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Abdul Hamid II
Caliph of Islam
Amir al-Mu'minin
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Personal details
Born (1842-09-21)21 September 1842[1][2]
Died 10 February 1918(1918-02-10) (aged 75)
Religion Islam

Abdulhamid II (Ottoman Turkish: عبد الحميد ثانی `Abdü’l-Ḥamīd-i sânî, Turkish language: İkinci Abdülhamit) (22 September 1842 – 10 February 1918) was the 99th caliph of Islam and the 34th sultan of the Ottoman Empire. He was the last Sultan to exert effective control over the Ottoman Empire.[3] He oversaw a period of decline in the power and extent of the Empire, ruling from 31 August 1876 until he was deposed on 27 April 1909. He was succeeded by Mehmed V. His deposition following the Young Turk Revolution was hailed by most Ottoman citizens, who welcomed the return to constitutional rule.[4]

During his tenure, he was responsible for the modernization of the Ottoman Empire, and exerted maximum control over its affairs. Changes included: rationalization of the bureaucracy; the ambitious Hijaz Railway project; the creation of a modern system of personnel records (1896); establishment of an elaborate system for population registration and control over the press; systematization of officials salaries (1880); and the first modern law school (1898). Between the period 1871–1908, the Sublime Porte thus reached a new degree of organizational elaboration and articulation.[5]


Young Abdul Hamid in Balmoral Castle, Scotland (1867)

Abdülhamid II was born in Topkapı Palace in Constantinople (now known as Istanbul), on September 21, 1842. He was the son of Sultan Abdülmecid I[1] and one of his many wives, the Valide Sultan Tirimüjgan (16 August 1819 – Constantinople, Feriye Palace, 3 October 1852), originally named Virjin.[6] He later also became the adoptive son of another of his father's wives, Valide Sultan Rahime Perestu. He was a skilled carpenter and personally crafted most of his own furniture, which can be seen today at the Yıldız Palace and Beylerbeyi Palace in Istanbul. Abdülhamid II was also interested in opera and personally wrote the first-ever Turkish translations of many opera classics. He also composed several opera pieces for the Mızıka-ı Hümayun which he established, and hosted the famous performers of Europe at the Opera House of Yıldız Palace which was recently restored and featured in the film Harem Suare (1999) of the Turkish-Italian director Ferzan Özpetek, which begins with the scene of Abdülhamid II watching a performance. Unlike many other Ottoman sultans, Abdülhamid II traveled to distant countries. Nine years before he took the throne, he accompanied his uncle Sultan Abdülaziz on his visit to Austria, France and Britain in 1867.

Accession to throne

He ascended to the throne following the deposition of his brother Murad on 31 August 1876.[1][7] At his accession, some commentators were impressed by the fact that he rode practically unattended to the Eyüp Sultan Mosque where he was given the Sword of Osman. Most people expected Abdülhamid II to have liberal ideas, and some conservatives were inclined to regard him with suspicion as a dangerous reformer.

First Constitutional Era, 1876–1877

Ottoman troops during the Siege of Plevna (1877).

He did not plan and express any goal in his accession speech, however he worked with the Young Ottomans to realize some form of constitutional arrangements[8] This new form in its theoretical space could help to realize a liberal transition with Islamic arguments, which could balance the Tanzimat's imitation of western norms. The political structure of western norms did not work with the centuries-old Ottoman political culture, even if the pressure from the Western world was enormous to adapt western ways of political decision. On 23 December 1876, under the shadow of the 1875 insurrection in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the war with Serbia and Montenegro and the feeling aroused throughout Europe by the cruelty used in stamping out the Bulgarian rebellion, he promulgated the constitution and its parliament.[1]

The international Constantinople Conference which met at Constantinople[9][10] towards the end of 1876 was surprised by the promulgation of a constitution, but European powers at the conference rejected the constitution as a significant change; they preferred the 1856 constitution, the Hatt-ı Hümayun and 1839 Hatt-ı Şerif of Gülhane, but questioned whether there was need for a parliament to act as an official voice of the people.

In any event, like many other would-be reforms of the Ottoman Empire change proved to be nearly impossible. Russia continued to mobilize for war. However, everything changed when the British fleet approached the capital from the Sea of Marmara. Early in 1877 the Ottoman Empire went to war with the Russian Empire.


Seal of Sultan Abdul Hamid II

Circassian Muslim refugees uprooted from their homelands due to the Russian invasion of the Caucasus.

