Sample Essay on Causes of Decline of the Ottoman Empire

Decline of the Ottoman Empire

There were many causes of decline of the Ottoman Empire. One of these factors is the Kabak Mustafa rebellion. The rebellion created awareness among the subjects who realized the short comings of the empire. In 1807, Sultan Selim II who was a reformist was dethroned. Mustafa IV became the Sultan. He opposed all projects of reforming the Ottoman Empire started by his predecessor.

Nevertheless, the reign of Mustafa was short-lived. Alemdar Mustafa Pasha who was a reformist dethroned him. The main aim of Mustafa Pasha was to re-enthrone Selim III. Unfortunately, Mustafa IV killed Selim and then Mahmut II was eventually enthroned.

After the enthroning of Mahmud II, there were several issues that were facing the empire due to the clod that was hung over the reign from the previous generations. Among them was the Eastern Question with the European super powers such as England, France and Russia as well as military problems that were arising from factious Ulemas and mutinous Janissaries. There were also internal conflicts among the Wahabbis, Egyptians, Albanians, Serbians, Syrians and Greeks as well as administrative problems caused by the rebellious pashas.

Mahmud knew that there were growing problems facing the empire and the monarchy overthrow and he started dealing with these problems. For instance, in a bid to deal with the problems he closed the confiscations court while taking away much power of pashas. He also attended the Divan as a way of showing an example for reforms.


Suleiman I had introduced the practice of Sultans no attending Divan or the State council. This was considered as one of the major causes of decline of the Ottoman Empire. Mahmud II addressed some abuses that were linked to Vakifs. He placed the revenues of Vakifs under the administration of the state. However, his venture was not aimed at applying vast mass of wealth to general government’s purposes.

Weak economy due to rampant corruption in the empire was also another cause of the decline of the Ottoman Empire. Some people in the society were burdened with oppressive taxes including the capitation tax. These taxes were the fuel of gross tyranny. Collectors in the government were also accused of misconduct and insolence. Corruption was rampant in the Ottoman Empire and this further weakened the empire.

Military problems including the abolition of Janissary corps that Mahmud II did in 1826 also contributed to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. This caused some conflict from within although Mahmud established a military that he used in the disputes with Sudan and Egypt as well as taking control of Arabia and Syria towards the end of the war in 1833.

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