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Great Reform (Napoleonic Age)

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The Great Reform, also popularly known as the Tanzimat or Tanzimât (Ottoman Turkish: تنظيمات), literally meaning "reorganization", was a series of political, economic, and military reforms carried out in the Ottoman Empire in the mid-19th century during the Napoleonic Age. The Great Reform was announced in a speech given by Sultan Mahmud II, in 1831, and was then promulgated to every city and village in the Empire. The Reform sought to implement a wide range of new laws and regulations that would, in the end, strengthen and modernize the Empire. Within the first two years of the Reform, aspects of the government and even daily life were greatly altered, including:

— a broad reformation of the tax system, including the abolition of the jizya

— the abolition of all forms of slavery in 1831

— a sweeping reform to the office of the Beys, removing their hereditary status and making them conditional on the approval of the Sultan

— new mandates on the acquisition and production of modern military arms, including rifles, cannons, and warships

— the creation of a national school system which made education of children until the age of 16 mandatory

The Reform continued throughout the Balkan War and in the years afterward. It was declared complete by Sultan Abdul Hamid II in 1878. By that time, the Ottoman Empire had undergone such radical economic and political change that it had effectively completely modernized in a space of less than 50 years. The Empire's modernization has frequently been compared to the modernization of Japan in roughly the same period of time.

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