Ayşe Hafsa Sultan

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Not to be confused with Hafsa Hatun.
Ayşe Hafsa Sultan
Valide Sultan
BustOfAyseHafsaSultan ManisaTurkey.jpg
The bust of "Ayşe Hafsa" (Ayishā Hâfize) in Manisa, Turkey.
Spouse Sultan Selim I
Issue Sultan Suleiman I
Şehzade Orhan
Şehzade Musa
Şehzade Korkut
Hatice Sultan
Beyhan Sultan
Şah Sultan
Fatma Sultan
Full name
Devletlû İsmetlû Ayşe Hafsa Vâlide Sultân Aliyyetü'ş-Şân Hazretleri
House House of Osman
Born 5 December 1479
Died 19 March 1534(1534-03-19) (aged 54)
Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
Burial Yavuz Selim Mosque, Fatih, Constantinople[1][2] (present day Istanbul)
Religion Islam

Ayşe Hafsa Sultan[3] (fully Devletlu İsmetlu Ayşe Hafsa Valide Sultan Aliyyetü'ş-Şân Hazretleri; Ottoman Turkish: عائشہ حفصہ سلطان‎; 5 December 1479 – 19 March 1534), or in short, Hafsa Sultan, was the first "Valide Sultan" (Queen Mother) of the Ottoman Empire, first wife of Selim I and mother of Suleiman the Magnificent. During the period between her son's enthronement in 1520 and her death in 1534, she was one of the most influential persons in the Empire, as her son's de facto co-regent during these fourteen years, coming second only to the sovereign, which is a point remarked also by the ambassadors of European powers at the Ottoman court.[4]

The husband of "Ayşe Hafsa" (Ayishā Hâfize) Valide sultan, Yavuz Sultan Selim Khan.


Although Ayşe Hafsa Sultan’s year of birth is known, historians debate that she was the daughter of Meñli I Giray. According to an alternative theory, the daughter of Meñli I Giray of the Crimean Khanate was another consort of Selim I known as Ayşe Hatun, consequently the stepmother of Suleiman the Magnificent.

Hospice famed especially as a mental hospital built by Ayşe Hafsa Sultan in Manisa, Turkey.

The Ottoman inscription (vakfiye) describes her as Hātun binti Abd-ul-Muin (Hatun, daughter of Abd-ul-Muin), which means that her father was possibly a Greek convert to Islam. The reason behind calling her Hafsa was that she was from Havsa, a district of Edirne Province of Turkey. Other sources describe her as Circassian or a Crimean Tatar princess.[5][6]


Having resided in the city of Manisa in western Turkey with her son, who administered the surrounding region between 1513 to 1520, the town being one of the traditional residences for Ottoman crown princes (şehzade) in apprenticeship for future power, Ayşe Hafsa Sultan is the initiator of the Manisa's "Mesir Festival", a local tradition still continued today. She also had a large complex consisting of a mosque, a primary school, a college and a hospice built in the city.

She was also the first imperial spouse to be called by the title usually rendered in English language as "Sultana" (full title in Turkish; "Valide Sultan", literally "the Queen Mother" but in only approximate terms in the Ottoman context). Her period signalled the shifting status of the sultan's mother and her increased share in power.[7] After the birth of her son Suleiman, born 6 November 1494 in Trabzon, she had also three other sons who died in childhood: Orhan, Musa and Korkut and four daughters: Hatice, Beyhan, Şah and Fatma.

Ayşe Hafsa Sultan died in March 1534 and was buried near her husband in a mausoleum behind the qiblah wall of Yavuz Selim Mosque, in Fatih, Istanbul. The mausoleum was largely destroyed in an earthquake in 1884, a reconstruction effort started in the 1900s (decade) having been left discontinued, and her tomb today is much simpler than it was built originally.


  1. ^ The Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol.7, Edited by Hugh Chisholm, (1911), 3; Constantinople, the capital of the Turkish Empire...
  2. ^ Britannica, Istanbul:When the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923, the capital was moved to Ankara, and Constantinople was officially renamed Istanbul in 1930.
  3. ^ There were half a dozen notable female figures in Ottoman history who were named "Hafsa". Among these, it is Ayşe Hafsa Sultan who is referred to as "Hafsa Sultan" in short, "Sultan" in this case standing for "Sultana".
    A namesake also of primary historical prominence and who had preceded Ayşe Hafsa Sultan by about two centuries was the wife of the sultan Bayezid I and the daughter of İsa Bey, the last bey of Aydin, and she is generally referred to as Hafsa (Hâfize) Khātun. It is this earlier Hafsa who is at the origin of the final form the name of a town depending Edirne, Havsa, has taken.
    The word Hâfiz designates a male person who memorized the Qur'an, and Hâfize indicates that the person is female. Hafsa is the more common and easier to pronounce, especially when fastly discoursed, of this name.
  4. ^ Pietro Bragadin, Venetian Republic's ambassador in the early years of Suleiman the Magnificent's reign notes "a very beautiful woman of 48, for whom the sultan bears great reverence and love..." Leslie Peirce (1993). The Imperial Harem : Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire p. 62 ISBN 0-19-508677-5. Oxford University Press. 
  5. ^ Ottoman, Russian and Circassian Political Relations
  6. ^ Mahidevran Haseki ve Ailesi
  7. ^ Amy Singer (2002). Constructing Ottoman beneficence: An imperial soup kitchen in Jerusalem p. 90 ISBN 0-7914-5351-0. State University of New York Press. 

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Royal titles
Preceded by
Emine Gülbahar Hatun
Valide Sultan
30 September 1520 – 19 March 1534
Succeeded by
Nurbanu Sultan