Alternate History

19th Century (New Ottoman Empire)

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The 19th century was a troubling time for the Ottomans, but generally things started to pick up considerably. Many people consider this the "rebirth era" of the empire.

An agricultural revolution started to grip the empire, having previously started in the 18th century. This was due to better transportation and better methods of farming, which were funded by the state. As yields began to increase many people were able to make more money, especially in agricultural areas like the Balkans.

A greater push was also initiated towards education. Many people in the empire were illiterate. In fact, less than 10% could read and write. Funding began into education and, gradually, towards the end of the century more and more citizens were taking up skilled jobs. An unwanted by-product was greater militancy amongst the population as anti-government information could now be circulated in the confidence that the recipient could read it.

The first factories began to open by around 1850. Whilst at the current time they did not generate a large amount of money, they were a showcase to potential investors and this would lead to a slow but steady period of industrialisation. It was not helped, however, by the government who wanted to use it to produce more weapons.

"National re-awakening" was rife by the 1880s, but by the end of the century the situation was largely cooled off. In northern areas, however, nationalists were inspired by the problems that Austria was having and wished to replicate that in the empire.

The Greek war of independence would lead to a feeling of revanchism amongst the Turkish population, one that would never really go away. This was made even worse when, in 1877-78, the Russo-Turkish war ended in a defeat. Kars and Bessarabia were lost to Russia, and Romania and Serbia became independent. People increasingly were looking to the government to do something. This feeling of hurt pride is one reason why the empire fell into political turmoil in the next century.

Next: 1900-1939

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