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Six Reasons Why the Ottoman Empire Fell

January 10, 2020 in History

By Patrick J. Kiger

The Ottoman Empire was once among the biggest military and economic powers in the world. So what happened?

At its peak in the 1500s, the Ottoman Empire was one of the biggest military and economic powers in the world, controlling an expanse that included not just its base in Asia Minor but also much of southeastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The empire controlled territory that stretched from the Danube to the Nile, with a powerful military, lucrative commerce, and impressive achievements in fields ranging from architecture to astronomy.

But it didn’t last. Though the Ottoman Empire persisted for 600 years, it succumbed to what most historians describe as a long, slow decline, despite efforts to modernize. Finally, after fighting on the side of Germany in World War I and suffering defeat, the empire was dismantled by treaty and came to an end in 1922, when the last Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed VI, was deposed and left the capital of Constantinople (now Istanbul) in a British warship. From Ottoman empire’s remains arose the modern nation of Turkey.

What caused the once awe-inspiring Ottoman Empire collapse? Historians aren’t in complete agreement, but below are some factors.

It was too agrarian.

While the industrial revolution swept through Europe in the 1700s and 1800s, the Ottoman economy remained dependent upon farming. The empire lacked the factories and mills to keep up with Great Britain, France and even Russia, according to Michael A. Reynolds, an associate professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. As a result, the empire’s economic growth was weak, and what agricultural surplus it generated went to pay loans to European creditors. When it came time to fight in World War I, the Ottoman Empire didn’t have the industrial might to produce heavy weaponry, munitions and iron and steel needed to build railroads to support the war effort.

It wasn’t cohesive enough.

At its apex, the Ottoman empire included Bulgaria, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories, Macedonia, Romania, Syria, parts of Arabia and the north coast of Africa. Even if outside powers hadn’t eventually undermined the empire, Reynolds doesn’t think that it could have remained intact and evolved into a modern democratic nation. “The odds probably would have been against it, because of the empire’s tremendous diversity in terms of ethnicity, …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Croatia Now Ranks among the Freest Countries in the World

January 10, 2020 in Economics

By Tanja Porčnik

Tanja Porčnik

With the rise of populism and hybrid forms of authoritarianism, people’s rights and freedoms are under assault in many corners of the globe. Unsurprisingly, among the countries with the most substantial deterioration in freedom in the last year are Angola, Venezuela and Tajikistan. The good news is that freedom has taken root in a diverse set of societies and it is spreading in many of them. Among them is Croatia, which for the first time ranks among the freest countries in the world by quartile.

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We recently released the fifth annual Human Freedom Index, the most comprehensive measure of freedom ever created for a large number of countries across the globe. With the index, my co-author Ian Vásquez and I cover 162 jurisdictions and use 76 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom, applying data from 2008 to 2017, the most recent year for which sufficient data are available. Because of inherent value of human freedoms and their contribution to well-being, freedoms deserve the most vigorous defense. The report is co-published by the Fraser Institute in Canada, the Cato Institute in the United States and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Germany.

In the recently released index, we again rank New Zealand and Switzerland as the two freest countries in the world while we again rank Venezuela and Syria last. Other selected countries rank as follows: Germany (8th place), Sweden (11), United Kingdom (14), the United States (15), Japan (25), Chile (28), France (33), Poland (40), Argentina (77), Kenya (79), Mexico (92), India (94), Brazil (109), Russia (114), Turkey (122), Saudi Arabia (149) and Iran (154).

How do the former Yugoslav republics rank? The freest country is Slovenia (35), followed by Croatia (37), Montenegro (53), Bosnia and Herzegovina (55), Serbia (58) and, the least free, North Macedonia (65).

The index confirms that global freedom remains in retreat as the average human freedom rating for 2017 again falls. At a country level, human freedom tumbles in more countries than not, with some 88 countries experiencing a decline in their freedom ratings compared to 70 countries increasing its freedom since last year. Within the latter group, Croatia experienced the 20th highest increase in the world by increasing its level of human freedom from 7.72 (43rd rank) in 2016 to 7.86 (37th rank) in 2017. Before …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Most Contentious Royal Sibling Feuds Through History

January 10, 2020 in History

By Hadley Meares

Royal brothers and sisters have squabbled through the ages—often leading to war.

When family members are also co-workers, things can get messy. This is never truer than in royal families, where the interplay of private passions and public displays of affection or dissatisfaction are broadcast on an international stage. While some royal feuds remain minor, others in history have become so dysfunctional, they’ve led to major wars.

