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|Caliph of Islam
|Period||Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire|
|Born||25 April 1823|
|Died||25 June 1861(aged 38)|
|Royal House||House of Osman|
|Valide Sultan||Bezmiâlem Sultan|
Sultan Abdülmecid I, Abdul Mejid I, Abd-ul-Mejid I or Abd Al-Majid I Ghazi (Ottoman Turkish: عبد المجيد اول ‘Abdü’l-Mecīd-i evvel) (23/25 April 1823 – 25 June 1861) was the 31st Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and succeeded his father Mahmud II on July 2, 1839. His reign was notable for the rise of nationalist movements within the empire's territories. Abdülmecid wanted to encourage Ottomanism among the secessionist subject nations and stop the rise of nationalist movements within the empire, but failed to succeed despite trying to integrate non-Muslims and non-Turks more thoroughly into the Ottoman society with new laws and reforms. He tried to forge alliances with the major powers of Western Europe, namely the United Kingdom and France, who fought alongside the Ottoman Empire in the Crimean War against Russia. In the following Congress of Paris on 30 March 1856, the Ottoman Empire was officially included among the European family of nations. Abdülmecid's biggest achievement was the announcement and application of the Tanzimat (Reorganization) reforms which were prepared by his father Mahmud II and effectively started the modernization of Ottoman Empire in 1839. For this achievement, one of the Imperial anthems of the Ottoman Empire, the March for Sultan Abdul-Mejid, was named after him.
He was born at Beşiktaş Sahil Palace or at Topkapı Palace, both in Constantinople. His mother was his father's first wife in 1839, Valide Sultan Bezmiâlem, originally named Suzi (1807–1852), either a Circassian or Georgian slave
Abdülmecid received a European education and was a fluent speaker of the French language, the first sultan to do so, while being interested in literature and classical music like Abdülaziz who succeeded him. He was an advocate of reforms like his father Mahmud II, and was lucky enough to have the support of progressionist viziers like Mustafa Reşit Pasha, Mehmet Emin Ali Paşa and Fuat Pasha. Throughout his reign he had to struggle against conservatives who opposed his reforms. Abdülmecid was also the first emperor to personally listen to the public's complaints in special reception days, usually every Friday, without any middlemen. Abdülmecid toured the empire's territories to see in first person how the Tanzimat reforms were being applied; travelling to İzmit, Mudanya, Bursa, Gallipoli, Çanakkale, Lemnos, Lesbos and Chios in 1844. He toured the Balkan provinces in 1846.
When Abdülmecid succeeded to the throne, the affairs of the Ottoman Empire were in an extremely critical state. At the very time his father died, the news was on its way to Constantinople that the empire's army had been defeated at Nizip by that of the rebel Egyptian viceroy, Muhammad Ali. The empire's fleet was at the same time on its way to Alexandria, where it was handed over to the same enemy by its commander Ahmed Fevzi Pasha, on the pretext that the young sultan's advisers were sold to Russia. However, through the intervention of the European powers, Muhammad Ali was obliged to come to terms, and the Ottoman Empire was saved from further attacks while its territories in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine were restored. This was finalized in the Convention of London (1840).
In compliance with his father's express instructions, Abdülmecid immediately carried out the reforms to which Mahmud II had devoted himself. In November 1839 an edict known as the Hatt-ı Şerif of Gülhane, also known as Tanzimat Fermanı was proclaimed, consolidating and enforcing these reforms. The edict was supplemented at the close of the Crimean War by a similar statute issued in February 1856, named the Hatt-ı Hümayun. By these enactments it was provided that all classes of the sultan's subjects should have security for their lives and property; that taxes should be fairly imposed and justice impartially administered; and that all should have full religious liberty and equal civil rights. The scheme met with keen opposition from the Muslim governing classes and the ulema, or religious authorities, and was but partially put in force, especially in the remoter parts of the empire; and more than one conspiracy was formed against the sultan's life on account of it.
