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Abdul Hamid II

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Abdul Hamid II

Abdul Hamid II
Caliph of Islam
Ottoman Sultan
Abdul Hamid II in 1868
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Reign 31 August 1876 – 27 April 1909
Predecessor Murad V
Successor Mehmed V
Consort Nazikedâ Kadınefendi
Safinaz Nurefzun Kadınefendi
Bedrifelek Kadınefendi
Biydâr Kadınefendi
Dilpesend Kadınefendi
Mezide Mestan Kadınefendi
Emsalinur Kadınefendi
Müşfikâ Kadınefendi
Sazkâr Hanımefendi
Peyveste Hanımefendi
Fatma Pesend Hanımefendi
Behice Hanımefendi
Saliha Naciye Kadınefendi
Era name and dates
Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire: 1792–1923
Royal house House of Osman
Father Abdülmecid I
Mother Tirimüjgan Sultan
(Biological mother, but died before becoming Valide Sultan)
Rahime Perestu Sultan
(Served as adoptive Valide Sultan)
Born (1842-09-21)21 September 1842[1][2]
Topkapı Palace, Constantinople
Died 10 February 1918(1918-02-10) (aged 75)
Beylerbeyi Palace, Constantinople
Religion Sunni Islam

Abdul Hamid II (Ottoman Turkish: عبد الحميد ثانی, `Abdü’l-Ḥamīd-i sânî; Turkish: İkinci Abdülhamit; 22 September 1842 – 10 February 1918) was the 34th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and the last Sultan to exert effective autocratic control over the fracturing state.[3] He oversaw a period of decline in the power and extent of the Empire, including widespread pogroms and government-sanctioned massacres of Armenians, as well as an assassination attempt, ruling from 31 August 1876 until he was deposed shortly after the 1908 Young Turk Revolution, on 27 April 1909. He was succeeded by his brother Mehmed V. Abdul Hamid II's removal from the throne was hailed by most Ottoman citizens,[4] who welcomed the return to constitutional rule in 1908, which had been suspended for three decades (the dissolution of the Ottoman parliament and constitution by Sultan Abdul Hamid II in 1878 had ended the short-lived first constitutional era in Ottoman history.)[5]

Despite his conservatism and belief in [6] although Abdul Hamid's attraction to absolutism led him to reduce most of his government ministers to secretaries.[7] Often known as the Red Sultan or Abdul the Damned[4] due to the atrocities committed against the Empire's minorities under his rule and use of a secret police to silence dissent,[8][9] Abdul Hamid became more reclusive toward the end of his reign, his worsening paranoia about perceived threats to his personal power and his life leading him to shun public appearances.[10]


Abdul Hamid II as a Şehzade (Prince) in 1867, accompanying his uncle Sultan Abdülaziz during his visit to the United Kingdom and a number of other European countries between June 21 and August 7, 1867. The photo was probably taken at the Balmoral Castle in Scotland, in July 1867

Abdul Hamid II was born in Topkapı Palace in Constantinople (modern Turkey) during Ottoman Empire, on 21 September 1842. He was the son of Sultan Abdülmecid I[1] and one of his many wives, the Valide Sultan Tirimüjgan (16 August 1819 – Constantinople, Feriye Palace, 3 October 1852), originally named Virjin.[11] He later also became the adoptive son of another of his father's wives, Valide Sultan Rahime Perestu. He was a skilled carpenter and personally crafted most of his own furniture, which can be seen today at the Yıldız Palace and Beylerbeyi Palace in Istanbul. Abdul Hamid II was also interested in opera and personally wrote the first-ever Turkish translations of many opera classics. He also composed several opera pieces for the Mızıka-yı Hümâyun (Ottoman Imperial Band/Orchestra, which was established by his grandfather Mahmud II who had appointed Donizetti Pasha as its Instructor General in 1828), and hosted the famous performers of Europe at the Opera House of Yıldız Palace, which was restored in the 1990s and featured in the film Harem Suare (1999) of the Turkish-Italian director Ferzan Özpetek (the film begins with the scene of Abdul Hamid II watching a performance.) Unlike many other Ottoman sultans, Abdul Hamid II traveled to distant countries. Nine years before he took the throne, he accompanied his uncle Sultan Abdülaziz on his visit to Paris (30 June – 10 July 1867), London (12 July – 23 July 1867), Vienna (28 July – 30 July 1867) and the capitals or cities of a number of other European countries in the summer of 1867 (they departed from Istanbul on 21 June 1867 and returned on 7 August 1867).[12]

Accession to throne

He ascended to the throne following the deposition of his brother Murad on 31 August 1876.[1][13] At his accession, some commentators were impressed by the fact that he rode practically unattended to the Eyüp Sultan Mosque where he was given the Sword of Osman. Most people expected Abdul Hamid II to have liberal ideas, and some conservatives were inclined to regard him with suspicion as a dangerous reformer.

First Constitutional Era, 1876–1878

Ottoman troops during the Siege of Plevna (1877) in the Russo-Turkish War (1877–78)

He did not plan and express any goal in his accession speech, however he worked with the Young Ottomans to realize some form of constitutional arrangements[14] This new form in its theoretical space could help to realize a liberal transition with Islamic arguments, which could balance the Tanzimat's imitation of western norms. The political structure of western norms did not work with the centuries-old Ottoman political culture, even if the pressure from the Western world was enormous to adapt western ways of political decision. On 23 December 1876, under the shadow of the 1875 insurrection in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the war with Serbia and Montenegro and the feeling aroused throughout Europe by the cruelty used in stamping out the Bulgarian rebellion, he promulgated the constitution and its parliament.[1]

The international Constantinople Conference which met at Constantinople[15][16] towards the end of 1876 was surprised by the promulgation of a constitution, but European powers at the conference rejected the constitution as a significant change; they preferred the 1856 constitution, the Hatt-ı Hümayun and 1839 Hatt-ı Şerif of Gülhane, but questioned whether there was need for a parliament to act as an official voice of the people.

