List of sultans of the Ottoman Empire

List of sultans of the Ottoman Empire

The sultans of the Ottoman Empire (Turkish: Osmanlı padişahları), made up solely of the members of the Ottoman dynasty(House of Osman), ruled over the transcontinental empire from its inception in 1299 to its dissolution in 1922. At its height, the Ottoman Empire spanned from Hungary in the north to Yemen in the south, and from Algeria in the west to Iraq in the east. Administered at first from the city of Bursa, the empire's capital was moved to Edirne in 1363 following its conquest by Murad I, and then to Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) in 1453 following its conquest by Mehmed II.[1]

The Ottoman Empire's early years have been the subject of varying narratives due to the difficulty of discerning fact from legend. The empire came into existence at the end of the thirteenth century, and its first ruler (and the namesake of the Empire) was Osman I. According to later, often unreliable Ottoman tradition, Osman was a descendant of the Kayı tribe of the Oghuz Turks.[2] The eponymous Ottoman dynasty he founded endured for six centuries through the reigns of 36 sultans. The Ottoman Empire disappeared as a result of the defeat of the Central Powers with whom it had allied itself during World War I. The partitioning of the Empire by the victorious Allies and the ensuing Turkish War of Independence led to the abolition of the sultanate in 1922 and the birth of the modern Republic of Turkey in 1923.[3]
State organisation of the Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman Empire was an absolute monarchy during much of its existence. The sultan was at the apex of the hierarchical Ottoman system and acted in political, military, judicial, social, and religious capacities under a variety of titles.[a] He was theoretically responsible only to God and God's law (the Islamic شریعت şeriat, known in Arabic as شريعة sharia), of which he was the chief executor. His heavenly mandate was reflected in Islamic titles such as "shadow of God on Earth" (Turkish: Allah'ın yeryüzündeki gölgesi), (Arabic: ظل الله في العالم‎‎ zıll Allah fi'l-alem) and "caliph on the earth" (Persian: خلیفه روی زمین‎‎ khalife-i ru-yi zemin).[4] All offices were filled by his authority, and every law was issued by him in the form of a decree called firman (فرمان). He was the supreme military commander and had the official title to all land.[5] Osman (died 1323/4) son of Ertuğrul was the first ruler of the Ottoman state, which during his reign constituted a small principality (beylik) in the region of Bithynia on the frontier of the Byzantine Empire.
After the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by Mehmed II, Ottoman sultans came to regard themselves as the successors of the Roman Empire, hence their occasional use of the titles Caesar (قیصر Qayser) of Rûm, and emperor,[4][6][7] as well as the caliph of Islam. Following the conquest of Egypt in 1517, Selim I furthered strengthened the claim of caliphal authority.[b] Newly enthroned Ottoman rulers were girded with the Sword of Osman, an important ceremony that served as the equivalent of European monarchs' coronation.[8] A non-girded sultan was not eligible to have his children included in the line of succession.[9]
Although theocratic and absolute in theory and in principle, the sultan's powers were limited in practice. Political decisions had to take into account the opinions and attitudes of important members of the dynasty, the bureaucratic and military establishments, as well as religious leaders.[5] Beginning in the last decades of the sixteenth century, the role of the Ottoman sultans in the government of the empire began to decrease, in a period known as the Transformation of the Ottoman Empire. Despite being barred from inheriting the throne,[10] women of the Imperial Harem—especially the reigning sultan's mother, known as the Valide Sultan—also played an important behind-the-scenes political role, effectively ruling the empire during the period known as the Sultanate of Women.[11]
Constitutionalism was only established during the reign Abdul Hamid II, who thus became the empire's last absolute ruler and its reluctant first constitutional monarch.[12] Although Abdul Hamid II abolished the parliament and the constitution to return to personal rule in 1878, he was again forced in 1908 to reinstall constitutionalism and was deposed. Since 2009, the head of the House of Osmanand pretender to the defunct Ottoman throne has been Bayezid Osman, a great-grandson of Abdülmecid I.[13]
List of sultans
The table below lists Ottoman sultans, as well as the last Ottoman caliph, in chronological order. The tughras were the calligraphic seals or signatures used by Ottoman sultans. They were displayed on all official documents as well as on coins, and were far more important in identifying a sultan than his portrait. The "Notes" column contains information on each sultan's parentage and fate. When a sultan's reign did not end through a natural death, the reason is indicated in bold. For earlier rulers, there is usually a time gap between the moment a sultan's reign ended and the moment his successor was enthroned. This is because the Ottomans in that era practiced what historian Quataert has described as "survival of the fittest, not eldest, son": when a sultan died, his sons had to fight each other for the throne until a victor emerged. Because of the infighting and numerous fratricides that occurred, a sultan's death date therefore did not always coincide with the accession date of his successor.[14] In 1617, the law of succession changed from survival of the fittest to a system based on agnatic seniority (اکبریت ekberiyet), whereby the throne went to the oldest male of the family. This in turn explains why from the 17th century onwards a deceased sultan was rarely succeeded by his own son, but usually by an uncle or brother.[15] Agnatic seniority was retained until the abolition of the sultanate, despite unsuccessful attempts in the 19th century to replace it with primogeniture.[16]
№ Sultan Portrait Reigned from Reigned until Tughra
— Emir Gazi
Ertuğrul Bey
ارطغرل غازی
Amîr Ghazi –
The Esquire
1230 1281 —
• Son of Kaya Alp Oğlu Süleyman Şahand Haimā (Hayme) Ana;
• Reigned until his death.[17]
• Father of Osman Gazi.

