Turkey, Or, The Ottoman Empire (Turk. Osmanli Vilayeti), a country extending over parts of southeastern Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa. It consists of the absolute possessions of the sultan (Turkey proper) and of his dependencies, the latter embracing the tributary states of Roumania, Servia, Sanies, and Egypt, and the' nominal dependencies Tripoli, Tunis, and Montenegro. Turkey proper, usually* divided into Turkey in Europe (situated between lat. 34° 45' and 45° 30' N., and Ion. 15° 40' and 29° 40' E.) and Turkey in Asia (between lat. 12° 40' and 42° 5' N., and Ion. 24° 50' and 51° E.), borders on Austria, Servia, Roumania, European Russia, the Black sea, Russia in Asia, Persia, the Persian gulf, Arabia, the Red sea, Egypt, the Mediterranean, the Archipelago, Greece, the Ionian sea, the Adriatic, and Montenegro. Its political divisions (mostly vilayets) in Europe are the metropolitan district of Constantinople, Edirneh or Adrianople (Roumelia or Thrace), the principality of Tuna or the Danube (Bulgaria), Salonica (Macedonia), Janina (Thessaly and Albania), Prisrend (Albania), Scutari (formerly part of Prisrend), Bosnia (including Turkish Croatia), Herzegovina (until lately part of Bosnia), and Candia or Crete. The divisions of Turkey proper in Asia are the Asiatic portion of the metropolitan district, Khodavendighiar or Brusa, Aidin, Konieh, Angora, Kastamuni, Trebizond, Sivas, and Adana, all in Asia Minor; Erzerum (Armenia), Diarbekir (Kurdistan), Bagdad (Irak Arabi), Aleppo (N. Syria), Sur or Syria (central Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine), Hedjaz and Yemen (in W. Arabia), Hedjer (in E. Arabia), and the islands of the White sea (Archipelago). The aggregate area of Turkey proper in Europe is about 140,000 sq. m., and in Asia 760,000 sq. m.

The population of the former is about 8,500,000, and of the latter 13,200,000. The aggregate area of the dependencies is estimated at about 1,300,000 sq. m., and their aggregate population at about 26,000,000; but all statistics relating to Turkey are necessarily imperfect in the absence of regular official returns. The most important cities in Turkey proper, besides Constantinople, the capital, are Adrianople and Salonica in Europe, and Smyrna, Damascus, Bagdad, Beyrout, Aleppo, Brusa, Erzerum, and Trebizond, in Asia. - The coasts of Turkey proper are washed by the Black sea, the Bosporus, the sea of Marmora, the Dardanelles, the Archipelago, the Mediterranean, the Ionian sea, the Adriatic, the Red sea, and the Persian gulf. This vast extent of coast embraces many excellent harbors. It is indented by numerous gulfs and bays, of which some of the principal are the gulfs of Avlona, Arta, and Salonica, in Europe; Adramyti, Smyrna, Adalia, and Iskanderun, in Asia. Large salt lakes abound, chiefly in Asiatic Turkey, the most remarkable being the Dead sea in Palestine and Lake Van in Armenia. The rivers of Turkey in Europe may be classed under three heads: those flowing respectively into the Adriatic and Ionian seas, into the Archipelago, and into the Black sea.

The first class are usually small, rising near the coast range of mountains; the Narenta, Drin, and Voyutza are the principal. To the second class belong the Salembria, Vardar, Struma, Kara-su, and Maritza; to the third, the Danube with its tributaries and a few small rivers. The rivers of xlsiatic Turkey include those flowing into the Black sea, the Archipelago, the Mediterranean, the Red sea, and the Persian gulf, and the Jordan, which empties into the Dead sea. The principal rivers flowing into the Black sea are the Tchoruk, Yeshil Irmak, Kizil Irmak, and Sakaria. Those discharging into the Archipelago or the Mediterranean are small, but of historical interest, as the Menderes (Mseander), Tersus (Cydnus), Aasy (Orontes), and Litany (Leontes). The streams falling into the Red sea are insignificant, but among those flowing into the Persian gulf are the Euphrates and Tigris with their numerous tributaries. Turkey proper includes Thasos, Scio (Chios), Samos, and other islands of the Archipelago and sea of Marmora, as well as Oandia, Rhodes, and Cyprus. - The three principal mountain ranges in European Turkey proper, which form the great watersheds between the different basins of the country, are: 1. The Illyrico-Hellenic or western range, comprising the Dinaric Alps, a continuation of the Julian Alps, which separate the Adriatic coast from the basin of the Save, and the Pindic chain, connected on the north with the preceding, separating Albania from Macedonia and Thessaly, uniting with the Olympian chain on the south, and forming the watershed between the Ionian and Aegean seas; Mt. Ida in Candia is considered an isolated branch of the southern continuation of this chain. 2. The Balkan or Haemus range, branching off from the preceding N. E. of Albania, dividing Macedonia and Thrace from Bulgaria, and terminating in Cape Emineh on the Black sea.

