Friday, August 15, 2014

Ottoman Civil War (1509–1513)

Ottoman Civil War (1509–1513)

PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: Bayazid II vs. his sons



Ottoman sultanate

OUTCOME: Selim prevailed over his father and brothers
and assumed the throne as Selim I.


CASUALTIES: Casualties included 40,000 Anatolian Shi’ites


Although Bayazid II (1447–1513) had inherited a considerable
empire from his father, Muhammad, or Mehmet, II
(1429–81), he was never able to undertake the new conquests
in Europe that the expansion-minded old sultan
might have imagined to be the Ottoman legacy. For one
thing, Bayazid had to turn much of his attention in the
later years of his life to internal rebellion, especially in
eastern Anatolia, where Turkoman nomads resisted not
just the extension of the Ottoman administrative bureaucracy
but also the empire’s Sunni orthodoxy. They developed
a fanatical attachment to the Sufi and Shi’ite mystic
orders, the most successful of which, the Safavids, used a
combined religious and military appeal to conquer most of
Persia. They then spread a message of religious heresy and
political revolt, not only among the tribesmen but also to
farmers and some city dwellers, Ottoman citizens who
were beginning to imagine in this movement the answers
to their own problems.
At the same time, Bayazid was having trouble with the
Janissaries who had been so instrumental in his own rise to
power (see OTTOMAN CIVIL WAR [1481–1482]). Whereas
Bayazid wished to name his son Ahmed (d. 1513) as his
successor, the Janissaries much preferred his brother, Selim
(1467–1520), governor of Trebizond. Bayazid, who had
been put on the throne by the Janissaries despite his peaceloving
nature, had throughout his reign only carried out
military activities with reluctance, and Ahmed seemed to
share his father’s personality. Selim, on the other hand, like
the mercenary Janissaries, longed to return to Muhammad
II’s aggressive style of conquest. When Bayazid seemed to be
prepared to abdicate in Ahmed’s favor, Selim, governor of
Trebizond, led an army to Adrianople, demanding that he
be given a European province to govern. He wanted to
ensure that he had sufficient power to topple Ahmed.
Bayazid refused to accede to Selim’s demand, and Selim was
defeated in battle. He returned to Trebizond in 1509.
Then, in 1511, all the grievances disturbing the empire
coalesced into a fundamentally religious uprising against
the central government. The Shi’ite Turkoman nomads
rebelled and took Bursa, the old Ottoman capital, about 150
miles from Adrianople. Bayazid dispatched his grand vizier
Ali Posa (fl. 1512) with a force to put down the Turkoman
rebellion, an action that left him vulnerable to Ahmed’s
pressure for abdication. The Janissaries threatened to revolt
if Ahmed ascended the throne, so Bayazid decided not to
abdicate. This prompted Ahmed to join with another
brother, Kortud (d. 1513), in a rebellion in Anatolia. However,
in 1512, Selim, backed by Persian allies, defeated
Ahmed, then advanced to Adrianople. With the aid of the
Janissaries, he at last compelled Bayazid’s abdication. Both
Bayazid and Kortud were soon dead—poisoned. Selim pursued
Ahmed, who was defeated in battle in 1513. Captured,
he was put to death by strangulation. To ensure that he
would now rule unopposed, Selim—now Selim I—ordered
the deaths of all seven of his nephews, and four of his five
sons. He then massacred 40,000 Anatolian Shi’ites to prevent
another Turkoman rebellion. With his sultanate
secure, Selim could then turn to new conquests.

WAR (1514–1516).

Further reading: Jason Goodwin, Lords of the Horizon:
A History of the Ottoman Empire (New York: Picador,
2003); Colin Imber, Ottoman Empire: 1300–1650 (London:
Palgrave Macmillan, 2003); Halil Inalcik, The Ottoman
Empire: The Classical Age, 1300–1600 (London: Phoenix
Press, 2001).

No comments:

Post a Comment