The Ottoman Naval Academy and the Development of Naval Training in the Reign of Sultan Abdülaziz (1861–1876)
During the period after the battle of Navarino in 1827, steam warships were widely adopted by the major navies, and the rise of ironclads in the late 1850s marked the turning point both in warship construction and naval strategy as the dominant element of battle at sea. These rapid developments observed in European naval warfare throughout the nineteenth century had a remarkable effect on the strategic power of the Ottoman navy and the new era that started with the accession of Sultan Abdülaziz pioneered the emergence of the Ottoman armoured fleet. This brought about the need for qualified personnel to operate the increasing number of ironclads within a decade of his accession. Accordingly, this article examines the progress of the Ottoman Naval Academy and the reorganization of naval education in the same period. It starts by examining the primary criteria for selecting students during the admission process, and challenges whether the alterations made to rearrange the length of education and the student placement quotas were sufficient to meet the expectation for the targeted number of qualified personnel. From a detailed examination of archival sources, it has been found that the Naval Academy was more properly regulated and that it offered a far superior naval training during this period than was previously thought. The reasons for this are detailed by considering the nature of the new training methods, the quality of the curriculum and the standards of teaching.