Hafsa Sultan (wife of Selim I)

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Hafsa (Hâfiza) Sultan
حفصه سلطان
BustOfAyseHafsaSultan ManisaTurkey.jpg
Bust in Manisa
Valide Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Tenure 30 September 1520 – 19 March 1534
Predecessor New title
(Emine Gülbahar as Valide Hatun)
Successor Nurbanu Sultan
Born 1479
Died 19 March 1534
Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
Burial Yavuz Selim Mosque, Fatih, Constantinople[1][2] (present day Istanbul)
Spouse Sultan Selim I
Issue Sultan Suleiman I
Hatice Sultan
Fatma Sultan
Hafsa Sultan
House House of Osman (by marriage)
Father Abd'ûl-Muin[3][4]
Religion Islam

Hafsa Sultan[5] (Ottoman Turkish: حفصه سلطان‎‎; 1479 – 19 March 1534) was wife of Selim I and the first valide sultan of the Ottoman Empire as 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 Empire.[6]


Hafsa Sultan’s origin is disputed. The seventeenth century western authors' assumption that she was a daughter of Meñli I Giray has been challenged in favor of a Christian slave origin[7][8][9] but is still found in tourist guides[10] and popular[11][12][13] or general history[14][15][16][17] books.


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 consisting of a mosque, a primary school, a college and a hospice built in the city.

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".[18] 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.[19] After the birth of her son Suleiman, born on 6 November 1494 in Trabzon, she gave birth to three daughters: Hatice, Fatma and Hafsa.

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

The türbe of Hafsa Sultan is located inside "The Yavuz Selim Mosque" in Fatih, Istanbul, Turkey.

Burial place[edit]

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.

The entrance of the türbe of Hafsa Sultan.


  1. ^ The Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol.7, Edited by Hugh Chisholm, (1911), 3; Constantinople, the capital of the Turkish Empire...
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ The Imperial House of Osman - 4
  4. ^ 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 proves that she was of non-Turkish origin, and later converted to Islam. The assertions that she was daughter of Meñli I Giray of the Crimean Khanate was never proven even though one of the wives of Selim I, namely Ayşe Hatun (wife of Selim I), was the real daughter of Meñli I Giray.)
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ Alan Fisher (1993). "The Life and Family of Suleyman I". In İnalcık, Halil; Kafadar, Cemal. Süleymân The Second [i.e. the First] and his time. Isis Press. That she was a Tatar, a daughter of the Crimean Khan Mengli Giray, was a story apparently begun by Jovius, repeated by other western sources, and taken up by Merriman in his biography of Suleyman 
  8. ^ Encyclopedia of Islam vol. IX (1997), s.v. Suleyman p.833
  9. ^ Janusz Duzinkiewicz (2004). Derzhavi, Suspilʹstva, Kulʹtury: Skhid i Zakhid : Zbirnik Na Poshanu I︠A︡roslava Pelensʹkogo. Ross Pub. ISBN 978-0-883-54181-4. 
  10. ^ Wander Stories (30 Dec 2013). Istanbul Tour Guide Top 10: a travel guide and tour as with the best local guide. WanderStories. ISBN 978-9-949-51624-7. Hafsa Sultan was most likely the daughter of Mengli Giray 
  11. ^ Henk Boom (2010). De Grote Turk: in het voetspoor van Süleyman de Prachtlievende (1494-1566). Athenaeum-Polak & Van Gennep. ISBN 978-9-025-36764-0. 
  12. ^ André Clot, Matthew Reisz (2005). Suleiman the Magnificent. Saqi. p. 26. ISBN 978-0-863-56510-6. His mother, Hafsa Hatun, is believed to have been the daughter of Mengli Giray, the khan of the Crimean Tartars. 
  13. ^ John Freely (1 Jul 2001). Inside the Seraglio: private lives of the sultans in Istanbul. Penguin. Suleyman's mother, Hafsa Hatun, who was seventeen at the time of his birth, may have been a daughter of Mengli Giray, khan of the Crimean Tartars. 
  14. ^ Reşat Kasaba (1 Dec 2009). A moveable empire: Ottoman nomads, migrants, and refugees. University of Washington Press. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-295-80149-0. Hafsa Sultan, the daughter of the Crimean ruler Mengli Giray Khan. 
  15. ^ Peter G. Bietenholz, Thomas Brian Deutscher (2003). Contemporaries of Erasmus: A Biographical Register of the Renaissance and Reformation, Volumes 1-3. University of Toronto Press. p. 298. ISBN 978-0-802-08577-1. Suleiman i (Solymannus), known in the West as Suleiman the Magnificent, was the son of *Selim i and Hafsa Sultan, the daughter of Mengli Giray 
  16. ^ Brian Glyn Williams (1 Jan 2001). The Crimean Tatars: The Diaspora Experience and the Forging of a Nation. BRILL. p. 56. ISBN 978-9-004-12122-5. Selim I (who married Mengli Giray Khan's daughter, Hafsa Hatum) 
  17. ^ Jean-Claude Margolin (2002). Lettres et poèmes de Charles de Bovelles: édition critique, introduction et commentaire du ms. 1134 de la Bibliothèque de l'Université de Paris. Champion. ISBN 978-2-745-30658-6. 
  18. ^ Peirce, Leslie P. (1993). The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-508677-5. 
  19. ^ 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
Emine Gülbahar
as Valide Hatun
Valide Sultan
30 September 1520 – 19 March 1534
Succeeded by
Nurbanu Sultan