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The Ottoman Empire. As Christopher Marlowe, historian, and author of Tambulaine (1587) wrote; "For most of the sixteenth century, the Ottoman army was the largest in Europe, its navy ruled the shipping lanes of the eastern Mediterranean, and its capital Istanbul was five times the size of Paris. Its resources seemed limitless, and its capacity to sweep aside opposition in the name of Islam gave the Turkish Empire an awesome presence. Indeed between 1520 and 1565 its momentum seemed unstoppable. Well might Christians in Western Europe 'quake for fear'. At its height in the 16th and 17th centuries, the empire was the most powerful in the world. Made up of diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Arabs, Armenians, Greeks, Kurds, and Slavs, the empire stretched from Central Europe in the west to Baghdad (IRAQ) in the east, from the Crimean Sea in the North to the Upper Nile in Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia) in the South. (Encyclopedia of World Geography, Volume 1, by R.W. McColl) Geoffrey Woodward, another historian wrote; "Another abortive attempt to expel the Ottomans from Transylvania in 1550 confirmed that the Balkan frontier would remain 80 miles from Vienna and the Austrian Habsburgs would be treated as a tributary power." The 16th Century coincided with the rule of Suleiman the Magnificent (r. 1520-1566). Under Suleiman, "the empire became the largest and most powerful empire in the world". (Everyday Life in the Ancient Arab and Islamic World, by Nicola Barber and Manuela Cappon) During his time, he "was regarded as the most significant ruler in the world, by both Muslims and Europeans. His military empire expanded greatly both to the east and west, and he threatened to overrun the heart of Europe itself. In Constantinople, he embarked on vast cultural and architectural projects. Istanbul in the middle of the sixteenth century was architecturally the most energetic and innovative city in the world. While he was a brilliant military strategist and canny politician, he was also a cultivator of the arts. Suleyman's poetry is among the best poetry in Islam, and he sponsored an army of artists, religious thinkers, and philosophers that outshone the most educated courts of Europe. The reign of Suleyman in Ottoman and Islamic history is generally regarded as the period of greatest justice and harmony in any Islamic state.... The Europeans called him "The Magnificent," but the Ottomans called him Kanuni, or "The Lawgiver. (jewishvirtuallibrary) In fact, "The formal Ottoman documents would afford European monarchs a protocol rank below that of the Sultan, the ruler of the Ottoman Empire. They were considered equivalent to his Grand Vizier, or prime minister. By the same token, European ambassadors permitted by the Sultan to reside in Constantinople were cast in the status of supplicants. Compacts enjoyed with these envoys were drafted not as bilateral treaties but as unilateral and freely revocable grants of privilege by a magnanimous Sultan. (visit quora.com) Thus, considering all of the foregoing, and insofar as the 16th and 17th Century is concerned, the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world was none other than the Ottoman Empire.

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Q: Which country was the richest and most powerful in the 16th century and why?
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