Shah of Persia
- Oct 18, 2004
1836-1838: The first steps towards a modern society
In 1836, the Ottoman Empire was in a really bad shape, as it was backward compared to their northern neighbours Austria and Russia. It’s economy was shaky, to say the least, and the Sultans armies were a bunch of unorganised and ill equipped men. There was one thing that the Ottomans had in common with the Austrian and the Russian Empires, all had large minorities living within their borders. And to all it was a weakness, which could lead to the fall of the Empires
Demographic breakdown of the Ottoman Empire
Mahmud II realized that the Ottomans were weak and with neighbours praying on their territory, it would be a matter of time before the first war would be fought. However, one of the things that worried him the most was that most of the population was illiterate. Mass education had to take place if the Ottomans wanted to created a decent economy, army and more important a stable country. Reforms in the educational system would certainly lead to resentment amongst the Muslim clergy, but more important, it would spread dangerous ideas like nationalism and democracy to the Empire.
Budget during the reign of Mahmud II
As the Sultan was growing more suspicious about war with a neighbour, he needed to secure a friendly, or at least a neutral, relations with an European country. Since the army was the backbone of the Empire, and needed drastic reforms, who better than Prussia, whose armies were praised throughout Europe, could provide knowledge and advisors to the Ottoman court. And in February the first envoys were sent to Berlin, hoping that the Ottomans could establish a permanent embassy there.
Educational reforms were gradually implemented throughout the Empire, and on the 5th of May, the first University opened it’s doors in Izmir. Most of the new schools, colleges and universities were constructed in Anatolia or Constantinople, but slowly schools were build throughout the Empire. Later it would prove more valuable as some new steam engine was developed by students of the University of Izmir, capable of pulling heavy artillery.
Practical Steam Engine discovered
Looking back at the Ottoman history, there was only one people who always stayed loyal to the Sultan and never revolted, at least during his reign, the Albanians. To honour them, he founded the Albanian Guards, an elite guard unit consisting only of people from Albania.
During 1837 various Russian scouts had been sighted or captured near Kars, to the Sultan this appeared to be a preparation for the next Russian-Ottoman war. And, perhaps even more disturbing, it showed the weakness of the Ottoman defences in that area. Although there were small fortress in the area, none of them would be able to withstand a Russian attack. A system of fortress had to be build in the Caucus to secure the Eastern border. Construction of this huge project started in December and wouldn’t be completed until many years later.
Although the last two years of Mahmuds reign showed a some signs of modernization, but it wasn’t enough to close the gap with the Europeans. As ‘Abdu’l-Mijid I rose to the throne upon his death, he chose to limit his powers and give more power to the people, or at least the aristocracy, officers and clergy. On top of this he invited Prussian advisors to help him save his country.
‘Abdu’l-Mijid I reforms
Shortly after the Egyptians tried to gain influence of the Syrian clans, the Ottoman Sultan saw this as a huge insult, and war was declared. Just as Mahmud had foreseen. Although it would cost weeks, if not months to get the Ottoman Army prepared to fight the Egyptians, the Egyptians already started to advance into Ottoman territory. Despite their best efforts, Prussia stayed neutral for as long as this conflict would last. Disappointed by this, the Sultan sought support among other European countries. And to his surprise both the United Kingdom and Austria supported the Ottomans, but the Sultan had his question about their motivation behind this.
Some notes from the author:
This will be played with regular Victoria with the 1.04 patch, since I don’t have Revolutions yet. Since holding a multi-ethnic empire together is poorly simulated IMO, I’ve decided to limit myself to a set of rules of which most will become clear during the next few updates.
I've changed the event The Hatt-I-Humanyun Reforms as it is unbalanced since option a gives 2 techs and 20 research points for 200, while b gives 4 techs, 40 research points and 5 literacy for just 500. I’ve moded the event to cost research points. Option a now cost 10 Research Points and will increase the militancy of the lower and higher classes by 2, the middle class will get a small decrease in militancy. Option b now costs 25 research points and it will increase the militancy of the lower classes by 3, the higher classes will get an increase of 4 while the middle class will get a slight decrease of 2 in their militancy. Additionally the costs are multiplied by 100, so lesser reforms how’ll cost 20,000 and greater reforms 50,000.
My only real goal is to avoid what happened historically with the Ottomans. Expansion will depend on the current geo-political situation and the strengths and weaknesses of the Ottoman Empire.
I hope you’ll enjoy this AAR!