The Ottomans or the Ottoman Empire was a state of Turkish origin which attained the status of great power in Europe in the Early Modern Age (1299-1923 AD). At the peak of their might from the mid sixteenth to the late seventeenth century, they controlled modern day Turkey, the Balkans, parts of the Middle East and much of the North African coast. The Ottomans did not conquer or colonize the New World, although there are some highly disputable claims that they tried to take some minor areas in the Caribbean. The Ottomans never achieved its status as a maritime power due to constant challenges from other Western civilizations and its geographical location.
The Ottomans have more unique units than any other civilization in the original game. The Ottomans can also build the Artillery Foundry in the Colonial Age, before most other civilizations, giving them earlier access to their Artillery. They are the only Civilization besides the Chinese that can build Artillery (other than the Grenadier) in the Colonial Age. The Ottoman's artillery is very powerful, as their Abus Guns are between a Skirmisher and Falconet, possessing the large infantry damage bonus of the Skirmisher while having ranged resistance of artillery pieces.
They only possess one infantry unit: the Janissary, a unit that functions similar to the Musketeer but is stronger. They also possess the powerful cavalry unit, Spahi, a heavy cavalry unit wielding a mace. These units cannot be trained with the buildings provided, so the only way to obtain them is through shipments. As a result, remaining Spahis will upgrade immediately upon reaching the next Age. 43 Spahis can be obtained, from the home city (because they can be shipped again in Imperial Age, except 4 Spahis for the entire team shipment and this also counting The Grand Vizier to advanced to the Industrial Age).
Unlike other civilizations, the Ottomans produce settlers for free, although it takes much longer. In addition, there are initial limits; they start from 25 Settlers and can reach 99, but requires upgrades from the Mosque to do so. The speed can also be increased from the Mosque.
The Ottoman Empire is considered by some people to be the most difficult civilization to play in Age of Empires III.
Their architecture, similar to Spanish and Portuguese one, is reminiscent of Byzantine and Greek cultural legacy to Ottomans and influenced by Western European architecture styles.
Their Home City name, Istanbul, is partially anachronistic, since the city was officially called Constantinople (Ottoman Turkish: Konstantiniyye) until the 20th century. However, it has been unofficially called Istanbul since Middle Ages, even when it was the Byzantine capital city.
“The Ottoman Empire had existed since 1300, and at its peak in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was one the world's most powerful empires, stretching from northern Africa through the Middle East, Asia Minor, the Balkans, and what is now southern Russia. The Ottomans finally took Constantinople in 1453 after many years of trying, thereby severing the city's long link with the West, back to the ancient empire of Rome. By 1529 they had pushed to the gates of Vienna and toward the western Mediterranean basin. The Ottomans appeared unstoppable, but were actually near the limit of their expansion. Europeans had been making advances in technology that the Ottomans could not match. For example, the Turks had to purchase cannons from Europe, and often had to hire European cannoneers. In 1683 they failed once more to take Vienna. At this point the string of successful Ottoman rulers came to an end, while the power and organization of their European enemies was growing.
Much of the Ottoman Empire's energy was dissipated in struggles over succession. The bureaucracy that ran the empire became unwieldy and often corrupt. The Ottomans fell behind in industry, as well. The profits they enjoyed from the trade between Asia and Europe eroded as the Europeans learned to sail directly to the East Indies. The trade balance actually reversed as the Ottomans found they needed European goods more than Europe needed theirs.
Eventually the Ottoman armies went into decline. The empire came to depend more on slave and captive soldiers, especially its famed Janissaries. The Europeans were generally content to let the Ottomans remain where they were, although the Russians fought for the plains north of the Black Sea. The Industrial Revolution left the Ottomans completely at the mercy of Europe. For a time the British even propped up the Ottoman Empire to keep it from being occupied by their enemies.”