Sultanate of Women

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Part of a series on the
History of the Ottoman Empire
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Rise (1299–1453)
Interregnum (1402–1413)
Growth (1453–1606)
Stagnation (1606–1699)
Sultanate of Women
Köprülü Era (1656–1703)
Decline (1699–1792)
Tulip Era (1718–1730)
Dissolution (1792–1923)
Tanzimat Era (1839–1876)
1st Constitutional Era
2nd Constitutional Era
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The Sultanate of Women (Turkish: Kadınlar Saltanatı) was the nearly 130-year period during the 16th and 17th centuries when the women of the Imperial Harem of the Ottoman Empire exerted extraordinary political influence over state matters and over the (male) Ottoman sultan. Many of the Sultans during this time were minors and it was their mothers, the Valide Sultans (the leaders of the Harem), who effectively ruled the Empire. Most of these women were of slave origin, which was often the case for consorts of Ottoman sultans.

See also[edit]



  • İlhan Akşit. The Mystery of the Ottoman Harem. Akşit Kültür Turizm Yayınları. ISBN 975-7039-26-8
  • Leslie P. Peirce. The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. Oxford University Press (1993). ISBN 978-0-19-508677-5

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