Its most important branch is the Despoto Dagh. (See Balkan.) Others connect it with the S. E. Carpathians, which separate the tributary state of Roumania from the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The mountain system of Asiatic Turkey is composed of the Taurus and Anti-Taurus ranges and their Armenian continuations, which form the connecting link between the Balkan system and the mountain systems of Syria, Caucasia, and Persia; and the Syrian range, extending southward from the Taurus, culminating in the Lebanon mountains, and terminating in the Sinaitic peninsula, on the shore of the Red sea. - The surface of European Turkey is undulating or mountainous, but with a largo proportion of arable land of moderate elevation. Much of Asiatic Turkey consists of elevated plateaus, many of them scantily watered, while other regions once very fertile are now covered by the sands of the desert. The plains, which embrace the once wonderfully fertile tracts of Babylonia and almost all Mesopotamia, generally suffer from want of irrigation; and though the slopes of the mountains afford good pasturage, the raids of Bedouins and Kurds diminish the production.

In European Turkey about 40 per cent, of the area is arable and vine land, 6 per cent, meadows, 11 per cent, grass land, 14 per cent, forests, and 29 per cent, unproductive soil. Turkey in Europe is subject to violent climatic changes. Owing to the elevation of considerable portions and to the cold N. E. winds from the interior of Russia, the winter is in many parts excessively cold. Albania, being sheltered from the N. E. winds by mountains, has a more uniform climate, but is subject to scorching heats, protracted droughts, and earthquakes. In Asiatic Turkey (outside the Arabian districts), the winter is cold and humid in the mountainous regions, but in the sheltered valleys and plains it is warm and delightful. The summer heats are excessive, especially in Asia Minor and Syria. The valley of the Jordan and the regions of the Euphrates and Tigris are intolerably hot and dry in summer. Little or no rain falls from April to the middle of September, but the night dews are heavy. The peaks of Mt. Ararat and of the higher summits of the Lebanon and Taurus ranges are covered with perpetual snow. - The principal mineral productions of European Turkey are iron in great abundance, argentiferous galena, copper, sulphur, salt, and alum.

In Asiatic Turkey, there are copper, lead, alum, silver, emery, and rock salt, in Armenia; in Asia Minor, all these and considerable quantities of nitre; in Syria, iron and coal, and west of the Jordan indurated chalk. Much emery is produced, and exported from Smyrna, but the mineral resources of Asiatic Turkey are in general undeveloped. - The chief botanical characteristic of both European and Asiatic Turkey is the predominance of the labiates, caryophyllaceoe, and ericaceoe or heaths, of coniferous evergreens, and of the amentaceous trees common to the south of Europe. In the basin of the Danube the pine, beech, oak, lime, and ash are the principal forest trees, and the apple, pear, cherry, and apricot the most common fruit trees. In the provinces S. of the Balkan these trees are only found on the slopes of the mountains, while on the lower lands the palm, maple, almond, sycamore, walnut, chestnut, and carob trees, and the box, myrtle, laurel, and other evergreens, are found; in Bosnia are large forests of fir and pine; the maritime plains of Albania are favorable to the growth of the olive, orange, citron, vine, peach, plum, and other fruit trees; and the plain of Adrianople and most of the region S. of the Balkan abound in roses, from which the attar is largely distilled.

Maize is cultivated in the south, rice, cotton, rye, and barley in the central provinces, and wheat, barley, and millet in the north. Though producing forest trees of the same families with those of European Turkey, the predominant trees of Asiatic Turkey are of different genera. The cedar, cypress, and evergreen oak crown the lower summits and thrive on the slopes of the Lebanon and Taurus; the sycamore and mulberry occupy the lower hills, and the olive, fig, citron, orange, pomegranate, and vine flourish luxuriantly in the lowlands. Mesopotamia abounds in dates, and in wheat, barley, rice, maize, tobacco, hemp, flax, and cotton. - Among wild animals of European Turkey are the wild boar, bear, badger, marten, wolf, wild dog, fox, civet, wild cat, bat, squirrel, beaver, hedgehog, mole, hare, fallow deer, roe, and chamois. Of birds there are over 250 species, including about 100 songsters. Game is plentiful, especially in the mountains. Fish are numerous, embracing all the known species of the Mediterranean; tunny, coral, and sponge fisheries are extensive; trout and other fish abound in the rivers, and leeches in the marshes.

