The ottoman empire ruled over 3 continents including western Europe, southeastern Asia, and northern Africa. This great empire was founded by a young enthusiastic man named Osman. Osman’s legacy continued for over 600 years. Ottoman empire was one of the largest reigning empires in history. This empire removed the byzantine empire from the world map after the conquest of Constantinople.
Osman was born in 1258. He was the youngest son of Ertugrul Ghazi. His father Ertugrul was the leader of a nomadic tribe Kayi and later became a ruler of a small territory in the city of Sogut. Ertugrul was rewarded pasturing lands by the Sultan of the Seljuk Empire for his tribe’s distinguished service. Sogut later became the capital of the ottoman empire.
Read also: Life of Ertugrul Gazi
Osman took part in various battles alongside his father. After the death of his father, he was nominated as the leader of the Kayi tribe. Osman’s uncle wanted to become the leader of the tribe, as he thought that Osman could put the future of the tribe in danger. Reservations between Osman and his uncle went too far, that Osman had left with no choice to murder his uncle. and he did so.
Osman had a close relationship with a local religious leader of dervishes named Sheikh Edebali, whose daughter he married.
Fall of Seljuk Empire:
In 1258 Mongols attacked Baghdad the capital of the Abbasid caliphate, killed its caliph, and massacre the residence of the city. After Baghdad, the Mongols had their eyes on Anatolia the modern-day turkey. In order to avoid the fate of Baghdad leaders of the Seljuk Empire decided to pay heavy taxes to Mongols. eventually, The Seljuk empire became a puppet empire that was controlled by the Mongols. This led to the fall of the Seljuk Empire. Keenly observing the condition of Muslims in Anatolia, Osman felt the need for a new Islamic Empire. It was narrated by some historians, that Osman saw a dream which later became the motivation for a new empire.
In his dream, Osman saw in which the branches of trees grew out of his chest and its shade compassed the world. A wind blew which pointed the leaves of the tree towards Constantinople. This dream plays an important role in the development of the empire. They consider it a sign from the divine of a new empire. The dream story may also have served as a form of the compact: just as God promised to provide Osman and his descendants with autonomy.
Osman and his soldiers were experts in horse riding. His horsemen were so trained that they were able to shoot the prey without holding the reign of horses. At that time all the Turk tribes were disturbed by Mongols. Especially after the Mongols attack on Baghdad. So Osman got the support of other Turk tribes that lived in the surrounding. This increased the number of warriors in the Osman’s tribe. Now with greater force, Osman decided to expand its territory.
Osman’s first success was the conquest of the fortress of Kulucahisar. He was able to capture this fortress from byzantine twice. The most important battle was fought between the Byzantine empire and Osman’s Army in the plain of Bapheus. Osman himself was leading the army of 5000 warriors. Ottoman turned victorious.
Bapheus was the first major victory for the nascent Ottoman Beylik, and of major significance for its future expansion: the Byzantines effectively lost control of the countryside of Bithynia, withdrawing to their forts, which, isolated, fell one by one. Until the end of the thirteenth century, Osman was able to conquest the areas of Bilecik, Yenişehir, İnegöl and Yarhisar, and Byzantine castles in these areas.
The first significant city in his territories was Yenişehir, which became the Ottoman capital.
Osman’s victory near Nicaea alarmed the byzantine empire. Byzantine leadership attempted to stop Osman’s expansion. All their effort went in vain, as efforts were poorly organized.
Osman spent the rest of his life expanding his control in two directions, north along the course of the Sakarya River and southwest towards the Sea of Marmara, achieving his objectives by 1308.
Siege of Prusa
In 1317 Osman deployed a bold plan to siege Pruse (modern-day Bursa). The Ottomans had not captured a city before. He completely isolated the Prusa and lay siege to it. The siege continued for more than 10 years. Defenders of the city stoutly resisted as they got supplies from Constantinople. The situation remained a stalemate for over a decade until 1326 CE when the last port supplying Prusa was captured by Osman’s forces. Osman, however, would not see the siege to completion. He died c. 1323 CE and his son Orhan would be the ones to capture the city.
Orhan succeeded his father as Bey and further expanded the territory he inherited. Going on to almost fully annex the region of Bithynia and arrive at the gates of Constantinople.
Osman’s final piece of advice to his son Orhan
” my son I am dying and I die without regret because I leave such a successor as you. Be just, love goodness, and show mercy. Give equal rights to all your citizen and extend the law of the Prophet Muhammad Peace be upon him. Such are the duties of prices upon the earth and it is thus that they bring on them the blessing of heaven.”
Osman ordered his son Orhan to bury him in Bursa and his tomb still stands in Bursa.