The most important measures of reform promoted by Abdülmecid were:
- Introduction of the first Ottoman paper banknotes (1840)
- Reorganization of the army, including the introduction of conscription (1842–1844)
- Adoption of an Ottoman national anthem and Ottoman national flag (1844)
- Reorganization of the finance system according to the French model
- Reorganization of the Civil and Criminal Code according to the French model
- Reorganization of the court system, establishing a system of civil and criminal courts with both European and Ottoman judges.
- Establishment of the Meclis-i Maarif-i Umumiye (1845) which was the prototype of the First Ottoman Parliament (1876)
- Institution of a council of public instruction (1846)
- Creation of the Ministry of Education
- Establishment of the first modern universities and academies (1848)
- Established an Ottoman school in Paris
- Abolition of an unfairly imposed capitation tax which imposed higher tariffs on non-Muslims (1856)
- Non-Muslims were allowed to become soldiers (1856)
- Various provisions for the better administration of the public service and for the advancement of commerce
- New land laws confirming the right of ownership(1858)
- Decriminalization of homosexuality (1858)
Another notable reform was that the turban was officially outlawed for the first time during Abdülmecid's reign, in favour of the fez. European fashions were also adopted in full swing by the Court. (The fez itself was later banned with the "Hat Law" in 1925 by the Republican National Assembly which had already abolished the sultanate and proclaimed the Turkish Republic in 1923).
Samuel Morse received his first ever patent for the telegraph in 1847, at the old Beylerbeyi Palace (the present Beylerbeyi Palace was built in 1861–1865 on the same location) in Constantinople, which was issued by Sultan Abdülmecid who personally tested the new invention.
When Kossuth and others sought refuge in Turkey after the failure of the Hungarian rising in 1849, the sultan was called on by Austria and Russia to surrender them, but he refused. He also would not allow the conspirators against his own life to be put to death. The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica says of him, "Abdülmecid bore the character of being a kind and honourable man, if somewhat weak and easily led. Against this, however, must be set down his excessive extravagance, especially towards the end of his life."
In 1844 he created a new coin with that name and in 1852 he instituted the Order of the Medjidie.
According to an Irish popular legend, in 1845, Abdülmecid I declared his intention to send £10,000 to Irish farmers during the Great Irish famine but Queen Victoria requested that the Sultan send only £1,000, because she herself had sent only £2,000. The Sultan sent the £1,000 sterling, despite his own virtual bankruptcy. A letter found in the Ottoman archives, written by Irish notables, explicitly thanks the Sultan for his help. He may also have sent three ships full of food: newspaper articles from the period refer to three ships from Thessaloniki (in the Ottoman Empire) sailing up the River Boyne in May 1847, although the river was also reported dry in that month. According to Abdullah Aymaz in an article in The Fountain magazine, the British administration tried to block the ships, but the food arrived secretly at Drogheda. There are no records of this with the Drogheda Port nor the Irish National Library nor in any British archive. If the ships were sent, it is possible that the Irish records were destroyed in a later fire.
The Ottoman Empire took its first foreign loans on 25 August 1854 during the Crimean War. This major foreign loan was followed by those of 1855, 1858 and 1860, which culminated in default and led to the alienation of European sympathy from the Ottoman Empire and indirectly to the dethronement and death of Abdülâziz in the following years.
His success in foreign relation was not as notable as his domestic accomplishments. His reign started off with the defeat of his forces by the Viceroy of Egypt and the subsequent signing of the Convention of London (1840), which saved his empire from a greater embarrassment. They successfully participated in the Crimean War and were winning signatories at the Treaty of Paris (1856). His attempts at stengthening his base in the Balkans failed in Bosnia and Montenegro, and in 1861 he was forced to give up Lebanon by the Concert of Europe.
Abdülmecid died of tuberculosis (like his father) at the age of 39 in Constantinople on 25 June 1861, where he was buried, and was succeeded by his brother, Abdülâziz, the oldest survivor of the family of Osman.