Abdul Hamid's biggest fear, near dissolution, was realized with the Russian declaration of war on 24 April 1877. In that conflict, the Ottoman Empire fought without help from European allies. Russian chancellor Prince Gorchakov had effectively purchased Austrian neutrality with the Reichstadt Agreement. The British Empire, though still fearing the Russian threat to British dominance in Southern Asia, did not involve itself in the conflict because of public opinion against the Ottomans, following reports of Ottoman brutality in putting down the Bulgarian uprising. The Russian victory was quickly realized. The conflict ended in February 1878. The Treaty of San Stefano, signed at the end of the war, imposed harsh terms: the Ottoman Empire gave independence to Romania, Serbia, and Montenegro; it granted autonomy to Bulgaria; instituted reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina; and ceded the Dobruja and parts of Armenia to Russia, which was also paid an enormous indemnity. After the war with Russia, Abdulhamid suspended the constitution in February 1878, and he also dismissed the parliament after its solitary meeting in March, 1877. For the next near half century, the Ottoman Empire was ruled by Abdulhamid from Yildiz Palace.[1]

'Black Bashibazouk' in service of the Ottoman Army by Jean-Léon Gérôme, in 1869.

As Russia could dominate the newly independent states, her influence in Southeastern Europe was greatly increased by the Treaty of San Stefano. Due to the insistence of the Great Powers (especially the United Kingdom), the treaty was later revised at the Congress of Berlin so as to reduce the great advantages acquired by Russia. In exchange of these favors, Cyprus was "rented" to Britain in 1878 while the British forces occupied Egypt and Sudan in 1882 with the pretext of "bringing order" to those provinces. Cyprus, Egypt and Sudan remained as Ottoman provinces "on paper" until 1914, when Britain officially annexed those territories in response to the Ottoman participation in World War I at the side of the Central Powers.

  • There were key problems on the Albanian question during the Albanian League of Prizren and on the Greek and Montenegrin frontiers. Where the European powers were determined that the decisions of the Berlin Congress should be carried into effect.
  • There were also troubles in Egypt, where a discredited khedive had to be deposed. Abdülhamid mishandled relations with Urabi Pasha, and as a result Great Britain gained virtual control over Egypt by sending its troops with the pretext of "bringing order".
  • The union in 1885 of Bulgaria with Eastern Rumelia was another blow. The creation of an independent and powerful Bulgaria was viewed as a serious threat to the Ottoman Empire. For many years Abdülhamid had to deal with Bulgaria in a way that did not antagonize either Russian or German wishes.

Crete was granted extended privileges, but these did not satisfy the population, which sought unification with Greece. In early 1897 a Greek expedition sailed to Crete to overthrow Ottoman rule in the island. This act was followed by war, in which the Ottoman Empire defeated Greece (see the Greco-Turkish War (1897)); however as a result of the Treaty of Constantinople, Crete was taken over en depot by the United Kingdom, France, and Russia. Prince George of Greece was appointed as ruler and Crete was also lost to the Ottoman Empire.[1]

Armenian Question

Starting around 1890 the Armenians began demanding the implementation of the reforms which were promised to them at the Berlin conference.[11] Unrest occurred in 1892 and 1893 at Merzifon and Tokat. Armenian groups staged protests and were met by violence and 300,000 Armenians were killed. Sultan Abdülhamid, referred to as the "Bloody Sultan" in the West, did not hesitate to put down these revolts with harsh methods, possibly to show the unshakable power of the monarch, and often used the local Muslims (in most cases the Kurds) against the Armenians.[12] In 1907, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation attempted to assassinate him with a car bombing during a public appearance, but the Sultan delayed for a minute and the bomb went off early, killing 26, wounding 58 (of which four died at hospital) and demolishing 17 cars in the process. This continued aggression, along with the handing of the Armenians lead to the western European powers taking a more hands-on approach with the Turks.[1]

Securing Germany's support

Abdul Hamid II attempted to correspond with the Chinese Muslim troops in service of the Qing imperial army serving under General Dong Fuxiang; they were also known as the Kansu Braves.

