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Historically, the Yeniçeri or Janissary Corps (the term means “new soldiers”) dates back to the 14th century and were intended to replace the unreliable tribal warriors with a force indoctrinated to be completely loyal to the Sultan. This was achieved by taking boys as young as five for training and conversion to Islam if required. Janissaries had their own corps of engineers, supply troops and were even paid regularly. Over time, however, they came to be used as bureaucrats and administrators, and this gave them too much power over the Ottoman Empire. Eventually, the Janissaries’ entrenched position in government became arrogance and an entrenched position against change, and so helped the Ottomans to stagnate and decline. 

New reforms were commenced under Sultan Selim III but unsurprisingly, the Janissaries strongly resisted the reforms and even attepmpted a coup against the Sublime Porte to forestall then. Subsequently they were forcibily dissolved by Sultan Mahmud II in 1826 in the Auspicious Incident in which 6,000 or more were executed, the survivors lucky enough to escape the Sultan's wrath now forced to pick up new work, or became low-level bureaucrats. Some janissaries even survived and found their way into the new constabulary or police forces of the Ottoman Empire.

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