European Royalty: Ottoman Empire

We have not yet succeed in collecting images on Ottomam royals, but we have begun to collect some information. The Ottoman Empire was founded Othman or Osman I (1259-1326). Othman was born in Bithynia. On the overthrow of the sultanante of Iconium in 1299 by the Mongols, Osman seized a portion of Bithynia and subsequently a portion of Nicĉa, and gradually subdued a great part of Asian Minor, and so became the founder of the Turkish or Ottoman Empire. Othman died at Pausa, in Bithynia, in 1326. Othman was followed by a series of waring princes, considered some of the most war-like in history. They rapidly expanding the boundaries of their Turkish dominions in Anatolia, at the expense of the Byzantine Empire. They crossed the Hellespont about 1357 when Murad I made Adrianople the capital of the Turkish Empire, gradually reduceing the dominions of the Byzantines. After a long siege, Mahomet II overcame the defenses of Constantinople. The Ottomans proceeded to conquer the Balkans, but were turned back at the gates of Vienna. Afterwards the Ottoman Empire gradually declined and by the 19th century was known as the Sickman of Europe.

Ottoman Amirs

Osman I (1290-1326)

The Ottoman Empire was founded Othman or Osman I (1259-1326). Othman was born in Bithynia. On the overthrow of the sultanante of Iconium in 1299 by the Mongols, Osman seized a portion of Bithynia and subsequently a portion of Nicĉa, and gradually subdued a great part of Asian Minor, and so became the founder of the Turkish or Ottoman Empire. Othman died at Pausa, in Bithynia, in 1326.

Orkhan (1326-1359)

Othman was followed by a series of waring princes, considered some of the most war-like in history. They rapidly expanding the boundaries of their Turkish dominions in Anatolia, at the expense of the Byzantine Empire. Gallipoli was conquered in 1354.

Ottoman Sultans

Murad I (1350-1402)

The elite Janissaries corps was originally organized by Sultan Murad I. Ottoman Sultan Murad (1326?–1389) was one of the great warrior Ottoman sultans. He was the son and successor of Orkhan to the Ottoman throne. Murad greatly expanded Ottoman territory in Europe. The Ottomans crossed the Hellespont about 1357. Murad I gradually reduced the dominions of the Byzantines. Although he was unable to take Constantinople because of the massive fortfied walls, Murad forced Byzantine Emperor John V to pay tribute (1373). He conquering Macedonia and made Adrianople his residence. The southern Balkans became the Ottoman province of Rumelia. He persued a feudal policy of granting Muslim suporters conquered lands as fiefs. Murad initiated the policy of taking Christian youths as slaves who were used to form the feared Janissaries. Murad organized a massive force and struck into the Balkans. His army contained units from both the the Anatolian heartlands and Rumelia, the southern Balkans previously conquered. King Lazar of Serbia who had recently seized the crown organized a Christian coalition to resist the Ottoman Army. Murad was assasinate at the battle of Kosovo Polje, but King Lazar ws killed and his Blkan army destroyed.

Bayezid I (1389-1402)

The Ottomans at the Battle of Nicopolis in 1394 desimated a large crusader army, taking many European leaders hostage. The disaster was such a shock that the first survivors to reach to France were imprisoned as liars.

Mehmed I (1402-1421)

The arrival of the Tatars under Tamarlane early in the 15th century temporarily delayed delayed Turkish advances in Europe.

Murad II (1421-1451)

The Ottomans destroyed a Hungarian-Polish army at Varna in 1444. The conflict between the nobility and the sultan was a constant feature of Ottoman life, not unlike te situation in many European kingdoms. Murad II attempted to limit the power of the nobility and the gazi by raising loyal former slaves and janissaries to high administrative posts. These loyal administrators came to conter the influence of the nobility. Murad and future Sultans use the competing groups to play one side against the other.

