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The Spanish and the Ottomans built two flourishing empires, based on different principles between 1450 and 1800. As the Ottomans took control of Europe, the Spanish were conquering the New World. Each empire had different tactics that made their empire so great. For example, the Ottoman empire was very tolerant of different religions, unlike the Spanish empire. However, although they have differences, some of their tactics are very similar. For example, both empires were civilizations built based upon war. The Spanish and the Ottoman Empire had similar yet different ideas when they built their political, economic, and social structures of their empire.
While building their empire, one aspect the Spanish and the Ottomans had in common was their use of military to expand their influence and rule. Under the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent, the Ottomans managed to push the Ottoman Empire’s borders as far as into Egypt and Persia. The Ottomans continued to push their borders to help their economy by controlling trade routes and also to spread Islam. The Ottomans used their janissaries, their army of trained foreigners, to capture these lands. Because they captured so much land, they inherited the navies of the Mamluks, in addition to their Aegean and Black Sea navies. Like the Ottomans, the Spanish used their military to promote their religion and enrich their trade. Their navy, the Spanish Armada, was very skilled. The Spanish sent conquistadors to colonize the America’s for Spain. The Spanish Empire used their military to expand in the Americas, whereas the Ottoman Empire used their military to expand over Europe, Asia, and Africa.
To enrich their economy, the Spanish and the Ottoman empire both captured land to control trade and took part in the slave trade. Since it was so conveniently located, after the Ottomans captured Constantinople in 1453, the Ottoman Empire’s economy grew in wealth because they were in control of the trade routes and they could increase trading taxes. After the Ottomans captured Constantinople, they continued to travel west to capture more and more land. The Spanish colonized the Latin Americas and forced the natives to work on encomiendas to produce goods in order to be exported and sold in Europe. Through this, the Spanish were able to take part in the Columbian Exchange, which brought goods to the Americas, Africa, and Europe. African slaves were shipped to the Americas to work on encomiendas. As well, the Ottoman Empire took part in the slave trade. Since enslaving an Islamic person was against the law, they turned to Africans. To build a strong economy, the Spanish and the Ottomans controlled trade by capturing land and turned to Africa for slaves.
However, when the Spanish and Ottomans built their empire, they made two aspects in their government very different. Unlike the Ottomans, the Spanish was not tolerant of different religions. The Spanish conquered the Americas with the intent of converting the natives to Christians, and if they refused, they would be killed. Although the Ottomans promoted their religion, Islam, peoples of different religious views were not persecuted. In fact, the Ottomans created millets, which were little groups of people with the same religious view. The only downside to being a different religion in the Ottoman Empire was a tax imposed on those who were not of Islam faith. Another difference between the Spanish and the Ottomans was that the Spanish captured lands overseas, unlike the Ottomans who captured land in the Old World. Due to the advances in maritime technology, Spain was able to travel to the New World and colonize there, instead of challenging the Ottoman Empire.
Another similarity between the Spanish and the Ottoman Empire was their social structure. Although the social structure of the Ottoman Empire was not as rigid as the Spanish Empire, on the top of the social pyramid was the ruling class. The ruling class was the absolute ruler of the empire. After the ruling class, there was the clergy and the government officials. Religion played an important role in both of the empires’ governments.
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