The countries of the Balkan peninsula include Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Serbia, and Macedonia. Most of them share the long historical experience of belonging to the Ottoman empire. Between 1800 and 1878, many of them achieved independent statehood; since then, the struggle to consolidate and maintain independence has dominated their history. This course will consider the history of this region from 1453 to 1918, the period in which the region was dominated by the Ottoman empire. It will evaluate Ottoman rule in the Balkan peninsula, the collapse of Ottoman authority, and the rise of independent nation-states. I hope that the course will prepare you to better understand the turbulent politics of the Balkan states today. Perhaps it will allow us to throw off some of our preconceptions about the strange region once known as the "Near East."