Sultan Sulieman I is renowned in those three rulers who got the title of “The Great”. First was the Sikandar e Azam and the second was Timur. Sultan Sulieman started riding the horse from 15 years of his age and lead his whole life in the war field. He conquered a lot of areas in Europe and Asia. Because of which Europe named him as “Sulieman the Magnificent”, however, he is known as “Sulieman Alqanooni” in East. Sulieman I was born on 6th November 1494 CE in Trabzon. He became the 10th ruler of the Ottoman Empire on 30th September 1520 CE at the age of 26. He was the 89th Caliph of the Islamic Caliphate.
Suleiman I was the son of Sultan Selim I and Hafsa Sultan, she was a convert to Islam and died in 1534 CE. When he was 7 years of his age, he was sent to Constantinople (Istanbul) at the schools of imperial Topkapi Palace to study science, history, literature, theology, and military tactics. During this period, he made friends with a slave named Pargali Ibrahim Pasha, who later became one of his trusted advisors but later he was killed on Suleiman I orders. When he was 17 years of his age, he was appointed as the governor of Kaffa and then also Manisa for a short duration at Edirne. After the death of his father, Sultan Selim I (1512-1520), he went to Constantinople and took the throne as the 10th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire on 30th September 1520 CE. Some historians claim that he had an appreciation for Alexander the Great. Breaking the tradition, he married Hurrem Sultan, a woman from his harem, a convert to Islam from Christianity, who became famous with the name of Roxelana due to her red hair. Their son Selim II succeeded Suleiman I after his death in 1566 CE.
Reign and Campaigns
When Sultan Suleiman took the throne, Europe was moving from the middle ages to the modern age. In the last 40 years, there wasn’t any fight between Europe and the Ottoman Empire because of which Europe had developed a lot. Spain was united. France after finishing the inner warfare had moved to conquer other countries. Great Britain and Austria were also signs of strength and power. Urged by the religious feelings, all the Christians Empires were ready to compete the Ottoman Empire in spite of their mutual infidelity. Charles V, whose empire was spread over one half of Europe, was the main cause of this Christians alliance.
It wasn’t an easy task for the Ottoman Empire to compete with this alliance especially in a case when the vast Persian Empire was committed on enmity and the fear of rebellion from Syria and Egypt every time. But because of the great king of that time, Sultan Suleiman I, the Ottoman Empire not only remained safe from the inner and outer rages but also there was an increase in its power and vastness in the whole 16th century. In the reign of Sultan Selim I, there were a lot of fights between the Ottoman Empire and Hungarian dynasty at its boundaries. In order to finish these flights, Sultan Suleiman I considered necessary to conquer Bulghar and seized the city which compelled Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror to be sweated. After bombarding for 7 days, the city was conquered on 29th August 1521 CE. With this victory, all the ways to enter Hungary were opened.
After this, Sultan moved towards Rhodes. Its victory was necessary for some reasons. The ships of Rhodes were attacking other ships on the seashores of the Mediterranean Sea, Al-Jazira and Anatolia. The Nikes of Rhodes kept indulging in the relations between Constantinople, Egypt, and Syria with their ships. Because of these reasons, Sultan Suleiman I sieged this island on 1st August 1522 CE which continued for almost 5 months. At last on 25th December 1522 CE, the commanders surrendered and Rhodes was also conquered. Sultan Suleiman I gave them very generous conditions that they have 12 days to gather their belongings and to move into other areas with their ships but its historical fact that the majority accepted to live in the island under the Ottoman rule. They were given complete religious independence. They were deprived of paying tax for the next 5 years.
In 1522 CE, the new king of Egypt named Ahmad Pasha started a rebellion against the Ottoman Empire. Sultan crushed this rebellion and killed Ahmad Pasha. Sultan handed over the management to Ibrahim Pasha. In 1526 CE, Sultan moved towards Hungary. It was considered as the strongest fortress from a military point of view. Even within two hours, the fate of Hungary was decided and it became part of the Ottoman Empire. Sultan declared John Zapolya as the new king but as the Sultan returned there started inner warfare in Hungary. As a result of this confliction, the king of Austria named Ferdinand I, who was the brother of Charles V, defeated Zapolya and took over Hungary. When Sultan Suleiman came to know about this, he reached the capital of Hungary, Boda with 250,000 warriors and 300 tanks on 3rd September 1529 CE. Sultan defeated the Ferdinand I and handed over the throne to John Zaploya again.
Then Sultan moved towards the famous Capital of Austria, Vienna. Instead of all defensive preparations of the Austrians, Sultan seiged Austria. This siege continued from 27th September to 14th October 1529 CE. Because of remaining indulge in the wars, the severeness of the weather, Janissary’s revolt, and to save his remaining power, this seige was finished. After three years, Sultan Suleiman I moved towards Vienna again, this time with a wonderful host. This time, Charles V himself commanded the Austrian army. But there spent three weeks in conquering a fort within the way to Hungary. After conquering this fort, Sultan decided not to move towards Vienna and returned to Constantinople again. The fight between Zapolya and Ferdinand continued. At last, Hungary was divided into two parts as one for each of them. But after the death of Zaploya, Ferdinand I took over the whole of Hungary. When Sultan came to know about this, he entered Hungary in 1541 CE. He defeated Ferdinand and divided Hungary into districts and handed them over to Turk’s governors. Charles V and Ferdinand I signed a treaty with Sultan Suleiman I for five years according to which Hungary and Transylvania would be under the Ottoman rule and Ferdinand I accepted to pay 30,000 coins annual tax.
In 1534 CE, Sultan Suleiman I moved towards Iran (Persia). He took over Tabriz without any resistance. After that two bigger provinces of Iran, Masal and Baghdad were included in the Ottoman Empire without any resistance. From 1548 CE to 1554 CE, Sultan Suleiman attacked Iran many times and included many areas of Armenia and Mesopotamia. Except these, because of the strong host of Sultan Suleiman, Aden was also conquered.
Regarding Naval power, no empire of Asia and Europe was able to compete with the Ottoman Empire. So Sultan Suleiman included several provinces of Al-Jazira, Tripoli and many other areas which were under Venice, in the Ottoman Empire.
Succession and Death
In 1566 CE, there started a war with Austria again in which the Christians got some victories. Sultan Suleiman I was ill in this duration. In spite of this, he came forward to lead his army. He sieged its fortresses on 2nd August 1566 CE. It was conquered on 8th September but Sultan Suleiman I couldn’t watch this victory himself. Because he died in the midnight of 5th and 6th September 1566 CE at the age of 71 years. This news was kept secret intentionally for the next 7 weeks. When Sultan Selim II took the throne in Constantinople, then this news was revealed. Sultan’s body was brought back to Constantinople where he was buried in Suleymaniye Mosque, which was built by himself. Sultan Suleiman I also pay attending to Empire’s management and discipline along with these victories. He diminished corruption and brought reforms in the judicial system. He set rules for the non-muslim community of his empire which are a clear example of his work. Sultan Suleiman was an honorable person in the eyes of a scholar. He was also a poet and writer. He was also interested in construction. In his reign, Suleymaniye Mosque was built, which is exceptional. He introduced the canal system in Constantinople. When Sultan Suleiman I took the throne, the area of the Ottoman Empire was 65,57,000 sqkm. But at the end of his reign of 46 years, this area was increased to 1,48,93,000 sqkm.