Civilizations in Crisis: The Ottoman Empire, the Islamic Heartland,
and Qing China
Selim II: Ottoman sultan (1789-1807); attempted to improve administrative efficiency and build
a new army and navy; assassinated by Janissaries.
Mahmud II: 19th Ottoman sultan; built a private, professional army; crushed the Janissaries and
initiated reforms based on Western precedents.
Tanzimat reforms: Western-style reforms within the Ottoman Empire between 1839 and 1876;
included a European-influenced constitution in 1876.
Abdul Hamid: Ottoman sultan (1878-1908) who tried to return to despotic absolutism; nullified
constitution and restricted civil liberties.
Young Turks: Members of the Ottoman Society for Union and Progress; intellectuals and
political agitators seeking the return of the 1876 constitution; gained power through a coup in
Mamluks: Rulers of Egypt under the Ottomans; defeated by Napoleon in 1798; revealed the
vulnerability of the Muslim world.
Muhammad Ali: Controlled Egypt by 1811; began a modernization process based on Western
models but failed to greatly change Egypt; died in 1848.
Khedives: Descendants of Muhammad Ali; rulers of Egypt until 1952.
Suez Canal: Built to link the Mediterranean and Red seas; opened in 1869; British later
occupied Egypt to safeguard their financial and strategic interests.
al-Afghani and Muhammad Abduh: Muslim thinkers in Egypt during the latter part of the
19th century; stressed the need for adoption of Western scientific learning and technology and
the importance of rational inquiry within Islam.
Ahmad Orabi: Student of Muhammad Abduh; led a revolt in 1882 against the Egyptian
government; forced the khedive to call in British aid.
Mahdi: Muhammad Achmad, the leader of a Sudanic Sufi brotherhood; began a holy war
against the Egyptians and British and founded a state in the Sudan.
Khalifa Abdallahi: Successor of the Mahdi; defeated and killed by British General Kitchener in
Nurhaci: United the Manchu in the early 17th century; defeated the Ming and established the
Kangxi: Qing ruler and Confucian scholar (1661-1722); promoted Sinification among the
Compradors: Wealthy group of merchants under the Qing; specialized in the import-export
trade on China’s southern coast.
Lin Zexu: 19th-century Chinese official charged during the 1830s with ending the opium trade
in southern China; set off the events leading to the Opium War.
Opium War: Fought between Britain and Qing China beginning in 1839 to protect the British
trade in opium; British victory demonstrated Western superiority over China.
Taiping Rebellion: Massive rebellion in southern China in the 1850s and 1860s led by Hong
Xiuquan; sought to overthrow the Qing dynasty and Confucianism.
Cixi: Conservative dowager empress who dominated the last decades of the Qing dynasty.
Boxer Rebellion: Popular outburst aimed at expelling foreigners from China; put down by
intervention of the Western powers.
Puyi: Last Qing ruler; deposed in 1912.
Ottoman Society for Union and Progress: Organization of political agitators in opposition to
the rule of Abdul Harmid; all called “Young Turks”; desired to restore 1876 constitution.
Murad: (1790 – 1820) Head of coalition of Mamluk rulers in Egypt; opposed Napoleonic
invasion of Egypt and suffered devastating defeat; failure destroyed Mamluk government in
Egypt and revealed vulnerability of Muslim core.
Khedives: Descendants of Muhammad Ali in Egypt after 1867; formal rulers of Egypt despite
French and English intervention until overthrown by military coup in 1952.
Khartoum: River town that was administrative center of Egyptian authority in Sudan.
Muhammad Achmad: Head of a Sudanic Sufi brotherhood; claimed descent from prophet
Muhammad; proclaimed both Egyptians and British as infidels; launched revolt to purge Islam of
impurities; took Khartoum in 1883; also know as the Mahdi.
Banner armies: Eight armies of the Manchu tribes identified by separate flags; created by
Nurhaci in early 17th century; utilized to defeat Ming emperor and establish Qing dynasty.
Qing dynasty: Manchu dynasty that seized control of China in mid-17th century after decline of
Ming; forced submission of nomadic peoples far to the west and compelled tribute from Vietnam
and Burma to the south.