Mehmed II Fatih (1451-81)

Ottoman advances were virtually unchecked under Mehmed (Mahomet) II the Conqueror. After a long siege, Mehmed II overcame the defenses of Constantinople. Athens fell in 1456. Mehmed II pushed the Empires' boundaries north deep into the Balakans. Bosnia fell in 1463. The Venetians in1463. regained southern Greece for a short period. The Khanate of Crimea was made a vassal in 1475. Mehmed failed, however, to take Rhodes in 1480. Upon his death, the Ottoman Empire occupied roughly the boundaries of Romania in the 11th Century. For the next 150 years the Ottoman Empire is at the hight of it power, expanding its borderes north, south and east. An Ottoman beachhead was even established, albeit briefly, at Otranto in Italy in 1480.

Bayezid II (1481-1512)

Selim I (1512-20)

Selîm I in 1516-17 did what the Byzantine Emperors had been unable to do, restore Syria and Egypt to the domain.

Süleymân I (1520-1566)

Süleymân I known to history as Süleymân the Magnificent finally took Rhodes. He also crosses the Danube taking Ottoman expansion beyond the borders of the old Roman Empire. At the Battle of Mohács in 1526, Süleymân takes Hungary. The Jagiellan Louis II of Hungary and Bohemia and most of the Hungarian nobels were killed at the Battle and Louis' brother-in-law, Ferdinand of Austria, future Emperor and brother of the Emperor Charles V, pressed claims to both crowns for the Hapsburgs, ending an independent Hungarian crown. Süleymân in 1529 lay seige to Vienna. Thwarted in his attempt to take Vienna, Süleymân moved east and adding more territory to the Empire that had never been permanent parts of the Roman Empire, Mesopotania or modern Iraq. Süleymân finally lays the great siege of Malta in 1565, but fails to take the island.

Selim II (1566-1574)

The Sultanate of Selim II was a great turning point in Ottoman history. His regign begun well with the Peace of Adrianople, in which Austria agreed to pay tribute. The reconquest of Cyprus was achieved in 1571, but the Turkish fleet was decisevely defeated in the Battle of Lepanto by Spain, Venice, and Malta in 1571, effectively ending Ottoman naval threats in the Mediterreanean.

Murâd III (1574-1595)

Murâd III launched an inconclusive but costly war with Austria which dragged on until 1606.

Mehmed III (1595-1603)

Mehmed III (1595-1603)

Ahmed I (1603-1617, 1622-23)

The reign of Ahmed I was notable because he ended the practice of killing his brothers on becoming Sultan. The Ottoman adopt the more common Middle Eastern custom of passing the crown to brothers and even to cousins before passing to the eldest son of the next generation a was the common practice in the European Christian kingdoms.

Mustafâ I (1617-18)

Osman II (1618-22)

Murâd IV (1623-40)

Ibrâhim (1640-48)

Mehmed IV (1648-87)

The Ottomans suffer another naval defeat at the hands of Venice and Malta, this time in the Dardanelles in 1656. An incoclusive war with Austria occurs 1663-64. Crete which had held on so long fell in 1669. Mehmed dreamed of his armies sweeping west through Vienna. The Köprülü vizirs prepared a planned new assault on Vienna in 1683, which is put under siege but resulted in an ignominious defeat. The Venetians returned to the Peloponnesos in 1685. The Austrian reconquest of Hungary begins in 1686 and is completed in 1697, the Austrian Hapsburgs having already inherited the Hungarian crown as a result of Louis II's death at the Battle of Mohács.. The addition of Hungary helped to make the Hapsburgs the most powerful ruling family in central Europe.

Süleymân II (1687-91)

The magnificent Partenon which had survived for centuries was heavily damaged in 1687. A Venetians naval force sent a mortar through a gable window of the Parthenon and ignited a Turkish store of gunpowder. This severly damaged the northern colonnade of the Parthenon.

Ahmed II (1691-95)

Mustafâ II (1695-1703)

The Russians take Azov in 1696. The final areas of Hungary are lost to the Austrians in 1697. The Peace of Karolwitz was negotiated in 1699.