— Emir Gazi
Osman Bey
عثمان بن ارطغرل
Amîr Fakhr ud-din
Othman-Al Ghazi – The Esquire
1281 1299 —
• Son of Ertuğrul Ghazi and Khālīma Khānūm;
• Became an independent sovereign on the collapse of the Sultanate of Iconium on July 27, 1299.
Rise of the Ottoman Empire
(1299 – 1453)
1 Osman I
ĠĀZĪ (The Warrior)
BEY (The Esquire)
KARA (lit. The Land or The Black for his bravery) 27 July 1299 29 July 1326 —
• Son of Ertuğrul Ghazi and Khālîma Khānum;
• On 27 July 1299, declared his independence from the Anatolian Seljuk Empire.
• Reigned until his death.[17]

2 Orhan
ĠĀZĪ (The Warrior)
BEY (The Esquire) 29 July 1326 1362 • Son of Osman I and Mal Hatun;
• Reigned until his death.[18]

3 Murad I
SULTAN-İ AZAM (The Most Exalted Sultan)
(The devotee of God)
ŞEHÎD (Martyr) [19][b]
1362 15 June 1389
• Son of Orhan and Nilūfer Khātûn;
• Reigned until his death;
• Killed on the battlefield at the Battle of Kosovo on June 15, 1389.[20]

4 Bayezid I
SULTAN-İ RÛM (Sultan of the Roman Empire)
YILDIRIM (The Thunderbolt) 15 June 1389
20 July 1402
• Son of Murad I and Gülçiçek Hatun;
• Captured on the battlefield at the Battle of Ankara (de facto end of reign);
• Died in captivity in Akşehir on 8 March 1403.[21]

Ottoman Interregnum (20 July 1402 – 5 July 1413)

5 Mehmed I
ÇELEBİ (The Affable)
KİRİŞÇİ (lit. The Bowstring Maker for his support) 5 July 1413
26 May 1421 • Son of Bayezid I and Devlet Hatun;
• Reigned until his death.[22]

6 Murad II
KOCA (The Great) 25 June 1421 1444 • Son of Mehmed I and Emine Hatun;[23]
• Abdicated of his own free will in favour of his son Mehmed II.[24]

7 Mehmed II
FĀTİḤ (The Conqueror)
فاتح 1444 1446 • Son of Murad II and Hüma Hatun;[25]
• Surrendered the throne to his father after having asked him to return to power, along with rising threats from Janissaries.[24]

