TURKEY, an empire in the east of Europe, south-west of Asia, and north of Africa, ruled by a race of Othmanli Turk, descended front °thin= or Usman, who founded the empire in A.D. 1299. A pastoral band of 400 Turkish families was journeying westward front the upper streams of the river Euphrates. Their armed force consisted of 444 horsemen, and their leader's name was Ertoglirul, which means the Right-Hearted Man.' As they travelled through Asia Minor, they came in sight of a field of battle, on which two armies of unequal numbers were striving for the mastery. Without knowing who the combatants were, the Right-Hearted Man took instantly the chivalrous resolution to aid the weaker party, and, charging desperately and victoriously with his warriors upon the larger host, he decided the fortune of the day. Such, according to the oriental historian Neschri, is the first recorded exploit of that branch of the Turkish race, which from Ertoghrul's son, Othman, Osman, or Usuian, has been called the nation of the Ottoman Turks and the Osmanli. And in this their earliest feat of arms, which led to the foundation of their empire, we may trace the same spitit of haughty generosity that has been their chara,cteristic down to our own times. The little band of Ertoghrul was a fragment of a tribe of Oghuz Turk, which, under Ertogitrul's father, Sulainian Shah, had left their settlements in Khorasan, and sojourned for a time in Armenia. After a few years, they left this country also, and were follow ing the course of the Euphrates towards Syria, when their leader was accidentally drowned in that river. The greater part of the tribe then dispersed ; but a little remnant of it followed two of Sulaiman's sons, Ertoghrul and Dundar, who determined to seek a dwelling-place in Asia Minor, under the Seljuk Turk, Ala-ud Din, the sultan of Iconium. The adversaries from whose superior force they delivered him were a host of Mongols, the deadliest enemies of the Turk race. Ala-ud-Din, in gratitude for this eminent service, bestowed on Ertoghrul a prin cipality in Asia Minor, near the frontiers of the Bithynian province of the Byzantine emperors. The rich plains of Saguta along the left bank of the river Sakaria, and the higher district on the slopes of the Ermeni mountains, became now the pasture-grounds of the father of Othman. The town of Saguta or Saegut was his also. Here he and the shepherd-warriors who had marched with him from Khorasan and through Armenia, dwelt as denizens of the land. Ertoghrul's force of fighting men was largely recruited by the best and bravest of the old inhabitants, who became bis subjects; and, still more advantageously, by numerous volunteers of kindred origin to his own. The Turk race had been extensively spread through Lower Asia lon,g before the time of Ertoghrul. Quitting their primitive abodes on the upper steppes of the Asiatic continent, tribe after tribe of that 'partial family of nations had poured down upon the rich lands and tempting wealth of the southern and western regions, when the power of the early khalifs had decayed like that of the Greek emperors. One branch of the Turks, called
the Seljukian, from their traditionary patriarch Seljuk Khan, had acquired and consolidated a mighty empire more than two centuries before the name of the Othmans was heard. The Seljuk Turks were once masters of nearly all Asia Minor, of Syria, of Mesopotamia, Armenia, part of Persia, the Western Turkestan ; and thejr great sultans, Toghrul Beg, Alp Arselan, and Malik Shah, are ' among the.most renowned conquerors that stand forth in onental and in Byz,antine history. But by the middle of the thirteenth century of the Christian era, when Ertoghrul appeared on the battlefield in Asia Minor, the great fabric of Seljukian dominion had been broken up by the assault of the conquering Mongols, aided by internal corruption.
Population.—Havenstein and Behm and Wagner are the authorities chiefly relied on in enumerating the population of Turkey. Their calculations and the annual Sal-namahs, with information from the British consuls, would show 25,994,000 inhabitants in the empire. The Turkish Ministry of Finance issued in 1867 a statistical notice, in which the population of Turkey is placed at 18,500,000 for Europe ; 16,500.000 for Asia, with Cyprus ; and 5,000,000 for Africa; milking a total of 40,000,000 for the empire. But Messis. Ubicini and Courteille put the total population of the empire, exclusive of the tributary States, at 28,500,000. These are mere estimates. The empire of Turkey may contain about 11,500,000 of the conquering race, the remaining number being an agglomeration of races of different origin, language, aud religion, sotne 6,000,000 of them being Muliammadans. In European Turkey, however, there are only about 2,000,000 of Osmanli, sparsely settled; whereas in Asia, and chiefly in Asia Minor, there is ft com pact mass of 9,000,1)00 to 10,000,000. To the same group belong some 300,000 Turkomans in Asia and some 200,000 Tartars in Europe from the Crimea. The Greeks do not seem to number more than 1,000,000 in Asia and 1,000,000 in Europe, chiefly along the coasts and in the islands. In European Turkey there are about 500,000 of Armenians, chiefly in Constantinople and a few large towns, whereas in Asiatic Turkey there are 2,000,000. To the same ethnographic group belong 1,000,000 of Ottoman Kurds in Asia, who are Muhammadan, but often hostile to the Osmanli. Lastly, there are in European Turkey about 200,000 Muhammadan gypsies and more than 100,000 Jews of Spanish descent, and in Asiatic Turkey about 1,500,000 of Arabs and others of the Semitic group.