|Valide Sultan of
the Ottoman Empire
|First holder||Ayşe Hafsa Sultan|
|Final holder||Rahime Perestu Sultan|
Valide Sultan (Ottoman Turkish: والده سلطان) was the title held by the "legal mother" of a ruling Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. The title was first used in the 16th century for Ayşe Hafsa Sultan, consort of Selim I and mother of Suleiman the Magnificent, superseding the previous title of mehd-i ülya ("cradle of the great"). Normally, this title was held by the living mother of a reigning sultan. The mothers who died before their sons' accession to the throne were never bestowed with the title of valide sultan. In special cases, there were grandmothers, stepmothers, or even sisters of a reigning sultan who assumed the title valide sultan.
Sultan (سلطان) is a word Arabic origin, originally meaning "authority" or "dominion". By the beginning of the 16th century, this title, carried by both men and women of the Ottoman dynasty, was replacing other titles by which prominent members of the imperial family had been known (notably hatun for women and bey for men). Consequently, the title valide hatun (title for living mother of the reigning Ottoman sultan before 16th century) also turned into valide sultan. This usage underlines the Ottoman conception of sovereign power as family prerogative.
Western tradition knows the Ottoman ruler as "sultan", but the Ottomans themselves used "padişah" (emperor) or "hünkar" to refer to their ruler. The emperor’s formal title consisted of "sultan" together with "khan" (for example, Sultan Suleiman Khan). In formal address, the sultan’s children were also entitled "sultan", with imperial princes (Şehzade) carrying the title before their given name, with imperial princesses carrying it after. Example, Şehzade Sultan Mehmed and Mihrimah Sultan, son and daughter of Suleiman the Magnificent. Like imperial princesses, the living mother and main consort of reigning sultans also carried the title after their given names, for example, Ayşe Hafsa Sultan, Suleiman’s mother and first valide sultan, and Hürrem Sultan, Suleiman’s chief consort and first haseki sultan. The evolving usage of this title reflected power shifts among imperial women, especially between Sultanate of Women, as the position of main consort eroded over the course of 17th century, the main consort lost the title "sultan", which replaced by "kadin", a title related to the earlier "khatun". Henceforth, the mother of the reigning sultan was the only person of non imperial blood to carry the title "sultan".
Role and position
Valide sultan was perhaps the most important position in the Ottoman Empire after the sultan himself. As the mother to the sultan, by Islamic tradition ("A mother's right is God's right"), the valide sultan would have a significant influence on the affairs of the empire. She had great power in the court and her own rooms (always adjacent to her son's) and state staff. Valide sultan also traditionally had access to considerable economic resources and often funded major architectural projects. In particular during the 17th century, in a period known as the "Sultanate of Women", a series of incompetent or child sultans raised the role of the valide sultan to new heights.
The Sultanate of Women began with Hürrem Sultan (1502–1558) and was continued by Mihrimah Sultan (1522-1578) and then Nurbanu Sultan (1525–1583), mother of Murad III. The most powerful and well-known of all valide sultans and haseki sultans in the history of the Ottoman Empire were Hürrem Sultan, Mihrimah Sultan, Nurbanu Sultan and Kösem Sultan (1589–1651).
List of Valide Sultans
The list does not include the complete list of mothers of the Ottoman sultans. Most who held the title of valide sultan were the biological mothers of the reigning sultans. The mothers who died before their sons' accession to throne, never assumed the title of valide sultan, like Hürrem (Khurram), Hatice (Khadija) Muazzez, Emine (Aminā) Mihr-î-Şâh, Râbi'a Sharmi, Tîr-î-Müjgan, Gül-Cemâl, and Gülistan Münire. In special cases, there were grandmothers, stepmothers, or even sisters of the reigning sultans who assumed the title of valide sultan, like Nakş-î-Dil (Naksh-î-Dil), Mahpeyker Kösem, Mihrimah, and Rahîme Piristû (Perestû).
