Hafsa Sultan (wife of Selim I)

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Hafsa Sultan
حفصه سلطان
BustOfAyseHafsaSultan ManisaTurkey.jpg
Bust in Manisa, Turkey
Valide Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Tenure 30 September 1520 – 19 March 1534
Predecessor Gülbahar Hatun
(as Valide Hatun)
Successor Nurbanu Sultan
Born Unknown
Died 19 March 1534[1]
Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
Burial Yavuz Selim Mosque, Fatih, Istanbul
Spouse Sultan Selim I
Issue Sultan Suleiman I
Hatice Sultan
Fatma Sultan
Beyhan Sultan
Hafsa Sultan
Father Abd'ûl-Muin[2]
Religion Orthodox Christian at birth , subsequently converted to Islam

Hafsa Sultan[3] (Ottoman Turkish: حفصه سلطان‎‎; died 19 March 1534) was the wife of Selim I and the first valide sultan of the Ottoman Empire as the mother of Suleiman the Magnificent. During the period between her son's enthronement in 1520 and her death in 1534, she was one of the most influential persons in the Ottoman Empire.[4]


The traditional view of Hafsa Sultan's origins is that she may have been the daughter of Meñli I Giray, the khan of the Crimean Tatars;[5] however, this notion is no longer accepted. Rather, Ottoman evidence points to her having been a convert to Islam.[6] According to the anonymous author of the relevant article of a generalist encyclopedy she may have been a Circassian or Georgian woman from the Caucasus.[7]


The külliye built on the orders of Hafsa Sultan in Manisa

Having resided in the city of Manisa in western Turkey with her son, who administered the surrounding region between 1513 and 1520, the town being one of the traditional residences for Ottoman crown princes (şehzade) in apprenticeship for future power, Hafsa Sultan is the initiator of the Manisa's "Mesir Festival", a local tradition still continued today. She also had a large complex built in the city consisting of a mosque, a primary school, a college and a hospice.

She was also the first Ottoman imperial women who held title "sultan" after her given name, replacing title "hatun". This usage reflected the Ottoman conception of sovereign power as "family prerogative".[8][page needed] Consequently, the title valide hatun (title for living mother of the reigning Ottoman sultan before 16th century) also turned into valide sultan, made Hafsa the first valide sultan. Her period signalled the shifting status of the sultan's mother and her increased share in power.[9] After the birth of her son Suleiman, born on 6 November 1494 in Trabzon, she gave birth to four daughters: Hatice, Fatma, Beyhan and Hafsa.

She was the most powerful woman of the Ottoman Empire during her son's reign.

Burial place[edit]

The entrance to the türbe of Hafsa Sultan

Hafsa Sultan died in March 1534 and was buried near her husband in a mausoleum behind the qiblah wall of Yavuz Selim Mosque, in Fatih, Istanbul. The mausoleum was largely destroyed in an earthquake in 1884, a reconstruction effort started in the 1900s (decade) having been left discontinued, and her tomb today is much simpler than it was built originally.


  1. ^ Peirce, Leslie P. (1993). The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. Oxford University Press. p. 121. ISBN 0-19-508677-5. 
  2. ^ Sakaoğlu, Necdet (2008). Bu mülkün kadın sultanları: Vâlide sultanlar, hâtunlar, hasekiler, kadınefendiler, sultanefendiler. Oğlak Yayıncılık. p. 148. ISBN 978-9-753-29623-6.  (Her name is given as "Hafsa bint-i Abdü'l-Muin" in Kitâbeler by İ. H. Uzunçarşılı. This shows that she was of non-Turkish origin, and later converted to Islam.)
  3. ^ Though generally known as "Hafsa Sultan", she is sometimes incidentally referred to as "Ayşe Hafsa Sultan" by some authors, without indication of the origin of this name. Name "Hafsa" referred to Muhammad's wive Hafsa (حفصة) daughter of Umar ibn Al Kattab.[citation needed]
  4. ^ Pietro Bragadin, Venetian Republic's ambassador in the early years of Suleiman the Magnificent's reign notes "a very beautiful woman of 48, for whom the sultan bears great reverence and love..." Leslie Peirce (1993). The Imperial Harem : Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire p. 62 ISBN 0-19-508677-5. Oxford University Press. 
  5. ^ Strobel, Heidi. "Sulayman the Magnificent - Oxford Reference". The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-530513-5. Retrieved 2017-05-30. 
  6. ^ Alan Fisher (1993). "The Life and Family of Süleymân I". In İnalcık, Halil; Cemal Kafadar. Süleymân The Second [i.e. the First] and His Time. Istanbul: Isis Press. p. 9. ISBN 975-428-052-5. 
    • Emecen, Feridun (2010). "Süleyman I". İslâm Ansiklopedisi. 38. İslâm Araştırmaları Merkezi. pp. 62–74. Information indicating that she was the daughter of the Crimean Khan or was related to the family of Dulkadıroğlu is incorrect. 
  7. ^ Hafsa (d. 1534). Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. 2002-01-01. Retrieved 2017-05-30. {{subscription|via=HighBeam
  8. ^ Peirce, Leslie P. (1993). The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-508677-5. 
  9. ^ Amy Singer (2002). Constructing Ottoman beneficence: An imperial soup kitchen in Jerusalem p. 90 ISBN 0-7914-5351-0. State University of New York Press. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Ottoman royalty
Preceded by
Gülbahar Hatun
as Valide Hatun
Valide Sultan
30 September 1520 – 19 March 1534
Succeeded by
Nurbanu Sultan