Coffee: An Ottoman Sultan's Legacy For America
Today’s American coffee has its root in the Ottoman empire half a millennium ago. Selim I, the ninth sultan of the Ottoman Empire expanded his territory in the Middle East, North Africa and the Caucasus. After taking over the Mamluk Empire in 1517, Selim and his army gained the control of the trade routes between the Mediterranean and India and China and possessed a network of ports on the major seas and oceans of the Old World. With his financial and territorial resources added with the workforce, he was called “God’s Shadow on Earth.”
His victory not only brought him the wealth, but also the power that can shape religion and politics of the whole Middle Eastern region. After winning over the Islamic holy cities Mecca and Medina, his empire’s major religion shifted from Christianity to Islam making him both sultan and caliph. The dominance of Selim’s Ottoman empire stretched its effect on Christian Europe, resulting German Catholic priest Martin Luther and his supporters to spread the Protestant faith across Germany and other parts of the world as well.
From Selim’s reign to early 18th century, Ottoman Empire had the control of the global coffee trade with its vast geographic resources and power. After encountering the plant with bright red berries that grown in Yemen, the Ottomans began to brew this berry and established the ancestor institutions of today’s coffeehouses. Selim’s influence reaches beyond Middle East and Europe, to North America. A few weeks after the Ottomans conquering Cairo, the first Europeans landed in American continent.
Even after the end of Selim’s reign, Ottomans continued to rule more than six centuries until the Europeans started gaining the power in the 19th century. And until today, its Protestantism and coffee have been integral part of American and global history.
Source : The Ottoman sultan who changed America: America, Protestantism and coffee all have a Muslim history - The Washington Post