In Asiatic Turkey, the lion is still found E. of the Euphrates; the striped hyaena, lynx, panther, wild boar, and wild ass occur in Mesopotamia; the bear, wolf, wild hog, and jackal in Asia Minor; the leopard, hedgehog, jerboa, wolf, hare, and mole throughout Syria; and the Syrian bear on Mt. Lebanon. The camel, horses of the best breeds, the ass, ox, sheep, and goats, including the celebrated Angora species, are numerous. There are few countries for which nature has done as much as for Turkey; few in which the resources are so little developed; and, considering that the territories of the empire embrace those of ancient Assyria, Babylonia, Palestine, Phoenicia, Lydia, Ionia, etc, hardly any in which successive wars and misrule have destroyed so much of the results of former activity, wealth, and magnificence. For fuller descriptions see the articles on the separate parts of the empire (Albania, Armenia, Asia Minor, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Candia, Cyprus, &c), and on its principal mountain ranges, rivers, and cities. - The races of Turkey are divided approximately as follows:

Turkey Or The Ottoman Empire Turk Osmanli Vilayeti 160033


In Europe.

In Asia.

Turks proper or Osmanlis



Turkomans, chiefly in N. Mesopotamia








Slavs (half Bulgarians, half Serbs

3,550 000

Roumans or Wallachs


Albanians or Arnauts................




Syrians and Chaldeans








• • • • • • •










The state religion is Mohammedan, and the alleged sayings and opinions of the prophet, and the decisions of his immediate successors comprised in the code of laws (Multeka), are binding upon the sultan. The laws and regulations (Kannon Nameh) established in the 16th century by Solyman the Magnificent constituted for a long period the basis of the administration of government and justice, and are still revered. But the Koran alone is the supreme authority in religion, law, and all spheres of government and life. It allows four wives, in addition to whom the sultan and other persons of rank and wealth may have unlimited numbers of concubines and female attendants or slaves. The masses of the poor can hardly support more than one wife, and even among the higher classes polygamy does not generally prevail. The rigid confinement of the females in the harem is in accordance with the Koran, which enjoins seclusion and modesty, and the veiling of the face. The ladies of the higher classes are averse to these restrictions, and are lightly veiled; but the masses of the orthodox Turkish women, especially in the interior, wear thick veils and reveal only the eyes.

The Turks proper or Osmanlis, the Turkomans, Arabs, and Tartars are wholly, and the Kurds mostly Mohammedans; and a small portion of the Slavic race are of the same religion. The Mohammedans constitute a vast majority in Asiatic Turkey, but are a minority in every European vilayet except Prisrend and Scutari and the metropolitan district. The sultan is regarded as the successor of the prophet, and on that account as the head of all believers. Even rulers of remote Mohammedan communities have at various times recognized the sultan as the chief of all Mussulmans and invoked his protection. As the Koran constitutes both a code of law, of religion, and of ethics, there is a close connection between the ministers of religion and the interpreters of jurisprudence (muftis, mollahs, &c). Together these form the body of the ulema (see Ulema), governed by the sheikh ul-Islam, the only dignitary who holds office for life. The Christians of Turkey belong mostly to the Greek church, including about 6,000,000 members, mostly subject to the patriarch of Constantinople. The Armenian church is confined to the Armenian race. The head of the Gregorian Armenians is the patriarch in the Turkish capital, who ranks below the catholicos in Russian Armenia, but is otherwise entirely independent of him.

A portion of the Greeks and Armenians, Nestorians, and Jacobites have united with the Roman Catholic church, but keep up separate organizations as united Greeks, united Bulgarians, united Armenians, Chaldeans, united Syrians, and Maronites. The number of Roman Catholics, inclusive of the members of the oriental churches who recognize the supremacy of the pope, is estimated at about 300,000 in European and from 300,000 to 400,000 in Asiatic Turkey. All these denominations, as well as the Protestants (whose converts are chiefly won from the Armenians by American missionaries) and the Jews, are recognized by the sultan as independent religious communities, with the privilege of maintaining their own ecclesiastical organizations. Among the numerous peculiar sects are the Druses and Ansaries in Syria. The antagonism between the various religious bodies is stronger in Turkey than anywhere else, and they are far from observing toward each other the tolerance which is granted to them by the government. A new educational law promulgated in 1869 provided for the establishment of elementary schools for both sexes in every commune, of schools of a higher grade and gymnasiums or colleges in larger towns, of industrial and normal schools, and of a university, after German models, which was opened in Constantinople in February, 1870. There have since been established there a school of law, a military school, one for engineers, and one of artillery, and a naval school on the island of Khalki in the sea of Marmora. The government has declared its intention to make the schools more and more national, and to abolish the old Arabian system of instruction.

