portuguese, i bet if a Aztec/New world group - turned muslim - appealed to the Ottomans against the Iberians, that there would have been a Portuguese-Ottoman engagement somewhere in the Americas.
 
Yes, this would have been a very interesting situation, had the Aztecs or Mayans converted to Islam and the Ottomans gained a foothold in the Americas.  We discussed this some in the first thread from the Archives that I linked to above.
 
If Aztecs, with their ferocious warrior culture, were drafted into the ranks of the Janissaries, and took on the additional Ghazi jihadist culture of the Muslim conquerors, it would have been transformed into a formidable fighting force, indeed!
 
But a key question is how the ulema and the provincial administrators would react upon witnessing the Aztec culture and customs.  It would probably be something that they had not encountered before in the Old World and thus would not be equipped to deal with.
 
Originally posted by Prince of Zeila Prince of Zeila wrote:

Well no real study on the letters exchanged between the two groups has ever been done, and the opening up of private libraries in Somalia, in places like Amud, Maduna, Zeila and Merka would help us understand the Somali and Horn African viewpoint of the O.E as would the archives of the Ottomans themselves.
 
From what I understand, it is very difficult to gain access to the imperial archives, even for modern scholars doing legitimate research.  Only recently have European scholars been "trusted" enough to enter them.
 
But to examine works from private libraries in Somalia and other former provinces would indeed be a great leap forward in the research.  I imagine the linguistic abilities needed are very difficult to acquire, especially for non-native scholars used to just Turkish and indo-European languages.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2009 at 05:37
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

... 
Yes, this would have been a very interesting situation, had the Aztecs or Mayans converted to Islam and the Ottomans gained a foothold in the Americas.  We discussed this some in the first thread from the Archives that I linked to above.
 ...
 
I bet we discussed this point before, but there is something to be considered when studying what happened with the religion in the Spanish American territories; in particular in Mexico.
There is a factor that is very important which is called syncretism. To understand it we should analyze the Catholic region with same detail, which has a very important difference with the more abstract Protestant religions, and also with the Islam. In both cases, those abstract religions are sustained in words, and there is a rejection for images. In the case of the Catholic religion, the images were used to teach events for the analphabet people...
If you visit a Catholic church you will see it is full of scenes, and that people put candles and pray in front of images. This happens because that religion is highly symbolic and ritualistic, and use the symbolism as a way to teach the faith. In the ritual of the mass, for instance, the audience eat the body of Christ while the priest drink his blood. This is in the spiritual sense, of course, but the image is very powerful for the audience, and this ritual is central for this ancient religion.
The images of Christ on the cross, with all the details of the passion and death. A body tortured and bleeding in front of the audience, it is something normal for people that has grew up in that religion, and it is the symbol of the sacrifice of Jesus for mankind. It could be shocking, though, for people outside that religion.
 
Now, when the Spanish arrived to Mexico they discovered a society that practised regular human sacrifices, made to feed the Earth with the necesary blood, and to ensure the fertility of the crops.
The human sacrifices were made in a very ritualistic manner and remembered the Spaniards at once the crucifiction of Jesus Christ! The cannibalism practised by the priest with same members of the victims, also recalled them the mass!
 
Now, the Spaniards were forced by the crown to civilize or "Christianize" the natives. The priest did so by REPLACING the native symbolism and bloody rituals with the symbols of the Catholic church.
They did so by converting a native goddess into an "aspect" of the Virgin Mary, by transforming sacred pre-colombian sites in places where Catholic pilgrim marched, and by transforming the actual human sacrifices into the symbolic sacrifice of Jesus during the mass. It is very interesting that, even before the Spanish arrived, the natives of Mexico knew the Cross, which was asociated to Quetzalcoatl. The cross in the Americas usually represented the four directions of the compass (north, south, east and west).
 
In short, the assimilation of native Americans into Spanish religion was made easy by the symbolic similarities between both believes, which were used by the priests to teach the Gospel.
 