— Murad II
KOCA (The Great) 1446 3 February 1451 • Second reign;
• Forced to return to the throne following a Janissary insurgence;[26]
• Reigned until his death.[23]

Growth of the Ottoman Empire
(1453 – 1550)
— Mehmed II
KAYSER-İ RÛM (Caesar of the Roman Empire)
FĀTİḤ (The Conqueror)
فاتح 3 February 1451 3 May 1481 • Second reign;
• Conquered Constantinople in 1453;
• Reigned until his death.[27]

8 Bayezid II
VELÎ (The Saint) 19 May 1481 25 April 1512 • Son of Mehmed II and Mükrime Hatun;
• Abdicated;
• Died near Didymoteicho on 26 May 1512.[28]

9 Selim I
YAVUZ (The Strong)
Hadim'ul Haramain'ish-Sharifain
(Servant of Mecca and Medina) 25 April 1512 21 September 1520 • Son of Bayezid II and Gülbahar Sultan;
• Reigned until his death.[29]

10 Suleiman I
MUHTEŞEM (The Magnificent)
or KANÛNÎ (The Lawgiver)
قانونى 30 September 1520 6 or 7 September 1566 • Son of Selim I and Ayşe Hafsa Sultan;
• Reigned until his death.[30]

Transformation of the Ottoman Empire
(1550 – 1700)
11 Selim II
SARI (The Blond) 29 September 1566 21 December 1574 • Son of Suleiman I and Hürrem Sultan;
• Reigned until his death.[31]

12 Murad III
22 December 1574 16 January 1595 • Son of Selim II and Nurbanu Sultan;
• Reigned until his death.[32]

13 Mehmed III
ADLÎ (The Just) 27 January 1595 20 or 21 December 1603 • Son of Murad III and Safiye Sultan;
• Reigned until his death;[33]

14 Ahmed I
BAḪTī (The Fortunate) 21 December 1603 22 November 1617 • Son of Mehmed III and Handan Sultan;
• Reigned until his death.[34]

15 Mustafa I
DELİ (The Deranged) 22 November 1617 26 February 1618 • Son of Mehmed III and Halime Sultan;
• Deposed due to his non-syndromic mental retardation in favour of his young nephew Osman II.[35]

16 Osman II
GENÇ (The Young)
ŞEHÎD (The Martyr)
شهيد 26 February 1618 19 May 1622 • Son of Ahmed I and Mahfiruz Hatice Sultan;
• Deposed in a Janissary riot on 19 May 1622;
• Murdered on 20 May 1622 by the Grand Vizier Kara Davud Pasha.[36]

— Mustafa I
DELİ (The Deranged) 20 May 1622 10 September 1623 • Second reign;
• Returned to the throne after the assassination of his nephew Osman II;
• Deposed due to his poor mental health and confined until his death in Istanbulon 20 January 1639.[35]

17 Murad IV
The Conqueror of Baghdad
ĠĀZĪ (The Warrior)
غازى 10 September 1623 8 or 9 February 1640 • Son of Ahmed I and Kösem Sultan;
• Reigned until his death.[37]

18 Ibrahim
DELİ (The Deranged)
The Conqueror of Crete
ŞEHÎD 9 February 1640 8 August 1648 • Son of Ahmed I and Kösem Sultan;
• Deposed on 8 August 1648 in a coup led by the Sheikh ul-Islam;
• Strangled in Istanbul on 18 August 1648[38] at the behest of the Grand Vizier Mevlevî Mehmed Paşa (Sofu Mehmed Pasha).
19 Mehmed IV
AVCI (The Hunter)
ĠĀZĪ (The Warrior)
غازى 8 August 1648 8 November 1687 • Son of Ibrahim and Turhan Hatice Sultan;
• Deposed on 8 November 1687 following the Ottoman defeat at the Second Battle of Mohács;
• Died in Edirne on 6 January 1693.[39]

20 Suleiman II
ĠĀZĪ (The Warrior) 8 November 1687 22 June 1691 • Son of Ibrahim and Saliha Dilashub;
• Reigned until his death.[40]

