|8th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire|
|Reign||22 May 1481 – 24 April 1512|
|Born||3 December 1447|
Demotika, Ottoman Sultanate (modern-day Didymoteicho, Greece)
|Died||26 May 1512 (aged 64)|
Abalar, Havsa, Ottoman Empire
Bayezid II Mosque, Istanbul
Gülbahar Valide Hatun
Sultan Selim I
Bayezid II (Ottoman Turkish: بايزيد ثانى, romanized: Bāyezīd-i s̱ānī, December 1447 – 26 May 1512, Turkish: II. Bayezid) was the eldest son and successor of Mehmed II, ruling as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1481 to 1512. During his reign, Bayezid II consolidated the Ottoman Empire and thwarted a Safavid rebellion soon before abdicating his throne to his son, Selim I. He evacuated Sephardi Jews from Spain after the proclamation of the Alhambra Decree, and resettled them throughout Ottoman lands, especially in Salonica.
There are sources that claim that Bayezid was the son of Sittişah Hatun. This would make Ayşe Gülbahar Hatun a first cousin of Bayezid II. However, the marriage of Sittisah Hatun took place two years after Bayezid was born and the whole arrangement was not to Mehmed's liking. Gülbahar Hatun is generally accepted as the real mother of Bayezid II.
Fight for the throne
Bayezid II's overriding concern was the quarrel with his brother Cem Sultan, who claimed the throne and sought military backing from the Mamluks in Egypt. Having been defeated by his brother's armies, Cem sought protection from the Knights of St. John in Rhodes. Eventually, the Knights handed Cem over to Pope Innocent VIII (1484–1492). The Pope thought of using Cem as a tool to drive the Turks out of Europe, but as the papal crusade failed to come to fruition, Cem died in Naples.
Bayezid II ascended the Ottoman throne in 1481. Like his father, Bayezid II was a patron of western and eastern culture. Unlike many other sultans, he worked hard to ensure a smooth running of domestic politics, which earned him the epithet of "the Just". Throughout his reign, Bayezid II engaged in numerous campaigns to conquer the Venetian possessions in Morea, accurately defining this region as the key to future Ottoman naval power in the Eastern Mediterranean. In 1497, he went to war with Poland and decisively defeated the 80,000 strong Polish army during the Moldavian campaign. The last of these wars ended in 1501 with Bayezid II in control of the whole Peloponnese. Rebellions in the east, such as that of the Qizilbash, plagued much of Bayezid II's reign and were often backed by the shah of Persia, Ismail I, who was eager to promote Shi'ism to undermine the authority of the Ottoman state. Ottoman authority in Anatolia was indeed seriously threatened during this period and at one point Bayezid II's vizier, Hadım Ali Pasha, was killed in battle against the Şahkulu rebellion.
Jewish and Muslim immigration
In July 1492, the new state of Spain expelled its Jewish and Muslim populations as part of the Spanish Inquisition. Bayezid II sent out the Ottoman Navy under the command of admiral Kemal Reis to Spain in 1492 in order to evacuate them safely to Ottoman lands. He sent out proclamations throughout the empire that the refugees were to be welcomed. He granted the refugees the permission to settle in the Ottoman Empire and become Ottoman citizens. He ridiculed the conduct of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile in expelling a class of people so useful to their subjects. "You venture to call Ferdinand a wise ruler," he said to his courtiers, "he who has impoverished his own country and enriched mine!" Bayezid addressed a firman to all the governors of his European provinces, ordering them not only to refrain from repelling the Spanish refugees, but to give them a friendly and welcome reception. He threatened with death all those who treated the Jews harshly or refused them admission into the empire. Moses Capsali, who probably helped to arouse the sultan's friendship for the Jews, was most energetic in his assistance to the exiles. He made a tour of the communities and was instrumental in imposing a tax upon the rich, to ransom the Jewish victims of the persecution.
The Muslims and Jews of al-Andalus contributed much to the rising power of the Ottoman Empire by introducing new ideas, methods and craftsmanship. The first printing press in Constantinople (now Istanbul) was established by the Sephardic Jews in 1493. It is reported that under Bayezid's reign, Jews enjoyed a period of cultural flourishing, with the presence of such scholars as the Talmudist and scientist Mordecai Comtino; astronomer and poet Solomon ben Elijah Sharbiṭ ha-Zahab; Shabbethai ben Malkiel Cohen, and the liturgical poet Menahem Tamar.
During Bayezid II's final years, on 14 September 1509, Constantinople was devastated by an earthquake, and a succession battle developed between his sons Selim and Ahmet. Ahmet unexpectedly captured Karaman, and began marching to Constantinople to exploit his triumph. Fearing for his safety, Selim staged a revolt in Thrace but was defeated by Bayezid and forced to flee back to the Crimean peninsula. Bayezid II developed fears that Ahmet might in turn kill him to gain the throne, so he refused to allow his son to enter Constantinople.
