The Success And Resilience Of The Ottoman Empire Essay

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Prior to the arrival of Nationalism and nationalist movements in the 19th century, Ottoman suzerainty over its non-Muslim subjects in the Mediterranean and its European territories (Balkans and Caucasus) rested on religious identification as the cornerstone of society within the Ottoman Empire. The success and resilience of the empire derived its legitimacy from the flexibility and willingness to accommodate and respect local customs and religions in exchange for taxes (Jyzhia) and pledges of loyalty. Under the Millet system, the administrative institution under Ottoman law granted autonomy to non-Muslim minorities irrelevant of language, ethnicity, or social class. As a matter of fact, many within the non-Muslim communities rose to the highest ranks in the Ottoman military and administrative apparatus. The self-autonomous characteristics of the millet was facilitated by each group’s corresponding religious leader, and all civic matters were governed by their religious laws and courts. Although non-Muslim subjects (dhimmis), Christian Greeks, Serbians, Bulgarians, Jews, Armenians, Bosnians, Albanians, etc., were considered second-class citizens, the millet contributed to centuries of relative peaceful coexistence until the arrival of nationalism and its divisions along ethno/linguistic lines. Until the 19th century, the vast majority of Ottoman subjects did not think of themselves in national terms, and residents stubbornly clung to their religious ideas and cultural
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