The Ottoman Presentation I did revolved around the Janissaries and the Blood Tax that the not Islamic people had to pay in order to join them. The Janissaries were the main military organization in the Ottoman Empire and they were considered some of the best in the world at that time. The Blood tax was when the Ottomans would go into their non Islamic population and select children to be Janissaries. They were required to convert to Islam and were taken away from their parents and brought back to Istanbul to train to be the best fighting force of the era. This was not necessarily a bad thing as Janissaries had very high status in society and were well trained and had a lot of power in the government. They could even go up to become the Grand Vazir second only to the Sultan. There were Muslim families paying to get their kids into the Janissaries. It was interesting that the Ottomans had a certain way of climbing the social ladder through being a Jannesari. But they still were technically slaves as they still could be executed by the Sultan on a whim. Even the Grand Vazir was not immune to this. There are many cases where the Grand Vazir was decapitated by the Sultan.
This goes into my Paper about the Enderun College and Higher Education. Enderun College was made with the purpose of training gifted Janissaries for jobs that they will need a higher understanding of science, math, literature and so on. Enderun is located in Topkapi Palace and is not only for Janissaries other important or bright people can go to Enderun. The Princes were also educated at Enderun college. It was an amazing thought that there was a college that educated slaves that was started in the 1400’s. This is still in the middle ages and people in the Ottoman empire are learning advanced material and not just nobles but slaves to the Sultan. I went on to compare the Enderun college to the United States higher education system. Both our Modern Education and Enderun College have a lot of similarities as they use higher education to allow students that have the means to learn the skills to go and help themselves move up in society whether that be getting a officer position in the military or getting a high paying job.
I then wrote about the trade in Istanbul and how an item like a coin can connect with the entire culture that is Istanbul. Currency is used to trade goods back and forth between two people from different places. Trade was a huge thing for Istanbul as the city was on the silk road and what connected The Middle East to Europe. So many exotic goods poured into Istanbul that the people decided to use foreign currency instead of the regular Ottoman currency. Since the foreign currency was gold it was worth more money than the silver and copper coins of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman government used its power in order to try to procure all goods for trade in its city. They wanted to keep the Ottoman economy strong. This also lead to a population boom tripling the population from 80,000 to 400,000 people living in Istanbul.
This was a really interesting place to learn about as it is not a time period that many classes have talked about. It seems like the Ottoman Empire even though they were a massive empire that lasted for hundreds of years until World War 1 and had some of the best trade routes and diverse culture in the world never seems to be talked about in my experience in school. Learning that they had a way for a pesent or a slave to have enough power to run the government next to the sultan was crazy to me or that the Ottomans were so tolerant to the other peoples and religions within their borders was fascinating.