In any event, like many other would-be reforms of the Ottoman Empire change proved to be nearly impossible. Russia continued to mobilize for war. However, everything changed when the British fleet approached the capital from the Sea of Marmara. Early in 1877 the Ottoman Empire went to war with the Russian Empire.


Seal of Sultan Abdul Hamid II
Circassian Muslim refugees uprooted from their homelands due to the Russian invasion of the Caucasus

Abdul Hamid's biggest fear, near dissolution, was realised with the Russian declaration of war on 24 April 1877. In that conflict, the Ottoman Empire fought without help from European allies. Russian chancellor Prince Gorchakov had effectively purchased Austrian neutrality with the Reichstadt Agreement. The British Empire, though still fearing the Russian threat to British dominance in Southern Asia, did not involve itself in the conflict because of public opinion against the Ottomans, following reports of Ottoman brutality in putting down the Bulgarian uprising. The Russian victory was quickly realised. The conflict ended in February 1878. The Treaty of San Stefano, signed at the end of the war, imposed harsh terms: the Ottoman Empire gave independence to Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro; it granted autonomy to Bulgaria; instituted reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina; and ceded parts of Dobrudzha to Romania and parts of Armenia to Russia, which was also paid an enormous indemnity. After the war with Russia, Abdulhamid suspended the constitution in February 1878, and he also dismissed the parliament after its solitary meeting in March 1877. For the next near half century, the Ottoman Empire was ruled by Abdulhamid from Yıldız Palace.[1]

As Russia could dominate the newly independent states, her influence in South-eastern Europe was greatly increased by the Treaty of San Stefano. Due to the insistence of the Great Powers (especially the United Kingdom), the treaty was later revised at the Congress of Berlin so as to reduce the great advantages acquired by Russia. In exchange of these favours, Cyprus was "rented" to Britain in 1878. There were troubles in Egypt, where a discredited khedive had to be deposed. Abdul Hamid mishandled relations with Urabi Pasha, and as a result Great Britain gained virtual control over Egypt and Sudan by sending its troops in 1882 with the pretext of "bringing order" to those provinces. Cyprus, Egypt and Sudan remained as Ottoman provinces "on paper" until 1914, when Britain officially annexed those territories in response to the Ottoman participation in World War I on the side of the Central Powers.

There were key problems regarding the Albanian question resulting from the Albanian League of Prizren and with the Greek and Montenegrin frontiers where the European powers were determined that the decisions of the Berlin Congress should be carried into effect.

The union in 1885 of Bulgaria with Eastern Rumelia was another blow. The creation of an independent and powerful Bulgaria was viewed as a serious threat to the Ottoman Empire. For many years Abdul Hamid had to deal with Bulgaria in a way that did not antagonise either Russian or German wishes.


Armenian Question

Abdul Hamid II depicted as the "Red Sultan" for his government's Hamidian massacres against Ottoman Armenians, on the cover of Le Rire magazine, 29 May 1897

Starting around 1890, Armenians began demanding the implementation of the reforms which were promised to them at the Berlin conference.[17] To prevent such measures, in 1890-91, Sultan Abdul Hamid gave semi-official status to the Kurdish bandits who were already actively maltreating the Armenians in the provinces. Made up of Kurds (as well as other ethnic groups such as Turcomans), and armed by the state, they came to be called the [22] Hence, Abdul Hamid II was referred to as the "Bloody Sultan" or "Red Sultan" in the West. On 17 March 1905, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation attempted to assassinate him with a car bombing during a public appearance, but the Sultan was delayed for a minute and the bomb went off early, killing 26, wounding 58 (of which four died at hospital) and demolishing 17 cars in the process. This continued aggression, along with the handling of the Armenian desire for reforms, led to the western European powers taking a more hands-on approach with the Turks.[1]

Securing Germany's support

Abdul Hamid II attempted to correspond with the Chinese Muslim troops in service of the Qing imperial army serving under General Dong Fuxiang; they were also known as the Kansu Braves

The Triple Entente – that is, the United Kingdom, France and Russia – maintained strained relations with the Ottoman Empire. Abdul Hamid and his close advisors believed the empire should be treated as an equal player by these great powers. In the Sultan's view, the Ottoman Empire was a European empire, distinct for having more Muslims than Christians. Abdul Hamid and his divan viewed themselves as modern. However, their actions were often construed by Europeans as exotic or uncivilized.[23]

Over time their perceived aggression by France (the occupation of Tunisia in 1881) and Great Britain (the 1882 power grab in Egypt) caused Abdul Hamid to gravitate towards Germany.[1] Kaiser Wilhelm II was twice hosted by Abdul Hamid in Constantinople; first on 21 October 1889, and nine years later, on 5 October 1898. (Wilhelm II later visited Constantinople for a third time, on 15 October 1917, as a guest of Mehmed V). German officers (like Baron von der Goltz and Bodo-Borries von Ditfurth) were employed to oversee the organisation of the Ottoman army.