Outside of the capital the progress of education is slow, chiefly owing to the innate aversion of the Turkish mind for mental effort. The government, however, seeks to promote national literature, and recently passed a copyright law. The Christian communities strive to emulate European systems of education, especially the Greeks and the Protestants, and there are several good Catholic schools; but the most efficient institutions are the Robert college (American) at Constantinople, the new Protestant college at Beyrout, and the schools of the Prussian deaconesses in various places. - The empire abounds in archaeological treasures. The most important results have been achieved in the present century by the excavations in Assyria, Asia Minor, Palestine, and Cyprus. - Turkey contains a number of foreign (called Frank) or extra-territorial communities, placed under the protection of resident diplomatic and consular agents. They originated in the Levant trading companies, many of the early English, French, Italian, German, and other settlers and adventurers becoming permanent residents; and their numbers have been greatly increased by the rapid progress of European monopolies in railways, finance, trade, and industry, and in all Turkish enterprises.

The representation of foreign powers in Turkey dates from the 16th century, and has been protected by the socalled "capitulations" and subsequent treaty stipulations, affording full safety to diplomatic and consular officers, and vesting them with judicial powers and every right necessary to the interests of their constituencies. These include the richest Greek and English merchants, whose influence is almost boundless through their ambassadors and consuls. The native Christian subjects are called rayahs, and, whether Greeks or Slavs, chiefly belong to the Greek church, of the principal branch of which the czar is the supreme head, whence results the great influence of Russia. The social equality which prevails among the Mussulmans enables persons of the lowest condition to rise to the highest; but the rayahs have had no such opportunities, and, in addition to their hard struggles for subsistence, they have borne the brunt of Moslem fanaticism since the conquest of Constantinople, when the most influential Greeks (Fanariotes) made themselves serviceable to their conquerors, while the masses of the Christians were regarded as outlaws.

Shut out from all contact with European civilization, they lost their mental energy and ambition, and became infected with Asiatic vices without acquiring the redeeming qualities of independence possessed by their conquerors, toward whom their outward obsequiousness and secret hatred increased in the measure of their helplessness and demoralization. The church became, under these circumstances, not only the idol of their faith, but also the only hope of their ultimate redemption through the influence of Christian nations. This abnormal condition of the rayah populations has more than once called for the intervention of foreign powers, while remaining a chronic source of disaffection and disturbance. The successive concessions which they received during the present century, under the pressure of disastrous events, have not materially lessened their burdens, although they now apparently enjoy equality before the law under the jurisdiction of mixed courts. They are also exceptionally admitted to official positions, and the latest decrees of the sultan remove all previous disabilities in this regard.

But the Mohammedans respect no laws excepting those sanctioned by the Koran, and the officers charged with the execution of imperial decrees are generally opposed to the boons they are intended to confer on Christians. Many of the Turkish officeholders are also notorious for venality and incapacity, especially in remote provinces, beyond the immediate control of the vigilant foreign ambassadors at the capital. The Armenian rayahs have greater ethnological affinities with the Turks than the Greeks and Slavs. Many of them prosper in official positions in the capital, and as dragomans of foreign embassies, for which they are specially qualified by their adroitness in managing the pashas and their linguistic attainments. They are also clever financiers, and in that department eclipse both Greeks and Jews. But in Armenia proper their condition is made so deplorable by the Turkish officials and by the fearful ravages of the Kurds, that hundreds of Armenians have lately embraced Mohammedanism as the only alternative against these persecutions. The great Greek merchants are not rayahs, but protected foreigners. The Jews are mostly poor.

They are descendants of refugees from Spanish persecution, retain a Spanish dialect, and are obliged to wear a distinctive costume, excepting a few whose wealth secures them special privileges. They are despised by the Turks and periodically persecuted by the Greeks. The Turks fully respect only foreigners invested with official rank or with powerful protection. In the absence of such prestige, the slightest provocation is apt to reveal their innate prejudices against the giaour, though, when not under the influence of fanatical or criminal passion, they are remarkable for their dignity and courtesy, and for honesty in their private relations. - The Turkish government, or Sublime Porte, is an absolute monarchy, the rule of which is vested in a sultan (officially called padishah, supreme ruler) of the dynasty of Othman. The sultan is allowed to govern in the most arbitrary manner, except in matters of religion and law, which require the concurrence of the sheikh ul-Islam (grand mufti). The succession to the throne has from the first been vested in the oldest surviving male member of the ruling family.