Marriages and children
He married many times and left several sons, of whom four eventually succeeded to the throne.
His first marriage was in Constantinople on 1 August 1839 to Circassian or Georgian HH Valide Sultan Şevkefza, (Poti, 12 December 1820 – Constantinople, Ortaköy, Çırağan Palace, 13 November 1882 or 17 September 1889), and had two children.
His second marriage occurred in Constantinople on 10 November 1841 to Armenian HH Valide Sultan Tirimüjgün or Tirimüjgan Kadın Efendi (16 August 1819 – Constantinople, Fariya Palace, 3 October 1852 or 2 November 1853), and had two children.
His third marriage occurred in Constantinople on 27 March 1843 to HH Valide Sultan Gülcemal Kadın Efendi, (Caucasus, 1826 – Constantinople, Ortaköy, Ortaköy Palace, 16 November 1851 or 29 December 1895), originally named Sofiya, a Circassian, and had five children including Mehmed V.
His fourth marriage occurred in Constantinople on 10 June 1852 to Caucasian HH Verdicenan Kadın Efendi (Caucasus, 1826 – Constantinople, Beşiktaş, Beşiktaş Palace, 9 December 1889), and had two children.
His sixth marriage was to HH Bezmi (Bezmara) Kadın Efendi which was celebrated in a ceremony.
His seventh marriage was to HH Valide Sultan Rahime Perestu daughter of Gogen Gök Bey of The Ubuh Tribe of Circassia, without issue, who became the adoptive mother of Abdul Hamid II and one of his half sisters.
He also married HH Neveser Kadın Efendi and had one child, Şehzade Mehmed Burhaneddin Efendi, and he married HH Nalandil Haseki Kadın Efendi (1829 – Constantinople, Beşiktaş, Beşiktaş Palace, 23 December 1890), and had one child., and finally, he married HH Aisha Sarfiraz Kadın Efendi (1837 – Constantinople, Ortaköy, Ortaköy Palace, 9 June 1905), and had one child, Şehzade Sulaiman Selim Efendi.
- Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abdulmecid I". Encyclopedia Britannica. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica Inc. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.
- There are sources that state his birth date as the 23rd of April
- Chambers Biographical Dictionary, ISBN 0-550-18022-2, page 3
- The Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol.7, Edited by Hugh Chisholm, (1911), 3; Constantinople, the capital of the Turkish Empire...
- Britannica, Istanbul:When the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923, the capital was moved to Ankara, and Istanbul was officially renamed Istanbul in 1930.
- Slavery in the Ottoman Empire, Putnam's Monthly, vol. V, June 1855, No. 30, p. 615
- Bezmi Alem Valide Sultan, Gürcistan Dostluk Derneği
- Bezmiâlem Valide Sultan, Bezmiâlem Vakıf Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi Hastanesi
- The Private World of Ottoman Women by Godfrey Goodwin, 2007, p.157
- Istanbul City Guide: Beylerbeyi Palace
- Kinealy, Christine (1997). "Potatoes, providence and philanthropy". In O'Sullivan, Patrick. The Meaning of the Famine. London: Leicester University Press. p. 151. ISBN 0-7185-1426-2. "According to a popular tradition, which dates back to 1853..."
- Ó Gráda, Cormac (1999). Black '47 and Beyond. Princeton University Press. pp. 197–198. ISBN 0-691-01550-3. "...populist myths..."
- Kelly, Antoinette. "New evidence shows Turkey delivered food to Ireland during the famine". IrishCentral LLC. Retrieved 11-07-2012.
- Akay 2012.
- Aymaz 2007.
- Goodwin, Jason (2008). The Bellini Card. London: Faber and Faber. pp. 10–14. ISBN 978-0-571-23992-4.
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Abdülmecid IBorn: 23 April 1823 Died: 25 June 1861
|Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
2 July 1839 – 25 June 1861
|Sunni Islam titles|
|Caliph of Islam
2 July 1839 – 25 June 1861