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Ottoman Empire / Rulers /

Sultan Abdülaziz

Sultan Abdülaziz.

(1830-1876) Ottoman sultan 1861-1876.
Abdülaziz was greatly involved in trying to reform the Ottoman state, but after the death of his chief ministers in 1871, this approach was abandoned. His early strategy was marked by much openness towards Europe and admiration for advances made in that part of the world. He pursued good relations with western powers, and became the first Ottoman sultan to visit western Europe.
During his reign, conditions became worse for the population. The cost of the military was very high, the needs of the population were not met and foreign debts grew to problematic dimensions. At the same time the sultan was most lavish in his personal expenses, and was in some cases more concerned about making personal profits from falling prices than fighting the negative consequences this had for the rest of the society. His lack of a proper economic politics was perhaps the factor that more than anything else led to his downfall.


1830 February 9: Born in Constantinople as son of Sultan Mahmud 2.
1861 June 25: Succeeds his brother, Abdülmecid 1 as sultan.
1864: New districts are established.
1867 June: Abdülaziz visits western Europe: Paris, London, Vienna and Budapest.
1868: A council of state is founded, the first Ottoman civil code is promulgated, public education is formed according to French models and a new university is founded.
1871 September: Abdülziz' chief minister Ali Pasha dies. Since this death causes Abdülaziz to lose his closest reform politician, he also abandons his approach to reform.
— With the French defeat to Germany, Abdülaziz loses his closest ally as well as model in Europe. He turns to Russia to create a new alliance.
1873: Crops fail, resulting in hardship for the population in much of the empire.
1876: A revolt breaks out in southern Bulgaria.
May 1: Ottoman troops crush the Bulgarian rebels, causing strong protests from European powers.
May 30: Abdülaziz is deposed by his ministers. He is succeeded by Murad 5, who would rule for 93 days before being deposed himself. He is succeeded by Abdülhamid 2.
June 4: Dies in Constantinople, allegedly after committing suicide.

By Tore Kjeilen