The late sultan, Abdul-Aziz, wished to secure the throne to his eldest son Yusuf, making the succession direct from father to son, a change which was established in Egypt in 1866; but he encountered an invincible opposition to any deviation from the ancient rule, and was succeeded by the heir apparent, his nephew Mehemet Murad (born in 1840), the eldest son of the sultan Abdul-Medjid. Former sultans have frequently secured the succession to their sons by putting to death immediately on their accession all their other male relatives. The civil list of Abdul-Aziz was raised from £900,000 in 1868 to £1,200,000 in 1873, and he annually received besides £500,000 for pensions and charities, derived an additional revenue from crown domains and from presents, and might at his pleasure raise unlimited amounts. His actual annual expenditure was estimated at £4,500,000. This extravagance in the midst of national insolvency and peril shook even the loyalty of the orthodox Moslem, especially as the people were everywhere ground down by tithes and by the rapacity of tax-gatherers and other officials. - The empire is divided into vilayets, under governors general (valis). They are subdivided into sanjaks (districts) under governors (mutessarifs), and these into cazas (circles) under lieutenant governors (Kaimakams), and the latter into nahiyes (communes). The mayors of villages are called mukhtars.

The former eyalets or pashalics have been united or changed into vilayets. The provincial governors, who generally hold the rank of pasha, formerly had the right of sentencing persons to death; this has been withdrawn, but they still rule arbitrarily, particularly in remote districts, and are frequently in collision with the rayahs and the protected foreigners. Even after their proven dishonesty or unfitness, they are generally not dismissed from the service, but only transferred to a less important office. New territorial divisions are often created merely in order to make places for influential pashas. - The grand vizier presides over the council of ministers. This comprises the grand vizier's councillor, who acts as minister of the interior, the president of the supreme council of justice, who acts as minister of justice, and the ministers of foreign affairs, war, finance, navy, commerce, police, public works and quarantines, education, and archives, the superintendent of mosque property, and the president of the council of state established in 1868. The department of taxes, the united postal and telegraph services, and the mining department are respectively in charge of directors general.

The ministerial council corresponds to the European cabinets, while the new council of state is intended for the preliminary discussion of new laws and public measures. This body comprises an executive department, and four others, devoted to finance, justice, education, and commerce, and consists of 50 Mohammedan and Christian members chosen by the sultan. A scheme for the reorganization of the police and of the collectors of taxes, the latter to supersede the policemen (zaptielis), was in 1876 in process of adoption. In 1868 a supreme court for civil and criminal cases, was substituted for the former grand council of justice, and the office of attorney general was created early in 1876. There are courts of appeal in the capital of each vilayet, and various superior tribunals exist all over the country, about 100 subordinate tribunals, and mixed courts for settling cases between Mohammedans and non-Mohammedans, besides the consular courts. This divided jurisdiction naturally results in complications. The ancient "capitulations" relating to foreign jurisdiction were recently abolished in Egypt as altogether obsolete, and they have been modified in Turkey proper, but without satisfactorily settling the questions at issue.

Among the treaties with foreign nations now in force are extradition and reciprocal naturalization treaties recently concluded with the United States. - The crown lands (miri) include the larger portion of the soil. They are granted on lease, and forfeited if the cultivation is neglected for three years. The land appropriated to mosques and for other religious purposes, to schools, and to charitable institutions, consists of real estate originally granted by the crown (vakuf el-zarai), and of private legacies for the same purposes (takuf el-karamain). The grants of land (malikaneh) originally made for military purposes and for the pilgrimages to Mecca are hereditary and free from tithes. The fourth and least considerable form of tenure is freehold property (mulkh), chiefly consisting of city estates and of land adjoining villages. Foreigners can now hold real estate in their own names, on the same terms as natives. The great Turkish landed proprietors are far more independent of the government than the landed aristocracy of Great Britain and continental Europe; the most ancient and powerful of them in Aidin, Brusa, and other parts of the empire, resemble feudal princes, but generally keep aloof from public affairs, and are distinguished for munificence and charity.

Some of the Armenians also are vast landholders, and they as well as some of the Greek and other merchants have city and country palaces which vie in magnificence with those of the foreign ambassadors, of the great pashas, and of the imperial and Egyptian dynasties. The principal charter of civil rights, next to the hatti-sherif of 1839, was the hatti-humayun of 1856, which, as well as subsequent and quite recent pledges, promised great improvement and reforms, but have not produced permanent ameliorations, the orthodox Moslems being opposed to increased privileges for the Christians, while the latter insist upon much greater ones than the sultan is willing to concede. - The financial budget for the year 1875-0, ending in March, estimates the revenue at $125,500,000, and the expenditures at $103,800,000. As usual, it is made to show a surplus, when in reality there is an immense deficit. The public debt of Turkey is divided into two classes, the foreign or hypothecated debts, contracted abroad and secured on special sources of revenue, and the internal debts, known under a variety of names, issued at Constantinople alone, and therefore dependent only on a compact between the Porte and its subjects, and secured on the general credit and resources of the empire.