Selim returned from Crimea and, with support from the Janissaries, he forced his father to abdicate the throne on 25 April 1512. Bayezid departed for retirement in his native Dimetoka, but he died on 26 May 1512 at Havsa, before reaching his destination and only a month after his abdication. He was buried next to the Bayezid Mosque in Istanbul.
Bayezid was praised in a ghazal of Abdürrezzak Bahşı, a scribe who came to Constantinople from Samarkand in the second half of the 15th century that worked at the courts of Mehmed II and Bayezid II, and wrote in Chagatai with the Old Uyghur alphabet:
I had a pleasant time in your reign my Padishah.
I was without fear of all fears and dangers.
The fame of your justice and fairness reached to China and Hotan.
Thanks to God that there exist a merciful person like my Padishah.
Sultan Bayezid Khan ascended the throne.
This country had been his fate since past eternity.
Any enemy that denied the country of my master:
That enemy's neck had been in rope and gallows.
Your believing servants' faces smile like Bahşı's.
The place of those who walk unbelieving is hellfire.
Wives and children
This section needs additional citations for verification. (June 2022)
Bayezid had seven consorts:
- Şirin Hatun;
- Hüsnüşah Hatun;
- Bülbül Hatun;
- Nigar Hatun;
- Gülruh Hatun;
- Gülbahar Hatun;
- Ferahşad Hatun;
- Ayşe Hatun. Alleged
Bayezid had at least eight sons:
- Şehzade Abdullah (Amasya, 1464 - Konya, June 11, 1483) - son of Şirin Hatun. Bayezid's first son, he was governor of Manisa, Trebizond and Konya. He died of unknown causes and was buried in Bursa. He took as consort his cousin Ferahşad Sultan (daughter of Şehzade Mustafa, son of Mehmed II), with whom he had a son who died in infancy (1481-1489) and two daughters, Aynişah Sultan (1482-? , married) and Şahnisa Sultan (1484- ?, who in turn married the son of her uncle Şehzade Şehinşah, Şehzade Mehmed Şah).
- Şehzade Şehinşah (Amasya, 1474 - Karaman, 1511) - son of Hüsnüşah Hatun. He was governor of Manisa and Karaman. He was executed by his father for sedition and buried in Bursa. He had a consort, Mukrime Hatun, mother of his only known son, Şehzade Mehmed Şah (who married his cousin Şahnisa Sultan, daughter of Şehzade Abdullah).
- Şehzade Ahmed (Amasya, c. 1465 - Bursa, March 24, 1513) - son of Bülbül Hatun. Bayezid's favorite son, he was executed by his half-brother Selim I, who became sultan. He had a three known concubine, seven sons and four daughters.
- Şehzade Korkud (Amasya, 1469 - Manisa, March 10, 1513) - son of Nigar Hatun. Rival of Selim I for the throne, he was first exiled by them and then executed. He had two children who died as infants and two daughters, Fatma Sultan and Ferahşad Sultan.
- Şehzade Mahmud (Amasya, 1475 - Manisa, 1507) - son of an unknown concubine. He was governor of Kastamonu and Manisa. He had three sons, Şehzade Musa (b.1490), Şehzade Orhan (b.1494) and Şehzade Emir Suleyman, executed by Selim I in 1512, and two daughters, Ayşe Hundi Sultan (1496 - after 1556, married in 1508 to Ferruh Bey; had a daughter Mihrihan Hanımsultan) and Hançerli Zeynep Fatma Sultan (1495 - April 1533, married to Mehmed Bey in 1508; had two children, Sultanzade Kasim Bey and Sultanzade Mahmud Bey. It is believed that she may have istruited the future Hürrem Sultan before she was introduced to Suleiman the Magnificent via Hafsa Sultan or Pargali Ibrahim).
- Şehzade Alemşah (Amasya, 1477 - Manisa, 1502) - son of Gülruh Hatun. Governor of Mentese and Manisa. He had a son, Şehzade Osman Şah (1492-1512, killed by Selim), and two daughters, Ayşe Sultan (married to his cousin Mehmed Celebi, son of Fatma Sultan, daughter of Bayezid II) and Fatma Sultan (1493-1522).
- Sultan Selim I – son with Gülbahar Hatun, who succeeded as Sultan Selim Han I (Yavuz).
- Şehzade Mehmed (Amasya, 1486 - Kefe, December 1504) - son of Ferahşad Hatun. Governor of Kefe. He was married to a princess of the Giray khanate of Crimea (perhaps Ayşe Hatun, who after Mehmed's death married his half-brother Selim) and had two children, Fatma Sultan (Kefe; 1500- Istanbul; 1556) and Şehzade Mehmed (1505, posthumously-1513, killed by Selim I).
Bayezid had at least thirteen daughters:
- Aynışah Sultan (Amasya;c. 1475 - Bursa; after 1513) - daughter of Şirin Hatun. She married twice, she had two daughters and a son.
- Ayşe Sultan (Amasya; 1465 - Constantinople; 1512/1515) - daughter of Nigar Hatun. She married once, she had two sons and five daughters.