|Name||Maiden Name||Origin||Became Valide||Ceased to be Valide||Death||Sultan(s)|
|Ayşe Hafsa Sultan
عائشه حفصه سلطان
|Crimean Khanate princess. Daughter of Meñli I Giray, Crimean Khan||30 September 1520
|19 March 1534||Suleiman the Magnificent (son)|
مهر ماه سلطان
|Ottoman imperial princess. Daughter of Suleiman the Magnificent and Hürrem Sultan||7 September 1566
|15 December 1574
then became co-valide until her death
|25 January 1578||Selim II (younger brother)|
|Afife Nurbanu Sultan
نور بانو سلطان
|Cecilia Vernier-Baffo or
Rachel Olivia de Nasi
|15 December 1574
25 January 1578
full authority as valide sultan
|7 December 1583||Murad III (son)|
|Sofia Baffo||Albanian||15 January 1595
|22 December 1603
|10 November 1618||Mehmed III (son)|
|Handan Sultan||Helena||Greek||22 December 1603
|26 November 1605||Ahmed I (son)|
|Altunşah||Abkhaz||22 November 1617
|26 February 1618
|1623||Mustafa I (son)|
|19 May 1622
|10 September 1623
|Mahpeyker Kösem Sultan||Anastasia||Greek. Born on Tinos, Republic of Venice||10 September 1623
|2 September 1651||Murad IV (son)
Mehmed IV (grandson)
|Turhan Hatice Sultan||Nadia||Ruthenian||2 September 1651
|4 August 1683||Mehmed IV (son)|
|Saliha Dilaşub Sultan||Katarina||Serb||8 November 1687
|4 December 1689||Suleiman II (son)|
|Emetullah Rabia Gülnuş Sultan||Evmania Voria||Greek||6 February 1695
|6 November 1715||Mustafa II (son)
Ahmed III (son)
|Saliha Sultan||Alexandra||Greek. Born in Istanbul||20 September 1730
|21 September 1739||Mahmud I (son)|
|Şehsuvar Sultan||Maria||Serb||13 December 1754
|April 1756||Osman III (son)|
|Mihrişah Sultan||Agnes||Georgian||7 April 1789
|16 October 1805||Selim III (son)|
|Ayşe Seniyeperver Sultan||Sonia||Bulgarian||29 May 1807
|28 Juy 1808
|11 December 1828||Mustafa IV (step-son)|
|Nakşidil Sultan||Possibly Aimée du Buc de Rivéry||French noble. Cousin of Napoleon's wife Josephine||28 July 1808
|22 August 1817||Mahmud II (step-son)|
|Bezmiâlem Sultan||Suzanne||Russian Jewish or Georgian Jewish descent||2 July 1839
|2 May 1853||Abdülmecid I (son)|
|Pertevniyal Sultan||Hasna Khater||Circassian||25 June 1861
|30 May 1876
|5 February 1883||Abdülaziz I (son)|
شوق افزا سلطان
|Vilma||Georgian. Born in Russian Empire||30 May 1876
|31 August 1876
|17 September 1889||Murad V (son)|
|Rahime Perestu Sultan||Rahime Gogen||Circassian||31 August 1876
|11 December 1905||Abdul Hamid II (step-son)|
Normally, living mother of reigning sultan held title Valide Sultan. But in exceptional cases, there were women's who didn't held this title when their sons became Sultan.
|Name||Maiden Name and Origin||Period||Son||Note|
|Mahfiruz Hatice||Eudoxia. Serb||26 February 1618 (son's ascension) – 26 October 1620 (her death)||Osman II||Privy Purse registers no Valide Sultan during Osman's reign. Apparently, Mahfiruz fell into disfavour, was banished from the palace at some point before Osman's accession, and never recovered her status. Banishment in disgrace would explain both Mahfiruz's absence from the palace and her burial in the popular shrine of Eyüb rather than in her husband's tomb. The Venetian ambassador Contarini reported in 1612 that the sultan had had a beating administered to a woman who had irritated Kösem, perhaps this woman was Mahfiruz|
|Nükhetsezâ||Georgian||29 May 1807 (son's ascension) – 28 July 1808 (son's deposition)||Mustafa IV||Since Ayşe Seniyeperver was the first consort of the deceased Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid I Khan, Nükhetsezâ was not allowed to be a Valide Sultan|
- Haseki Sultan
- Sultana (title)
- Ottoman Emperors family tree
- Ottoman family tree (more detailed)
- List of sultans of the Ottoman Empire
- List of mothers of the Ottoman sultans
- Queen Mother
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Hafsa Sultan was most likely the daughter of Mengli Giray
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Hafsa Sultan, the daughter of the Crimean ruler Mengli Giray Khan.
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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
- Halil İnalcık, Cemal Kafadar (1993). Süleymân The Second [i.e. the First] and his time. Isis Press.
she was a Tatar, a daughter of the Crimean Khan Mengli Giray
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- According to sources, the name of Mustafa I'mother was undetermined, but popularly known with name Halime or Alime
- İnal & Arşivi 2005, p. 27, "Siileyman'in annesi Sirp Katrin yani Dilasiip Hatun".
- İnal & Arşivi 2005, p. 27, "Mahmutun annesi Aleksandra yani Saliha Sultan".
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- The period that she had to be a Valide Sultan
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