عبد المجيد اول
|Caliph of Islam
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Knight of the Garter
|23rd Caliph of the Ottoman Caliphate
31st Ottoman Sultan (Emperor)
|Reign||July 2, 1839 – June 2, 1861|
|Born||25 April 1823|
|Died||25 June 1861(aged 38)|
Abdülmecid I (Ottoman Turkish: عبد المجيد اول ‘Abdü’l-Mecīd-i evvel; 23/25 April 1823 – 25 June 1861), also known as Abdulmejid and similar spellings, was the 31st Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and succeeded his father Mahmud II on 2 July 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 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 and effectively started the modernization of the Ottoman Empire in 1839. For this achievement, one of the Imperial anthems of the Ottoman Empire, the March of Abdülmecid, was named after him.
Abdülmecid was born at the Beşiktaş Sahil Palace or at the 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 spoke fluent French, the first sultan to do so. Like Abdülaziz who succeeded him, he was interested in literature and classical music. Like his father Mahmud II, he was an advocate of reforms and was lucky enough to have the support of progressive viziers such as 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 sultan to directly listen to the public's complaints on special reception days, which were usually held every Friday without any middlemen. Abdülmecid toured the empire's territories to see in person how the Tanzimat reforms were being applied. He travelled to İzmit, Mudanya, Bursa, Gallipoli, Çanakkale, Lemnos, Lesbos and Chios in 1844 and toured the Balkan provinces in 1846.
When Abdülmecid succeeded to the throne, the affairs of the Ottoman Empire were in a critical state. At the time his father died, the news reached Istanbul that the empire's army had been defeated at Nizip by the army of the rebel Egyptian viceroy, Muhammad Ali. At the same time, the empire's fleet was on its way to Alexandria, where it was handed over to Muhammad Ali by its commander Ahmed Fevzi Pasha, on the pretext that the young sultan's advisers had sided with 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. The terms were finalised at 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 their lives and property protected; 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 strong opposition from the Muslim governing classes and the ulema, or religious authorities, and was only partially implemented, especially in the remoter parts of the empire. More than one conspiracy was formed against the sultan's life on account of it.
The most important reform measures promoted by Abdülmecid were:
- Introduction of the first Ottoman paper banknotes (1840)
- Reorganisation of the army, including the introduction of conscription (1842–1844)
- Adoption of an Ottoman national anthem and Ottoman national flag (1844)
- Reorganisation of the finance system according to the French model
- Reorganisation of the Civil and Criminal Code according to the French model
- Reorganisation 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
- Plans to send humanitarian aid of £10,000 (£24.83 million in 2013) to Ireland during its Great Famine, but later agreed to reduce it to £1,000 (£2.483 million in 2013) at the insistence of British diplomats wishing to avoid embarrassing Queen Victoria, who had made a donation of £5,000.
- Plans to abolish slave markets (1847)
- Plans to build a Protestant chapel (1847)
- Establishment of modern universities and academies (1848)
- Establishment of an Ottoman school in Paris
- Abolition of a capitation tax which imposed higher tariffs on non-Muslims (1856)
- Non-Muslims were allowed to become soldiers in the Ottoman army (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)
- Decriminalisation 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 by the Court. (The fez would be banned in 1925 by the same Republican National Assembly that 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 Istanbul, 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 uprising 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, "He 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."
The Ottoman Empire received the first of its 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 later dethronement and death of Abdülmecid's brother Abdülâziz.
His success in foreign relations 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. The Ottomans successfully participated in the Crimean War and were winning signatories at the Treaty of Paris (1856). His attempts at strengthening 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 38 on 25 June 1861 in Istanbul, where he was buried, and was succeeded by his brother Abdülâziz.
Marriages and children
Abdülmecid married nineteen times and left several sons, of whom four eventually succeeded to the throne. His marriages were:
- Circassian (of the Kabardian tribe) Servetseza Kadın (1 September 1823, Maykop, Russia – 24 September 1878 Istanbul), married in Istanbul, Topkapı Palace, in 1838, daughter of Prince Mansur Bey Temruko by his wife Princess Fülane Hanım Dadeşkeliani, without issue.
