Decline and modernization of the Ottoman Empire  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Beginning from the late eighteenth century, the Ottoman Empire faced challenges defending itself against foreign invasion and occupation. In response to foreign threats, the empire initiated a period of tremendous internal reform which came to be known as the Tanzimat, which succeeded in significantly strengthening the Ottoman central state, despite the empire's precarious international position. Over the course of the nineteenth century, the Ottoman state became increasingly powerful and rationalized, exercising a greater degree of influence over its population than in any previous era. The process of reform and modernization in the empire began with the declaration of the Nizam-ı Cedid (New Order) during the reign of Sultan Selim III (r. 1789-1807) and was punctuated by several reform decrees, such as the Hatt-ı Şerif of Gülhane in 1839 and the Hatt-ı Hümayun in 1856. At the end of this period, marked with 1908, to a degree the Ottoman military became modernized and professionalized according to the model of Western European Armies. The period was followed by defeat and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire (1908–1922).

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