Abdul Hamid I

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Abdul Hamid I
Caliph of Islam
Amir al-Mu'minin
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Portrait of Abdülhamid I of the Ottoman Empire.jpg
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Reign January 21, 1774 – April 7, 1789
Predecessor Mustafa III
Successor Selim III
Born 20 March 1725[1]
Died 7 April 1789(1789-04-07) (aged 64)[1]
Consorts Ayşe Seniyeperver Sultan
Nakşidil Sultan
Hatice Ruhşah Kadınefendi
Hümaşah Kadınefendi
Ayşe Kadınefendi
Binnaz Kadınefendi
Dilpezir Kadınefendi
Mehtabe Kadınefendi
Mislinayab Kadınefendi
Mûteber Kadınefendi
Nevres Kadınefendi
Fatma Şebsafa Kadınefendi
Mihriban Kadınefendi
Nükhetsezâ Hanımefendi
Ayşe Hanımefendi
Royal house House of Osman
Father Ahmed III
Mother Rabia Şermi Sultan
Religion Sunni Islam

Abdülhamid I, Abdul Hamid I or Abd Al-Hamid I (Ottoman Turkish: عبد الحميد اول‎, `Abdü’l-Ḥamīd-i evvel; Turkish: Birinci Abdülhamit; 20 March 1725 – 7 April 1789)[1][2] was the 27th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, reigning over the Ottoman Empire from 1774 to 1789.

Birth and early life[edit]

He was born in Constantinople, a younger son of Sultan Ahmed III (reigned 1703–1730) by his consort Rabia Şermi Sultan. Ahmed III abdicated in favor of his nephew Mahmud I, who was succeeded by his brother Osman III, and Osman by Ahmed's elder son Mustafa III.

As a potential heir to the throne, Abdül Hamid was imprisoned in comfort by his cousins and older brother, as was customary. This lasted until 1767. During this period, he received his early education from his mother Rabia Şermi, who taught him history and calligraphy.

When his brother Mustafa III died, Abdül Hamid succeeded him on 21 January 1774.


Abdül Hamid's long imprisonment had left him indifferent to state affairs and malleable to the designs of his advisors. Yet he was also very religious and a pacifist by nature. At his accession the financial straits of the treasury were such that the usual donative could not be given to the Janissary Corps. The new Sultan told the Janissaries "There are no longer gratuities in our treasury, as all of our soldier sons should learn."

Despite the weak condition of the Empire and his pacific inclinations, Turkey was forced to renew the ongoing war with Russia almost immediately. This led to complete Turkish defeat at Kozludzha and the humiliating Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca, signed on 21 July 1774. Turkey ceded territory to Russia, and also the right to intervene on behalf of the Orthodox Christians in the Empire.

The Ottoman Army advances from Sofia, its largest garrison in Rumelia, in the year 1788.

Abdül Hamid now sought to reform the Empire's armed forces. He enumerated the Janissary corps and tried to renovate it, and also the navy. He established a new artillery corps. He was also credited with the creation of the Imperial Naval Engineering School.[1]

Abdül Hamid tried to strengthen Ottoman rule over Syria, Egypt, and Iraq.[1] However, slight successes against rebellions in Syria and the Morea could not compensate for the loss of the Crimean Peninsula, which had become nominally independent in 1774, but was in practice now controlled by Russia.

Russia repeatedly exploited its position as protector of Eastern Christians to interfere in the Ottoman Empire, and explicitly. Finally Turkey declared war against Russia in 1787. Austria soon joined Russia. Turkey held its own in the conflict, at first, but on 6 December 1788, Ochakov fell to Russia (all of its inhabitants being massacred). It is said that this sad defeat broke Abdül Hamid's spirit, as he died four months later.

In spite of his failures, Abdül Hamid was regarded as the most gracious Ottoman Sultan. He personally directed the fire brigade during the Constantinople fire of 1782. He was admired by the people for his religious devotion, and was even called a Veli ("saint"). He also outlined a reform policy, supervised the government closely, and worked with statesmen.

In 1789, Tipu Sultan, ruler of the Sultanate of Mysore sent an embassy to Abdul Hamid, urgently requesting assistance against the British East India Company, and proposed an offensive and defensive alliance. Abdul Hamid informed the Mysori ambassadors that Turkey was still entangled and exhausted from the on-going war with Russia and Austria.

Abdülhamid died on 7 April 1789, at the age of sixty-four, in Constantinople. He was buried in Bahcekapi, a tomb he had built for himself.

He bred Arabian horses with great passion. One breed of Küheylan Arabians was named "Küheylan Abdülhamid" after him.


His wives were:

  • Valide Sultan Ayşe Seniyeperver Kadınefendi
  • Valide Sultan Nakşidil Kadın Efendi (there have been speculations that she was a cousin of Napoleon's wife Josephine;[3] see Aimée du Buc de Rivéry)
  • Hatice Ruhşah Kadınefendi
  • Hümaşah Kadınefendi,
  • Ayşe Kadınefendi
  • Binnaz Kadınefendi
  • Dilpezir Kadınefendi
  • Mehtabe Kadınefendi
  • Mislinayab Kadınefendi
  • Mûteber Kadınefendi
  • Nevres Kadınefendi
  • Fatma Şebsafa Kadınefendi
  • Mihriban Kadınefendi
  • Nükhetsezâ Hanımefendi
  • Ayşe Hanımefendi

His sons were:

His daughters were:

  • Esma
  • Emine
  • Rabia
  • Saliha
  • Alimşah
  • Ayşe Dürüşehvar
  • Fatma
  • Melikşah
  • Hibetullâh
  • Zekiye


  1. ^ a b c d e Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abdulhamid I". Encyclopædia Britannica. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8. 
  2. ^ Some sources state 12 March as his day of birth
  3. ^ Christine Isom-Verhaaren, "Royal French Women in the Ottoman Sultans' Harem: The Political Uses of Fabricated Accounts from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-first Century", Journal of World History, vol. 17, No. 2, 2006

External links[edit]

Media related to Abdul Hamid I at Wikimedia Commons

Abdul Hamid I
Born: 20 March 1725 Died: 7 April 1789[aged 64]
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Mustafa III
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
21 Jan 1774 – 7 Apr 1789
Succeeded by
Selim III
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
Mustafa III
Caliph of Islam
21 Jan 1774 – 7 Apr 1789
Succeeded by
Selim III