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Did you know? Featuring: The Ottoman Elite Janissary Corps.

1453 Constantinople Janissary Ottoman Empire Sultan Mehmed II

Did you know that the elite soldiers of the Turkish Ottoman Empire were non-Turkish in origin and called, “Janissaries?” Ironically, a Janissary (or new troop) was not a Turkish citizen; but a male Christian child slave taken from his family as a tax to the Sultan (Turkish sovereign or absolute ruler) as the Ottoman Empire conquered European lands. These children were then converted to Islam, endured intense physical training as they honed their skills in the art of war, and were educated in various languages (i.e. Turkish, Persian, Arabic) to become well-rounded warriors.  

Ottoman Royal Grand Vizier/Sultan's Prime MinisterOn a political level, the Janissaries could rise by their merit and become high ranking officials (i.e., a grand vizier or prime minister of the Sultan) in the Ottoman state.  On a military level, they would become instrumental in expanding the Ottoman Empire to the height of its' power.  They won momentous victories like at Constantinople in 1453, as the Ottoman Empire conquered vast swaths of territory throughout Christian Europe, effectively ending the nearly 1,000 year old Byzantine Empire.

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