The nominal amount of the foreign debts had reached in January, 1874, the sum of $772,000,000, and the floating debt was estimated at $64,600,000. A new loan was issued in September, 1874, to consolidate the floating debt, which since January of that year had again largely increased. A financial report from Constantinople, dated May 10, 1875, estimated the entire Turkish debt at $969,600,000. On Oct. 8, 1875, the government declared its partial insolvency, and promised to pay half of the interest due on the foreign debt in cash, and the rest in new bonds to be issued to the extent of about $166,000,000. A reorganization of the army was begun in 1871, and is to be completed in 1878. According to the new regulations, the military forces (formerly divided into nizam, or active army, idatyal, first reserve, redif, second reserve, and hiyade, militia) are divided into the regular army, the reserve, and the sedentary army. In time of war the army is to contain 700,000 men, of whom 150,000 will belong to the regular army, 70,000 to the first reserve, and the remainder to the sedentary army. The annual contingent will be nearly 40,000 men. The imperial guard at Constantinople is the only thoroughly efficient military body in the empire.

Non-Mussulmans are not liable to service in the army, but have to pay a military exemption tax, known as the bedel. Polish, Hungarian, French, English, German, and other foreigners are employed in the Turkish army and navy, some of them reaching high positions, such as the late Austrian Omer Pasha as commander in the former, and the English Hobart Pasha as admiral in the latter service. The navy consisted in 1874 of 20 iron-clad vessels and 99 transports, and was manned by 34,000 sailors and marines. The crews are raised in the same manner as the land forces. - The arrivals and departures in the Turkish ports in 1873 comprised 43,200 foreign vessels, tonnage 12,738,000, and 29,614 Ottoman vessels, tonnage 3,518,000, besides 178,143 small craft, mainly Turkish, engaged in the coasting trade, tonnage 1,903,000. The arrivals in 1874 at Constantinople, the chief port, comprised altogether 4,185 steamers (2,042 English) and 16,489 sailing ships (2,500 Greek and the rest chiefly Ottoman), with an aggregate tonnage of 4,006,200, or one fourth of the whole national trade. Much shipping business is carried on at Smyrna, Salonica, and Trebizond. Adrianople, Aleppo, Damascus, and Bagdad are the most prominent interior commercial centres of the empire.

The imports consist chiefly of British and other manufactures and colonial goods, and the chief exports comprise grain, cotton, fruit, wine, tobacco, coffee, honey and wax, silk, emery, carpets, and madder. The average annual estimated value of imports into European Turkey in 1868-70 was about $90,000,000, and of exports $50,000,000; there are no trustworthy later data, and none at all in regard to Asiatic Turkey. The exports to England in 1874 amounted to £6,000,000, and the imports from that country to £7,000,000; the exports to Russia, about 20,000,000 rubles, and the imports 6,000,000 rubles. The imports from the United States amounted, in the year ending June 30, 1874, to $2,559,551, and the exports to $786,877 - With the exception of a few great thoroughfares, there are no roads worthy of the name throughout the empire. The first railway dates from 1862. The principal railways (1876) are those from Constantinople to Adrianople, Varna to Rustchuk, Kustendji to Tchernavoda, Salonica to Mitrovitza, and Novi to Banialuka, in Europe, and from Smyrna to Ephesus, Aidin, and Alashehr, and Scutari to Ismid, in Asia Minor. According to a convention with Austria, Sept. 30, 1875, the Belovar-Sofia line was to be completed in 1876, and its extension to Nissa and connection with Belgrade in 1879. The aggregate length of railroads finished in European Turkey is nearly 1,000 m.; in Asiatic, not much more than 100 m.

The Danube with its navigable tributaries forms the great channel of commerce for the northern portions of Turkey in Europe. The lines of telegraph have an aggregate length of 17,364 m., and the wires of 28,973 m. There were 400 telegraph offices. The communications with the interior were of the most inefficient description until March 1, 1876, when the entire postal service of the empire was for the first time undertaken by the government, which proposes to organize it after the best European models. - The Ottoman empire, ineluding its dependencies, almost closely corresponds to the Byzantine empire in the times of its greatest extent. It arose when the latter had been stripped by Saracen and Seljuk conquest of all its possessions in Asia and Africa, excepting some territories in the north and west of Asia Minor. It derives its name from Othman or Osman, the successor to the power of the Seljuk sultans of Iconium or Roum, who conquered Nicasa in Bithynia (1299) and several neighboring districts. (See Seljuks, Othman, and Turks.) The Ottoman power was increased by his son Orkhan's capture of Brusa, the Bithynian capital (1326), and by his invasion of Thrace. Othman's grandson Amurath I. took Adrianople in 1361, regularly organized the janizaries (see Janizaries), vanquished the princes of Bulgaria and Servia, and was killed at the moment of his signal victory over the Serbs at Kosovo in 1389. His son Bajazet I. invaded Wallachia and Hungary, besieged Constantinople for several years and then retreated, defeated Sigismund of Hungary at Nicopolis (1396), and overran the Morea; but having previously completed the conquest of Asia Minor, he was obliged to evacuate Greece and to protect the former region against the invasion of Tamerlane, by whom he was finally defeated and captured in 1402, a year before his death.