Hong Xiuquan: (1812 – 1864) Leader of the Taiping rebellion; converted to specifically
Chinese form of Christianity; attacked traditional Confucian teachings of Chinese elite.
CLASS DISCUSION SUGGESTIONS
Describe the 18th-century crisis in the Ottoman Empire and why it was not fatal.
By the early 18th century, the Ottoman Empire was in decline. The weak rulers of the empire left
the way open for power struggles among officials, religious experts, and Janissary commanders.
The general economy suffered from competition with the West as imported goods ruined local
industry. European rivals, the Austrians and Russians in particular, took advantage of Ottoman
weakness. The Ottomans survived the continuing defeats partly because the European powers
feared the consequences of territorial division among the victors. The British propped up the
Ottomans during the latter 19th century to prevent the Russians from reaching the
Mediterranean. The weakened empire was preserved by internal reform.
Identify the reforms that were introduced in the Ottoman Empire between the reign of
Mahmud II and 1876.
Mahmud II, with the help of European advisors, built a professional army that destroyed the
Janissaries in 1826. Mahmud II then launched far-reaching reforms patterned on Western
models. Between 1839 and 1876, the period of the Tanzimat reforms, university education was
reorganized on Western lines, postal and telegraph systems were introduced, and railways were
constructed. Newspapers were established, and in 1876 a European-type constitution was
Trace the events that led to the overthrow of the Ottoman sultanate in 1908.
Ottoman reforms strengthened the state, but they threatened the dynasty. Western-oriented
officials, military officers, and professionals viewed the sultanate as a barrier to more reform.
Sultan Abdul Hamid (1878-1908) responded by trying to return to despotic absolutism. He
nullified the constitution and restricted civil liberties, but he continued military and educational
reform and railway and telegraph construction. Abdul Hamid’s harsh rule ended in 1908 when he
was removed by the Young Turks, reformers, including military officers, who wanted to
continue Western-style reforms
Trace how Muhammad Ali came to power.
Napoleon’s victory over the Ottoman Mamluk vassals in Egypt destroyed the existing local
power balance. When the British forced French withdrawal, an Albanian Ottoman officer,
Muhammad Ali, emerged as Egypt’s ruler by 1811. He introduced European military reforms
and created a powerful army and navy that freed him from dependence on his nominal Ottoman
overlord. Muhammad Ali also attempted, with limited success, to modernize Egypt’s economy
through reforms in agriculture, infrastructure, education, and industry. To keep Egypt secure,
Muhammad Ali allied with the powerful rural landlords to control the peasantry.
Summarize how the British gained control of Egypt.
The growing Egyptian foreign debt and the strategic importance of the Suez Canal stimulated
British and French thoughts of intervention. When army officer Ahmad Orabi led a revolt against
the khedive in 1882, the British intervened to save the ruler. British consuls thereafter directed
the Egyptian government through puppet khedives.
Identify the reforms that the Manchu introduced and how successful were they.
Despite a defeat by Japan in 1894-1895, the Manchu and their allies among the scholar-gentry
resisted reform. Only minor changes were made by the scholar-gentry class.
Describe the problems that the Manchu dynasty encountered during the 19th century.
They encountered the Opium War, an unfavorable balance of trade with Europe, Christian
missionaries, peasant uprisings, rebellions against the scholar-gentry class, loss of a war with
Japan. The latter part of the 19th century saw the dowager princess Cixi and the Boxer Rebellion.
Trace European entry into China.
The Manchu rulers underestimated the Europeans, considering them just another “barbaric”
force. The Europeans rivaled the Chinese in sophistication and complexity. An imbalance of
trade forced the British to trade silver bullion for Chinese finished goods. This was true until the
British became willing to trade Indian opium to the Chinese. Opium had become a high demand
item in China.
Trace the events that led to the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty.
After the defeat of the Taipings, resistance to the dynasty centered in secret societies. By the end
of the century, sons of the scholar-gentry, educated in the West, became involved in plots to
overthrow the regime and to create a government modeled on that of the West. The revolutions
were deeply hostile to European involvement in Chinese affairs. A spreading rebellion forced the
abdication of the last Manchu in 1912 and led to the establishment of a republican government.