- In 1483, just as Johannes Gutenberg’s new moveable type printing press was spreading across Europe, Sultan Bayezid II of the Ottoman Empire issued a staunch decree banning the machine from his realm.
- At the time the Ottoman Empire was the dominant superpower in the world, having conquered most of the Middle East, North Africa, and southeastern Europe.
- But Bayezid was afraid of the new technology.
- He and his advisors felt that the printing press would too easily allow information and new ideas to spread across his empire.
- And they believed this would threaten their control and offend the religious establishment.
- So not only did Bayezid ban the printing press, he imposed the death penalty upon anyone caught using one.
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