I am afraid other religions would have a very hard time to get in resonance with the native beliefs, in the same way the Catholic religion did.
 
Samples of similarities
 
Crucification of Quetzalcoatl:
Jesus'
 
Tonantzin, moon goddess of the Aztecs
 
 
Guadaloupe's Virgin.
 
-----
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Edited by pinguin - 12 Jul 2009 at 05:42
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eaglecap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2009 at 06:31
I am sure there are a lot of what ifs! What if the Spanish Armada had won there probably would not have been any English colonies etc
As it is the Ottomans did not discover the new world or colonize it. Now I am wondering what was their perceptions was while the Spanish galleons brought back gold and silver stolen from the Aztec and Incan empires. Still they made no effort to colonize the new world. Spain grew in power and being an enemy of the Ottoman Empire I am sure they had their own perception of the New World. It will be fun to read what people add here. I would like to know now darn it.
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I will have to take the time to read it post here but later at the college computer.
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Originally posted by eaglecap eaglecap wrote:

I am sure there are a lot of what ifs! What if the Spanish Armada had won there probably would not have been any English colonies etc
As it is the Ottomans did not discover the new world or colonize it. Now I am wondering what was their perceptions was while the Spanish galleons brought back gold and silver stolen from the Aztec and Incan empires. Still they made no effort to colonize the new world. Spain grew in power and being an enemy of the Ottoman Empire I am sure they had their own perception of the New World. It will be fun to read what people add here. I would like to know now darn it.
 
See, getting too caught up in "what-ifs" and alternative scenarios is definitely what I do not want to do in this thread.  We already did a lot of that in the ones I mentioned in the opening post.
 
What I would like to discuss, is what the Ottomans actually knew about the New World and other places that Europeans "discovered" and lands that Turkish admirals and travelers visited.  How did the Ottoman officials, the ulema, and intellectuals perceive and process the geographic and demographic information they acquired.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2009 at 06:58
Originally posted by eaglecap eaglecap wrote:

....Now I am wondering what was their perceptions was while the Spanish galleons brought back gold and silver stolen from the Aztec and Incan empires. Still they made no effort to colonize the new world. ...
 
What!! Amazing nonsense.
From the very beginning Spain send settlers to the New World in mass. Cuba was already a colonial outpost when the Spanish entered Mexico...Confused.  The Spaniards came from Cuba, and many brought with them theirs Cuban native women and theirs children.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2009 at 07:01
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

...See, getting too caught up in "what-ifs" and alternative scenarios is definitely what I do not want to do in this thread.  We already did a lot of that in the ones I mentioned in the opening post.
 
What I would like to discuss, is what the Ottomans actually knew about the New World and other places that Europeans "discovered" and lands that Turkish admirals and travelers visited.  How did the Ottoman officials, the ulema, and intellectuals perceive and process the geographic and demographic information they acquired.
 
I bet they knew quite a bit about the New World, for all that was known in Europe already reached easily the Ottoman Empire. In a very real sense, the Ottoman Empire was an European power more. The flux of people from Europe to Turkey and viceversa, I bet was very important. For instance, the navy and army of the Ottomans don't look much different from the Europeans of the time, at least in external aspect.
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Even if the Ottomans conquered Mexico and ruled it, there is simply no proof that they would actually actively convert those people to Islam or even if they did they would succeed.
 
The Ottomans ruled the Balkans with an Iron fist and with no contest for 400 years yet they did little to promote Islam except in the case of Albanians. Actually there is even proof that they didn't want those people to convert. Plus the Ottoman empire didn't have the enough people to rule those lands and if the Ottomans didn't bother themselves settling in the Ukraine steppe I doubt they would sail 10000 km to settle Mexico even if it had all the riches in the world.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2009 at 07:50
Al Jassas, thanks for replying.  Do you have any comments on the questions I originally posed?  I want to keep the discussion from veering off into alternative history.
 
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

1. What do the primary sources (i.e. travel accounts, imperial correspondence, etc.) say about lands and peoples on the fringes of or outside the Ottoman imperial pervue?  How might cultural and religious conditions color their perceptions differently than that of Europeans?
 
