Ted Thornton
History of the Middle East Database
Benchmarks in the History of the Ottoman Empire and Turkey

Origins of Key Geographical Terms


History by Region or State


History by Time Period


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click here for larger photo
Golden Horn, Istanbul

Critical Pre-Ottoman Benchmarks
1420 - 1200 BCE:   Hittite Empire in Anatolia.  

325: Council of Nicea.

330:  Emperor Constantine founds Constantinople: origins of names "Byzantium" and "Istanbul."  

451: Council of Chalcedon .

483-565: Life of Emperor Justinian I .

537: Justinian dedicates Hagia Sophia Church.

669-718: Failed Umayyad sieges against Constantinople.

1055:  Seljuk Turks capture Baghdad.  

1288: Osman, the first of thirty-six Turkish sultans.

1389: Battle of Kosovo.

1453: Ottomans under Sultan Mehmet II conquer Constantinople.

1517: Ottomans capture Egypt and Syria.

1520 -1566:  Reign of the Ottoman sultan Suleiman I, "The Magnificent."  

1529:  First Ottoman siege of Vienna.

1531:  Second Ottoman siege of Vienna.

1535: Ottomans capture Baghdad, Tripolitania, Tunisia, and Algiers.

1546: Ottomans capture Basra (southern Iraq).

1560: Battle of Djerba.

1571: Battle of Lepanto.

1588: Death of Ottoman architect Sinan.

1593 -1606:  Ottoman wars against the Hapsburgs.

1616: Blue Mosque, Istanbul is completed.

1623: Clashes with the Safavids in Iraq.

1656-1661: Koprulu Era.

1660: "Great Fire" of Istanbul .

1683: Final Ottoman siege of Vienna.  (See also 1529 and 1531)

1688: Ottomans driven from Belgrade.

1699: Treaty of Karlowitz.

1750:  Most of Iraq under the control of Georgian Mamluks.

1768 - 1774: Russo-Ottoman War (Ottoman period of self-assessment and reform begins).

1773: Tribe of Ibn Saud captures Riyadh.  

1783:  Russia occupies the Crimea.

1789 - 1807:  Reign of Ottoman sultan, Selim III and his al-nizam al-jedeed ("the new order").

1791: Treaty of Sistova.

1798:  Napoleon invades Egypt.  Beginning of the "modern period" in Middle East history.

1801: Joint British and Ottoman campaign drives French out of Egypt.

1805: Era of Muhammad Ali begins in Egypt .

1808: The great reforming Ottoman sultan, Mahmud II comes to power.

1811: Muhammad Ali defeats Wahhabis.

1815: Napoleon is defeated at Waterloo (Congress of Vienna that follows sows seeds of trouble in Middle East).

1821 - 1829: Greek war of independence from the Turks.

1826:  Reforms of Mahmud II. Janissaries massacred.

1829: Greeks gain independence from the Ottomans.  Ottomans abandon theology of jihad.

1831:  Further reforms of Mahmud II.

1832:   Ibrahim invades Syria.

1838:  Muhammad Ali overextends himself.

1839: Tanzimat "("reorganization") period.

1840: Muhammad Ali defeated by the British.

1841:  Muhammad Ali's peace treaty with the British and the Ottomans.

1854 -1855: The Crimean War.

1867:  Ottoman land and tax reform measure.

1876: "Young Ottomans" draft a constitution.

1876, April: Batak Uprising and war with Russia.

1878: Ottoman sultan Abdulhamid II dissolves parliament and abolishes the constitution

1889: The "Young Turks."

1906: Young Turk revolutionary cells.

1908:  Young Turk constitutional revolution.

1910:  Albania rises up against Ottoman rule.

1912: Ottomans cede Libya to the Italians.

1913: Balkan Wars (1912-1913).

1914: Ottomans enter World War I on the side of Germany.

1915: British instigate an Arab Hashemite revolt against the Ottomans in Palestine.  Also in 1915: The Gallipoli campaign.

1917: Ottomans surrender Palestine to the British.

1920: Ataturk drives the Greeks out of Turkey.  Also in 19:20:  Treaty of Sevres.

1923:  Mustafa Kemal ("Ataturk") becomes Turkey's first president.

1923, July 24: Treaty of Lausanne brings formal recognition to the new Republic of Turkey.

1924: Ataturk abolishes the Caliphate.

1930:  Ataturk makes Istanbul the legal name for Constantinople.

1932: Turkish women gain the right to vote.

1938:  Death of Ataturk.

1960:  Turkish army coup.

1971:  Turkish army again intervenes in the country's political life.

1974:  Turkey occupies northern Cyprus.

1980:  Turkish coup.

1983:  The Refah ("Welfare") Party is founded.

1984: Kurdish separatists launch a campaign to take over parts of southeast Turkey.

1993:  Tansu Ciller becomes the first female Prime Minister in Turkey.

1996:  Turkish_Israeli defense pact (In trouble in 2004)

1996:  Necmettin Erbakan becomes the first Islamist prime minister in Turkey's history.

1997:  Army intervenes and forces the Erbakan government out.

1997:  Crackdown on Islamists.

1998:  Refah Party dissolved.    

1999: Kurdish leader, Abdullah Ocalan, is sentenced to death.

2002, November: Islamist party "Justice and Development" wins elections.

2003: Istanbul synagogue bombings.

2003: Reforms limiting power of military to intervene in politics.

2004: Islamist  Prime Minister Erdogan withdraws bill to criminalize adultery.

2004:  Islamist Metin Kaplan deported from Germany.

2004:  European Union agrees to move Turkey into entry talksProblems in 2005.

2005, October: Prosecution of novelist Orhan Pamuk sparks debate over free speech.

2006, May 17: Turkish judges shot over ban on wearing the veil in public buildings.

2006, August: Wave of bombings in Turkey perpetrated by Kurdish separatists.

2006, October: Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk wins Nobel Prize for literature.

2007, January 19: Murder of Armenian editor Hrant Dink in Istanbul and "Turkishness" law.

2007, spring: Moderate Islamist power on the rise.

2007, spring and fall: Turks threaten to invade Kurdish areas of northern Iraq; strained relations with the U.S.A.

2008, January: Proposed amendments to constitution to permit head scarves.

2008, June:  Constitutional Court bans head scarves.

2008, July 27:  Bombings in Istanbul.

2008, July 30: Constitutional Court votes to allow AKP to continue rule.


Turkey section of Islamic Middle East Blog

Additional Resource: NMH School Senior Seminar in Turkey, Fall, 2008

See also:

Sabrina Tavernise, "A Rumble is Heard in Ataturk's Grave," New York Times, May 20, 2007 (via NMH Virtual Desktop and ProQuest)


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email: tthornton@nmhschool.org

Last Revised: August 31, 2008