April 27th, 1909 – The Fall of the Ottoman Empire Begins!

Today-In-History

Portrait_of_Abdul_Hamid_II_of_the_Ottoman_Empire

Abdul Hamid II (September 22nd, 1842 – February 10th,1918)

Abdul Hamid II was the 34th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and the last Sultan to exert effective autocratic control over the fracturing state. He oversaw a period of decline in the power and extent of the Empire, including widespread pogroms and government-sanctioned massacres of Armenians, as well as an assassination attempt, ruling from August 31st, 1876 until he was deposed shortly after the 1908 Young Turk Revolution, on April 27th, 1909. He was succeeded by his brother Mehmed V. Abdul Hamid II’s removal from the throne was hailed by most Ottoman citizens, who welcomed the return to constitutional rule in 1908, which had been suspended for three decades (the dissolution of the Ottoman parliament and constitution by Sultan Abdul Hamid II in 1878 had ended the short-lived first constitutional era in Ottoman history).

Despite his conservatism and belief in absolute monarchy, Abdul Hamid II was responsible for some modest modernization of the Ottoman Empire during his long reign, including reform of the bureaucracy, the extension of the Rumelia Railway and Anatolia Railway and the construction of the Baghdad Railway and Hejaz Railway, the establishment of a system for population registration and control over the press, and the founding of the first modern law school in 1898. Between 1871 and 1908, the Sublime Porte thus reached a new degree of organizational elaboration and articulation, although Abdul Hamid’s attraction to absolutism led him to reduce most of his government ministers to secretaries. Often known as the Red Sultan or Abdul the Damned due to the atrocities committed against the Empire’s minorities under his rule and use of a secret police to silence dissent, Abdul Hamid became more reclusive toward the end of his reign, his worsening paranoia about perceived threats to his personal power and his life leading him to shun public appearances.

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