Mehmed the Conqueror

Mehmed the Conqueror
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Kayser-i Rûm
The Lord of the Two Lands and the Two Seas
Padishah
Gentile Bellini 003.jpg
Portrait of Sultan Mehmet II, 1480, by Gentile Bellini (1429–1507), oil on canvas and perhaps transferred from wood, 69.9 x 52.1 cm. Now at the National Portrait Gallery in the UK.
7th Ottoman Sultan (Emperor)
1st reignAugust 1444 – September 1446
PredecessorMurad II
SuccessorMurad II
2nd reign3 February 1451 – 3 May 1481
PredecessorMurad II
SuccessorBayezid II
Born30 March 1432
Edirne, Ottoman Sultanate
Died3 May 1481(1481-05-03) (aged 49)
Hünkârçayırı (Tekfurçayırı), near Gebze, Ottoman Empire
Burial
Consorts
Issue
Full name
Sultan Mehmed Han bin Murad Han
DynastyOttoman
FatherMurad II
MotherHüma Hatun (biological mother)
ReligionSunni Islam[1][2]
TughraMehmed the Conqueror's signature

Mehmed II (Ottoman Turkish: محمد ثانى‎, romanized: Meḥmed-i sānī; Modern Turkish: II. Mehmet Turkish pronunciation: [ˈikindʒi mehmet]; 30 March 1432 – 3 May 1481), commonly known as Mehmed the Conqueror (Turkish: Fatih Sultan Mehmet), was an Ottoman Sultan who ruled from August 1444 to September 1446, and then later from February 1451 to May 1481. In Mehmed II's first reign, he defeated the crusade led by John Hunyadi after the Hungarian incursions into his country broke the conditions of the truce Peace of Szeged. When Mehmed II ascended the throne again in 1451 he strengthened the Ottoman navy and made preparations to attack Constantinople.

At the age of 21, he conquered Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) and brought an end to the Byzantine Empire. After the conquest Mehmed claimed the title "Caesar" of the Roman Empire (Qayser-i Rûm), based on the assertion that Constantinople had been the seat and capital of the Roman Empire. The claim was only recognized by the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Mehmed continued his conquests in Anatolia with its reunification and in Southeast Europe as far west as Bosnia. At home he made many political and social reforms, encouraged the arts and sciences, and by the end of his reign, his rebuilding program had changed the city into a thriving imperial capital. He is considered a hero in modern-day Turkey and parts of the wider Muslim world. Among other things, Istanbul's Fatih district, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge and Fatih Mosque are named after him.

Early reign

Accession of Mehmed II in Edirne, 1451

Mehmed II was born on 30 March 1432, in Edirne, then the capital city of the Ottoman state. His father was Sultan Murad II (1404–51) and his mother Hüma Valide Hatun, born in the town of Devrekani, Kastamonu.

When Mehmed II was eleven years old he was sent to Amasya to govern and thus gain experience, per the custom of Ottoman rulers before his time. Sultan Murad II also sent a number of teachers for him to study under. This Islamic education had a great impact in moulding Mehmed's mindset and reinforcing his Muslim beliefs. He was influenced in his practice of Islamic epistemology by practitioners of science, particularly by his mentor, Molla Gürani, and he followed their approach. The influence of Akshamsaddin in Mehmed's life became predominant from a young age, especially in the imperative of fulfilling his Islamic duty to overthrow the Byzantine empire by conquering Constantinople.

After Murad II made peace with the Karamanids in Anatolia in August 1444, he abdicated the throne to his 12-year-old son Mehmed II.

In Mehmed II's first reign, he defeated the crusade led by John Hunyadi after the Hungarian incursions into his country broke the conditions of the truce Peace of Szeged. Cardinal Julian Cesarini, the representative of the Pope, had convinced the king of Hungary that breaking the truce with Muslims was not a betrayal. At this time Mehmed II asked his father Murad II to reclaim the throne, but Murad II refused. Angry at his father, who had long since retired to a contemplative life in southwestern Anatolia, Mehmed II wrote, "If you are the Sultan, come and lead your armies. If I am the Sultan I hereby order you to come and lead my armies." It was only after receiving this letter that Murad II led the Ottoman army and won the Battle of Varna in 1444.

Murad II's return to the throne was forced by Çandarlı Halil Paşa, the grand vizier at the time, who was not fond of Mehmed II's rule, because Mehmed II's influential lala (royal teacher), Akshamsaddin, had a rivalry with Çandarlı.