Mehmed I

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Mehmed I
چلبی محمد
Ottoman Sultan
Mehmed I miniature.jpg
Reign 1413 – May 26, 1421
Predecessor Interregnum
Successor Murad II
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Consort Şehzade Hatun
Kumru Hatun
Emine Hatun
Royal house House of Osman
Father Bayezid I
Mother Devlet Hatun
Tughra
Religion Islam
Mehmed I with his dignitaries. Ottoman miniature painting, kept at Istanbul University.

Mehmed I Çelebi (Ottoman: چلبی محمد, Mehmed I or Mehmed Çelebi) (1390, Bursa – May 26, 1421, Edirne, Ottoman Empire) was the sultan of the Ottoman Empire (Rûm) from 1413 to 1421. He was one of the sons of Bayezid I and Devlet Hatun.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Bursa in 1390 to sultan Bayezid I and one of his wives, Devlet Hatun, Mehmed was the third oldest son of Bayezid. Along with his brothers from various mothers, including Süleyman Çelebi, İsa Çelebi, Mustafa Çelebi, and Musa Çelebi, Mehmed had the title Çelebi, meaning "gentleman."

On July 20, 1402, Bayezid was defeated in the Battle of Ankara by the Turko-Mongol conqueror and ruler Tamerlane. The brothers (with the exception of Mustafa, who was captured and taken along with Beyazid to Samarkand) were rescued from the battlefield, Mehmed being saved by Bayezid Pasha, who took him to his hometown of Amasya. Mehmed later made Bayezid Pasha his grand vizier (1413–1421).

After the battle, Mehmed fought with his brothers Süleyman, İsa, and Musa in the civil war known as the Ottoman Interregnum from 1402 to 1413, emerging victorious with the other three brothers dead. His other brother Mustafa would later emerge from hiding during Mehmed's reign and fight two failed rebellions against him and his son, Murat II.

Reign[edit]

After winning the Interregnum, Mehmed crowned himself sultan in the Thracian city of Edirne that lay in the European part of the empire (the area dividing the Anatolian and European sides of the empire, Constantinople and the surrounding region, was still held by the Byzantine Empire), becoming Mehmed I. He consolidated his power, made Edirne the most important of the dual capitals of Bursa to Edirne, and conquered parts of Albania, the Jandarid emirate, and the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia from the Mamelukes. Taking many of his achievements into consideration, Mehmed is widely known as the "second founder" of the Ottoman Empire.

Soon after Mehmed began his reign, his brother Mustafa Çelebi, who had originally been captured along with their father Bayezid I during the Battle of Ankara and held captive in Samarkand, hiding in Anatolia during the Interregnum, reemerged and asked Mehmed to partition the empire with him. Mehmed refused and met Mustafa's forces in battle, easily defeating them. Mustafa escaped to the Byzantine city of Thessaloniki, but after an agreement with Mehmed, the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaiologos exiled Mustafa to the island of Lemnos.

However, Mehmed still faced some problems, first being the problem of his nephew Orhan, who Mehmed perceived as a threat to his rule, much like his late brothers had been. There was allegedly a plot involving him by Manuel II Palaiologos, who tried to use Orhan against Sultan Mehmed; however, the sultan found out about the plot and had Orhan blinded for betrayal, according to a common Byzantine practice.

Furthermore, as a result of the Battle of Ankara and other civil wars, the population of the empire had become unstable and traumatized. A very powerful social and religious movement arose in the empire and became disruptive. The movement was by Sheikh Bedreddin (1359–1420), a famous Muslim Sufi and charismatic theologian. He was an eminent Ulema, born of a Greek mother and a Muslim father in Simavna (Kyprinos) southwest of Edirne (formerly Adrianople). Mehmed's brother Musa had made Bedreddin his "qadi of the army," or the supreme judge. Bedreddin created a populist religious movement in the Ottoman Empire, "subversive conclusions promoting the suppression of social differences between rich and poor as well as the barriers between different forms of monotheism."[2] Successfully developing a popular social revolution and syncretism of the various religions and sects of the empire, Bedreddin's movement began in the European side of the empire and underwent further expansion in western Anatolia.

In 1416, Sheikh Bedreddin started his rebellion against the throne. After a four-year struggle, he was finally captured by Mehmed's grand vizier Bayezid Pasha and hanged in the city off Serres, a city in modern-day Greece, in 1420.[3]

Death[edit]

His mausoleum in Bursa

The reign of Mehmed I as sultan of the re-united empire lasted only eight years before his death, but he had also been the most powerful brother contending for the throne and de facto ruler of most of the empire for nearly the whole preceding period of 11 years of the Ottoman Interregnum that passed between his father's captivity at Ankara and his own final victory over his brother Musa Çelebi at the Battle of Çamurlu.

He was buried in Bursa, in a mausoleum erected by himself near the celebrated mosque which he built there, and which, because of its decorations of green porcelain, is called the Green Mosque. Mehmed I also completed another mosque in Bursa, which his grandfather Murad I had commenced but which had been neglected during the reign of Bayezid. Mehmed founded in the vicinity of his own Green Mosque and mausoleum two other characteristic institutions, one a school and one a refectory for the poor, both of which he endowed with royal munificence.

Wives[edit]

  1. Şehzade Hatun, daughter of Şedgeldi Ahmed Pasha
  2. Kumru Hatun, daughter of Abdullah and the mother of Selçuk Sultan
  3. Valide Sultan Emine Hatun (m.1403), daughter of Nasıreddin Mehmed Bey, fifth ruler of Dulkadirids, third wife; the marriage served as an alliance between the Ottomans and this buffer state; mother of Murad II

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ not to be confused with Despina Khātûn, the daughter of Lazar of Serbia, who married Beyazid I. just after the Battle of Kosovo of 1389.
  2. ^ Europe and the Islamic World: A History. p. 128.Tolan, John. Princeton university Press. (2013) ISBN 978-0-691-14705-5
  3. ^ Europe and the Islamic World: A History. p. 128.Tolan, John. Princeton university Press. (2013) ISBN 978-0-691-14705-5

Further reading[edit]

  • Harris, Jonathan, The End of Byzantium. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-300-11786-8
  • Imber, Colin, The Ottoman Empire. London: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2002. ISBN 0-333-61387-2

References[edit]

  • Incorporates text from History of Ottoman Turks (1878)

External links[edit]

Media related to Mehmed I at Wikimedia Commons

Mehmed I
Born: 1382 Died: May 26, 1421
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Bayezid I
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
1413 – May 26, 1421
Succeeded by
Murad II