Islamic dynasty that began to rule in Anatolia in 1281; at its greatest extent in the 16th century the Ottoman empire also included the Balkans, the Crimea, Iraq, Syria, the Hijaz, Egypt and North Africa. It lasted until the promulgation of the Constitution of the Turkish Republic in 1924.
The Ottomans claimed descent from the eponymous Osman (‛Uthman), a Turkish ruler active in north-west Anatolia at the end of the 13th century and beginning of the 14th. His small emirate grew at the expense of the declining state of the Saljuqs of Anatolia ( see Saljuq family, §2 ). Ideologically based on the concept of religious warfare (Turk. gaza, from Arab. ghazw), the state expanded rapidly to the west over Byzantine territory in Thrace and the Balkans, and to the east over the Turkish principalities of Anatolia ( see Beylik ). The first major expansion took place under Osman’s son Orhan (...