2. How do cartographic and geographic sources describe these lands and peoples?  Do maps and lists portray Ottoman perceptions, filtered European perceptions, or both?
 
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

What I would like to discuss, is what the Ottomans actually knew about the New World and other places that Europeans "discovered" and lands that Turkish admirals and travelers visited.  How did the Ottoman officials, the ulema, and intellectuals perceive and process the geographic and demographic information they acquired.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Jul 2009 at 11:13
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

I bet they knew quite a bit about the New World, for all that was known in Europe already reached easily the Ottoman Empire. In a very real sense, the Ottoman Empire was an European power more. The flux of people from Europe to Turkey and viceversa, I bet was very important. For instance, the navy and army of the Ottomans don't look much different from the Europeans of the time, at least in external aspect.
 
What kind of information about the Americas had reached the Ottomans from Europe?  Do you think it was more of the fantastical stories or actual geographic and demographic data?
 
Piri Reis' map does look pretty good so he must have had access to a good source.
 
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Bumped, in case anyone wants to discuss this topic. Star
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kapikulu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Oct 2009 at 13:06
Originally posted by Prince of Zeila Prince of Zeila wrote:

It's sad that a visionary man like Piri Reis was seen as the oddball of the Porte by his peers from other professions(architects, poets, painters etc) because an Ottoman foothold in the Americas would have benefited the Porte immensely both commercially and in terms of prestige.
 
 
The whole issue is somewhat neglected in the Turkish literature, and the material is not really easily found or widespread.
 
However, a few words about Piri...It is true that he was a visionary man, however his downfall is brought by failure. The lack of success in the Ottoman attempt(actually initiated by Piri) to establish a naval base nearby the Persian Gulf and counter the Portuguese in the Indian Ocean also brought the downfall of Piri.
 
Meanwhile, for similar reasons discussed a bit in the other topic "Ottoman Perception of the Americas" before, I am not really sure if the Ottomans would really be able to establish some sort of foothold in the Americas considering the general structure and the state of the Empire at the time. Ottoman ships were not suitable for the long-range sailing, and Ottomans did not use this technology intensively, even if they had it in a sufficient substance(which I doubt). In any case, the Ottoman Empire was financially shrinking day by day after the era of Suleiman the Magnificent, so the financial capacity of the empire to build such a navy which can compete with its European counterparts seems insufficient, considering that the empire had to be also involved in multiple other issues . With the defeat in Lepanto, the Ottomans had to concentrate their efforts on rebuilding a huge fleet to maintain the control in the Mediterranean; and with the failure in the Indian Ocean and the beginning of the long series of wars against the Safavids, which would be followed with the ones against Austria, even if such an idea existed, it was possibly thrown into the trash bin.


Edited by Kapikulu - 21 Oct 2009 at 13:09
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pabbicus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Oct 2009 at 13:16
To go a little off topic, one thing I've noticed about the turks is that they seem to have forgotten their ancient homeland during their conquests of byzantium, and they never made any general push for control of the asian interior steppes that the turkic people originated in. Has this not aroused some level of curiousity in anyone else?

Edited by Pabbicus - 21 Oct 2009 at 13:16
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Knives Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Oct 2009 at 01:18
They actually did to an extent, the Ottomans expanded right to Crimea at points, which is but a bit west of their origin.. unless I am wrong. 

I am afraid I am going to have to disagree with you on a minor note Kapikulu, the Ottoman vessels were, actually quite good for their time, there was a naval rivalry between the Ottoman Empire and the European powers in regards to their ships, though this mostly involved the weapons (such as one Christian man coming up with cannon that fired square bullets to fight the turks, as square bullets were considered more damaging). The Ottoman Ships were capable of sailing to Ireland and assuming you stocked up in that general area, perhaps made port in an unclaimed Island they'd have been able to reach the Americas. 

