- Mahmud II
- (1785–1839)The 30th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Mahmud II ruled during a period of rapid decline (1808–1839). During his reign, the empire lost Bessarabia in the Russo-Turkish War of 1806–1812; Serbia in the Greek War of Independence, 1821–1829; and control of Syria and Palestine to the armies of Mehemet Ali of Egypt in the 1830s. Mahmud was nevertheless among the more successful sovereigns of the Ottoman Empire insofar as he attempted - and in part succeeded - in imposing overdue modernizing reforms to Ottoman governance. He abolished the court of confiscations and stripped rebellious provincial pashas of their power. In 1826, he destroyed the Janissaries and reasserted the absolute power of the sultan; he also reformed finances and ended some of the more arbitrary practices of the Ottoman justice system by edict. In 1839, Mahmud also initiated the tanzimat, a period of sustained modernization, but neither he nor his successors reversed the trend of imperial decline, and the empire became increasingly dependent on British and then German support to resist further territorial losses.See also <
>; < >.FURTHER READING:Goodwin, James. Lords of the Horizons. London: Chatto & Windus, 1998;Quataert, Donald. The Ottoman Empire, 1700–1922. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000;Shaw, S. J. History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976.CARL CAVANAGH HODGE
Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.