His grandson Amurath II. (1421-51), son of Mohammed I., conquered Thessalonica and Janina. He was defeated by Hunyady at Belgrade in 1439, and on subsequent occasions, but in 1444 achieved a great victory over Hunyady and King Ladislas of Poland and Hungary at Varna. He overwhelmed the Hungarians in a second battle at Kosow), three years before his death. His son Mohammed II. (1451-'81) gave the final death blow to the Byzantine empire by his conquest of Constantinople, after a memorable siege of 53 days, May 29, 1453; and in 1454 he completed the conquest of Servia. At Belgrade he was repulsed by Hunyady (1456), but he subdued most of the Morea (1460), and soon afterward Trebizond, Wallachia, and almost all the islands of the archipelago. He was repeatedly defeated by Scanderbeg in Albania, and subjugated that country only after the latter's death (1467). Mohammed was the founder of the greatness of Turkey, and was surnamed the Conqueror. Remarkable among his successors was Selim I. (1512-'20), son of Bajazet II., who extended his dominion over Mesopotamia, Assyria, Syria, and Egypt, and established a regular Ottoman navy.

His son Solyman II., the Magnificent, took Belgrade in 1521 and Rhodes in 1522, defeated the Hungarians at Mohács in 1526, captured Buda in 1529, and marched on Vienna, where he was repulsed with great loss, and again in 1532. Subsequently he conquered Armenia, Croatia, Yemen, Shirvan, and Georgia; but his naval forces, which had extended his sway over the Barbary coast, were defeated at Malta in 1565, and in 1566 he was repeatedly repulsed by Zrinyi at Sziget, and died a few days before the last and fatal assault on that Hungarian fortress. The reign of Solyman marks the zenith of the military power of Turkey, which began to decline after his death, his son Selim II. being the first of the sultans who did not command the troops, and who led the life of a voluptuary. After conquering Cyprus, he lost in 1571 the great naval battle of Lepanto. He was succeeded by a series of still more inefficient rulers, under whom the janizaries became omnipotent despite the decline of their military organization, and murders and conspiracies in the seraglio and revolts of pashas in remote provinces more and more frequent.

The more important of these sultans were Amurath III. and IV., Mohammed IV. (who conquered Candia after a protracted struggle), and Mahmoud I., accounts of whose reigns are given under their own names. Frequent wars with Poland, Austria, Persia, Venice, and Russia were waged, but rarely with success. Montecuculi, Sobieski (who routed Mohammed IV.'s army before Vienna in 1683), Louis of Baden, and Prince Eugene destroyed the Turkish power on the Danube; and at the peace of Carlovitz in 1699 Mustapha II. surrendered nearly all his Hungarian possessions to Austria,. Azov to Peter the Great of Russia, Podolia and Ukraine to Poland, and the Morea to Venice. During almost the whole of the 18th century Turkey was at war with Russia, and much of the time with Austria also. Though occasionally successful, as in the reconquest of the Morea under Ahmed III. (1715), this protracted warfare was disastrous to Turkey, and she lost the Crimea and all her possessions N. of the Black sea, and the exclusive navigation of that sea and the straits connected with it. In other quarters, too, losses were suffered. Selim III. (1789-1807) was an enlightened ruler, but could not avert continuous disasters. The peace concluded with Russia at Jassy in 1792 made the Dniester the frontier between the two empires.

Several provincial governors aspired to independence, and the conquest of Egypt by Bonaparte led to a war with France, which ended in considerable concessions to that power; and wars with Russia and England and the revolt of the janizaries aggravated the critical condition of the country. Servia rose under the leadership of Czerny George (1805), and subsequently achieved its semi-independence under Milosh Obrenovitch. Selim was deposed in 1807, and Mustapha IV. was placed on the throne chiefly through the influence of the janizaries, but was displaced and put to death in 1808 by his brother Mahmoud II., who after a terrible struggle finally disbanded that body in 1826, massacring thousands of them. In the mean time he had also displayed great energy in Albania by crushing Ali Pasha of Janina (1822), but the Greek revolution proved fatal; and as Mahmoud disregarded the European remonstrances against the cruelties perpetrated in Greece by Ibrahim Pasha and others, the Turco-Egyptian fleet was destroyed by the English, French, and Russian squadrons at Navarino, Oct. 20, 1827. Hostilities virtually ceased in 1829. Greece achieved her independence, and after a victory by the Russians under Diebitsch, who had crossed the Balkan, the treaty of Adrianople, Sept. 14, 1829, restored peace between Russia and Turkey. In 1832 began the contest of the Porte with Mehemet Ali, the viceroy of Egypt. The sultan was repeatedly defeated, and the struggle was not ended at the time of his death (1839), and only a year after the accession of his son Abdul-Medjid, through the intervention of England and her allies in behalf of the Porte, whose admission into the political system of European states was for the first time officially conceded by the treaties of July 15, 1840, and July 14, 1841. The integrity of Turkey became a cardinal principle of European diplomacy, and was strengthened by the coalition of England, France, and Sardinia with Turkey in the Crimean war (1853-5), which resulted in the discomfiture of Russia, and the neutralization of the Black sea by the treaty of Paris (1856). A French army and an English fleet again interfered in 1860 to terminate the conflict between the Druses and Maronites, after fearful massacres of Christians at Damascus and in the Lebanon, and great loss of life on both sides.

