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At the height of its power in the 16th and 17th centuries the Ottoman Empire controlled much of south-eastern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. In fact, just three years after John Bargrave's death in 1680 the Ottomans laid siege to Vienna and were on the verge of over-running Central Europe. The Ottomans had become the dominant power in Turkey towards the end of the 13th century, after which they had rapidly extended their control of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans. After its capture in 1453 Constantinople became the acknowledged capital of the Empire. The Ottoman Sultans came to see themselves very much as the successors of the Byzantine and Roman Emperors. Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries the Ottoman system of social, economic, and military organisation enabled them to successfully engage in a series of wars with European powers, including the Holy Roman Empire, the Russian Empire, and the Venetian Republic. It was only in the 18th century that the Ottoman Empire started to show signs of stagnation.