In 1839 another war broke out between Mehmed Pasha in Egypt and the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish armies were defeated at Nizip. Sultan Mahmoud died and was succeeded by his son Abdulkhamid the First.
In 1839 the Ottoman Political Reformation Firman was made public and this edict began a period of political reform in the Ottoman Empire. In 1846 Lebanon was divided in two, following French diplomatic moves. Rebellions broke out in Walachia and Moldavia but, with Russian help, these were put down. Hungarian refugees from political troubles in Hungary arrived in Turkey at about this time but, despite pressure from both Russia and Austria, they were not ejected.
In 1853 the Crimean War broke out, Turkey fighting Russia near the Danube and, with French and British support, in the Crimea. The war ended in 1856 with the Peace of Paris.
The Tanzimat is the name given to the series of Ottoman reforms promulgated during the reigns of Mahmud's sons Abdülmecid I (ruled 1839-61) and Abdülaziz (1861-76). The best-known of these reforms are the Hatt-i Serif of Gülhane ("Noble Edict of the Rose Chamber"; Nov. 3, 1839) and the Hatt-i Hümayun ("Imperial Edict"; Feb. 18, 1856).
Before the reforms, education in the Ottoman Empire had not been a state responsibility but had been provided by the various millets; education for Muslims was controlled by the ulama and was directed toward religion. The first inroads into the system had been made with the creation of naval engineering (1773), military engineering (1793), medical (1827), and military science (1834) colleges. In this way specialized Western-type training was grafted onto the traditional system to produce specialists for the army. Similar institutions for diplomats and administrators were founded, including the translation bureau (1833) and the civil service school (1859); the latter was reorganized in 1877 and eventually became the political science department of the University of Ankara and the major training centre for higher civil servants.
In 1846 the first comprehensive plan for state education was put forward. It provided for a complete system of primary and secondary schools leading to the university level, all under the Ministry of Education. A still more ambitious educational plan, inaugurated in 1869, provided for free and compulsory primary education. Both schemes progressed slowly because of a lack of money, but they provided a framework within which development toward a systematic, secular educational program could take place.
By 1914 there were more than 36,000 Ottoman schools, although the great majority were small, traditional primary schools. The development of the state system was aided by the example of progress among the non-Muslim millet schools, in which the education provided was more modern than in the Ottoman schools; by 1914 these included more than 1,800 Greek schools with about 185,000 pupils and some 800 Armenian schools with more than 81,000 pupils. Non-Muslims also used schools provided by foreign missionary groups in the empire; by 1914 there were 675 U.S., 500 French Catholic, and 178 British missionary schools, with more than 100,000 pupils among them. These foreign schools included such famous institutions as Robert College (founded 1863), the Syrian Protestant College (1866; later the American University of Beirut), and the Université Saint-Joseph (1874).
The Capitulations exempted foreigners and those Ottoman citizens on whom foreign consuls conferred protection from the application of criminal law. The Tanzimat reformers had two objects in the reform of law and legal procedure: to make Ottoman law acceptable to Europeans, so that the Capitulations could be abolished and sovereignty recovered, and to modernize the traditional Islamic law. Their efforts resulted in the promulgation of a commercial code (1850), a commercial procedure code (1861), a maritime code (1863), and a penal code (1858). French influence predominated in these, as it did in the civil code of 1870-76. Increasingly, the laws were administered in new state courts, outside the control of the ulama. Although they failed to achieve the purposes intended, they provided the basis for future success.