German government officials were brought in to reorganise the Ottoman government's finances. Abdul Hamid tried to take more of the reins of power into his own hands, for he mistrusted his ministers. Germany's friendship was not altruistic; it had to be fostered with railway and loan concessions. In 1899, a significant German desire, the construction of a Berlin-Baghdad railway, was granted.[1]

Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany also requested the Sultan's help when having trouble with Chinese Muslim troops. During the Boxer Rebellion, the Chinese Muslim Kansu Braves fought against the German Army repeatedly, routing them, along with the other 8 nation alliance forces during the Seymour Expedition in 1900. It was only on the second attempt, that is, the Gasalee Expedition, that the Alliance forces managed to get through to battle the Chinese Muslim troops at the Battle of Peking. Kaiser Wilhelm was so alarmed by the Chinese Muslim troops that he requested that Abdul Hamid find a way to stop the Muslim troops from fighting. Abdul Hamid agreed to the Kaiser's demands and sent Enver Pasha to China in 1901, but the rebellion was over by that time.[24]

Second Constitutional Era, 1908

Ottoman post card celebrating the Young Turk Revolution in 1908 and the restoration of the 1876 constitution in the Ottoman Empire

The national humiliation of the situation in Macedonia, together with the resentment in the army against the palace spies and informers, at last brought matters to a crisis.

In the summer of 1908, the Young Turk Revolution broke out and Abdul Hamid, upon learning that the troops in Salonica were marching on Constantinople (23 July), at once capitulated. On 24 July an irade announced the restoration of the suspended constitution of 1876; the next day, further irades abolished espionage and censorship, and ordered the release of political prisoners.

On 17 December, Abdul Hamid opened the Ottoman parliament with a speech from the throne in which he said that the first parliament had been "temporarily dissolved until the education of the people had been brought to a sufficiently high level by the extension of instruction throughout the empire."

Countercoup, 1909

The new attitude of the sultan did not save him from the suspicion of intriguing with the powerful reactionary elements in the state, a suspicion confirmed by his attitude towards the counter-revolution of 13 April 1909 known as the 31 March Incident, when an insurrection of the soldiers backed by a conservative upheaval in some parts of the military in the capital overthrew the new Young Turks' cabinet. The government, restored by soldiers from Salonica, decided on Abdul Hamid's deposition, and on 27 April his brother Reshad Efendi was proclaimed as Sultan Mehmed V.

The Sultan's countercoup, which had appealed to conservative Islamists against the Young Turks' liberal reforms, resulted in the massacre of tens of thousands of Christian Armenians in the Adana province.[25]

Deposition and aftermath

The mausoleum (türbe) of Sultans Mahmud II, Abdulaziz, and Abdul Hamid II, located at Divanyolu street, Istanbul

The ex-sultan was conveyed into dignified captivity at Salonica. In 1912, when Salonica fell to Greece, he was returned to captivity in Constantinople. He spent his last days studying, carpentering and writing his memoirs in custody at Beylerbeyi Palace in the Bosphorus, where he died on 10 February 1918, just a few months before his brother, the Sultan. He was buried in Constantinople. Abdul Hamid was the last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire to hold absolute power. He presided over 33 years of decline. The Ottoman Empire had long been acknowledged as the "sick man of Europe" by other European countries.



Abdul Hamid was paranoid about his security. The memory of the deposition of Abdul Aziz I was on his mind and convinced him that a constitutional government was not a good idea. Because of this, information was tightly controlled and the press was tightly censored. The curriculum of schools were subject to close inspection to prevent dissidence. Ironically, the schools that Abdul Hamid tried to control became "breeding grounds of discontent" as students and teachers alike chafed at the clumsy restrictions of the censors.[10]

Abdul Hamid’s reign also had a fully functioning state spy system. These spies greatly impeded the operation of the state administration as officials were in constant concern that a false report would be filed against them. In Spies, Scandals and Sultans, by Ibrahim Al-Muwaylihi, it is recounted how spies were operating all across Constantinople and that even the Shaykh al-Islam was paralyzed with fear of these spies. Additionally, al-Muwaylihi described how many spies follow the carriage of the Crown prince. Overall, these spies hampered the functioning of the state and potential reform ideas as people were afraid of being reported.

As his got older, Abdul Hamid became increasingly isolated and Young Turk Revolution (initiated by the Third Army) in 1908.[10]

Political decisions and reforms

Abdul Hamid II greeting people

Most people expected Abdul Hamid II to have liberal ideas, and some conservatives were inclined to regard him with suspicion as a dangerous reformer. However, Abdul Hamid, despite working with the reformist Young Ottomans while still a crown prince and appearing as a liberal leader, became increasingly conservative immediately after taking the throne. Default in the public funds, an empty treasury, the 1875 insurrection in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the war with Serbia and Montenegro, and the feeling aroused throughout Europe by the Abdul Hamid government's cruelty in stamping out the Bulgarian rebellion all contributed to his apprehension for enacting significant changes.

There were many further setbacks. Financial embarrassments forced him to consent to a foreign control over the Ottoman national debt. In a decree issued in December 1881, a large portion of the empire's revenues were handed over to the Public Debt Administration for the benefit of (mostly foreign) bondholders.

Over the years, Abdul Hamid succeeded in reducing his ministers to the position of secretaries, and he concentrated much of the administration of the Empire into his own hands at Yıldız Palace. However, internal dissension was not reduced. Crete was constantly in turmoil. The Greeks living within the Ottoman Empire's borders were dissatisfied, as were the Armenians.