- Sofu Fatma Sultan, (Amasya; 1468 - Bursa; after 1520) - daughter of Nigar Hatun. She married three times, she had three sons and a daughter.
- Hatice Sultan (Amasya; 1463 - Bursa; 1500). She married in first time Muderis Kara Mustafa Pasha in 1479 and she had a son, Sultanzade Ahmed Bey, and a daughter, Hanzade Hanimsultan. She was widowed in 1483, when her husband was executed on charges of supporting Şehzade Cem's claim to the throne against Bayezid. Hatice remarried the following year to Faik Pasha. She died in 1500 and was buried in her mausoleum, built by her son, in Bursa. Hatice built a mosque, school and fountain in Edirnekapi, Constantinople. Her name means "respectful girl".
- Hundi Sultan (Amasya; 1464 - Bursa; 1511) - daughter of Bülbül Hatun. In 1484 he married Hersekzade Ahmed Paşa and had two sons, Sultanzade Musa Bey and Sultanzade Mustafa Bey, and two daughters, Kamerşah Hanimsultan and Humaşah Hanimsultan.
- Ilaldi Sultan (Amasya; c. 1467 - ? ; c. 1517). She married Ahmed Pasha, governor of Rumelia, Egypt and Second Vizier, and had by him a son of unknown name (who married his cousin Hanzade Hanımsultan, daughter of Selçuk Sultan, daughter of Bayezid II) and a daughter, Şahzade Aynişah Hanimsultan ( who married Abdüsselâm Çelebi).
- Kamerşah Sultan (Amasya; 1476 - Constantinople; 1520) - daughter of Gulruh Hatun, she is also called Kamer Sultan. She married Koca Mustafa Pasha or Nişancı Kara Davud Pasha in 1491, and had a daughter who married Mesih Bey. She may have remarried a second time, but the name of her alleged husband is unknown. Her name means "moon of Şah" or "trust of Şah". 
- Selçuk Sultan (Amasya; 1469 - Serres; 1508), also called Selçukşah Sultan. She married twice and had a son and four daughters.
- Şah Sultan, (Amasya; 1474 - Bursa; after 1506), also called Şahzade Şah Sultan. She married Nasuh Bey in 1490 and had a daughter with him. She was very charitable and built a mosque in 1506. She was buried in Bursa in the mausoleum of her half-sister Hatice Sultan. Her name meaning "sovereign".
- Sultanzade Sultan (Amasya; ? - Bursa; ?) - daughter of Hüsnüşah Hatun. Her name meaning "descendant of the Sultan".
- Hümaşah Sultan (Amasya; 1466 - Constantinople; after 1504). Also called Huma Sultan. She married Bali Pasha, governor of Antalya in 1482 and was widowed in 1495. She then Married Malkoçoğlu Yahya Pasha from whom she had Sultanzade Ahmed Bey and Sultanzade Mehmed Bey. In addition, she was the stepmother of her husband's first-bed child, Malkoçoğlu Bali Bey. Her name means "phoenix of Şah"..
- Gevhermüluk Sultan (Amasya; 1467 - Constantinople; January 20, 1550), Married to Dukakinzade Mehmed Pasha, she had a son, Sultanzade Mehmed Ahmed Bey (who married his cousin Hanzade Ayşe Mihrihan Hanimsultan, daughter of Ayşe Sultan, daughter of Bayezid II), and a daughter, Neslişah Hanimsultan (who married iskender Pasha). Gevhermuluk built a madrase in Bursa.
- Şahzade Sultan (Amasya, ? - ?, 1520). She married Yahya Pasha in 1501 and had three children, Sultanzade Yahyapaşazade Gaazi Kucuk Bali Pasha (? - 1543, married his cousin Hanzade Hanimsultan, daughter of Aynişah Sultan, daughter of Bayezid II and Şirin Hatun), Sultanzade Gaazi Koca Mehmed Pasha (? - March 1548) and Sultanzade Gaazi Ahmed Bey (? - after 1543). Her name means "descendant of Şah".
In popular culture
- Sultan Bayezid II's statesmanship, tolerance, and intellectual abilities are depicted in the historical novel The Sultan's Helmsman, which takes place in the middle years of his reign.
- Sultan Bayezid II and his struggle with his son Selim is a prominent subplot in the video game Assassin's Creed: Revelations. In the game, due to Bayezid's absence from Constantinople, the Byzantines had the opportunity to sneak back into the city, hoping to revive their fallen empire. Near the end of the game, Bayezid surrendered the throne to his son Selim. However, Bayezid does not make an actual appearance.
- Bayezid II, prior to becoming Sultan, is depicted by Akin Gazi in the Starz series Da Vinci's Demons. He seeks an audience with Pope Sixtus IV (having been manipulated into believing that peace between Rome and Constantinople is a possibility), only to be ridiculed and humiliated by Sixtus, actions which later serve as a pretext for the Ottoman invasion of Otranto. Sixtus assumes that Bayezid has been overlooked in favor of his brother Cem.
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