21 Ahmed II
ḪĀN ĠĀZĪ (The Warrior Prince) 22 June 1691 6 February 1695 • Son of Ibrahim and Hatice Mû’azzez İkinci Haseki Sultân;
• Reigned until his death.[41]

22 Mustafa II
ĠĀZĪ (The Warrior) 6 February 1695 22 August 1703 • Son of Mehmed IV and Emetullah Rabia Gülnuş Sultan;
• Deposed on 22 August 1703 by a Janissary uprising known as the Edirne Event;
• Died in Istanbul on 8 January 1704.[42]

Stagnation and reform of the Ottoman Empire
(1700 – 1827)
23 Ahmed III
Tulip Era Sultan
ĠĀZĪ (The Warrior) 22 August 1703 1 or 2 October 1730 • Son of Mehmed IV and Mâh-Pârā Ummetullah (Emetullah) Râbi’a Gül-Nûsh (Gül-Nûş) Vâlidā Sultân;
• Deposed in consequence of the Janissary rebellion led by Patrona Halil;
• Died on 1 July 1736.[43]

24 Mahmud I
ĠĀZĪ (The Warrior)
KAMBUR (The Hunchback) 2 October 1730 13 December 1754 • Son of Mustafa II and Saliha Sabkati;
• Reigned until his death.[44]

25 Osman III
SOFU (The Devout) 13 December 1754 29 or 30 October 1757 • Son of Mustafa II and Shehsuvar;
• Reigned until his death.[45]

26 Mustafa III
YENİLİKÇİ (The First Innovative) 30 October 1757 21 January 1774 • Son of Ahmed III and Amina Mihr-i Shah;
• Reigned until his death.[46]

27 Abdülhamid I
Abd ūl-Hāmīd (The Servant of God)
ISLAHATÇI (The Improver)
ĠĀZĪ (The Warrior) 21 January 1774 6 or 7 April 1789 • Son of Ahmed III and Rabia Sultan;
• Reigned until his death.[47]

28 Selim III
BESTEKÂR (The Composer)
NİZÂMÎ (Regulative - Orderly)
ŞEHÎD (The Martyr) 7 April 1789 29 May 1807 • Son of Mustafa III and Mihrişah Valide Sultan;
• Deposed as a result of the Janissary revolt led by Kabakçı Mustafa against his reforms;
• Assassinated in Istanbul on 28 July 1808[48] at the behest of Ottoman Sultan Mustafa IV.

29 Mustafa IV
29 May 1807 28 July 1808 • Son of Abdülhamid I and Bash IqbalNushatzaza (Nüzhet-Zâdāh / Nükhet-Sedâ) Khānūm Effendi;
• Deposed in an insurrection led by Alemdar Mustafa Pasha;
• Executed in Istanbul on 17 November 1808[49] by order of Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II.

Modernization of the Ottoman Empire
(1827 – 1908)
30 Mahmud II
İNKILÂPÇI (The Reformer)
ĠĀZĪ (The Warrior) 28 July 1808 1 July 1839 • Son of Abdülhamid I and Nakşidil Sultan (adoptive mother of Mahmud II);
• Disbanded the Janissaries in consequence of the Auspicious Eventin 1826;
• Reigned until his death.[50]

31 Abdülmecid I
(The Strong Reformist or
The Advocate of Reorganization)
ĠĀZĪ (The Warrior) 1 July 1839 25 June 1861 • Son of Mahmud II and Bezmialem;
• Proclaimed the Hatt-ı Sharif (Imperial Edict) of Gülhane (Tanzimât Fermânı)that launched the Tanzimat period of reforms and reorganization on 3 November 1839 at the behest of reformist Grand Vizier Great Mustafa Rashid Pasha;
• Accepted the Islâhat Hatt-ı Hümayun (Imperial Reform Edict) (Islâhat Fermânı) on 18 February 1856;
• Reigned until his death.[51]

32 Abdülaziz I
BAḪTSIZ (The Unfortunate)
ŞEHĪD (The Martyr) 25 June 1861 30 May 1876 • Son of Mahmud II and Pertevniyal;
• Deposed by his ministers;
• Found dead (suicide or murder) five days later.[52]