The Triple Entente – that is, the United Kingdom, France and Russia – maintained strained relations with the Ottoman Empire. Abdülhamid and his close advisors believed the empire should be treated as an equal player by these great powers. In the Sultan's view, the Ottoman Empire was a European empire, distinct for having more Muslims than Christians. Abdülhamid and his divan viewed themselves as modern. However, their actions were often construed by Europeans as exotic or uncivilized.[13]

Over time their perceived abuse by France, the occupation of Tunisia in 1881, and Great Britain, the 1882 power grab in Egypt, caused Abdulhamid to gravitate towards Germany.[1] Kaiser Wilhelm II was twice hosted by Abdülhamid in Constantinople; first on 21 October 1889, and nine years later, on 5 October 1898 (Wilhelm II later visited Istanbul for a third time, on 15 October 1917, as a guest of Mehmed V). German officers (like Baron von der Goltz and von Ditfurth) were employed to oversee the reorganization of the Ottoman army. German government officials were brought in to reorganize the Ottoman government's finances. Abdülhamid tried to take more of the reins of power into his own hands, for he distrusted his ministers. Germany's friendship was not disinterested, and had to be fostered with railway and loan concessions. In 1899 a significant German desire, the construction of a Berlin-Baghdad railway, was granted.[1]

Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany also requested the Sultan's help when having trouble with Muslims. During the Boxer Rebellion, the Chinese Muslim Kansu Braves fought against the German Army repeatedly, routing them along with the other 8 nation alliance forces at the First intervention, Seymour Expedition, China 1900. It was only on the second attempt in the Gasalee Expedition did the Alliance manage to get through to battle the Chinese Muslim troops at the Battle of Peking. Kaiser Wilhelm was so alarmed by the Chinese Muslim troops that he requested the Caliph Abdul Hamid II of the Ottoman Empire to find a way to stop the Muslim troops from fighting. Abdul Hamid II agreed to the Kaiser's demands and sent Enver Pasha to China in 1901, but the rebellion was over by that time.[14]

2nd Constitutional Era, 1908

The national humiliation of the situation in Macedonia, together with the resentment in the army against the palace spies and informers, at last brought matters to a crisis. In the summer of 1908 the Young Turk revolution broke out and Abdülhamid, upon learning that the troops in Salonica were marching on Constantinople (23 July), at once capitulated. On the 24th an irade announced the restoration of the suspended constitution of 1876; the next day, further irades abolished espionage and censorship, and ordered the release of political prisoners. On 17 December, Abdülhamid opened the Turkish parliament with a speech from the throne in which he said that the first parliament had been "temporarily dissolved until the education of the people had been brought to a sufficiently high level by the extension of instruction throughout the empire."

Countercoup, 1909

The new attitude of the sultan did not save him from the suspicion of intriguing with the powerful reactionary elements in the state, a suspicion confirmed by his attitude towards the counter-revolution of 13 April 1909 known as 31 Mart Vakası, when an insurrection of the soldiers backed by a conservative public upheaval in the capital overthrew the cabinet. The government, restored by soldiers from Salonica, decided on Abdülhamid's deposition, and on 27 April his brother Reshad Efendi was proclaimed as Sultan Mehmed V.

The Sultan's countercoup, which had appealed to conservative Islamists in the context of the Young Turks' liberal reforms, resulted in the massacre of tens of thousands of Christian Armenians in the Adana province.[15]

Deposition and aftermath

The mausoleum (türbe) of Sultans Mahmud II, Abdulaziz, and Abdul Hamid II, located at Divanyolu street, Istanbul.

The ex-sultan was conveyed into dignified captivity at Salonica. In 1912, when Salonica fell to Greece, he was returned to captivity in Constantinople. He spent his last days studying, carpentering and writing his memoirs in custody at Beylerbeyi Palace in the Bosphorus, where he died on 10 February 1918, just a few months before his brother, the Sultan. He was buried in Constantinople. Abdülhamid was the last relatively authoritative Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. He presided over thirty three years of decline. The Ottoman Empire had long been acknowledged as the Sick Man of Europe by its enemies, the British, French and most European countries excluding Germany, Bulgaria and Austria-Hungary.