- Circassian (of the Shapsug tribe) Tirimüjgan Kadın (c. 1825 – Istanbul, Feriye Palace, 3 October 1852), married in Istanbul, Topkapı Palace, in 1839, daughter of Bekhan Bey by his wife Almaş Hanım, and had:
- Circassian (of the Ubykh tribe) Düzdidil Kadın (née Ayşe Dişan, c. 1825, North Caucasus – 18 August 1845, Istanbul), married in Istanbul, Topkapı Palace, in 1839, daughter of Şıhım Bey Dişan by his wife Princess Fülane Hanım Çaçba, and had:
- Princess Mevhibe Sultan (31 May 1840 – 9 February 1841, buried in Bahçekapı, Hamidiye Türbesi);
- Princess Neyyire Sultan (13 October 1841 – 18 December 1843);
- Princess Cemile Sultan (Old Beylerbeyi Palace, Bosphorus, 17 August 1843 – Erenköy, 26 February 1915).
- Princess Samiye Sultan (23 February 1845 – 18 April 1845, buried in New Mosque, Istanbul);
- Circassian (of the Ubykh tribe who temporarily sought refuge in present-day Georgia) Valide Sultan Şevkefza Sultan, (c. 1825, Poti, Georgia – 17 September 1889, Istanbul, Ortaköy, Çırağan Palace), married in Istanbul, Topkapı Palace, in 1839, daughter of Mehmed Bey Zaurum by his wife Cemile Hanım, and had
- Abkhazian Zeynifelek Hanım (c. 1825, North Caucasus – December 1841, Istanbul), married in Istanbul in 1839, daughter of Prince Aslan Bey Klıç and Princess Şaş Hanım Loo, and had:
- Princess Behiye Sultan (22 February 1841 – 3 June 1847).
- Bosniak Gülcemal Kadın, (Caucasus, c. 1826 – Istanbul, Ortaköy, Ortaköy Palace, 16 November 1851), married in Istanbul, Topkapı Palace, in 1840 and had:
- Abkhazian Verdicenan Kadın (née Saliha Açba, c. 1830, Sukhumi, Abkhazia – 9 December 1889, Istanbul, Beşiktaş, Beşiktaş Palace), married in Istanbul, Topkapı Palace, in 1844, daughter of Prince Kaytuk Giorgi Bey Açba by his wife Princess Yelizaveta Hanım, and had:
- Circassian (of the Ubykh tribe) Valide Sultan Perestu Kadın (née Rahime Gogen, c. 1830, Sochi, Russia – 1904, Maçka, Istanbul), married in Istanbul, Topkapı Palace, in 1844, daughter of Gök Bey Gogen by his wife Şah Hanım, without issue.
- Abkhazian Nükhetsezâ Hanımefendi (née Hatice Baras, Abkhazia, Russian Empire, c. 1830 – Beşiktaş, 15 May 1850), married in Istanbul, Topkapı Palace, in 1845, daughter of Hatuğ Bey Baras by his wife Ferhunde Hanım, and had:
- Chechen Mahitab Kadın (née Nuriye, c. 1830, Makhachkala, Russia – 1888, Istanbul), married in Istanbul, Topkapı Palace, in 1845, daughter of Hişam Bey by his wife Malika Hanım, and had:
- Prince Şehzade Mehmed Ziyaeddin (22 November 1846 – 27 April 1849);
- Princess Sabiha Sultan (15 April 1848 – 27 April 1849).
- Prince Şehzade Mehmed Vamik (19 April 1849 – 6 August 1849, buried in New Mosque - Refia Sultan türbesi);
- Prince Şehzade Ahmed Nureddin (Çırağan Palace, 31 March 1852 – 30 October 1885);
- Princess Zekiye Sultan (24 February 1855 – 18 February 1856);
- Princess Fehime Sultan (24 February 1855 – 10 November 1856);
- Georgian Nesrin Hanım (née Adile Asemiani, c. 1832, Poti, Georgia – 4 January 1853, Istanbul), married in Istanbul, Topkapı Palace, in 1847, daughter of Manuçar Bey Asemiani by his wife Mahra Hanım, and had:
- Princess Behice Sultan (26 August 1848 – 21 December 1876, married firstly in Istanbul Damat Mehmed Hüsnü Pasha, son of Mustafa Pasha, married secondly Damat Halil Hamid Bey Efendi (b.1854 – 20 November 1888) son of Mehmed Nurullah Bey
- Prince Şehzade Mehmed Bahaeddin (24 June 1850 – 9 November 1852);
- Prince Şehzade Mehmed Nizameddin (24 June 1850 – 9 November 1852);
- Circassian (of the Natukhai tribe) Nergizev Hanım (c. 1830, Anapa, Russia – Istanbul, 26 October 1848), married in Istanbul, Topkapı Palace, in 1847, daughter of Albora Bey by his wife Dadüse Hanım, and had:
- Prince Şehzade Mehmed Fuad (7 July 1848 – 28 September 1848).
