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Suleiman or Suleyman, I was born on April 27, 1495 in Trabzon. His parents were Sultan Selim I and Hafsa Sultan (Suleyman I). He was the only son of Sultan Selim I. “His birth coincided with the opening year of the 10th century of Muslim chronology (AH 900), the most glorious period in the history of Islam” (Suleiman the Magnificent). Suleiman I (1494-1566) was the tenth sultan of the Ottoman Empire, known in Turkey as Kunani or lawgiver and in Western countries as "the Magnificent". He ruled the Ottoman Empire with a great power and very skillfully (Suleiman I Facts).
Sultan Selim I died in 1520, and his son succeeded him. Suleiman’s reign (1520-1566) was a great period of the Ottoman Empire (Suleyman I, 1520-66). Suleiman I is considered to be the fortunate sultan. The reign of his father was good, and Suleiman received a good treasury, well-organized and skilled army, and well-organized country after his death. “If his campaigns were not always so wisely and prudently planned as those of some of his predecessors, they were in the main eminently fortunate, and resulted in adding to his dominions Belgrade, Budapest, Temesvar, Rhodes, Tabriz, Bagdad, Nakshivan and Rivan, Aden and Algiers, and in his days Turkey attained the culminating point of her glory” (Suleiman the Magnificent).
Suleiman I "The Magnificent" was a great ruler of the Ottoman Empire, and he used the experience and advices of his generals, admirals, and viziers successfully. He was responsible for transforming the army and the judicial system. The period of Suleiman’s I reign was very effective for the growth of the Ottoman Empire. Its territory doubled (Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent).
In the 1520s, the Ottomans entered into a union with France against the state of Habsburgs. The ground for that was a war between Francis I, a King of France, and the Holy Roman Imperator Charles V in 1521. Francis asked for the Ottomans’ assistance when he was failing the war. Suleiman agreed to help Francis prevent the Holy Roman Empire’s domination in Europe. A formal union of France and the Ottoman Empire was signed in 1536 (Suleyman I, 1520-66).
Suleiman I successfully continued his father’s expansionist campaigns. He personally participated in 13 campaigns. The first Suleiman’s campaign was against Belgrade, captured on August 29, 1521 (Suleiman I Facts). After the victory over Belgrade, Suleiman opened a path to Hungary and Austria (Suleyman I, 1520-66). In 1522, Rhodes fell to him. After that, Suleiman I won the army of Hungary near Mohács in August 1526. The Hungarian ruler, Louis II, was killed in that battle (Süleyman I).
The free throne of Hungary was now pretended by Ferdinand I Habsburg, the ruler of Austria, and by John, also known as János Zápolya, a lord of Transylvania, and members of the native party were against the perspective of Habsburg rule. Suleiman agreed to acknowledge John as a vassal Hungarian king, and in 1529, in hope to prevent at once all potential overrun by the Habsburgs, he besieged Vienna (Süleyman I). “Difficulties of time and distance and of bad weather and lack of supplies, no less than the resistance of the Christians, forced the sultan to raise the siege” (Süleyman I). The Ottomans maintained control over Hungary for over 150 years.
The campaign was successful. In 1540, John died, and Suleiman I modified the solution of the problem with the rise of the Austrian army. Due to Suleiman’s campaigns in 1541 and 1543, Hungary was divided into several separate parts: Hungary of Habsburgs in the west and north, Ottoman Hungary with the main center in Buda, and a vassal region of Transylvania. Up to 1562, the Hungarian war continued. The most significant was Suleiman’s conquest of Banat of Temesvár (Timi%u015Foara) in 1532. After long negotiations with each other, Turks and Hungarians signed a peace treaty in 1562, outlining the status quo (Süleyman I).
Suleiman I also managed three crusades against Persia. After the first one (1534–35), the Ottomans obtained control over the region of Erzurum in eastern Asia and Iraq. The second crusade (1548–49) made a large piece of the land near Lake Van go under Suleiman’s reign. However, the third campaign (1554–55) was less successful. It became clear that it was difficult for the Ottomans to take control over Safavid region in Persia (Süleyman I). The first formally signed agreement between the Ottoman Empire and Persia was stated in 1555. However, it did not lead to a clear resolving of the problems of Suleiman I in Persia.
