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Ottoman Empire / Rulers /
Mehmed 2 Fatih

Sultan Mehmed 2 Fatih

Sultan Sultan Mehmed 2 Fatih.

(1432-1481) Ottoman sultan 1444-1446, and a second time 1451-1481. His byname means in Turkish "the Conqueror".
Mehmed was sultan twice. The first time was a very problematic period, as his court was weakened by the conflict between his grand vizier Candarli Halil and the 2 viziers Zaganos and Sihabeddin. And along the borders, Christian crusaders were attacking from north (near Varna (today's Romania)). It was his father, the abdicated sultan Murad 2 who first defeated the crusaders, and later returned to office in order to bring stability back to the empire.
While Mehmed's first period as sultan was a flop, his return was a great one, and he is counted among the greatest of the Ottoman sultans. In addition to conquering Constantinople, he put great emphasis on culture, science and law. He brought some of the greatest European minds to his court, built libraries, colleges, and invited peoples of different races and religions to move to Istanbul (as Constantinople was named) – thereby creating the foundations for the greatness for this city in centuries to follow.
His success and fame was for a time so strong that he assumed the title Kayser-i Rum (Roman Caesar).

1432 March 30: Born in Edirne as son of sultan Murad 2 and a slave girl.
1444: According to the tradition of the sultan's sons, he is sent to Manisa (near Izmir) for training.
— His father abdicates, and gives the throne to Mehmed when he is only 12 years old. The task proves to be very difficult for the boy, as there are many tensions inside the empire as well as serious threats along the border.
1446 May: Against the Mehmed's will, Murad returns to power, in order to bring stability to the empire.
1451 February 18: Following his father's death earlier this month, Mehmed ascends the throne for the second time. His authority in the empire was at this point far from established. The first group he had to take control over, were the Janissaries — a group that had been strong enough to play a crucial part in getting him removed from power 5 years earlier.
1452: Mehmed is in the preparation of conquering Constantinople. He manages to sign favourable peace treaties with Venice and Hungary, in order to make them neutral.
— He starts several important projects to prepare for war, like building the fortress of Bagazkesen in order to control the Strait of Bosphorus, and constructing 31 galleys and building canons and cast guns of a calibre yet unknown in Europe.
1453 April 6: The siege of Constantinople starts, despite the heavy opposition of grand vizier Candarli.
May 29: Constantinople gives in, and is sacked by the Ottoman troops.
May 30: Mehmed stops the looting of Constantinople, coverts the Hagia Sophia into a mosque, and starts planning for the new city, which would be known as Istanbul. This day he also has his grand vizier Candarli arrested, and later executed.
— A big effort is put into repopulating Constantinople, encouraging Greek and Genoese traders to return, deporting Muslims and Christians to Istanbul, and promote religious institutions for Jews, Armenians and other Christian groups.
1473 August 11: Strategically, this day Mehmed achievs his most important victory ever (and more important than the victory over Constantinople, which was important principally symbolically). He defeats the Turkmen leader Uzun Hasan at Bashkent. Mehmed has now full control over Anatolia.
1481 May 3: Dies in Hunkarçayiri near Maltepe, near Istanbul.

By Tore Kjeilen