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The Ottoman Age of Exploration

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  120 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
In 1517, the Ottoman Sultan Selim "the Grim" conquered Egypt and brought his empire for the first time in history into direct contact with the trading world of the Indian Ocean. During the decades that followed, the Ottomans became progressively more engaged in the affairs of this vast and previously unfamiliar region, eventually to the point of launching a systematic ideo ...more
Hardcover, 281 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 1st 2010)
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Apr 18, 2012 Rindis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rindis by: New Books in History
Shelves: history
Everyone knows of the Age of Exploration, and the Portuguese efforts to find a sea-route around Africa to India. If you know a little more history, you know something of their efforts related to controlling trade in India and the Indian Ocean.

What is even less known is the efforts the Ottoman Empire expended in controlling the Indian Ocean. We mostly remember the Ottoman Empire as a land power. But it controlled the bulk of the Mediterranean for quite a while, mostly during the 16th Century, and
Jun 08, 2013 Avempace rated it really liked it

At its apogee in the 16th century, the Ottoman Empire was engaged in a colossal struggle for supremacy against formidable foes across far flung fronts: against the Habsburgs to the North in Europe, Spain to the West in the Mediterranean, the Russians to the East/NorthEast, the Savafids to the East/SouthEast in Turkey, Iraq and Western Iran, and the Portuguese to the South in Indian Ocean. Of the incessant campaigns swirling around the boarders of the empire, those focused on the Indian Ocean hav
Zayn Gregory
Aug 29, 2013 Zayn Gregory rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
The Ottomans were very active throughout the Indian Ocean world during the 1500s despite having no access to or knowledge of the area at the beginning of the century. The author shows their exploration of the Indian Ocean is closely analogous to the activities of the Portuguese in same period. The most remarkable aspect of the story is the way Muslim peoples from East Africa to Sumatra were all prepared to give their loyalty and even their sovereignty to the Osmani Khalifah simply for showing up ...more
Frank Thun
Jan 17, 2015 Frank Thun rated it really liked it
Did you know that the Ottomans ruled a part of India in the 17th century? That they threatend the portugese trade in the Indian ocean? That they send pirates out up the american coast, quite succesfully?

Got to give it 4 stars, for the glory of the Ottoman empire!
Andrew Montiveo
Feb 18, 2017 Andrew Montiveo rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 09, 2017 Laci rated it liked it
It was good. Though my knowledge of history is deficient and I haven't read many books of this kind, so I don't have too much to compare it to.
May 18, 2013 John rated it really liked it
Casale’s angle in The Ottoman Age of Exploration is bold and thought provoking. Instead of looking at the Ottoman Empire as a Mediterranean power in conflict with Spain, or as an Asian land power in conflict with other Asian empires, Casale argues that the sixteenth-century Ottomans were engaged in a rivalry with Portugal for Indian Ocean hegemony. The Ottoman mindset when it came to the Indian Ocean world was remarkably similar to the western European mindset. Both areas had been effectively is ...more
Jean Poulos
Jul 01, 2014 Jean Poulos rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, audio-2014
In many ways this book reads like a textbook but it is highly readable. The news from the Middle East recently triggered me to learn more about the history of the area. Giancarlo Casale, a professor of history, proceeds chronologically, weaving together political and intellectual history of the Ottoman Empire throughout the 16th Century. He focuses on a number of high officials among them were the Grand Viziers Ibrahim Pasha, Hadim Suleiman Pasha, Rustem Pasha, the one Grand Vizier opposed to th ...more
May 28, 2015 Martin rated it liked it
I wish I could say why I didn't love this book. Perhaps because there wasn't quite an Ottoman age of exploration? They didn't change the shape of the world like when the Portuguese rounded the Cape of Good Hope. They wanted to get to India (most of which was under Islamic rule at the time) to dominate trade, but along routes that were already established. The Ottomans notably attempted to dig early versions of the Suez Canal and the Volga-Don Canal (the latter of which wouldn't be completed unti ...more
Nov 06, 2015 Murtaza rated it liked it
A thorough recounting of Ottoman relations with Muslim powers in the Indian Ocean, during a time when the idea of universal Ottoman sovereignty was beginning to come into power. There are a lot of interesting tidbits of these relationships (spanning all the way from Eritrea to modern Indonesia) as well the nature of the rivalry between the Ottomans and Portugal over these lands and waters.

The best part of the book I think are the profiles of various Ottoman politicians and seafarers who sought
Lauren Albert
Fascinating look at an ignored subject. Casale believes that scholars have underestimated the importance of the Ottoman's "soft empire" which as he writes as "based not on territorial expansion, but instead on an infrastructure of trade, communication, and religious ideology." They wanted everyone to trade freely--but the Portuguese felt too threatened by Ottoman success and continued to attack their merchant ships. The Ottomans were willing to ally with anyone who would promise to allow free tr ...more
May 03, 2013 Razi rated it really liked it
The Portuguese explorers have, for some reason, been less mentioned than their Spanish counterparts. What was Columbus looking for if not India and what did Vasco de Gama discover while others went round in circles looking for that land of riches and spices? India and China were known to the Arabs for a long time before the Western explorers and colonizers even started dreaming of reaching these lands. Arabs and Turks did not need explorers because their merchants had already access to these luc ...more
Courtney Homer
Oct 03, 2014 Courtney Homer rated it really liked it
Very readable, thorough, and interesting history of the Ottoman's involvement in the Spice Trade of the Indian Ocean during the 15th/16th century. Casale argues that the Age of Exploration is not limited to Europe and that the Ottomans actually played a rather large role. Perhaps the term "Age of Exploration" comes a bit heavy with connotation, but still it's a worthwhile perspective and very accessible history.
Aug 24, 2013 Tawfiqam rated it really liked it
It turns out that the Ottoman Empire also had its heyday when it comes to exploration, much as the European powers of the time had, and it turns out that the impetus for that exploration were quite similar to those listed usually for the European powers as well: power, economics and mercantilism
Mar 28, 2015 Christopher rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I wrote a full book review for this a few years ago which you can find here:
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