Ahmed III (1703-1730)

The Ottomans recover Azov in 1711. The Ottomans recaptured the Peloponnesos from the Venetians in 1715. A new war with Austria occured in 1716-18, resulting in the loss of Banat, Serbia, and Little Wallachia under the Peace of Passarowitz.

Mahmud I (1730-54)

A new war with Austria suceeds in recovering Serbia and Wallachia under the Paece of Belgrade 1737-39.

Osman III (1754-57)

Mustafâ III (1757-74)

Abd ül-Hamid I (1774-89)

Selim III (1789-1807)

Odessa in the Crimea is annexed by Russia in 1791. The French Revolution and then Napoleon sweep Europe enspiring nationalist sentimenr throughout the continent. The Serbs revolt in 1804 which continued through 1813. The Russians invade in 1806. The Janissaries in 1807 overthrow Selim III.

Mustafâ IV (1807-1808)

Mahmud II (1808-39)

The Russians by 1812 when Napoleon attacks them have occupied Moldavia and Wallachia. The Russians cede Bessarabia in 1812. The Serbs gain autonomy in 1813. The Greek revolt begins in 1821. The Russians invade Moldavia and Wallachia in 1828-29 to support the Greeks. With the help of Russia and the other Great Powers, the Greeks gain their independence in 1829. The Treaty of Adrianople in 1829 recognizes Greek independence, the cession of thecDanube Delta to Russia and Aautonomy for Moldavia and Wallachia. The Great Powers insist on a new Greek Monarchy. A Bavarian crowned King Otto I is put on the Greek throne. Mahmud has the Janissaries massacred in 1826.

Abd ül-Mejid I (1839-61)

The Crimean War in 1853-56 begins with the Russian invasion of the Crimea. Britain and France in 1854 enter the Crimea to oppose the Russians, but the Prussians decline to join, revealing a new power shift in Europe. Austria does join and occupies Moldavia and Wallachia in 1854-57. Te siefe of Sebastopol occurs in 1854-55. At the Peace of Paris in 1856, Turkey recovers the Danube Delta. Wallachia and Moldavia are combined to form a new Romanian principality with part of Bessarabia in 1856.

Abdul Hamid II (1876-1909)

The last major Ottoman sultan who exerted autocratic control was Abdul Hamid II. He was the 34th sultan. He was born in 1842 and became sultan in 1876. His reign was the fina; period in which the Empire could have been revivedbut Hamid II failed at this effort. He thus oversaw a period of decline in the power and frontiers of the Empire. He was forced to issue the first Ottoman constitution (December 23, 1876) This was a sign of progressive anti-monarcial thinking that appearrd during the fitst day of his rule. Hamid in the end refused to accept it. He charge that the reformers were closet republicans, corupted by Western thinking and when disagreemebt developed with Parliament, Hamid suspended both the constitution and Parliament (1878), allowing him to rule with absolute authority like all former sultans. He became knowbn as the Red Sultan or Hamid the Damned because of these bloody actions. He also set up a secret police to track diwn dusenters and republicans. Hamid was conservative and a brutal despot, but he attempted some effort of modrenization. There were reforms of the bureaucracy, extending the Rumelia Railway and Anatolia Railway. Construction began on the Baghdad Railway and Hejaz Railway. A census system was developed. Control over the press was systemtized. A modern law school was opened (1898). The most far-reaching of Hmid's reforms were in education. Professional schools were founded. Hamid had closed the University of Istanbul (1881), but reopened it (1900). A network of primary, secondary, and military schools was expanded. German companoes were contracted to develop railway and telegraph services. There was an assassination attempt adding to the ultan's increasing paranoia (1905). Hamid was finally deposed shortly after the 1908 Young Turk Revolution (April 27, 1909). Hamid was removed from power (1909). The people supported the Young Turk avction and the advent of constitutional rule.