The naval power of the Ottoman Empire was enforced. It looked like the Indian naval power. Khayr al-D%u012Bn, also known in Europe as Barbarossa, became a new kapudan (admiral) of the Ottoman Empire fleet and won the naval battle in Preveza, Greece in 1538, which was held against the two fleets of Spain and Venice. That provided the Ottomans with the fleet power in the region of the Mediterranean Sea up to the Battle of Lepanto that took place in 1571. Tripoli in Lebanon, North Africa was won by Suleiman I in 1551 (Süleyman I). However, the Ottomans failed to seize Malta in 1565.
In the 1550s, Suleiman met a sudden threat of the Russian Empire. The Russian Empire started to challenge Ottomans in the regions of the Black Sea and Caucasus. Ivan IV, also famous for his nickname Ivan the Terrible, began to reign in 1547 and attached the Khanates of Astrakhan and Kazan. In 1559, Suleiman I successfully prevented Ivan’s annexation of Azov in the northern merges of the Ottoman Empire. The enmity disappeared completely in the 1560s, and Suleyman let Ivan keep the cities of Astrakhan and Kazan in exchange for complete Ottoman’s control over the Crimean Khanate (Suleyman I, 1520-66).
Suleiman I was always deeply involved in the politics of Europe. He was in union with France, mostly against the Holy Roman Empire and Venice. Suleiman also supported Protestants and their struggle with the Pope and icons in the Holy Roman Empire. He considered Protestants closer to Muslims than Catholic and Orthodox Christians. By supporting the conflicts between Christians, the Ottomans wanted to prevent their union in a Crusade against the Ottoman Empire (Suleyman I, 1520-66).
At the end of Suleiman’s life, a conflict between his sons took place. In the conflict between Suleiman’s sons Selim and Bayezid, Bayezid was executed. Suleiman I died during the siege of the Hungarian fortress of Szigetvár in 1566 (Süleyman I).
Suleiman is also well known for his new law system. He harmonized Shari'a, the Islamic set of laws, and adjusted it to the current events and style of life. The laws were mostly devoted to taxation, ownership, and pricing (Suleyman I, 1520-66). Such laws were necessary for the country’s development.
During Suleiman’s I reign, cultural development also took place. Suleiman I was himself a poet. He was a patron of poets and historians. He composed a diary with a detailed description of his reign. He also seemed to be a very religious man, making prayers and eight times copying the Koran (Suleiman I Facts). The development was noticeable in many fields of art; nevertheless, the changes in calligraphy, painting of manuscripts, textiles, and ceramics were the largest. For example, calligrapher Ahmad Karahisari together with artists Kara Memi and Shahquli were the famous artists of that period.
Architecture also developed during Suleiman’s reign. Many domes and minarets of Istanbul were built (Suleiman I Facts). In the field of architecture, the most famous achievements of the Ottoman period were the public buildings designed by Sinan (1539–1588), a leader of the Corps of Royal Architects (The Age of Süleyman "the Magnificent" (r. 1520–1566)). Sinan is famous for his Süleymaniye mosque complexes in Istanbul, built in 1550–57, and Selimiye in Edirne, built in 1568–74. However, he created a set of other buildings in the whole Ottoman Empire. Suleiman also sponsored the rebuilding and renovation of many historical buildings (The Age of Süleyman "the Magnificent" (r. 1520–1566)).
The reign of Suleiman I was a successful period of the Ottoman Empire. It was positive both in domestic governance and foreign terms. Suleiman was successful in wars and annexation of new territories. By the end of Suleiman's reign, the Ottoman Empire extended over a great part of Europe, Asia, and Africa, including Hungary, the territories of Iraq and Iran. Suleiman was also famous for his diplomatic talent, especially in alliance with France. Similarly, He is known for transforming the law system and changing laws according to the current conditions. His reign also pointed the development of art, architecture, and culture in the Ottoman Empire. Suleiman supported and sponsored artists as well as buildings and renovations. That is why the period of his reign is often called a "Golden Age" (The Age of Süleyman "the Magnificent" (r. 1520–1566)).