Cleopatra’s Family Feuds

Cleopatra

By the time the legendary Cleopatra VII was born into the ruling Ptolemy dynasty of Egypt around 69 B.C., the family already had an incestuous, murderous history. For generations, sisters had killed brothers, mothers had gone to war with their children, and sons had murdered their parents.

“After a while the butchery came to seem almost preordained,” writes Stacy Schiff in . “But fate also cast them as opposites in appearance and character and opponents in religion and politics.”

With the vehemently Catholic Mary’s accession in 1553, all her old bitterness rose to the surface. Though Elizabeth had ridden into the city of London with Mary for her coronation, their relationship quickly soured. Elizabeth was now the “second person” in the kingdom—young, charismatic, confident and Protestant.

READ MORE: What Inspired Queen ‘Bloody’ Mary’s Gruesome Nickname?


Elizabeth I

In 1554, the Wyatt Rebellion was launched in reaction to Mary’s unpopular plan to marry the Catholic King Philip of Spain. Leaders of the rebellion planned to put Elizabeth on the throne, and Mary believed that her sister had been part of the plot. Elizabeth was arrested and sent to the ominous Tower of London, the same place her mother had been executed decades before. “Oh Lorde!” she cried. “I never thought to have come in here as prisoner!”

Once in the tower, Elizabeth wrote her sister a frantic, rambling letter, her usual composure lost to fear:

I pray to God the like evil persuasions persuade not one sister against the other, and all for that they have heard false report, and the truth not known. Therefore, once again, kneeling with humbleness of heart, because I am not suffered to bow the knees of my body, I humbly crave to speak with your Highness, which I would not be so bold as to desire if I knew not myself most clear, as I know myself most true.

The letter did not have its intended effect. Mary was further …read more

Source: HISTORY

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The Obama Administration Wrecked Libya for a Generation

January 10, 2020 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Libya’s ongoing destruction belongs to Hillary Clinton more than anyone else. It was she who pushed President Barack Obama to launch his splendid little war, backing the overthrow of Moammar Gaddafi in the name of protecting Libya’s civilians. When later asked about Gaddafi’s death, she cackled and exclaimed: “We came, we saw, he died.”

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Alas, his was not the last death in that conflict, which has flared anew, turning Libya into a real-life Game of Thrones. An artificial country already suffering from deep regional divisions, Libya has been further torn apart by political and religious differences. One commander fighting on behalf of the Government of National Accord (GNA), Salem Bin Ismail, told the BBC: “We have had chaos since 2011.”

Arrayed against the weak unity government is the former Gaddafi general, U.S. citizen, and one-time CIA adjunct Khalifa Haftar. For years, the two sides have appeared to be in relative military balance, but a who’s who of meddlesome outsiders has turned the conflict into an international affair. The latest playbook features Egypt, France, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Russia supporting Haftar, while Italy, Qatar, and Turkey are with the unity government.

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In April, Haftar launched an offensive to seize Tripoli. It faltered until Russian mercenaries made an appearance in September, bringing Haftar to the gates of Tripoli. He apparently is also employing Sudanese mercenaries, though not with their nation’s backing. Now Turkey plans to introduce troops to bolster the official government.

Washington’s position is at best confused. It officially recognizes the GNA. When Haftar started his offensive, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement urging “the immediate halt to these military operations.” However, President Donald Trump then initiated a friendly phone call to Haftar “to discuss ongoing counterterrorism efforts and the need to achieve peace and stability in Libya,” according to the White House. More incongruously, “The president recognized Field Marshal Haftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources, and the two discussed a shared vision for Libya’s transition to a stable, …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Dark Connection Between UFOs and Grisly Mutilations

January 10, 2020 in History

By Colin Bertram

One of the most shocking cases involved an Air Force sargeant allegedly abducted by a saucer-like aircraft.

The details are both grisly and strangely surgical: corpses found under the open sky with their eyes plucked out, tongues removed and private parts excised—all extracted with the utmost precision and leaving not a drop of blood.

Reports of such unexplained mutilations, carried out on both humans and animals, have baffled investigators for decades, leading to speculation about whether the perpetrators might be otherworldly beings conducting biological experiments on earth’s inhabitants. While scores of reports have emerged from U.S. western and midwestern states detailing mysterious bloodless animal mutilations, human cases have been far less common—and often much sketchier in their documentation.

READ MORE: , author Ben Mezrich writes that dating back at least 50 years, some 10,000 cattle have been mutilated in the Midwest area along the 37 line of latitude.

No official answer has ever been given to these strange and unsettling incidents, and they remain unsolved.

Don’t miss the return of Project Blue Book, Tuesday January 21 at 10/9c on HISTORY.

…read more

Source: HISTORY