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Mustafa I

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Mustafa I

Mustafa I
Caliph of Islam
Ottoman Sultan
Reign 1617–18, 1622–23
Predecessor Ahmed I, Osman II
Successor Osman II, Murad IV
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Consort Nurçiçek Sultan
Issue Șehzade Osman
Șehzade Huseyin
Ayșe Sultan
Royal house House of Osman
Father Mehmed III
Mother Alime Sultan
Born 1591
Died January 1639 (aged 47–48)
Religion Sunni Islam

Mustafa I (1591 – January 20, 1639) (Ottoman Turkish: مصطفى اول), son of Mehmed III, was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1617 to 1618 and from 1622 to 1623.


  • Biography 1
    • First reign (1617-1618) 1.1
    • Second reign (1622-1623) 1.2
  • Notes 2
  • External links 3


He was born in the Manisa Palace, as the younger brother of Ahmed I (1603–17). His mother was an Abkhazian royal concubine whose name remains unknown.[1]

Before 1603 it was customary for an Ottoman Sultan to have his brothers executed shortly after he gained the throne (Mustafa's father Mehmed III had executed 19 of his own brothers). But when the thirteen-year old Ahmed I was enthroned in 1603, he spared the life of the twelve-year-old Mustafa.[2]

Mustafa might have been left alive because Ahmed had not yet produced any sons, so at the time Mustafa was his only heir. Though Ahmed went on to father several sons, he did not execute Mustafa, perhaps because of his brother's apparent mental problems. Another factor in Mustafa's survival is the influence of Kösem Sultan (Ahmed's favorite concubine), who may have wished to preempt the succession of Osman, Ahmed’s first-born son from another concubine. If Osman became Sultan, he would likely try to execute his half-brothers, the sons of Ahmed and Kösem. This scenario later became a reality when Osman II executed his brother Mehmed in 1621.[3]

Until the death of Ahmed in 1617, Mustafa was confined to the palace, in the virtual imprisonment of a system called the Kafes ("the cage"). Fourteen years in this condition may have further damaged his mental health and made him fearful of execution.

First reign (1617-1618)

Ahmed's death created a dilemma never before experienced by the Ottoman Empire. Multiple princes were now eligible for the Sultanate, and all of them lived in Topkapı Palace.[4] A court faction headed by the Şeyhülislam Esad Efendi and Sofu Mehmed Pasha (who represented the Grand Vizier when he was away from Istanbul) decided to enthrone Mustafa instead of Ahmed's son Osman. Sofu Mehmed argued that Osman was too young to be enthroned without causing adverse comment among the populace. The Chief Black Eunuch Mustafa Agha objected, citing Mustafa's mental problems, but he was overruled.[5] Mustafa's rise created a new succession principle of seniority that would last until the end of the Empire. It was the first time an Ottoman Sultan was succeeded by his brother instead of his son.

It was hoped that regular social contact would improve Mustafa's mental health, but his behavior remained eccentric. He pulled off the turbans of his viziers and yanked their beards. Others observed him throwing coins to birds and fish. The Ottoman historian İbrahim Peçevi wrote "this situation was seen by all men of state and the people, and they understood that he was psychologically disturbed."[6]

Mustafa was never more than a tool of court cliques at the Topkapı Palace.[7] In 1618, after a short rule, another palace faction deposed him in favour of his young nephew Osman II (1618–22), and Mustafa was sent back to the Kafes. The conflict between the Janissaries and Osman II presented him with a second chance. After a Janissary rebellion led to the deposition and assassination of Osman II in 1622, Mustafa was restored to the throne and held it for another year.[8]

Second reign (1622-1623)

His mental condition unimproved, Mustafa was a puppet controlled by his mother and brother-in-law, the grand vizier Kara Davud Pasha. He believed that Osman II was still alive and was seen searching for him throughout the palace, knocking on doors and crying out to his nephew to relieve him from the burden of sovereignty.[9] "The present emperor being a fool" (according to English Ambassador Sir Thomas Roe), he was compared unfavorably with his predecessor.[10]

Political instability was generated by conflict between the Janissaries and the sipahis (Ottoman cavalry), followed by the Abaza rebellion, which occurred when the governor-general of Erzurum, Abaza Mehmed Pasha, decided to march to Istanbul to avenge the murder of Osman II. The regime tried to end the conflict by executing Kara Davud Pasha, but Abaza Mehmed continued his advance. Clerics and the new Grand Vizier (Kemankeş Kara Ali Pasha) prevailed upon Mustafa's mother to allow the deposition of her son. She agreed, on condition that Mustafa's life would be spared.[11][12]

The 11-year-old Murad IV, son of Ahmed I and Kösem, was enthroned on September 10, 1623. Mustafa was sent back into palace confinement and died in 1639. He was buried in the courtyard of Haghia Sophia.


  1. ^ Börekçi, Günhan. "Mustafa I." Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire. Ed. Gábor Ágoston and Bruce Masters. New York: Facts on File, 2009. p.409.
  2. ^ Piterberg, Gabriel. "Ahmed I ." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Third Edition. Edited by: Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Everett Rowson. Brill Online, 2012. Reference. Accessed 10 July 2012
  3. ^ Börekçi, "Mustafa I," p.409.
  4. ^ Börekçi, "Mustafa I," p.409.
  5. ^ Boyar, Ebru and Kate Fleet. A Social History of Ottoman Istanbul. New York: Cambridge University Press, p.42
  6. ^ Boyar and Fleet. A Social History, p.42
  7. ^ Imber, Colin. The Ottoman Empire: The Structure of Power, 2nd ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, pp. 66-68, 97-98. ISBN 0-230-57451-3.
  8. ^ Imber. The Ottoman Empire, pp. 98-99.
  9. ^ Imber. The Ottoman Empire, p. 99.
  10. ^ Boyar and Fleet. A Social History, p.42
  11. ^ Börekçi, "Mustafa I," p.409.
  12. ^ Kramers, J.H. "Mustafa I." Encyclopedia of Islam, New Edition. Vol. VII. Ed. C.E. Bosworth, E. Van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs and Ch. Pellat. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1993. p. 707.

External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

Mustafa I
Born: 1591 Died: January 20, 1639
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Ahmed I
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Nov 22, 1617 – Feb 26, 1618
Succeeded by
Osman II
Preceded by
Osman II
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
May 20, 1622 – Sep 10, 1623
Succeeded by
Murad IV
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
Ahmed I
Caliph of Islam
Nov 22, 1617 – Feb 26, 1618
Succeeded by
Osman II
Preceded by
Osman II
Caliph of Islam
May 20, 1622 – Sep 10, 1623
Succeeded by
Murad IV
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