Ideology and Progress


Abdul Hamid was paranoid for his security. The memory of the deposition of Abdul Aziz I was on his mind and convinced him that a constitutional government was not a good idea. Because of this, information was tightly controlled and the press was tightly censored. The curriculum of schools were subject to close inspection to prevent dissidence. Ironically, the schools that Abdul Hamid tried to control, became “breeding grounds of discontent” as students and teachers alike chafed at the clumsy restrictions of the censors.[16] Abdul Hamid's reign also had a fully functioning state spy system. These spies greatly impeded the state system because officials were always scared that a false report would be filed against them. In “Spies, scandals and sultans,” by Ibrahim Al-Muwaylihi recounts how spies were all across Istanbul and how so many spies followed around the Shaykh al-Islam that he was paralyzed with fear. Additionally, al-Muwaylihi described how many spies follow the carriage of the Crown prince. Overall, these spies hampered the functioning of a regular state and their presence undoubtedly stifled a many creative impulses because people were afraid of being reported. As his got older, Abdul Hamid became increasingly isolated and paranoid. He was afraid of having any organization or individual near to his level of power. In response to this fear, he started to under fund army and this sparked the Third Army revolt in 1908.[16]


Abdül Hamid greeting people.

Most people expected Abdülhamid II to have liberal ideas, and some conservatives were inclined to regard him with suspicion as a dangerous reformer. In the event, like many other would-be reformers of the Ottoman Empire, change proved to be nearly impossible. Default in the public funds, an empty treasury, the 1875 insurrection in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the war with Serbia and Montenegro and the feeling aroused throughout Europe by the cruelty used in stamping out the Bulgarian rebellion all proved good reasons not to undertake any significant changes. There were many setbacks: Financial embarrassments forced him to consent to a foreign control over the national debt. In a decree issued in December 1881, a large portion of the empire's revenues were handed over to the Public Debt Administration for the benefit of (mostly foreign) bondholders.

Over the years Abdülhamid succeeded in reducing his ministers to the position of secretaries, and he concentrated much of the administration of the Empire into his own hands at Yıldız Palace. But internal dissension was not reduced. Crete was constantly in turmoil. The Greeks living within the Ottoman Empire's borders were dissatisfied, as were the Armenians.

His distrust for the reformist admirals of the Ottoman navy (whom he suspected of plotting against him and trying to bring back the 1876 constitution) and his subsequent decision to lock the Ottoman fleet (which ranked as the 3rd largest fleet in the world during the reign of his predecessor Abdülaziz) inside the Golden Horn caused the loss of Ottoman overseas territories and islands in North Africa, the Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea during and after his reign.[17]

His push for education resulted in the establishment of 18 professional schools, and in 1900, Darulfunun aka, the University of Istanbul, was established.[1] He also created a large system of secondary, primary, and military schools throughout the empire.[1]

He reorganized the Ministry of Justice, and developed the rail and telegraph systems.[1]

Question of Islam

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The Caliph of Islam, Ghazi Sultan Abd Al-Ḥamīd-i sânî II Khan, عبد الحميد ثانی

Abdülhamid recognized that the ideas of Tanzimat could not bring the disparate peoples of the empire to a common identity, such as Ottomanism. Abdülhamid tried to formulate a new and more relevant ideological principle. Ottoman sultans beginning with 1517 were also Caliphs. He wanted to promote that fact and emphasized the Ottoman Caliphate. Abdülhamid usually resisted the pressure of the European powers to the last moment, in order to seem to yield only to overwhelming force and to appear as the champion of Islam against aggressive Christendom. Panislamism was encouraged; the privileges of foreigners in the Ottoman Empire, which were often seen as an obstacle to effective government, were curtailed. Along with the strategically important Constantinople-Baghdad Railway, the Constantinople-Medina Railway was also completed, making the trip to Hajj more efficient. Emissaries were sent to distant countries preaching Islam and the Caliph's supremacy. During his rule, Abdülhamid refused Theodor Herzl's offers to pay down a substantial portion of the Ottoman debt (150 million pounds sterling in gold) in exchange for a charter allowing the Zionists to settle in Palestine. Abdülhamid's appeals to Muslim sentiment were not very effective due to widespread disaffection within his Empire. In Mesopotamia and Yemen disturbance was endemic; nearer home, a semblance of loyalty was maintained in the army and among the Muslim population only by a system of deflation and espionage. After his rule began, Abdülhamid became fearful of being assassinated and withdrew himself into the fortified seclusion of the Yıldız Palace.

