Lead: After centuries of domination, by the twentieth century, the Ottoman Empire’s amazing long grip on power in the Middle East was slipping.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the 1300s there emerged from Bithynia a province in what it now northwestern Turkey, an alliance of fierce warrior clans led by Osman, a local prince of considerable leadership ability. He began the absorption of nearby territory and founded a dynasty that took its name from the Arabic form of his name, uthman or Ottoman. After centuries of almost constant expansion, the Ottoman Empire at its height stretched from the gates of Vienna to the Persian Gulf, south to Egypt and west to Tripoli. By their military power and administrative genius the Ottoman Turks to a certain degree imposed a form of control over this region, widely diverse as it was in language, religion and culture. Such control, however was short lived. After the death of the greatest of the Ottoman sultans, Suleyman I in 1566, decline began. Internal economic problems and factional disputes accelerated the Empire’s weakness so that by 1900, while it governed in excess of 20 million people, in the words of essayist David Fromkin, its rule was more imaginary than real.

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