The name of a Turkish dynasty (from late 13th century until 1924 CE). At the height of its power in the 16th century, the empire controlled much of South-eastern Europe, the Near and the Middle East as well as North Africa. The Ottoman rule is especially known for its architectural, literary and administrative achievements. Their mode of managing religious communities within the empire – the millet system – is sometimes referred to in discussions on pluralism in contemporary political philosophy. After the demise of the nominal Abbasid Caliph in Cairo in 1517, the Ottomans assumed the title of caliph for themselves. From the early 19th century, the Ottomans went through several alternate phases of reformatory and reactionary politics in the wake of their attempts to respond to forces of European modernity. In the process, several areas once under the empire became independent. During the First World War, the Ottomans aligned with the Central Powers whose defeat hastened the decline of the empire. The Ottoman Caliphate was finally abolished in 1924 by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938) who simultaneously founded the Republic of Turkey. The last Ottoman Caliph was Abdülmecid II (d. 1944).