- Circassian Bezmiara Kadın (c. 1835 25 January 1909, Istanbul), married in Istanbul, Topkapı Palace, in 1849 and divorced in 1858, adoptive daughter of Isma'il Pasha son of Muhammad Ali of Egypt and his wife Zehra Mislicenan Hanım, and had:
- Princess Mükbile Sultan (22 February 1850 – 10 March 1850, buried in New Mosque - Refia Sultan türbesi).
- Circassian (of the Natukhai tribe) Nalanıdil Hanım (Caucasus, c. 1836 – 23 December 1890, Istanbul, Beşiktaş, Beşiktaş Palace), married in Istanbul, Topkapı Palace, in 1851, daughter of Prince Natıkhu Bey Çıpakue, and had:
- Circassian (of the Ubykh tribe) Ceylanyar Hanım (née Nafiye Berzeg, c. 1836, Sochi, Russia – 17 January 1855, Istanbul), married in Istanbul, Topkapı Palace, in 1851, daughter of Mustafa Bey Berzeg by his wife Princess Daruhan Hanım Dudaruk, and had:
- Prince Şehzade Mehmed Rüşdi (31 March 1852 – 5 August 1852).
- Abkhazian Serfiraz Hanımefendi (née Ayșe Liah, c. 1837 Abkhazia – 9 June 1905, Constantinople, Ortaköy, Ortaköy Palace), married in Istanbul, Topkapı Palace, in 1851, daughter of Prince Osman Bey Liah by his wife Zeliha Hanım Tapsın, and had:
- Abkhazian Şayeste Hanımefendi (c. 1837 Sukhumi, Abkhazia – 11 February 1912, Constantinople), married in Istanbul, Topkapı Palace, in 1852, daughter of Prince Tataş Bey İnalipa by his wife Sarey Hanım, and had:
- Abkhazian Navekimisal Hanım (c. 1838, North Caucasus – 5 August 1854, Istanbul), married in Istanbul, Topkapı Palace, in 1853, daughter of Prince Rustem Bey Biberd by his wife Princess Fatma Hanım Kızılbek, without issue.
- Abkhazian Gülüstü Hanım (née Fatma Çaçba, c. 1840 – c. 1865, Istanbul), married in Istanbul, Topkapı Palace, in 1855, daughter of Prince Tahir Bey Çaçba by his wife Afişe Hanım Lakerba, and had four children including .
- A fictionalized version of Abdülmecid I appears in the 2008 novel The Bellini Card, by Jason Goodwin
- 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
- 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.
- "Putnam's Monthly Magazine of American Literature, Science and Art Volume 0005 Issue 30 (June 1855)".
- "Gürcistan Dostluk Derneği".
- Bezmiâlem Valide Sultan, Bezmiâlem Vakıf Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi Hastanesi
- The Private World of Ottoman Women by Godfrey Goodwin, 2007, p.157
- One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Abd-ul-Mejid". Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 36–37.
- Christine Kinealy (2013), Charity and the Great Hunger in Ireland: The Kindness of Strangers, p. 115
- "Measuring Worth - Purchase Power of the Pound".
- Kazi, Tehmina (7 October 2011). "The Ottoman empire's secular history undermines sharia claims - Tehmina Kazi".
- Istanbul City Guide: Beylerbeyi Palace
- Harun Açba (2007). Kadın efendiler: 1839-1924. Profil. ISBN 978-9-759-96109-1.
- Açba, Harun (2007). "Bölüm 2: Sultan I. Abdülhamid Han Ailesi". Kadınefendiler: Son Dönem Osmanlı Padişah Eşleri (in Turkish) (1 ed.). Istanbul: Prolil Yayıncılık. p. 28. Retrieved 24 Apr 2016.
- Açba, Harun (2007). "Bölüm 2: Sultan I. Abdülhamid Han Ailesi". Kadınefendiler: Son Dönem Osmanlı Padişah Eşleri (in Turkish) (1 ed.). Istanbul: Prolil Yayıncılık. p. 36. Retrieved 24 Apr 2016.
- "The Bellini Card". 18 January 2013.
Media related to Abdül Mecid I at Wikimedia Commons
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