Pictures from Empire

Abdülhamid commissioned thousands of photographs of his empire. Fearful of assassination, he did not travel often (though still more than many previous rulers) and photographs provided visual evidence of what was taking place in his realm. The Sultan presented large gift albums of photographs to various governments and heads of state, including the United States (William Allen, "The Abdul Hamid II Collection," History of Photography eight (1984): 119–45.) and Great Britain (M. I. Waley and British Library, "Sultan Abdulhamid II Early Turkish Photographs in 51 Albums from the British Library on Microfiche" (Zug, Switzerland: IDC, 1987). The American collection is housed in the Library of Congress and has been digitized. *Ottoman Empire photographs at the Library of Congress

Personal life

Here is a sample of his handwritten poetry in Persian language and scripts, which was taken from the book "My Father Abdul Hameed," written by his daughter Ayşe Sultan

Abdülhamid II was born at Çırağan Palace, Ortaköy, or at Topkapı Palace, both in Constantinople, the son of Sultan Abdülmecid I and one of his many wives, Tîr-î-Müjgan Sultan, (Yerevan, 16 August 1819 – Constantinople, Feriye Palace, 2 November 1853), originally named Virjin, an Armenian,[6] but some says she was a Circassian.[18][19] He later also became the adoptive son of another of his father's wives, Valide Sultan Rahime Perestu. He was a skilled carpenter and personally crafted most of his own furniture, which can be seen today at the Yıldız Palace and Beylerbeyi Palace in Constantinople. Abdülhamid II was also interested in opera and personally wrote the first-ever Turkish translations of many opera classics. He also composed several opera pieces for the Mızıka-ı Hümayun which he established, and hosted the famous performers of Europe at the Opera House of Yıldız Palace which was recently restored and featured in the film Harem Suare (1999) of the Turkish-Italian director Ferzan Özpetek, which begins with the scene of Abdülhamid II watching a performance.

In the opinion of F. A. K. Yasamee:[20]

He was a striking amalgam of determination and timidity, of insight and fantasy, held together by immense practical caution and an instinct for the fundamentals of power. He was frequently underestimated. Judged on his record, he was a formidable domestic politician and an effective diplomat[21]

He was also a good wrestler of Yağlı güreş and a 'patron saint' of the wrestlers. He organised wrestling tournaments in the empire and selected wrestlers were invited to the palace. Abdülhamid personally tried the sportsmen and good ones remained in the palace.


The Tughra (Signature) of Abdülhamid – on right "el Ghazi" (the veteran)[22]

Abdülhamid was also a poet just like many other Ottoman sultans. One of the sultan's poems translates thus:

My Lord I know you are the Dear One (Al-Aziz)

... And no one but you are the Dear One
You are the One, and nothing else
My God take my hand in these hard times
My God be my helper in this critical hour

He was extremely fond of Sherlock Holmes novels.[23]

First marriage and issue

He married firstly in Constantinople on 15 November 1868 to Georgian Bedrifelek Kadin Efendi (Poti, 4 January 1851 – Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 6 February 1930), and had:

