Ottoman Imperial Standard
in 1683, at the height of its territorial expansion in Europe.
The sultans of the Ottoman Empire (Turkish: Osmanlı padişahları), who were all members of the Ottoman dynasty (House of Osman), ruled over the transcontinental empire from its perceived inception in 1299 to its dissolution in 1922. At its height, the Ottoman Empire spanned an area from Hungary in the north to Yemen in the south, and from Algeria in the west to Iraq in the east. Administered at first from the city of Söğüt since before 1280 and then from the city of Bursa since 1323 or 1324, the empire's capital was moved to Adrianople (now known as Edirne in English) in 1363 following its conquest by Murad I, and then to Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) in 1453 following its conquest by Mehmed II.
The Ottoman Empire's early years have been the subject of varying narratives due to the difficulty of discerning fact from legend. The empire came into existence at the end of the thirteenth century, and its first ruler (and the namesake of the Empire) was Osman I. According to later, often unreliable Ottoman tradition, Osman was a descendant of the Kayı tribe of the Oghuz Turks. The eponymous Ottoman dynasty he founded endured for six centuries through the reigns of 36 sultans. The Ottoman Empire disappeared as a result of the defeat of the Central Powers with whom it had allied itself during World War I. The partitioning of the Empire by the victorious Allies and the ensuing Turkish War of Independence led to the abolition of the sultanate in 1922 and the birth of the modern Republic of Turkey in 1922.
The sultan was also referred to as the Padisha or Padishar (Ottoma Turkish: padişah; French: Padichah). In Ottoman usage the word "Padisha" was usually used except "sultan" was used when he was directly named.
Names of the sultan in languages used by ethnic minorities:
- Arabic: In some documents "Padishah" was replaced by "malik"
- Armenian: "Sultann" and "PADIŠAH"
- Bulgarian: In earlier periods Bulgarian people called him the "tsar". The translation of the Ottoman Constitution of 1876 instead used direct translations of "sultan" (Sultan} and "padishah" (Padišax)
- Greek: In earlier periods the Greeks used the Byzantine Empire-style name "basileus". The translation of the Ottoman Constitution of 1876 instead used a direct translations of "sultan" (Σουλτάνος Soultanos) and "padishah" (ΠΑΔΙΣΑΧ padisach).
- Judaeo-Spanish: Especially in older documents, El Rey ("the king") as used. In addition some Ladino documents used sultan (in Hebrew chartacters: שלטנ and ולטנ).
- Persian: "Padishah" (as pādešāh) was used in Persian as well