Discuss the shifting balances of power and commerce in the Islamic World 1500- 1800.

The Islamic world from 1500 to 1800 underwent a period of significant transformation. As the Ottoman Empire rose to power, its territory and influence expanded beyond the Middle East into North Africa and Europe. This expansion brought with it changes in the balance of power and commerce between various societies within the region and beyond. In particular, new forms of mercantile activity connected people across vast distances while simultaneously intensifying regional economic rivalries between competing empires. At the same time, religious tensions both within Islam itself as well as between Muslim-dominated regions and Christian-majority areas grew over this period.

The Ottomans were able to take advantage of internal divisions among their rivals—the Byzantine Empire in Europe, Safavid Persia in Southwest Asia, and Mamluks in Egypt—and expand their realm by conquest during much of the sixteenth century. Their territorial gains included much of Anatolia (present-day Turkey), Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Azerbaijan, Yemen and parts of Arabia; eventually even encroaching on Venice’s holdings in Greece before being ultimately pushed back at sea by a coalition led by Spain. By extending its reach into North Africa through its alliance with Barbary pirates—who often attacked European vessels on behalf of Istanbul—Ottoman naval dominance became increasingly decisive throughout this period until they were eventually defeated at Lepanto (1571).

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