|Caliph of Islam
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
The portrait of Sultan Mehmet III by Italian painter Cristofano dell'Altissimo, 16th century.
|Reign||January 15, 1595 – December 22, 1603|
|Sultan of the Ottoman Empire|
|Royal house||House of Osman|
|Born||May 26, 1566
Manisa, Ottoman Empire
|Died||December 21/22, 1603
Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
He was born during the reign of his great-grandfather, Suleiman the Magnificent, in 1566. He was the son of Prince Murad (the future Murad III), himself the son of Crown Prince Selim (the future Selim II), who was the son of Sultan Suleiman and Hürrem Sultan. His great-grandfather died the year he was born and his grandfather became the new Sultan, Selim II. His grandfather Sultan Selim II died when Mehmed was 8 and Mehmed's father, Murad III, became Sultan in 1574. Mehmed thus became Crown Prince till his father's death in 1595, when he was 28 years old.
Mehmed III was an idle ruler, leaving government to his mother Safiye Sultan, the valide sultan. The major event of his reign was the Austro-Ottoman War in Hungary (1593–1606). Ottoman defeats in the war caused Mehmed III to take personal command of the army, the first sultan to do so since Suleiman I in 1566. Accompanied by the Sultan, the Ottomans conquered Eger in 1596. Upon hearing of the Habsburg army's approach, Mehmed wanted to dismiss the army and return to Istanbul. However, the Ottomans eventually decided to face the enemy and defeated the Habsburg and Transylvanian forces at the Battle of Keresztes (known in Turkish as the Battle of Haçova), during which the Sultan had to be dissuaded from fleeing the field halfway through the battle. Upon returning to Istanbul in victory, Mehmed told his Vezirs that he would campaign again. The next year the Venetian Bailo in Istanbul noted, "the doctors declared that the Sultan cannot leave for war on account of his bad health, produced by excesses of eating and drinking".
Mehmed III was more conservative than his predecessor and largely halted artistic patronage, including support of the Society of Miniaturists. His reign saw no major setbacks for the supposedly declining Ottoman Empire. He died at Topkapı Palace, Constantinople.
Relationship with England
In 1599, the third year of Mehmed III's reign, Queen Elizabeth I sent a convoy of gifts to the Ottoman court. These gifts were originally intended for the sultan's predecessor, Murad III, who had died before they had arrived. Included in these gifts was a large jewel-studded clockwork organ that was assembled on the slope of the Royal Private Garden by a team of engineers including Thomas Dallam. The organ took many weeks to complete and featured dancing sculptures such as a flock of blackbirds that sung and shook their wings at the end of the music. The musical clock organ was destroyed by the succeeding sultan Ahmed I. Also among the English gifts was a ceremonial coach, accompanied by a letter from the Queen to Mehmed's mother, Safiye Sultan. These gifts were intended to cement relations between the two countries, building on the trade agreement signed in 1581 that gave English merchants priority in the Ottoman region. Under the looming threat of Spanish military presence, England was eager to secure an alliance with the Ottomans, the two nations together having the capability to divide the power. Elizabeth's gifts arrived in a large 27-gun merchantman ship that Mehmed personally inspected, a clear display of English maritime strength that would prompt him to build up his fleet over the following years of his reign. The Anglo-Ottoman alliance would never see consummation, however, with relations between the nations growing stagnant due to anti-European sentiments reaped from the worsening Austro-Ottoman War and the deaths of Safiye Sultan's interpreter and the pro-English chief Hasan Pasha.
He was born at Manisa Palace, the son of sultan Murad III, whom he succeeded in 1595. His mother was Safiye Sultan, probably a Albanian from Principality of Dukagjini.
His third oldest son, Yahya, is of interest to some because he reportedly converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity and campaigned for a good part of his life to gain the Ottoman Imperial throne, to which his younger brother Ahmed I succeeded in 1603. Feeling cheated, he spent years developing and implementing conspiracies to further his ambitions. Travelling mostly across Western Europe, he promised several backers as well as four Roman Catholic Popes that he would make Christianity the state religion of the Ottoman sultanate if he ever succeeded to the Imperial throne.
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- Kinross, p.288
- Karateke, Hakan T. "On the Tranquility and Repose of the Sultan." The Ottoman World. Ed. Christine Woodhead. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Routledge, 2011. p. 120.
- Finkel, Caroline. Osman's Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire, p.175. Basic Books, 2005. ISBN 0-465-02396-7
- Karateke, p. 122.
- Goodwin, Jason. Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire, p.166. New York: Henry Holt & Company.
- Malcolm, Noel (2004-05-02). "How fear turned to fascination". London: telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
- Jean Giullou: Die Orgel. Erinnerung und Vision.Christoph Glatter-Götz 1984 p. 35 with image
- "An eye for detail". BBC News. December 21, 2007.
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- Kosovo, A Short History (1998), Noel Malcolm -- Harper Perennial - pp. 121 - 122 ISBN 978-0-06-097775-7
Media related to Mehmed III at Wikimedia Commons
Mehmed IIIBorn: May 26, 1566 Died: December 22, 1603[aged 37]
|Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
January 15, 1595 – December 22, 1603
|Sunni Islam titles|
|Caliph of Islam
January 15, 1595 – December 22, 1603