Sultan Murad III | 12th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Murad III was born on 4th July 1574 CE in Manisa, Turkey. He was the oldest of his brothers and the son of Sultan Selim II and his wife Afife Nurbanu Sultan, a powerful lady and Haseki Sultan (a title used for the Imperial or Chief Consort of the Ottoman Empire). Murad III was the 12th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire reigning from 1574 CE to 1595 CE.
Prince Murad III’s circumcision ceremony was held in 1557 CE after which Sultan Suleiman (his grandfather) appointed Prince Murad III as the Sancakbeyi (Lord of the Standard, a high-rank officer but not Pasha) of Aksehir in 1558 CE. When he reached the 18th year of his age, Murad III was appointed Sancakbeyi of Saruhan. During his early life he saw two Sultans as on his birth Suleiman the Magnificent was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. After the death of Suleiman the Magnificent in 1566 CE, when Murad III was of 20 years, his father Selim II became the 11th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. It was a tradition that the Ottoman Princes were appointed as the governors of different provinces but Selim II broke the tradition and only Murad III, the oldest son, was sent to Manisa for its governorship.
Accession to Throne
After the death of Sultan Selim II in 1974 CE, there started the Ottoman Civil War between the sons of Selim II for the throne. Prince Murad III, being son of a powerful lady, was having support from the harem and most importantly of Mehmed Sokollu Pasha, who was the most powerful Pasha of Sultan Selim II and remained in office until his assassination in 1579 CE. So, with the influence of court and harem, Murad III became the 12th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire on 15th December 1574 CE. While following these words of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror;
He executed all of his remaining five brothers named Prince Abdullah, Prince Cihangir, Prince Mustafa, Prince Osman, and Prince Suleiman on 22 December 1574 CE to avoid any disturbance and rebellion in the future.
After coming to the throne, Murad III took Fes,Mor (Fez) in North of present-day Morocco, from Portuguese in 1578 CE. After the Treaty of Amasya in 1555 CE between the Ottoman Empire and the Safavid Empire, both were at peace including little border disputes. But when Shah Tahmasp I died, Sultan Murad III took advantage of the chaos and started Ottoman-Safavid War (1578-1590 CE). As a result, he took control of Azerbaijan, Tiflis (present-day Tbilisi, Georgia), Hamadan, and Nahavand. This conflict was ended with the Treaty of Constantinople in 1990 CE.
Murad III’s eyes were also on the colonization of America and in this regard, Murad III also explored North America but he had to turn back as the Ottoman Naval force was responded by the Spanish Naval force while trying so. Because of ignoring the advice of his brilliant Vizier Mehmed Sokollu Pasha, Sultan Murad III went under what is called the Sultanate of Women in his harem.
Ottoman Empire at its greatest extent in the reign of Murad III
During the reign of Sultan Murad III, Ottoman Empire had to face a financial crisis because of corruption and nepotism. As a consequence of Devsirme, a movement to enhance the military, they gained control of the government and started using it for their own benefits instead of the Sultan and his empire. Because of which corruption started in almost all levels of administration. During his reign, there started the England-Ottoman alliance. In continuation of this alliance, England also exported Tin and Lead for casting Cannon and ammunition. Joint military actions were also discussed between Elizabeth I and Sultan Murad III.
Murad had three spouses named Safiye Sultan (mother of Mehmed III, successor), Semsiiruhsar Hatun, and Sahihuban Hatun. As per history and resources, Murad III had twenty-two sons and twenty-eight daughters.
Murad III died of a natural death on 16th January 1595 CE in Topkapi Palace. He was buried in a tomb near Hagia Sophia Mosque. There are 54 graves in this tomb including his wives, children, and parents. Sultan Murad III also shifted the burial of his mother Nurbanu Sultan to Hagia Sophia after which she became the first concubine to share a sultan’s tomb.