Abdul Hamid's distrust for the reformist admirals of the Ottoman Navy (whom he suspected of plotting against him and trying to bring back the 1876 constitution) and his subsequent decision to lock the Ottoman fleet (which ranked as the 3rd largest fleet in the world during the reign of his predecessor Abdülaziz) inside the Golden Horn caused the loss of Ottoman overseas territories and islands in North Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Aegean Sea during and after his reign.[26]

His push for education resulted in the establishment of 18 professional schools, and in 1900, Darulfunun aka, the University of Istanbul, was established.[1] He also created a large system of secondary, primary, and military schools throughout the empire.[1] 51 secondary schools were constructed in a 12-year period (1882–1894). As the goal of the educational reforms in the Hamidian era were to counter foreign influence, these secondary schools utilized European teaching techniques, yet instilled within students a strong sense of Ottoman identity, "Islamic morality", and loyalty to the sultan. The primary goal of these educational reforms was to Ottomanize the education system and thereby the student citizenry.[27]

Abdul Hamid also reorganized the Ministry of Justice and developed the rail and telegraph systems.[1] The telegraph system expanded to incorporate the furthest parts of Empire. Railways connected Istanbul and Vienna by 1883, and shortly after the Orient Express connected Paris to Istanbul. During his rule, railways within the Ottoman Empire expanded to connect Ottoman-controlled Europe and Anatolia with Istanbul as well. This increased ability to travel and communicate within the Ottoman Empire served to strengthen the influence Istanbul had over the rest of the Empire.[27]

Question of Islam

Abdul Hamid believed that the ideas of Tanzimat could not bring the disparate peoples of the empire to a common identity, such as Ottomanism. He tried to formulate a new ideological principle, Pan-Islamism; since Ottoman sultans beginning with 1517 were also nominally Caliphs, he wanted to promote that fact and emphasized the Ottoman Caliphate.

Abdul Hamid usually resisted the pressure of the European powers to the last moment, in order to seem to yield only to overwhelming force and to appear as the champion of Islam against aggressive Christendom. Pan-Islamism was encouraged; the privileges of foreigners in the Ottoman Empire, which were often seen as an obstacle to effective government, were curtailed. Along with the strategically important Constantinople-Baghdad Railway, the Constantinople-Medina Railway was also completed, making the trip to Mecca for Hajj more efficient. Missionaries were sent to distant countries preaching Islam and the Caliph's supremacy. During his rule, Abdul Hamid refused Theodor Herzl's offers to pay down a substantial portion of the Ottoman debt (150 million pounds sterling in gold) in exchange for a charter allowing the Zionists to settle in Palestine.

Abdul Hamid's appeals to Muslim sentiment were not very effective due to widespread disaffection within the Empire. In Mesopotamia and Yemen disturbance was endemic; nearer home, a semblance of loyalty was maintained in the army and among the Muslim population only by a system of deflation and espionage. After his rule began, Abdul Hamid became fearful of being assassinated and withdrew himself into the fortified seclusion of the Yıldız Palace.

Pictures from Empire

Abdul Hamid II commissioned thousands of photographs of his empire. Fearful of assassination, he did not travel often (though still more than many previous rulers) and photographs provided visual evidence of what was taking place in his realm. The Sultan presented large gift albums of photographs to various governments and heads of state, including the United States (William Allen, "The Abdul Hamid II Collection," History of Photography eight (1984): 119–45.) and Great Britain (M. I. Waley and British Library, "Sultan Abdulhamid II Early Turkish Photographs in 51 Albums from the British Library on Microfiche"; Zug, Switzerland: IDC, 1987). The American collection is housed in the Library of Congress and has been digitized.[28]

Personal life

Here is a sample of his handwritten poetry in Persian language and scripts, which was taken from the book "My Father Abdul Hameed," written by his daughter Ayşe Sultan

Abdul Hamid II was born at Çırağan Palace, Ortaköy, or at Topkapı Palace, both in Constantinople, the son of Sultan Abdülmecid I and one of his many wives, Tîr-î-Müjgan Sultan, (Yerevan, 16 August 1819 – Constantinople, Feriye Palace, 2 November 1853), originally named Virjin, an Armenian,[11] but some says she was a Circassian.[29][30] He later also became the adoptive son of another of his father's wives, Valide Sultan Rahime Perestu. He was a skilled carpenter and personally crafted most of his own furniture, which can be seen today at the Yıldız Palace and Beylerbeyi Palace in Constantinople. Abdul Hamid II was also interested in opera and personally wrote the first-ever Turkish translations of many opera classics. He also composed several opera pieces for the Mızıka-ı Hümayun which he established, and hosted the famous performers of Europe at the Opera House of Yıldız Palace which was recently restored and featured in the film Harem Suare (1999) of the Turkish-Italian director Ferzan Özpetek, which begins with the scene of Abdul Hamid II watching a performance.

In the opinion of F. A. K. Yasamee:[31]

He was a striking amalgam of determination and timidity, of insight and fantasy, held together by immense practical caution and an instinct for the fundamentals of power. He was frequently underestimated. Judged on his record, he was a formidable domestic politician and an effective diplomat[32]

He was also a good wrestler of Yağlı güreş and a 'patron saint' of the wrestlers. He organised wrestling tournaments in the empire and selected wrestlers were invited to the palace. Abdul Hamid personally tried the sportsmen and good ones remained in the palace.