It was actually Ottoman naval superiority that led to the discovering of America (admittedly I am moving into a little theory here), see they owned most of the trade routes to the middle east and Asia, and the European powers despite some pretty strong efforts could not remove the Ottoman's dominance of oceans south and east of Greece. To gain better access to trade goods in Asia they tried to sale around the world to Asia but as we know, Christopher Columbus hit the Americas by accident.

Assuming the Ottoman vessels were so outclassed and out of date, this would not have been necessary as it would have made conquering a route through the Middle East so much easier to just dispatch their naval forces. 

Though you are right, the idea they could establish a foothold is, very difficult to justify, for once they got there they'd have been incredibly vulnerable to the Christian colonies. 

Having said that, they really had very little motive to go to the "New Worlds" after all, they had plenty of room around to expand, plenty of war to keep them occupied and if they really wanted to colonize , they'd have probably chosen the unclaimed areas of Africa. 


Edited by Knives - 22 Oct 2009 at 01:21
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Oct 2009 at 05:07
Originally posted by Kapikulu Kapikulu wrote:

The whole issue is somewhat neglected in the Turkish literature, and the material is not really easily found or widespread.
 
Good to see you are still active at AE, Kapikulu!
 
Indeed.  It is a shame because the topic is quite interesting!  However, I am happy to report that new work is being done on Ottoman knowledge of other lands by an American scholar named Giancarlo Casale.  His new book is coming out next year.
 
Casale, Giancarlo. The Ottoman Age of Exploration. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
 
 
Originally posted by Kapikulu Kapikulu wrote:

Meanwhile, for similar reasons discussed a bit in the other topic "Ottoman Perception of the Americas" before, I am not really sure if the Ottomans would really be able to establish some sort of foothold in the Americas considering the general structure and the state of the Empire at the time.
 
You did take part in that discussion and I was grateful that you did.  I mentioned the two threads that were at the old site in the OP.
 
As I mentioned, I want to take a different approach in this thread.  We have already discussed the "what ifs" and why the Ottomans did not undertake actual sea voyages to the Americas.  I would like to move on to these questions:
 
Originally posted by Byzantine Emperor Byzantine Emperor wrote:

What I would like to discuss, is what the Ottomans actually knew about the New World and other places that Europeans "discovered" and lands that Turkish admirals and travelers visited.  How did the Ottoman officials, the ulema, and intellectuals perceive and process the geographic and demographic information they acquired.
 
1. What do the primary sources (i.e. travel accounts, imperial correspondence, etc.) say about lands and peoples on the fringes of or outside the Ottoman imperial pervue?  How might cultural and religious conditions color their perceptions differently than that of Europeans?
 
2. How do cartographic and geographic sources describe these lands and peoples?  Do maps and lists portray Ottoman perceptions, filtered European perceptions, or both?
 
So please, lets examine these questions.  I appreciate the renewed interest in this topic and look forward to the discussion.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Dec 2009 at 03:47
Bumped, in case anyone is still interested. Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Dec 2009 at 04:13
The problem with the thread, BE, comes from the underlying assumption: "perception" of the New World(s)". The Ottoman were certainly not ignorant of geography. And to the degree that the Americas--or European navigation Eastward/Westward--challenged the economic interests of their "empire", actual effects during the course of the 17th century were minimal. One need only study the Habesh and how the Turk emerged victorious in their economic clash with the Portuguese. Perhaps if we look at the work of Salih Ozbaran on just this period, we might employ it as a take-off point:
 
The Ottoman Response to European Expansion: Studies on Ottoman-Portuguese Relations in the Indian Ocean and Ottoman Adminsitration in the Arab Lands During the Sixteenth Century (Istanbul: Isis Press, 1994).
 
