The Ottoman, Mughal, and Safavid Empires were all very powerful empires for several centuries, but all of them declined and broke apart. But what led to this outcome? All three empires had their unique troubles, but some of the causes were similar.
From the 17th through the 19th century, the Ottomans were at constant wars with Russia and Europe. The continuous warfare took its toll on its resources. There was also enormous corruption among Ottoman state officials. They forced the peasantry to pay unfair taxes, which led to serious peasant revolts. Succession was also a problem; in order to avoid civil war Sultans often killed or imprisoned their brothers. When the Portuguese reached Asia by a water route, they were able to control the trade routes, seriously undermining the revenue of the Ottoman Turks. The Empire failed to keep up with European technology, and often underestimated the Europeans, which led to its defeat at the Battle of Lepanto. After that, the Ottomans slowly declined and no longer held major power. The Empire was known as “Europe’s sick man” until it finally tumbled at the end of 19th century.
The Safavid Empire in Persia fared no better. Abbas I became paranoid. He was fearful that his sons would seize the throne, so he either killed or blinded them. After he died, his weak grandson took over and the dynasty steadily went into decline. The following rulers just wanted lavishness and luxury, but did not rule their Empire well. Civil wars became more frequent, further weakening the dynasty. The Safavids fought exhausting wars on the East with the Mughals and on the West with the Ottomans. Finally the Afghans invaded Persia in 1722, and by 1736, the Safavid dynasty was finished.
The Mughal army became technologically inferior. The bureaucracy became corrupt, and people’s living standard declined substantially. The Mughals had one last moment of glory with the reign of Aurangzeb, who extended Mugha...