The Ottoman Empire during the nineteenth century was one of the most, if not the most powerful empire of its time. The empires rule stretched from central Europe and went as far down as Egypt, but the early twentieth century brought the Ottomans power to a steady decline.  The strong and lengthy aristocratic rule had led to corruption within the high levels of government, and the Sultan Hamid II refusal to embrace new political and social reforms led to an even more fractured state. The Ottoman Empire’s corrupt government and weak financial status drove the empire to look to private investors and western governments for money in order to finance their activities. Eventually, the Ottomans fell into massive debts with the financiers, to the extent that, by the twentieth century, foreign investors held a considerable part of the state. By the early twentieth century, the once-great empire was crumbling under the strong Nationalist thoughts that were taking over their European and African territories. In 1914, the great Ottomans became known as the “sick man of Europe,” a sad but telling sign of the empires social and political unrest and their great decline in power. Go to the link below for a quick and easy overview of the role nationalism had in the decline of the power of the Ottoman Empire.


Emerging Middle East

Sick Man of EuropeMap: Ottoman Empire 1914





Frankforter, A. Danial, and William M. Spellman. “The Consolidation of Nation-States.” The West: A Narrative History. Vol. 2. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2013. 606-08. Print.

“The Ottoman Empire 1914 – The Sick Man of Europe.” PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2015. <>.


3 Comments so far

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