ChAPTER 31 -- Part 1: Civilizations in Crisis: The Ottoman
With the fate of his family in the balance, Hong found his failures deeply humiliating.
A panoramic scene painted by a Chinese witness to the Taiping rebellion shows the rebel forces besieging and burning an enemy town and a nearby estate house of a large landlord's family in central China.
Hong became an avid traveler to escape the shame he felt in the company of his family and friends.
He believed that he was the younger son of Jesus and that God had given him a sword to rid the world of corrupt officials.
Hong was educated in a society where few went to school.
He was a charismatic speaker and was convinced that he had a divine mission.
The Taipings became known as the Great Peace after Hong claimed for himself one of the Chinese titles.
Hong's preaching became more strident and directed against the ruling dynasty as his following grew.
Hong claimed that the Qing rulers were responsible for China's recent defeats at the hands of the British.
The scholar-gentry and other aspects of the Confucian order were the focus of the Taiping revolutionary agenda.
The Taipings wanted to restore moral order by banning slavery, concubinage, arranged marriage, opium smoking, footbinding, and the worship of idols.
Hong's followers launched one of the longest-lived and most deadly rebellions of the 19th century after defeating a military force sent to end the Taiping movement.
Confucian Chinese civilization, which had been one of the world's most advanced for thousands of years, was destroyed in the early 1800s by Hong's personal crisis and revolutionary movement.
The Ottomans were the last of the rival Muslim dynasties that ruled the Middle East and South Asia in the Early Modern era.
The sheer size, complexity, and persisting military power of each of these empires, combined with the ongoing rivalries among the European powers, prevented them from being formally colonized like much of the rest of Asia, Africa, and the Pacific.
Both dynasties and the civilizations they sought to uphold came under attack during the 19th century.
The Taiping Rebellion was a violent, radical variant of a succession of movements in both China and the Middle East that sought either to reform or put an end to the existing social and political order.
The Taiping Rebellion and its counterpart in the Muslim Middle East were meant to replace an existing social order with a religiously inspired utopian society.
Western-educated dissidents at the other end of the political spectrum wanted to build strong nation-states similar to those in western Europe.
Boxer rebellion and 100 days of reform in China from the interventions of Western industrial powers in informally dominated areas, such as China and the Ottoman empire, often contributed to the emergence of these political movements.
In the last half of the 19th century, political upheavals in China and the Middle East were caused by internal divisions within the empires.
The sultan at the top was the center of the late social order.
Ottoman rulers had power struggles between rival ministers, religious experts and commanders of the Janissary corps.
The position of the artisan workers deteriorated because of the petition from Europe.
Merchants who were part of the minority religious years of Abbasid rule.
The influx of Western manufactured goods was speeding up the decline of handicraft industries within the empire.
Ottoman economic dependence on European political rivals increased alarmingly.
The Ottoman possessions were an irresistible temptation for their neighbors due to the lack of resources needed to match the great advances in weaponry and training made by European rivals.
The Austrian Habsburg dynasty was the main beneficiary of Ottoman disarray.
The Ottomans were pushed out of Hungary and the northern Balkans as a result of the long-standing threat to Vienna.
The Russian empire was strengthened by Peter the Great's forced Westernization and became the main threat to the Ottomans' survival.
The Ottomans' weakness was underscored by their attempts to forge alliances with other Christian powers as the Russians advanced toward warm-water ports on the Black Sea.
Chris tian peoples of the Balkans grew more and more restive under Ottoman rule as the Russians gobbled up poorly defended Ottoman lands.
After years of difficult and costly military campaigns, a major upris ing broke out in Serbia in 1804.
After centuries of Ottoman rule, the Greeks regained their independence after the Greek revolt in the early 1820s.
In 1867 Serbia gained its freedom, and by the late 1870s the Ottomans had been driven from most of the European provinces of their empire.
Istanbul was repeatedly threatened by Russian armies in the decades that followed.
The Ottoman empire survived into the 20th century.
Each of the European powers feared that the others would gain more from the dismemberment of the empire.
In the last half of the 19th century, British concern to prevent the Russians from controlling Istanbul resulted in them gaining direct access to and threatening British naval dominance in the Mediterranean.
The Ottomans' survival depended on reforms from within, initiated by the sultans and their advisors at the top of the imperial system, and carried out in stages over most of the 19th century.
Tensions within the ruling elite increased as a result of reform initiatives.
Some groups wanted to change along European lines, others wanted to change based on precedents from the early Ottoman period, and other groups wanted to block change.
Reform was dangerous because of the deep divisions within the Ottoman elite.
Powerful factions within the bureaucracy were angered by his reform efforts, which were aimed at improving administrative efficiency and building a new army and navy.
They were also seen by the Janissary corps, who had overthrown the Ottoman in 1807.
Selim's modest initiatives cost him his throne and his life.