Valide Sultans

Valide sultan of Ottoman Empire
Former political post
Flag of the Ottoman Empire
Valide Ayşe Hafsa Sultan of the Crimean Khanate
Predecessor Office established
Successor Office abolished
First officeholder Ayşe Hafsa Sultan
Last officeholder Rahime Perestu
Style Valide Sultan Efendi
Official residence Topkapı Palace
Dolmabahçe Palace
Yıldız Palace
Appointer Mothers of the Ottoman Sultan
Office began 1522
Office ended 1904
Current pretender Position abolished

Valide sultan (Ottoman Turkish: والده سلطان, literally "Mother Sultan") was the title held by the mother of a ruling Sultan in the Ottoman Empire.[1] The title was first used in the 16th century for Ayşe Hafsa Sultan, consort of Selim I and mother of Suleiman the Magnificent, superseding the previous title of mehd-i ülya (“cradle of the great”).[1] The Turkish pronunciation of the word Valide is [vaː.liˈde]. The title is sometimes translated as queen mother, although the position of valide sultan was quite different.

The position was perhaps the most important position in the Ottoman Empire after the sultan himself. As the mother to the sultan, by Islamic tradition ("A mother's right is God's right"), the valide sultan would have a significant influence on the affairs of the empire. She had great power in the court and her own rooms (always adjacent to her sons) and state staff.[1] In particular during the 17th century, in a period known as the Sultanate of Women, a series of incompetent or child sultans raised the role of the valide sultan to new heights.[2]

The "Sultanate of Women" began with Hürrem Sultan and continued by Nurbanu Sultan, mother of Murad III. As valide sultan in 1574-1583, Nurbanu was the de facto co-ruler, and managed the government together with the Grand Vizier Sokollu Mehmed Pasha. The most powerful of all valide sultans and haseki sultans in the history of the Ottoman Empire was Kösem Sultan.

Harem women who were slaves were never formally married to the sultans. Nevertheless, their children were considered fully legitimate under Islamic law if recognized by the father.[3]

See also


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