Sultan Orhan Ghazi was the second Sultan/Bey of the rising state of the Ottomans. He was born in Sogut in the house of Osman Bey. He was the son of the daughter of Sufi Dervish Sheikh Edebali. However, there are different accounts about who actually was the mother of Orhan. Some say it was Rabia Bala Hatun while others claim that Malhun was the mother of Orhan Ghazi.
Orhan officially succeeded his father right after the capture of the city of Bursa in 1326 AD. After Osman’s death, there was an issue of succession that Orhan had to deal with his stepbrother. Orhan offered his brother Alauddin to divide the empire into 2 parts avoiding any major conflicts. Alauddin denied his offer and insisted Orhan to succeed their father.
Impressed by his brother’s behavior, Orhan asked him to be his Vizier in order to help him solve the diplomatic state issues. This was the first time the post of Grand Vizier came into existence and later, the same grand viziers played a huge role in the entire history of the Ottoman Empire.
After Orhan became the bey, he started his campaign to annex the northwestern side of Anatolia. Therefore, he began the siege of the city of Nicaea in 1328 AD. Threatened by this siege, the Byzantine emperor Andronikos III himself led an army against Orhan in order to break the siege.
Both Orhan and Andronikos III ended up fighting a battle in Pelekanon, near Nicomedia. Orhan crushed the Byzantines in the Battle of Pelekanon.
In 1333CE, Orhan then began the siege of Nicomedia and after 4 years in 1337 successfully conquered it. Meanwhile, on the eastern side of the Ottoman Beylic, the Eretnids replaced the Mongol Ilkhanate in 1335 in Anatolia. Taking advantage of the weakness of Eretnids, in the same year, Orhan managed to capture some more land including modern-day Ankara.
In 1345, he added Karasid beylic to his nascent empire. This acquisition of Karasids opened his gates to enter European lands.
In 1354, Suleiman Pasha, the eldest son of Orhan, conquered Gallipoli, which became the first Ottoman stronghold in Europe.
Orhan married Holofira in 1299, who was a Christian but embraced Islam and was known as Nilufer Hatun afterward. She gave birth to Murad I, who would become the next Sultan of the empire.
Orhan died in 1362 leaving behind a dominion that he changed from a nomadic border principality to a real state with a capital, boundaries, army and settled population. He was the first Ottoman Sultan who hired the soldiers on a fixed salary.
Love history? Become one of our patrons by pledging just $1/month and support the historical gems of Islamicate history and Muslim culture we uncover on a daily basis.