The reign of Abdul-Medjid was also troubled by conflicts with Montenegro, and a rising in Herzegovina. He died June 25, 1861, and was succeeded by his brother Abdul-Aziz. In December of the same year the Danubian principalities were permanently united under the name of Roumania, and in 1866 Charles I. of the house of Hohenzollern was elected hereditary prince. A Cretan insurrection broke out in the same year, and led to serious collisions with Greece, which were finally terminated by a conference of the great powers at Paris, Jan. 9, 1869. In the mean time Servia had taken advantage of these complications to obtain (1867) the independence of all her fortresses; while Egypt, after cooperating with Turkey in Crete, made extravagant pretensions which would have resulted in war but for the influence of foreign powers. The Franco-German war (1870-'71) impaired the prestige of the Porte's steadiest ally, and enabled Russia to recover her former vantage ground in the East by insisting upon a modification of the treaty of Paris of 1856 (November, 1870), and its provisions which had neutralized the Black sea ports and other articles restricting Russia were abrogated by a conference in London, January, 1871. The grand vizier Aali Pasha died in the same year, and Fuad Pasha having died two years before, Abdul-Aziz was deprived of his most influential advisers.

After vain attempts to check the ambition of Egypt, the sultan finally granted (June, 1873) important privileges to the present khedive, Ismail Pasha, making him almost an absolute ruler. In July, 1875, the Turkish port of Zeilah, in the gulf of Aden, was added to Egypt, bringing the entire African coast of the Red sea under her domination. In November the khedive transferred all his shares in the Suez canal to England, without apparently asking the consent of the Porte or any other government. In the summer of 1875 an insurrection broke out in Herzegovina, and in October Turkey declared her partial insolvency. Other grave complications threatening a dismemberment of the empire, the six powers who had signed the treaty of Paris of 1856 proposed a scheme of reforms in February, 1876, which the sultan mainly accepted; but the insurgents refused to lay down their arms, and his situation became more and more critical, and was greatly aggravated by the opposition of the Turkish fanatics to Christian equal rights, and the massacre of the French and German consuls at Salonica in May. A conference at Berlin between Russia, Austria, and Germany contemplated more exacting terms for the protection of the Christians and restoration of tranquillity, but England took no part in it.

The adversaries of Abdul-Aziz, prominent among whom were the softas, comprising about 20,000 students in Constantinople, who were alienated by his alleged subserviency to Russia, his refusal to restore his spoils (which were afterward confiscated), and his attempted change of the order of succession, brought about his deposition on May 30, and the accession of his nephew as Amurath V., who on June 4 announced his predecessor's alleged suicide. The new sultan is beset by formidable financial and other difficulties. Herzegovina is still in revolt (June, 1876); Servia, Montenegro, and Bosnia maintain a threatening attitude; and Bulgaria and other provinces are disaffected. But the European powers, and especially England in her antagonism to Russia, strive to prevent the dismemberment of Turkey, although the general confidence in the stability of Ottoman domination over Christian communities has never since the conquest of Constantinople been so low as now. - See GescMchte des osmanischen Reichs, by Hammer-Purgstall (10 vols., Pesth, 1827-'34); "History of the Ottoman Empire," by E. Upham (2 vols., Edinburgh, 1829); GescMchte des osmanischen Reiclis in Europa, by Zinkeisen (7 vols., Gotha, 1840'63); L'Asie Mirteure, by P. Tchihatcheff (8 vols., Paris, 1853-'69); "The Turkish Empire," by E. Joy Morris (Philadelphia, 1854); Histoire de la Turquie, by Lamartine (6 vols., Paris, 1854); " History of the Ottoman Turks," by E. S. Creasy (2 vols., London, 1854); GescMchte der Türkei neuester Zeit, by Rosen, (2 vols., Leipsic, 1866-'7); Etudes historiques sur les populations chretiennes de la Turquie d'Europe, by Ubicini (Paris, 1867); "Modern Turkey," by J. Lewis Farley (London, 1872); and Der Islam im neunzehnten Jahrhundert, by Vámbéry (Leipsic, 1875).