The tomb of the Libyan Sufi Sheikh Muhammad Zafir al-Madani in Istanbul who initiated the Sultan into the Shadhili Sufi Tariqa

Sultan Abdul Hamid II was a practitioner of traditional Islamic spirituality, or Sufism, of the Shadhili Tariqa. He was a disciple of the Libyan Shadhili Madani sheikh, Muhammad Zafir al-Madani whose lessons he would attend in disguise in Unkapani before he became Sultan. Abdul Hamid II asked Sheikh al-Madani to return to Istanbul after he ascended the throne. The sheikh initiated Shadhili gatherings of remembrance (dhikr) in the newly commissioned Yıldız Hamidiye Mosque. He also became a close religious and political confidant of the Sultan. In 1879 the Sultan excused the taxes of all of the Caliphate's Madani Sufi lodges (also known as zawiyas and tekkes). In 1888, he even established a Sufi lodge for the Madani order of Shadhili Sufism in Istanbul, which he commissioned as part of the Ertuğrul Tekke mosque. The relationship of the Sultan and the sheikh lasted for thirty years until the latter's death in 1903.[33]


The Tughra (signature) of Abdul Hamid II – on right "el Ghazi" (the veteran)[34]

Abdul Hamid wrote poetry, following on the footsteps of many other Ottoman sultans. One of his poems translates thus:

My Lord I know you are the Dear One (Al-Aziz)
... And no one but you are the Dear One
You are the One, and nothing else
My God take my hand in these hard times
My God be my helper in this critical hour

He was extremely fond of Sherlock Holmes novels.[35]

Marriages and issue

Door at the harem of Sultan Abdul Hamid II

Abdul Hamid II had thirteen wives[36] and seventeen children.

First marriage and issue

He married first at Constantinople, Dolmabahçe Palace in 1863 to Abkhazian Nazikedâ Kadınefendi (c. 1850 - Yıldız Palace, Constantinople, 11 April 1895), daughter of Prince Arzakan Bey Tsanba by his wife Princess Esma Klıç,[36] and had:

  • Princess Ulviye Sultan (1868 – 5 October 1875)

Second marriage and issue

He married second at Constantinople, Dolmabahçe Palace in October 1868 to Circassian Safinaz Nurefzun Kadınefendi (c. 1851 - 1915), daughter of Selim Bey Şermat by his wife Princess Rebiye Hanım.[36] She was a sister of Yıldız Hanım Efendi, a wife of Sultan Abdülmecid I.[36] She got divorced on 26 July 1879 without issue.[36]

Third marriage and issue

He married third at Constantinople on 15 November 1868 to Natukhai Bedrifelek Kadınefendi (Poti, 4 January 1851 – Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 6 February 1930), daughter of Prince Mehmed Bey Karzeg by his wife Princess Faruhan İnal-lpa,[36] and had:

  • Prince Şehzade Mehmed Selim Osmanoğlu Efendi Constantinople, Beşiktaş, Beşiktaş Palace, 11 January 1870 – Beirut, 4 May 1937 and buried in Damascus), married at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, on 4 June 1886 to Abkhazian Deryal Hanım Efendi (Sukhumi, Abkhazia, 10 February 1870 – Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 27 December 1904), and had a daughter, married at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, on 30 June 1905 to Nilüfer Eflâkyer Hanım Efendi (Artvin, 1 May 1887 – Beirut, 1930), and had a son, and married at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, on 29 March 1910 to Pervin Dürrüyekta Hanım Efendi (Adapazarı, 6 June 1894 – Lebanon, 1969 and buried there), without issue:
    • Princess Emine Nemika Esin Sultan (Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 26 April 1887 – Istanbul, 6 September 1969), married and have issue
    • Prince Şehzade Abdul Kerim Efendi (Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 26 June 1906 – New York City, 3 August 1935), married at Aleppo on 24 February 1930 and divorced in 1931 Nimet Hanım Efendi (Damascus, 25 December 1911 – Damascus, 4 August 1981), and had two sons:
      • Prince Şehzade Dündar Aliosman Efendi (b. Damascus, 30 December 1930), married to Yüsra Hanım Efendi (b. 1927), without issue
      • Prince Şehzade Harun Osmanoğlu Efendi (b. Damascus, 10 February 1932), married to Farizet Darvich Hanım Efendi (b. 1947), and had:
        • Prince Şehzade Orhan Osmanoğlu Efendi (b. Damascus, 25 August 1963), married on 22 December 1985 to Nuran Yıldız Hanım Efendi (b. 1967), and had one son and four daughters:
          • Princess Nilhan Osmanoğlu Sultan (b. Istanbul, 25 April 1987)
          • Prince Şehzade Yavuz Selim Osmanoğlu Efendi (b. Istanbul, 22 February 1989)
          • Princess Nilüfer Osmanoğlu Sultan (b. Istanbul, 5 May 1995)
          • Princess Berna Osmanoğlu Sultan (b. Istanbul, 1 October 1998)
          • Princess Asyahan Osmanoğlu Sultan (b. Istanbul, ... ... 2004)
        • Princess Nurhan Osmanoğlu Sultan (b. Damascus, 20 November 1973), married firstly in Istanbul on 15 April 1994 and divorced HE Damat Samir Hashem Beyefendi (b. 24 January 1959), without issue, and married secondly to HE Damat Muhammed Ammar Sagherji Beyefendi (b. 1972), and had one son and one daughter:
          • Prince Sultanzade Muhammed Halil Sagherji Beyefendi (b. 2002)
          • Princess Sara Sagherji Hanımsultan (b. 2004)
        • Prince Şehzade Abdulhamid Kayıhan Osmanoğlu Efendi (b. 4 August 1979)
          • Prince Şehzade Muhammed Harun Osmanoğlu Efendi (b. 2007)
  • Princess Zekiye Sultan (Dolmabahçe Palace, 21 January 1872 – Pau, 13 July 1950 and buried there), married at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, on 20 April 1889 to HE Damat Ali Nureddin Pasha Beyefendi (1867–1953), created Damat in 1889, and had issue:
    • Princess Ulviye Shükriye Hanımsultan (1890 – 23 February 1893)
    • Princess Fatima Aliye Hanımsultan (1891 – Constantinople, 14 April 1972), unmarried and without issue
  • Prince Şehzade Ahmed Nuri Efendi (Istanbul, Yıldız Palace, 11 February 1878 – Nice, August 1944), married at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, in 1900 to Fahriye Hanım Efendi (Constantinople, 1883 – Nice, 1940 and buried in Damascus), without issue

