At its height the Ottoman Empire,
which had its capital in Istanbul
(formerly Constantinople), spanned three
continents, controlling much of
Southeastern Europe, the Middle East and
North Africa, and was at the center of
interactions between the Eastern and
Western worlds for about 600 years.
The "golden age" of the Empire was in the 16th Century during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. It was the only Islamic power to seriously challenge the rising power of Western Europe from the Renaissance onwards. The Empire steadily declined during the 19th century and collapsed in the wake of World War I. In the aftermath of the war, the Empire's lands were partitioned and new countries were created from the remnants (currently 40 countries exist ...