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Tanzimat Reforms in the 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 Hapsburgs 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. Mahmud's successors followed with the Tanzimat, or "reorganization," a sweeping set of reforms designed to modernize and Westernize the Ottoman Empire.

Every Islamic people or state had a different experience with Western influence according to its particular circumstances and history---wholesale emulation and adoption of Western ideas and institutions. This reaction is best exemplified by Muhammad Ali, pasha of Egypt from 1805-1849 and Mahmoud II, whose Tanzimat reforms modernized the Ottoman government, but failed to produce an economically sound or politically powerful state.

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

3 pages

1. Rhode Island College. The Tanzimat Reforms and the Problems and Political Reforms.
2. Tanzimat Reforms.
3. Looklex. Tanzimat Reforms.

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Dear Student,
Thank you for using BrainMass. The solution below should get you started. In this particular task, you are being asked to discuss what the Tanzimat Reforms are and if they allowed for Middle Eastern development. I am going to assume that you are, through your studies, now familiar with the history of Turkey and the Middle East and focus on the main question on hand. I suggest using this simple outline:

1. About the Ottoman Empire - 200 words
2. The Tanzimat Reforms (explanation, including historical background and application) - 400 words
3. Political & Overall Impact - 300 words (here, answer the question of its effectiveness in catching up with the West)

I have listed these resources below and you can visit them to further explore the topic. All the best with your studies. Your solution is attached as a word-document. Just let me know via the feedback section if you need further clarification.


About the Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire, at its height controlled a good part of South-eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Anatolia - that landmass we call Asia Minor that includes present-day Turkey, Syria, parts of Armenia, Georgia, Iran and Iraq. This massive territory means that the Empire that began in 1299 and dissolved in 1923 is multicultural with a Muslim majority and minority groups of Christians, Jews, Armenians, Assyrians, and Coptic Egyptians, etc.. Within its Muslim contingent, the largest entity is also subdivided from the Sunni Turkish minority living in Anatolia and the Shia Muslims and further divided into ethnicity (i.e. Arab, Kurd, etc.) With the Ottoman Empire being one centered on faith - which is Islam, for sometime all these cultures came to live and work together in peace, a period then known as the Pax Ottoman where ...

Solution Summary

The expert examines tanzimat reforms in the Middle East. The difficult challenges and the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire is provided.