Here is an interesting on-line essay on the "Rumes" (Turks):
 
Ottomans as 'Rumes' in Portuguese sources in the sixteenth century
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DayI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Mar 2010 at 06:27
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

The problem with the thread, BE, comes from the underlying assumption: "perception" of the New World(s)". The Ottoman were certainly not ignorant of geography. And to the degree that the Americas--or European navigation Eastward/Westward--challenged the economic interests of their "empire", actual effects during the course of the 17th century were minimal. One need only study the Habesh and how the Turk emerged victorious in their economic clash with the Portuguese. Perhaps if we look at the work of Salih Ozbaran on just this period, we might employ it as a take-off point:
 
The Ottoman Response to European Expansion: Studies on Ottoman-Portuguese Relations in the Indian Ocean and Ottoman Adminsitration in the Arab Lands During the Sixteenth Century (Istanbul: Isis Press, 1994).
 
Here is an interesting on-line essay on the "Rumes" (Turks):
 
Ottomans as 'Rumes' in Portuguese sources in the sixteenth century
 
 
 
couldnt find the article youve posted, can you post me an better link?
 
A funny question;
Can Turks and Caicos islands be an evidence for Ottoman foothold in the Americas?
 
Quote

HOW WAS TURKS & CAICOS ISLANDS NAME DERIVED?

The popular story is the name Turks being derived after the indigenous Turk's Head "fez" cactus, pictured on the left, and the name Caicos, a Lucayan term "caya hico," meaning string of islands.

A more romantic, origin of the name is a reflection of the Islands' pirate history, when 17th and 18th century pirates used the islands as hideouts and preyed upon the passing Spanish treasure ships bound for Europe. The term "Turk" for a pirate stemmed two centuries earlier when the Ottoman Empire dominated the Mediterranean and Turkish corsairs harried European Atlantic shipping, thus translated "Turks" Islands becomes "Pirate" Islands!

strange...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Mar 2010 at 11:43
Dayl, that link works fine. Are you sure you are "navigating" correctly since the site opens to the beginning of the ten page extract from Portuguese Studies (2001). The only other link would be through JSTOR but you would have to have a membership for that venue.
 
As for your query on the name of the islands, I am afraid the preying on "passing" Spanish Treasure ships would have been a fruitless affair. Their navigation routes are hopelessly distant. What might be of interest is the fact that in the 1500 Portolan chart of Juan de La Cosa there are islets in what would be their proper location. Nevertheless, these islets (as with the Lucayas as a whole) were dismissed as unimportant quite early in the Age of Exploration. As for pirates, there certainly were no "safe anchorages" on Grand Turk.
 
Here is a 1702 French Map:
 
 
 
The notion of Ottomans in the Americas, whether foot or toe hold, should be left to the conspiratorial crazies.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Mar 2010 at 12:43
DayI! It's been a long, long time. I'm glad to see you on the forum again, and greatly looking forward to your contributions to discussions on Ottoman history. Welcome back! Smile
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2010 at 14:51
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

The problem with the thread, BE, comes from the underlying assumption: "perception" of the New World(s)". The Ottoman were certainly not ignorant of geography. And to the degree that the Americas--or European navigation Eastward/Westward--challenged the economic interests of their "empire", actual effects during the course of the 17th century were minimal.
 
Thank you for the reply, drgonzaga.  In defense of my choice of words, I think "perception" is an accurate term to describe that which the Ottomans had about New World(s).  Indeed, they did become privy to a variety of different information on these lands and their peoples, whether it was from actual maps or the descriptions of people who had been there.  Still, though, the way they processed this information and commented on it was through different lenses - religious, cultural, linguistic, and so on.  The product is a perception of the lands and its peoples.
 
The references are helpful and I encourage others to have a look at them as well.  I am quite aware of Ozbaran's work.  My purpose is to generate discussion on this topic, which I find quite interesting.
 
Originally posted by Dayl Dayl wrote:

A funny question;
Can Turks and Caicos islands be an evidence for Ottoman foothold in the Americas?
 
Welcome back to AE, Dayl!  As for the name of the Turks and Caicos islands, while they do seem to be sort of anomaly, it is stretching out on a limb to call it an "Ottoman foothold".  Now, there is evidence of Ottomans and Turks in the Americas before immigration surge of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.   However, they were mainly limited to captured slaves on European ships or their descendents the "Melungeons".
 
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