Today on the 22nd of November in 1617 CE, the 14th Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I died in Istanbul at the age of 27. Ahmed was 13 years old when he ascended the throne. He was the second youngest Ottoman sultan. Except for the short first reign of Mehmed II (1444–46) at the age of 12, the Ottomans never had such a young ruler.
Ahmed inherited from his father an empire being challenged on both international and domestic fronts. By the time Ahmed took the throne, the Ottomans were waging wars on three fronts: against the Habsburgs in Hungary, against the Safavids in the east, and against the Celali rebels in Anatolia.
Ahmed’s new grand vizier, Lala Mehmed Pasha (1604–06), the most experienced commander of the Hungarian Wars (1593–1606), captured several Hungarian fortresses (Vac, Pest, and Esztergom), and the Ottomans ended the long war by concluding the Treaty of Zsitvatorok, which left most of the conquered territories in Ottoman hands.
However, on the eastern front, the Safavid shah, Abbas I (r. 1587–1629), had regained all the territory lost to the Ottomans during the war of 1578–90.
Ahmed was more successful, however, with the Celali revolts; by 1610 the sultan’s troops, under the command of his grand vizier Kuyucu Murad Pasha (1606–11), had eliminated the threat of the Celalis.
Ahmed was the first sultan after Suleiman the Magnificent to construct a monumental imperial mosque complex in Istanbul. The construction of this mosque (1609–16), which stylistically resembles that of Suleiman, came after these successful wars against the Celalis, suggesting that it should be considered a celebration of these recent military achievements as well as a symbol of Ahmed’s piety.
In such troubled times, Ahmed tried to cultivate the image of a warrior-sultan. After his death, his chief consort Kosem Sultan also happened to be one of the most powerful women in the entire Ottoman history.
– Excerpt from the article by Günhan Börekçi
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