Monday, January 7, 2008


Yavuz Sultan Selim was born on 10th October 1470. His father was Sultan Bayezid II and his mother was Gulbahar Sultana from Dulkadirogulları State. Selim I was a tall and a strong man. He was a very brave soldier and naturally tough. He was very well educated. Selim was very much interested in science and theology beside the governmental issues. He attended the lessons of famous scholar Mevlana Abdulhalim.

During the sultanate of his father Bayezid II, Selim was appointed as the Governor of Trabizon (The Black Sea Region of Anatolia). He learnt the administrative regulations and the military system of the Empire there. He ruled the region very successfully. He improved the Ottoman relations with the neighbourhood states. He organised three campaigns to Georgia against their continuos anti-Ottoman propagandas. With these successful campaigns Selim invaded Kars, Erzurum, Artvin (1508). All the Georgians living in those regions converted to Islam.

Selim was a brilliant rider and a successful fencer. He was very good at wrestling and archery too. He had a military spirit but he was fond of arts as well. He was very modest; for example; he was used to eat only one sort of food from a wooden plate, in every meal.

He never liked vanity, never spent the Empire�s money. During his reign, the treasury was completely full. He sealed the treasury and bequeathed as fallow;

�If any of my successors could fill the treasury as much as I did, would use his own seal, otherwise they all will use my seal�.

This will was kept by Selim�s successors, as none of the Sultans came after him, could have been filled the treasury as much as he did, his seal was used to lock the treasury for centuries.

Although his ancestors were all bearded, he always shaved his beard. He also had an earring.

He died on 22th September 1520 because of cancer. He was just fifty years old. The historians agreed on that, he had short but a very brilliant career.

His sons: Suleyman (the Magnificent)
His daughters: Hatice Sultan, Fatma Sultan, Hafsa Sultan, Shah Sultan.



Sultan Bayezid�s failure to suppress the Saffavid�s more decisively caused serious disputes for power and the right of succession among his five adult sons. Selim won this throne struggle and came to throne with an ambition to restore Mehmet II�s energetic policies of conquest and in fact to achieve Mehmet�s goal of establishing a world Empire.

However, when Selim came to throne the Ottoman Empire was in a difficult situation because of the Saffavid�s in the East. Selim had decided to abolish them and open the way through Turkmenistan.



The Ottoman-Saffavid conflict was continuing since the Mehmet the Conqueror�s period. Selim�s Iran campaign increased these conflicts and Saffavid�s allied with the Mamelukes of Egypt. On hearing this allience Selim campaigned to Egypt (June 5, 1516). On the 27th day of August the Ottoman Army arrived the Mameluke borders. On the 18th August the Castle of Antep had surrendered and the Castle of Besni followed it the other day.

The battle had began on 24th August 1516 in Mercidabik. The Mameluke Army fell in defending their lands against the powerful Ottoman artillery. They have surendered. The Mameluke Sultan Gansu Gavri was found dead. With this victory, a passage through Syria was opened to the Ottomans.

Selim�s main goal was to unite all the Muslim-Turks. He began his campaign to Iran in the spring of 1514. The Saffavids and the Ottomans came across in Caldıran on 23rd of August 1514. The Ottoman army victoriously defeated the Saffavids. The Shah escaped and saved his life.

Selim had continued his campaign and entered Tabriz. He sent many artists and the scientist living in this city to Istanbul. After, this victory Shah Ismail lost his power and the Eastern Anatolia became completely Turkish.

On 15th September 1514, Selim left Tabriz and marched through Karabag, his aim was to spend the winter there and to conquer Iran completely in the spring. However, the condition of the army was not suitable and he went to Amasya. After the victory of Caldıran, Erzincan and Bayburt were invaded, the Castle of Kemah was captured.

In June 1515, the Dulkadirogulları State was defeated in the Battle of Turnadag. As a result of this glory, Diyarbakir, Mardin and Bitlis were captured. Thus, Turkish unity was restored in Anatolia.



Sultan Selim entered Alleppo without any resistance on 19th September 1516. Humus (21st September 1516) and Sam (27th September 1516) had surrendered, the Emirs of Lebanon had accepted the Ottoman supremacy. Sultan Selim went to Jerusalem on 30th December 1516 , to Gazze on 2nd January 1517.

After the Battle of Mercidabik, Tumanbay ascended the throne. He rejected the Ottoman authority, moreover, he killed the Ottoman ambassador sent for reconcilation of the relations. Tumanbay bought new cannons and weapons from the Venetians and he constructed a defence line through Ridaniye.

Sultan Selim and his army passed the Desert of Sina in 13 days and arrived Ridaniye. Sultan Selim was the first commander passed this horrible desert since the ancient times. As a military genius he circled around the El-Mukaddam Mountain and attacked the Mameluke Army from the south. The Mameluke artillery was stationary and they could not have moved the cannons. The Ottoman Army had won this battle in few hours. With this victory, the Mameluke State had came to an end.



Cairo was captured on 24th January 1517, Selim entered Cairo on 4th February 1517. He put an end to the Caliphate of Mameluke Abbassids. Tumanbay had been caught and executed. After the campaign of Egypt; Syria Philistine were annexed into the Ottoman Territories. The Oriental trade roads were gone under the Ottoman authority. The Ottoman treasury has filled up with taxes and bootys. On 6th of July 1516, the Holy Relics (Emanet-i Mukaddese) as Mohammed�s robe, teeth, sword, flag; were sent to Selim from Hedjaz. The last Abbasid Caliph Al-Mutawakkel was deposed from his rank as the spiritual head of Islam, and Selim was invested with the dignity by the sheriff of Mecca on 29th August 1517. Selim consequently added to his other title that of �servant of Mecca and Medina (the holy cities)�. Al-Mutawakkel himself gave his title to Selim and he had had dressed the Caliphate Robe himself in the ceremony in Ayasofya.

Sultan Selim was the first Ottoman Caliph and his successors took the title as well. From this period on the Ottoman Sultans began to be the Sultan of all the Islamic World.

When Selim came to throne, the Ottoman territories were 2.375.000 km square, during his short but very victorious career he enlarged the Ottoman Territories to 6.557.000 km square. He was one of the most important of all the Ottoman sultans. He had a great role in the apogee of the Ottoman Empire.

He had a very successful spy organisation. He had information from all around the country. He was very successful in choosing his officers.



Sultan Selim firstly enlarge the Docks of Halic (Golden Horn) built by his grand father Mehmet the Conqueror. He had had built many social and commercial complexes. His career is usually filled with military achievements but he had found time to erect some mosques and hospices, as Yavuz Sultan Selim, Diyarbakır Fatih Pasha, Elbistan Ulu Mosques. During his life The Mosque of Selimiye was began to be built but it could not have been completed. His son Suleyman the Magnificent completed it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He is one of the best commander in the world ...