Fourth marriage and issue

He married fourth at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, on 2 September 1875 to Kabardian Biydâr Kadınefendi (Caucasus, 5 May 1858 – Erenköy, Asia Minor, 1 January 1918), daughter of Prince Ibrahim Bey Talustan by his wife Princess Şahika İffet Lortkipanidze,[36] and had:

  • Princess Fatma Naime Sultan (Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 4 September 1875 – Tirana, 1945), married at Istanbul, Ortaköy, Ortaköy Palace, on 17 March 1898 and divorced in 1904 HE Damat Mehmed Kemaleddin Pasha Beyefendi (1869–1920), created Damat in 1898, title removed on his divorce in 1904, and had:
    • Prince Beyzade Mehmed Cahid Osman Beyefendi (Constantinople, Ortaköy, Ortaköy Palace, January 1899 – Istanbul, 30 March 1977 and buried there), married firstly in January 1922 to his cousin Princess Dürriye Sultan (Constantinople, Dolmabahçe Palace, 3 August 1905 – Halki, 15 July 1922), without issue, and married secondly to Levrens Hadjer Hussein Hanım Efendi, and had issue:
      • Bulent Osman Bey (b. Nice, 2 May 1930), married at Libreville on 8 November 1962 to French Jeannine Crété, and had issue:
        • Rémy Gengiz Ossmann (b. 1963), married on 16 November 19?? to Florence Weber, and had issue:
          • Sélim Ossmann (b. 1993)
    • Princess Adile Hanımsultan Hanım Efendi (Constantinople, Ortaköy, Ortaköy Palace, 12 November 1900 – February 1979), married at Üsküdar on 4 May 1922 and divorced in 1928 her cousin Prince Şehzade Mahmud Sevket Efendi (Constantinople, Ortaköy, Ortaköy Palace, 20 July 1903 – 1 February 1973), excluded from the Imperial House in 1931
  • Prince Şehzade Mehmed Abdul Kadir Efendi (Constantinople, Beşiktaş, Dolmabahçe Palace, 16 January 1878 – Sofia, January or 16 March 1944 and buried there), Captain of the Ottoman Army, married firstly at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, on 6 June 1907 to Princess Mihriban Hanım Efendi (Constantinople, 18 May 1890 – Cairo, 1956), without issue, married secondly at Kızıltoprak, Asia Minor, on 1 June 1913 and divorced in 1934 Hadice Macide Hanım Efendi (Adapazarı, 14 September 1899 – Vienna, 1934 and buried there), marriage not recognised by the Imperial House, and had two sons, married thirdly at Kızıltoprak, Asia Minor, on 5 February 1916 to Mesiyet Fatma Hanım Efendi (İzmit, 17 February 1902 – Istanbul, 13 November 1989), and had one son and two daughters, and married fourthly in Budapest on 4 July 1924 to Irene Mer Hanım Efendi, and had one son:
    • [Mehmed] Orhan II
    • Prince Şehzade Ertughrul Necib Ali Efendi (Kızıltoprak, Asia Minor, 15 March 1915 – Vienna, 7 February 1994), married in Vienna on 14 August 1946 to Austrian Gertrude Emilia Tengler Hanım Efendi (Vienna, 25 May 1926 –), and had issue:
      • Princess Margot Leyla Kadir Sultan (b. Vienna, 17 June 1947), married to Austrian HE Damat Werner Schnelle Beyefendi (b. 1942), and had one daughter:
        • Princess Katharina Alia Schnelle Hanımsultan (b. 1980)
      • Prince Şehzade Roland Selim Kadir Efendi (b. Vienna, 5 May 1949), married in Salzburg in 1972 to Gerlinde ... Hanım Efendi (b. 1946), and had issue:
        • Prince Şehzade René Osman Abdul Kadir Efendi (b. Salzburg, 23 August 1975)
        • Prince Şehzade Daniel Adrian Hamid Kadir Efendi (b. 20 September 1977)
    • Prince Şehzade Alaeddin Kadir Efendi (Kızıltoprak, Asia Minor, 2 January 1917 – Sofia, 26 November 1999), Titular Crown Prince of Turkey from 1994 to 1999, married to Lydia ... Hanım Efendi, and had issue:
      • Princess Iskra Sultan (b. Sofia, 1949), married to Austrian HE Damat Joachim (Peter) Schlang Beyefendi (b. 1940), and had one daughter:
        • Princess Andrea Schlang Hanımsultan (b. 1974), married to Austrian Thomas Schüttfort (b. 1972), and had one son:
          • Niklas Peter Schüttfort (b. 1999)
    • Princess Biydâr Sultan (Kızıltoprak, Asia Minor, 3 January 1924 – Budapest, August 1924 and buried there)
    • Princess Safvet Neslişah Sultan (b. Budapest, 25 December 1925), married to HE Damat ... Reda Beyefendi, and had two sons:
      • Prince Sultanzade Salih Reda Beyefendi (b. 1955), unmarried and without issue
      • Prince Sultanzade Ömer Reda Beyefendi (b. 1959), married to Ceylan Fethiye Palay (b. 1971), and had two daughters:
        • Meziyet Dilara Reda Hanım (b. 1998)
        • Neslişah Reda Hanım (b. 2000)
    • Prince Şehzade Osman Efendi (Budapest, 1925 – Budapest, 1934)

Fifth marriage and issue

He married fifth at Tbilisi, 16 January 1865 – Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 5 October 1903), had:

Sixth marriage and issue

He married sixth at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, on 2 January 1885 to Abkhazian Mezide Mestan Kadınefendi (Ganja, 3 March 1869 – Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 21 January 1909), daughter of Kaymat Bey Mikanba by his wife Princess Feryal Marşan,[36] and had:

  • Prince Şehzade Mehmed Burhaneddin Efendi (Marquess of Queensberry), and married thirdly in London, Middlesex, on 3 July 1933 to Elsie Deming Jackson (New York City, 6 September 1879 – New York City, 12 May 1952), and by first wife he had:
    • Prince Şehzade Mehmed Fahreddin Efendi (Nişantaşı, Nişantaşı Palace, Pera (today Beyoğlu), 26 November 1911 – New York City, 13 July 1968), who married in Paris on 31 August 1933 Greek Catherine Papadopoulos Hanım Efendi (Paris, 20 May 1914 – Athens, 15 June 1945), marriage not recognized by the Imperial House, without issue
    • Ertuğrul Osman V

Seventh marriage and issue

He married seventh at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 20 November 1885 to Abkhazian Emsalinur Kadınefendi (Tbilisi, 2 January 1866 – Nişantaşı, 1950, buried in Yahya Efendi Mosque), and had:

  • Princess Sadiye Sultan (Istanbul, Yıldız Palace, 30 November 1886 – 20 November 1977), unmarried and without issue

Eighth marriage and issue

He married eighth at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 12 January 1886 to Abkhazian at Constantinople Ayşe Destizer Müsfikâ Kadınefendi (Hopa, Caucasus, 10 December 1867 – Istanbul, 16 July 1961), daughter of Gazi Şehid Mahmud Bey Ağır by his wife Emine Hanım,[36] and had:

  • Princess Hamide Ayşe Sultan (Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 31 October 1887 – 11 August 1960), married at Nişantaşı, Nişantaşı Palace, Pera (today Beyoğlu), on 3 April 1921 to HE Damat Mushir Mehmed Ali Rauf Nami Pashazade Beyefendi (Istanbul, 1877 – Viroflay, Yvelines, 21 September 1937 and buried in Paris at Bobigny Cemetery (fr), and had issue:
    • Prince Ömer Nami Osmanoğlu Beyefendi (1911 – ?), unmarried and without issue
    • Prince Osman Nami Osmanoğlu Beyefendi (1918–2010), married firstly to Adile Tanyeri (?–1958), and had three daughter, and married secondly to German Müşfika Rothraud Granzow (1934–), and had two daughters:
      • Mediha Şükriye Nami Hanım (b. 1947), unmarried and without issue
      • Fethiye Nimet Nami Bey (b. 1953), unmarried and without issue
      • Ayşe Adile Nami Hanım (b. 1958), married and had issue
      • Gül Nur Dorothee Nami Hanım (b. 1960),married and without issue
      • Sofia Ayten Nami Hanım (b. 1961), married Erman Kunter and had issue
        • Roksan Kunter (b. 1985)
    • Prince Beyzade Sultanzade Abdülhamid Rauf Osmanoğlu Beyefendi (October 1921/1922 – 11 March 1981), unmarried and without issue

Ninth marriage and issue

He married ninth at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 31 August 1890 to Abkhazian Sazkâr Hanımefendi (İstinye, Istanbul, 8 May 1873 – Beirut, 1945), daughter of Bata Bey Maan,[36] and had:

Tenth marriage and issue

He married tenth at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, on 24 January 1893 to Abkhazian Peyveste Hanımefendi (Caucasus, 10 May 1873 – Paris, 1944 and buried there at Bobigny Cemetery (fr)), daughter of Prince Osman Bey Emuhvari by his wife Princess Hesna Çaabalurhva,[36] and had:

  • Prince Şehzade Abdurrahim Hayri Efendi (Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 14 August 1894 – Paris, 1 June 1952), married at Nişantaşı Palace, Pera (today Beyoğlu), on 4 June 1919 and divorced in 1923 his cousin HGlory Nabila Emine Halim Hanım Efendi (Constantinople, 1 June 1899 – Istanbul, 6 December 1979), and had issue:
    • Princess Mihrishah Selcuk Sultan (Istanbul, 14 April 1920 – Monte Carlo, Monaco, 11 May 1980 and buried in Cairo), married firstly on 7 October 1940 to HE Damat Ahmed el-Djezuly Ratib Beyefendi (Alexandria – 1972), and had issue, and married secondly in Cairo on 7 April 1966 to Ismail Assem, without issue:
      • Princess Hatice Türkân Ratib Hanımsultan (b. Cairo, 1941), married to Hüseyin Fehmi (1941–2000), and had two daughters:
        • Melek Fehmi (b. 1966), 3 sons, Ahmed Ragab (b. 1987), Abdelrahman Ragab (b. 1991), Aly Ragab (b. 1996).
        • Nesrin Fehmi (b. 1968), Married to Mohamed El Naggar (b. 1963). 2 sons, Amr El Naggar (b. 1989), Sherif El Naggar (b. 1992).
      • Princess Mihrimah Ratib Hanımsultan (Cairo, 1943 – Cairo, 1946 and buried there)
      • Prince Sultanzade Beyzade Touran Ibrahim Ratib Beyefendi (b. Giza, 3 May 1950), married in Bogotá on 27 July 1974 to French Noblewoman Anne de Montozon de Leguilhac (b. Toulouse, 13 January 1947), and had issue:
        • Fatıma Nimet Selçuk Mahiveş Ratib Hanım (b. Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, 11 July 1976)
        • Karim El-Djezouly Ratib Bey (b. Bogotá, 13 December 1978)

