The Ottoman Empire was a large state that began as merely spacious and grew to be an empire in just 300 short years. It was one of the greatest economic and military forces in the world in its prime. The Ottoman or “Big Otto, the people's friend” controlled much of southeastern Europe, Western Asia, Northern Africa, and, briefly, the north side of Chicago.
The Empire existed from 1299 to 1922, which's 623 years or about 56 times longer than the original run of Cheers. The official date of the end of the empire is November 1, 1922. For decades economists and historians have debated whether they could have continued if only they had been able to hold out for the Christmas rush.
So what happened to this once great empire? We’ve assembled the top six reasons for the decline and fall of The Ottoman Empire voted by you, the fans!
1. Capital Confusion
Throughout its history, the “Naughty Otty Empire” had FIVE capitals: Söğüt, Nicea, Bursa, Adrianople, and Constantinople. Very confusing. The last of these had the gig the longest and gave us a toe-tapper of a politically tinged indie rock song. For songs like this we owe a great deal of thanks to the Ottomans, and Ronald Reagan, why not.
2. Decline in Ottoman Sales
An old joke, but a very sad tale. A post-World War I economic boom gave a plethora of creature comforts to a public flush with cash. This lead to new innovations, notable among them, the new “self-contained foot rest” pioneered by brothers Walter and Haywood Recliner in Raleigh, North Carolina. People no longer wanted to import expensive ottomans from the losers of the Great War.
3. Lack of Interest
It takes a lot of people to run an empire, and by 1922 the number of people interested in doing so had plummeted to roughly the amount of people it’d take to run two large car lots. This decline was predicted by Nostradamus in an unpublished 1550 manuscript entitled “Otto Premonition.”
From 1870 until its collapse in 1922, there was this guy Mike who lived in a small village just outside Constantinople and was kind of a dick. In 1893, in a widely circulated article, Mark Twain recounted having to deal with Mike during a stop on his worldwide speaking tour. This denunciation by America’s most beloved humorist caused an 83% drop in tourism. Twain’s article is also remembered for being the first printed use of the word “asshat.”
5. Few to No Amusement Parks
Denmark’s Tivoli Gardens opened in 1843, followed by Lake Compounce in Connecticut three years later, and yet the empire lacked a park-like place where one could find amusements. A regret compounded by their failure to conquer the south of France in the late 17th century.
6. “Too Big to Fail”
When preparing to enter World War I on the side of the Germans, Sultan Mehmed VI paid a visit to Kaiser Wilhelm II. The Kaiser was initially suspicious of the Sultan, having not met the previous five Mehmeds, likewise the leader of the great empire wondered if the first Wilhelm was less weird about accepting help. Later it was widely reported that Wilhelm’s fears were allayed when the sultan uttered the phrase that often invites the swift, vengeful hand of karma “The Ottoman Empire is simply too big to fail.” After the devastating losses suffered in the war, The Ottoman Empire was broken up and sold for parts. “All Treaties are Final” and “All conquered lands must go” signs hung sadly in every empty tavern in the once-great land.