Mehmed V (1909-18)

Mehmed V (also known as Mahommed V or Reshid Effendi) was born November 2, 1844. was the 39th Ottoman Sultan. He was the 99th Caliph of Islam, although various Islamic disciplines count the caliphs differently. Some even claim the Ottomans never were true caliphs. Mehmed's father was Sultan Abdulmecid (Sultan Abd-ul-Mejid) and Gulcemal Kadin Efandi). One of the principle weaknesses of the Ottoman Empire was te sucession. Roya; princes ertr commonly confined to palace harems. Many sultans would have brothers as potential competitors killed. Mehmed spent 30 years in the Yildiz Palace Harems and for 9 years was isolated. This must have affected his mind. It certainly did not improve his capacity to rule. He passed time by devoting himself to the study of poetry. He was devoted to poetry in the Persian style. Some admired his poetry. Mehmed became sultan April 27, 1909. As a result of the Young Turks coup (1908), Mehmed as sultan had no real political power. The Ottoman Government decided to join the Central Powers in World War I. As caliph Mehmed formally declared Jihad against the Allies (November 1914). This was the last legally correct proclamation of jihad as the Caliphate was abolished after the War. The Ottoans hoped the declaration would ssist the war effort. The Germans printed large quantities of the proclamation for distribution in the Arab world. The first Ottoman offensive was aimed at Suez and the Ottomans hoped that the Egyptians would rise agaist the British. They did not and the Arabs even rise against the Ottomans. The Ottoman War was run by the Three Pashas (Enver Pasha, Talat Pasha, and Djemal Pasha). Mehmed V died in 1918 a few months before the end of the War. He was 73 years old. He lhad two sons: Prince Mehmed Ziyaeddin (1873-1938) and Prince Omer Hilmi (1888-1935). The Sultan's eldest son was said to be the finest revolver shot in the Turkish Army.

Abdul Hamid II

The Young Turks after World War I forced Sultan Abdul Hamid II to abdicate.

The Harem

The name "harem" derives from the Arabic word "forbidden" or "sacred". The harem was the portion of the family dwelling divided off for the female members of the family or household. This would include the wives, concubines, girls, younger boys, female relatives, and female servants. There were of course some especially lavish harems, such as those maintained by the famed sultans of Baghdad and Turkey. These harems required vast expenditures to maintain and were run with complex rules and rituals. A corps of eunuchs was established to guard these royal harems. Young princes, and there were often, many of them, were raised in the sheltered world of the harem by their mothers during their early years. For years, when the new Sultan was crowned, his brothers would be executed, to ensure domestic tranquility. Princesses would spend their entire lives in the harem. The royal harem was the most famous, but prominent families also maintained harems. Halie Edib Adivar (1883-1964) was one of the first Turkish women to break out of the restrictive life of the harem. She was the first Turkish student of the American Girls' College in Istambul. A historical novel, Haldies Gift uses fer name, but does not not follow her life story. [Kazan] The harem system declined in the 19th century. European morals and social values were becoming increasingly important in the Middle East, especually Turkey. The Turkish sultan's harem was in the Tokapi Palace. Monogamy had become increasingly common by the turn of the 20th century and harems had largely disappered, although most Islamic familes still carefully restricted the movements and activities of female household members. The Turkish Government in 1926 banned polygamy and the harem.


Kazan, Frances. Haldie's Gift (Random House, 2001), 345p.

"Turkey follows the Goose-step of Kaiserism, The War, unspecifdied 1915 edition. The War was an illustrated magazine with articles about the fighting published in Britain during the War.


Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site royal pages:
[Return to the Main royal pages]
[Return to the Main Ottoman page]
[Austria] [Belgium] [Denmark] [France] [Germany] [Italy] [Japan] [Jordon]
[Luxenburg] [Monaco] [Netherlands] [Norway] [Romania] [Russia] [Spain] [Turkey] [United Kingdom] [Yugoslavia]

Created: May 31, 2002
Last updated: 8:57 PM 1/9/2010