Eleventh marriage and issue

He married eleventh at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, in 1896 to Abkhazian Fatma Pesend Hanımefendi (Istanbul, 17 April 1876 – Istanbul, 5 November 1924), daughter of Prince Sami Bey Açba by his wife Princess Fatıma Ismailevna Mamleeva,[36] and had:

Twelfth marriage and issue

Burial place of Ahmed Nurredin (1900-1945)

He married twelfth at Abkhazian leader by his wife Nazli Kucba,[36] and had:

Thirteenth marriage and issue

He married thirteenth at Erenköy, Asia Minor, 4 December 1923), daughter of Arslan Bey Ankuap by his wife Canhız Hanım,[36] and had:


His Imperial Majesty, The Sultan Abdülhamid II, Emperor of the Ottomans, Caliph of the Faithful

Awards and honors

Ottoman orders
Foreign orders and decorations


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010). "Abdulhamid II". Encyclopedia Britannica. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica Inc. p. 22.  
  2. ^ Some sources state that his birth date was on 22 September.
  3. ^ Overy, Richard pp. 252, 253 (2010)
  4. ^ a b "Sultan beaten, capital falls, 6,000 are slain".  
  5. ^ Kinross, Patrick (1977) The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire London: Perennial. ISBN 978-0-688-08093-8. p. 576.
  6. ^ Carter Vaughn Vaughn Findley, 'Bureaucratic Reform in the Ottoman Empire: The Sublime Porte, 1789-1922,' Chapter, 6, 'Restoring political balance: the first constitutional period and return to sultanic domanace. '
  7. ^ Elisabeth Özdalga (7 March 2013). Late Ottoman Society: The Intellectual Legacy. Routledge. pp. 5–6.  
  8. ^ Vahan Hamamdjian (2004). Vahan's Triumph: Autobiography of an Adolescent Survivor of the Armenian Genocide. iUniverse. p. 11.  
  9. ^ Razmik Panossian (13 August 2013). The Armenians: From Kings and Priests to Merchants and Commissars. Columbia University Press. p. 165.  
  10. ^ a b c Cleveland, William; Burton, Martin (2013). A History of the Modern Middle East. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. pp. 123–124.  
  11. ^ a b Freely, John – Inside the Seraglio, published 1999, Chapter 15: On the Shores of the Bosphorus
  12. ^ Voyage of Sultan Abdülaziz to Europe (21 June 1867 – 7 August 1867)
  13. ^ Chambers Biographical Dictionary, ISBN 0-550-18022-2, p. 3
  14. ^ Roderique H. Davison, Reform in the Ottoman Empire (Princeton, 1963)
  15. ^ The Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol.7, Edited by Hugh Chisholm, (1911), 3; Constantinople, the capital of the Turkish Empire
  16. ^ Britannica, Istanbul:When the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923, the capital was moved to Ankara, and Constantinople was officially renamed Istanbul in 1930.
  17. ^ "Curios Information about Armenia". 
  18. ^ Klein, Janet (2011). The Margins of Empire: Kurdish Militias in the Ottoman Tribal Zone. Stanford: Stanford University Press, pp. 21-34.
  19. ^ McDowall, David (2004). A Modern History of the Kurds, 3rd rev. and updated ed. London: I.B. Tauris, pp. 60-62.
  20. ^ Nalbandian, Louise (1963). The Armenian Revolutionary Movement: The Development of Armenian Political Parties through the Nineteenth Century. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  21. ^ "Constitutional Rights Foundation". 
  22. ^ Rodogno, Davide. Against Massacre: Humanitarian Interventions in the Ottoman Empire, 1815-1914. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012, pp. 185-211; Gary J. Bass, Freedom's Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian Intervention. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008; Balakian, The Burning Tigris
  23. ^ Selim Deringil "The Well-Protected Domains: Ideology and the Legitimation of Power in the Ottoman Empire, 1876–1909" p 139–150
  24. ^ Kemal H. Karpat (2001). The politicisation of Islam: reconstructing identity, state, faith, and community in the late Ottoman state. Oxford University Press US. p. 237.  
  25. ^ Creelman, James (22 August 1909). "The Slaughter of Christians in Asia Minor". The New York Times. 
  26. ^ "Turkish Naval History: The Period of the Navy Ministry". 
  27. ^ a b Cleveland, William L. (2008)"History of the Modern Middle East" (4th ed.) pg.121.
  28. ^ "Ottoman Empire photographs". Library of Congress. 
  29. ^ "Turkish Royalty". Ancestry. Retrieved 2012-11-29. 
  30. ^ "Osmanlı İmparatorluğu Türk Sultanları". Osmanlı Araştırmaları Vakfı. Retrieved 2012-11-29. 
  31. ^ Ottoman Diplomacy: Abdülhamid II and the Great Powers 1878–1888
  32. ^ F. A. K. Yasamee. Ottoman Diplomacy: Abdülhamid II and the Great Powers 1878–1888 p.20
  33. ^ "Sheikh Mohammed Zafir". 
  34. ^ Minkus New World-Wide Stamp Catalog (1974–75 ed.), Turkey, note preceding no. 144.
  35. ^ Turner, Barry. Suez.1956 p.32–33
  36. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Harun Açba (2007). Kadın efendiler: 1839-1924. Profil.  
  37. ^ The Royal Tourist—Kalakaua's Letters Home from Tokio to London. Editor: Richard A. Greer. Date: 10 March 1881


Further reading

External links

Abdul Hamid II
Born: 21 September 1842 Died: 10 February 1918
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Murad V
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
31 August 1876 – 27 April 1909
Succeeded by
Mehmed V
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
Murad V
Caliph of Islam
31 August 1876 – 27 April 1909
Succeeded by
Mehmed V
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