The Beginnings of Ottoman Power

The immediate consequence of the collapse of the Seljuks State was the autonomy – and subsequent indepance – of the oudj or frontier marches to the west, nort, and south of Anatolia. These were ruled by beys or emirs who turned their estates into emirates or beyliks. These beys were very acticefrom the begining of the 14th century both against Byzantium and their coreligions and sought aggradisement at the expence of their neighbours, whether Christian or Moslem. It was not until the second half of the 14th century that one of them attained an uncontested superioriority over the others. This happened when the successors of the bey Osman succeeded in eliminating pracrically all their opponents in Asia Minor and thus made possible the creation of an Ottoman Empire.

The principal beyliks that grew up in the western part of Anatolia were those of Karasi (region of Balikesir and the southern shore of the Sea of Marmora), of Saruhan of Aydin and of Menteshe (region of Mugla). The firstthree organized incursions into Byzantine territory; Umur, one of the beys of Aydin, was a remarkable diplomat and war leader and intervened in the internal conflicts of Byzantium, supparting John VI Cantacuzino against John V Palaeologus. Behind this first line of beyliks there were, from north to south, the beyliks of Osman (round Sogut), Sahib Ata (at Afyon Karahisar) and Hamid (Antalya-Egridir). the largest – apart from that of the Ottomans – was that ofGermiyan which was the principal emirate of west-central Anatolia. The emirate of Karasi disappeared round about 1345 when it was absorbed by the Ottomans, the others round about 1390 as a result of Ottoman conquest.
In the northern part of Asia Minor, along the Black Sea, were the beyliks of Isfendiyar, Pervane and Eretna. The first, which annexed the territory ofPervane (Sinop region) in 1322, stretched from Safranbolu. to Bafra; the last, the offspring of a Mongol province, held the regions from Samsun to Sivas; one of its rulers, Burhan ed-Din Ahmed, was a jurist and man of letters and also an excellent administrator. However, his beylik like that of Isfendiyar, was subjected by the Ottomans at the end of the 14th century.
The Ottomans themselves were the offspring of an Oguz tribe that came to Anatolia at the same time as the Seljuks or at the beginning of the 13th century. Little is konwn of their origins, which later chroniclers enhanced in order to flatter the powerful ghrul, the father of Osman family. It is probable that Ertughrul, the father Osman, was a minor military chief in the service of the Seljuk Sultan Kajkobad I, from whom he obtained as a fief the Sogut region on the Byzantine frontier, on the middle reaches of the Sakarya. His son, Osman, succeeded him round 1290. Ottoman historians have greatly stressed the influence of the religions circles surrounding him, and these were probably connected with movement of the Ghazis, a religious group aiming at the destruction of the Infidel. It was chiefly against the him to occupy the whole of central and eastern Bithynia. His sucriors who wanted to join in the struggle against the Greeks, and won him the active sympathy of the dervishes. Since he was the initiator of Turkish expansion, it is appropriate that he should have given his name to the dynasty of “Osmanli” which was corrupted into “Ottoman” by the West.
The exact date of his death is not konwn, but it was probably before 1325. In any case, his son Orkhan took over the command of the army as erly as 1317 and to him goes the credit of turning the bylik of Osman into a powerful state and especially of obtaining the first European footholds of the future Ottoman Empire. His first great exploit was the capture of Brusa (Bursa) which he made his capital and where he had his father buried. Iznik (Nicaea) fell into his hands in 1331 and Izmit (Nicomedia) in1337. He reached the shores of the Sea of Marmara and then occupied the beylik of Karasi (1345). Even more noteworthy is the fact that the Basileus John VI Cantacuzeno – after losing the support of Umur of Aydin – sought an alliance with Orkhan and gave him his daughter Theodora in marriage; in return, Orkhan sent his troops to help him against the Bulgars and Serbs. These troops were entrusted to Suleiman, the eldest son of Orkhan, who was thus the first Otooman to come into Europe (1346 and 1349). In 1353 Orkhan intervened inthe Byzantine dynastic disputes and took advantege of them to obtain possesion of Chimpe (Djimenlik). When an earthquake in 1354 destroyed the fortifications of Gallipoli, Suleiman conquered the town which – situated as it was on the European shore of the Dardanelles – constituted an excellent base for operations in Europe. The Ottomans consolidated their position by occupying a number of towns in eastern Thrace. In 1356 Suleiman died in a hunting accident; Orkhan himself died in 1359. His second son, Murad succeeded witout difficulty.
Orkhan was not only the true founder of Ottoman power but also the organizer of its administration. In this work he was helped by his brother Ala ud-Din and the chiefs of the principal families that had rallied to the Ottomans. He instituted the Divan where the cihief military and administrative officials met, created a coinage, the akche, and set up a strong regular army. Orkhan himself, on the other hand, was personlly modest, very close to his companions and the people of his tribe. Unlike his son Murad I, he called himself only bey or emir, and not sultan. But he had a strong personality, was astonishingly clearsighted, and nobody questioned his authority as ruler.

Murad I and Bayezid I 
Murad I alsowas noteworhty sovereign and one of the architects of Ottoman  expansion in eastern Europe. Thereatened at his accession by the Karamandis of the Ankara region, he drove back his enemies and crushed them so thoroughly that he colud turn his attention to Europe without fear. Between 1360 and 1362 he conquered the whole of Thrace, including the town of Adrianople (Edirne) which he made his capital in 1365, occupied southern Bulgaria, and in 1363 defeated a coalition consisting of the King of Hungray, the rules of Bosnia, Serbia and Wallachia, and Pope Urban V. The master of extensive territories in the Balkans, he recruited soldiers there as well as children who were brought up as Turks and enrolled in the corps of Janissaries or trained as pages for his palace or as administrative officials. For more than tenty years he advanced systematically in Balkans: Serres, Drama, Kavala, Nish, Sofia, and Salonika fell successively into his power. During a decisive battle against the Serbs at Kosova the was assassinated by a Serb, Milosh Kobilovich (20 June 1389). The Serbs were nevertheless defeated, while the Grand Vizier Ali Pasha, who had defeated the Bulgars, occupied the whole of Bulgaria.
In Asia Minor, Murad I had incorporated in his state a part of the territory of Germiyan, which had been brought as a dowry to his son Bayezid (1381) by th daugher of the bey of Germiyan, and the territory of Hamid. Thus, the bey of Karaman became his immediate neighbour to the east. At his death the Ottoman Empire was firmly astablished on both sides of the Sea of Marmora, stretching in Europe to the frontiers of Albania and Serbia and the confines of Constantinople; in Asia it extended over almost the whole of western Anatolia. All the conquered countries were divided into provinces or sanjaks under the authority of the beylerbeyi of Anatolia and Rumelia, who were themselves under that of the grand vizier, a post first created under Murad I. The first grand vizier was Hayr ud-Din Djendereli, whose son was also a grand vizier. By its conquests the Ottoman state had grown rich in men adn resources; the first monumental Ottoman buildings were being erected, marking the transition between the Seljuk buildings and the great Ottoman period of the 15th and 16th centuries.