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Janissaries

Janissaries, Janizaries, the Anglicised form (through Italian or French) of the Turkish Yenicheri (from yeni = "new" and askar = "army") or infantry of the Sultan's guard, organised and named towards the end of the fourteenth century, under Amurath I. They were originally the Sultan's fifth of the Christian captives taken from the Albanians, Servians, Bosnians, Roumanians. Bulgarians, and other nations, the finest youths only being enrolled. They were converted to the Mohammedan religion, and subjected to the strictest discipline. The force was increased and supplemented by fresh contingents of captives, and by recruits from the children of Christians living under Mohammedan rule, who were compulsorily enlisted every five years, and carefully educated as Mohammedans. Their careful selection, their excellent education, and their rigid monastic discipline made them invincible soldiers, and on their exploits at Varna, Cassova, and numerous other battles, was based the power of the Ottoman arms. After the death of Soliman II. this formidable force frequently coerced or even deposed the Sultan. After their resistance to repeated efforts to reform their organisation, and render it less dangerous to the State, had brought about several revolutions, they rebelled in 1826; but were completely defeated, and finally abolished under Mamhoud II.

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