The Ottoman Empire, a leading imperial power in the Muslim world over three continents, was well into its terminal decline in the nineteenth century. On the other side of the globe, however, the same century witnessed the emergence of a new power, the United States, which was rapidly expanding into the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Pacific Basin. Although initially the two imperial powers knew little of each other, they would soon build political links and enhance diplomatic interaction, principally through the main pillars of commercial and philanthropic activity.