The Dawn of Ottoman Seamanship
Keywords: Ottoman, Seamanship, Seljuqs of Anatolia, Byzantine, Çaka Bey
The Ottoman principality began as a mainland polity with no experience in seamanship. But, once the principality began to exert pressure at the frontiers of the Byzantine state, the sea coast was reached in a short time. The principality had become powerful through pursuit of its struggle on land. In time, Çaka Bey and the Seljuqs of Anatolia became skilled in seamanship. The Karesi Principality, contemporary with that of the Ottomans, achieved an advanced position in seamanship. Similarly, the maritime-ruler, Aydınoğlu Umur Bey, commanded a position of sovereignty on the sea. But the source of the strongest influence on the Ottoman Principality in this respect was exerted by Byzantine maritime activities. Their initial step in this direction was represented by the construction of a shipyard. Enveri, an historian of the reign of Mehmed II, treats this and related matters in his work "Düsturnâme." With the incorporation of the Karesi Principality, the Ottomans came into the possession of skillful mariners, ship-building techniques, and shipyards. This article also includes notice of the passage by raft across the Dardanelle Strait to the peninsula of Gallipoli. This assisted in the elimination of certain inaccurate suppositions. On the other hand, it was determined that the assertion that "Osman Bey's ancestors were sailors" had no foundation in reality.