33 Mehmed Murad V
30 May 1876 31 August 1876 • Son of Abdülmecid I and Shevkefza;
• Deposed due to his efforts to implement democratic reforms in the empire;
• Ordered to reside in Çırağan Palacewhere he died on 29 August 1904.[53]

34 Abdülhamid II
Ulû Sultân Abd ūl-Hāmīd Khan

(The Sublime Khan) 31 August 1876 27 April 1909 • Son of Abdülmecid I and Tirimüjgan; and later the adoptive son of Rahime Perestu (adoptive mother of Abdul Hamid II).
• Reluctantly allowed the First Constitutional Era on 23 November 1876 and then suspended it and reverted to personal rule on 13 February 1878;
• Forced to restore the Second Constitutional Era on 3 July 1908;
• Deposed after the 31 March Incident (on 13 April 1909);
• Confined to Beylerbeyi Palace where he died on 10 February 1918.[54]

Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire[e]
1908 – 1922)

35 Mehmed V
REŞÂD (Rashād)
(The True Path Follower) 27 April 1909 3 July 1918 • Son of Abdülmecid I and Gülcemal Kadınefendi;
• Reigned as a figurehead of Mehmed Talat, İsmail Enver, and Ahmed CemalPashas until his death.[55]

36 Mehmed VI
VAHDETTİN (Wāhīd ād-Dīn)
(The Unifier of Religion (Islam) or The Oneness of Islam)
4 July 1918 1 November 1922 • Son of Abdülmecid I and Gülistü;
• Sultanate abolished;
• Left Istanbul on 17 November 1922;
• Died in exile in Sanremo, Italy on 16 May 1926.[56]

Republican Caliphate
(1 November 1922 – 3 March 1924)
— Abdülmecid II
18 November 1922 3 March 1924 —
• Son of Abdülaziz I and Hayrân-î-Dil Kadın Efendi;[57]
• Elected caliph by the TBMM;
• Exiled after the abolition of the caliphate;[58]
• Died in Paris, France on 23 August 1944.[59]

Interregnum period (1402–1413)[edit]
№ Sultan Portrait Reigned from Reigned until Tughra
Ottoman Interregnum[d]
(20 July 1402 – 5 July 1413)

— İsa Çelebi
The Co-Sultan of Anatolia
(Sultan of the Western Anatolian Territory) 1406 — • After the Battle of Ankara on July 20, 1402, İsa Çelebi defeated Musa Çelebiand began controlling the western part of Anatolian territory of the empire for approximately two years.
• Defeated by Mehmed Çelebi in the battle of Ulubat in 1405.
• Murdered in 1406.
— Emir (Amir)
Süleyman Çelebi
The First Sultan of Rumelia
20 July 1402
17 February 1411[60]
— • Acquired the title of The Sultan of Rumelia for the European portion of the empire, a short period after the Ottoman defeat of The Battle of Ankara on 20 July 1402
• Murdered on 17 February 1411.[61]

— Musa Çelebi
The Second Sultan of Rumelia
18 February 1411 5 July 1413[62]
— • Acquired the title of The Sultan of Rumelia for the European portion of the empire[63] on 18 February 1411, just after the death of Süleyman Çelebi.
• Killed on 5 July 1413 by Mehmed Çelebi’s forces in the battle of Çamurlu Derbent near Samokov in Bulgaria.[64]

— Mehmed Çelebi
The Sultan of Anatolia
(Sultan of the Eastern Anatolian Territory)

(The Sultan of Anatolia)
5 July 1413
— • Acquired the control of the eastern part of the Anatolian territory as the Co-Sultan just after the defeat of the Battle of Ankara on 20 July 1402.
• Defeated İsa Çelebi in the battle of Ulubat in 1405.
• Became the sole ruler of the Anatolian territory of the Ottoman Empire upon İsa’s death in 1406.
• Acquired the title of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed I Khan upon Musa’s death on 5 July 1413.