  • Prince Şehzade Mehmed Selim Osmanoğlu Efendi Constantinople, Beşiktaş, Beşiktaş Palace, 11 January 1870 – Beirut, 4 May 1937 and buried in Damascus), married at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, on 4 June 1886 to Abkhazian Deryal Hanım Efendi (Sukhumi, Abkhazia, 10 February 1870 – Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 27 December 1904), and had a daughter, married at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, on 30 June 1905 to Nilüfer Eflâkyer Hanım Efendi (Artvin, 1 May 1887 – Beirut, 1930), and had a son, and married at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, on 29 March 1910 to Pervin Dürrüyekta Hanım Efendi (Adapazarı, 6 June 1894 – Lebanon, 1969 and buried there), without issue:
    • Princess Emine Nemika Esin Sultan (Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 26 April 1887 – Istanbul, 6 September 1969), married and have issue
    • Prince Şehzade Abdul Kerim Efendi (Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 26 June 1906 – New York City, 3 August 1935), married at Aleppo on 24 February 1930 and divorced in 1931 Nimet Hanım Efendi (Damascus, 25 December 1911 – Damascus, 4 August 1981), and had two sons:
      • Prince Şehzade Dündar Aliosman Efendi (b. Damascus, 30 December 1930), married to Yüsra Hanım Efendi (b. 1927), without issue
      • Prince Şehzade Harun Osmanoğlu Efendi (b. Damascus, 10 February 1932), married to Farizet Darvich Hanım Efendi (b. 1947), and had:
        • Prince Şehzade Orhan Osmanoğlu Efendi (b. Damascus, 25 August 1963), married on 22 December 1985 to Nuran Yıldız Hanım Efendi (b. 1967), and had one son and four daughters:
          • Princess Nilhan Osmanoğlu Sultan (b. Istanbul, 25 April 1987)
          • Prince Şehzade Yavuz Selim Osmanoğlu Efendi (b. Istanbul, 22 February 1989)
          • Princess Nilüfer Osmanoğlu Sultan (b. Istanbul, 5 May 1995)
          • Princess Berna Osmanoğlu Sultan (b. Istanbul, 1 October 1998)
          • Princess Asyahan Osmanoğlu Sultan (b. Istanbul, ... ... 2004)
        • Princess Nurhan Osmanoğlu Sultan (b. Damascus, 20 November 1973), married firstly in Istanbul on 15 April 1994 and divorced HE Damat Samir Hashem Beyefendi (b. 24 January 1959), without issue, and married secondly to HE Damat Muhammed Ammar Sagherji Beyefendi (b. 1972), and had one son and one daughter:
          • Prince Sultanzade Muhammed Halil Sagherji Beyefendi (b. 2002)
          • Princess Sara Sagherji Hanımsultan (b. 2004)
        • Prince Şehzade Abdulhamid Kayıhan Osmanoğlu Efendi (b. 4 August 1979)
          • Prince Şehzade Muhammed Harun Osmanoğlu Efendi (b. 2007)
  • Princess Zekiye Sultan (Dolmabahçe Palace, 21 January 1872 – Pau, 13 July 1950 and buried there), married at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, on 20 April 1889 to HE Damat Ali Nureddin Pasha Beyefendi (1867–1953), created Damat in 1889, and had issue:
    • Princess Ulviye Shükriye Hanımsultan (1890 – 23 February 1893)
    • Princess Fatima Aliye Hanımsultan (1891 – Constantinople, 14 April 1972), unmarried and without issue
  • Prince Şehzade Ahmed Nuri Efendi (Istanbul, Yıldız Palace, 11 February 1878 – Nice, August 1944), married at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, in 1900 to Fahriye Hanım Efendi (Constantinople, 1883 – Nice, 1940 and buried in Damascus), without issue

Second marriage and issue

He married secondly at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, on 2 September 1875 to Caucasian Biydâr Kadin Efendi (Caucasus, 5 May 1858 – Erenköy, Asia Minor, 1 January 1918), and had:

  • Princess Naime Sultan (Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 4 September 1875 – Tirana, 1945), married at Istanbul, Ortaköy, Ortaköy Palace, on 17 March 1898 and divorced in 1904 HE Damat Mehmed Kemaleddin Pasha Beyefendi (1869–1920), created Damat in 1898, title removed on his divorce in 1904, and had:
    • Prince Beyzade Mehmed Cahid Osman Beyefendi (Constantinople, Ortaköy, Ortaköy Palace, January 1899 – Istanbul, 30 March 1977 and buried there), married firstly in January 1922 to his cousin Princess Dürriye Sultan (Constantinople, Dolmabahçe Palace, 3 August 1905 – Halki, 15 July 1922), without issue, and married secondly to Levrens Hadjer Hussein Hanım Efendi, and had issue:
      • Bulent Osman Bey (b. Nice, 2 May 1930), married at Libreville on 8 November 1962 to French Jeannine Crété, and had issue:
        • Rémy Gengiz Ossmann (b. 1963), married on 16 November 19?? to Florence Weber, and had issue:
          • Sélim Ossmann (b. 1993)
    • Princess Adile Hanımsultan Hanım Efendi (Constantinople, Ortaköy, Ortaköy Palace, 12 November 1900 – February 1979), married at Üsküdar on 4 May 1922 and divorced in 1928 her cousin Prince Şehzade Mahmud Sevket Efendi (Constantinople, Ortaköy, Ortaköy Palace, 20 July 1903 – 1 February 1973), excluded from the Imperial House in 1931, and had female issue
  • Prince Şehzade Mehmed Abdul Kadir Efendi (Constantinople, Beşiktaş, Dolmabahçe Palace, 16 January 1878 – Sofia, January or 16 March 1944 and buried there), Captain of the Ottoman Army, married firstly at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, on 6 June 1907 to Princess Mihriban Hanım Efendi (Constantinople, 18 May 1890 – Cairo, 1956), without issue, married secondly at Kızıltoprak, Asia Minor, on 1 June 1913 and divorced in 1934 Hadice Macide Hanım Efendi (Adapazarı, 14 September 1899 – Vienna, 1934 and buried there), marriage not recognised by the Imperial House, and had two sons, married thirdly at Kızıltoprak, Asia Minor, on 5 February 1916 to Mesiyet Fatma Hanım Efendi (İzmit, 17 February 1902 – Istanbul, 13 November 1989), and had one son and two daughters, and married fourthly in Budapest on 4 July 1924 to Irene Mer Hanım Efendi, and had one son:
    • [Mehmed] Orhan II
    • Prince Şehzade Ertughrul Necib Ali Efendi (Kızıltoprak, Asia Minor, 15 March 1915 – Vienna, 7 February 1994), married in Vienna on 14 August 1946 to Austrian Gertrude Emilia Tengler Hanım Efendi (Vienna, 25 May 1926 –), and had issue:
      • Princess Margot Leyla Kadir Sultan (b. Vienna, 17 June 1947), married to Austrian HE Damat Werner Schnelle Beyefendi (b. 1942), and had one daughter:
        • Princess Katharina Alia Schnelle Hanımsultan (b. 1980)
      • Prince Şehzade Roland Selim Kadir Efendi (b. Vienna, 5 May 1949), married in Salzburg in 1972 to Gerlinde ... Hanım Efendi (b. 1946), and had issue:
        • Prince Şehzade René Osman Abdul Kadir Efendi (b. Salzburg, 23 August 1975)
        • Prince Şehzade Daniel Adrian Hamid Kadir Efendi (b. 20 September 1977)
    • Prince Şehzade Alaeddin Kadir Efendi (Kızıltoprak, Asia Minor, 2 January 1917 – Sofia, 26 November 1999), Titular Crown Prince of Turkey from 1994 to 1999, married to Lydia ... Hanım Efendi, and had issue:
      • Princess Iskra Sultan (b. Sofia, 1949), married to Austrian HE Damat Joachim (Peter) Schlang Beyefendi (b. 1940), and had one daughter:
        • Princess Andrea Schlang Hanımsultan (b. 1974), married to Austrian Thomas Schüttfort (b. 1972), and had one son:
          • Niklas Peter Schüttfort (b. 1999)
    • Princess Biydâr Sultan (Kızıltoprak, Asia Minor, 3 January 1924 – Budapest, August 1924 and buried there)
    • Princess Safvet Neslişah Sultan (b. Budapest, 25 December 1925), married to HE Damat ... Reda Beyefendi, and had two sons:
      • Prince Sultanzade Salih Reda Beyefendi (b. 1955), unmarried and without issue
      • Prince Sultanzade Ömer Reda Beyefendi (b. 1959), married to Ceylan Fethiye Palay (b. 1971), and had two daughters:
        • Meziyet Dilara Reda Hanım (b. 1998)
        • Neslişah Reda Hanım (b. 2000)
    • Prince Şehzade Osman Efendi (Budapest, 1925 – Budapest, 1934)

Third marriage and issue

He married thirdly at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, on 10 April 1883 to Georgian Dilpesend Kadın Efendi (Tbilisi, 16 January 1865 – Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 5 October 1903), and had:

  • Princess Naile Sultan (Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 9 January 1884 – Erenköy, Asia Minor, 25 October 1957), unmarried and without issue

Fourth marriage and issue

He married fourthly at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, on 2 January 1885 to Azerbaijani Mezide Mestan Haseki Kadın Efendi (Ganja, 3 March 1869 – Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 21 January 1909), and had:

  • Prince Şehzade Mehmed Burhaneddin Efendi (Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 19 December 1885 – New York City, 15 June 1949 and buried in Damascus), Captain of the Ottoman Army, Titular King of Albania in 1914, married firstly at Nişantaşı Palace, Pera (today Beyoğlu), on 7 June 1909 and divorced in 1919 Aliye Melek Nazlıyar Hanım Efendi (Adapazarı, 13 October 1892 – Ankara, 31 August 1976), daughter of Huseyin Bey, educated at Theresian Military Academy, Vienna, and École des Sciences Politiques, Paris, married secondly in Paris on 29 April 1925 and divorced in 1925 Dutch Georgina Leonora Barnard Mosselmans (Bergen op Zoom or The Hague, 23 August 1900 – 1969), daughter of Richard Frederick Hendrik Mosselmans and wife (who married secondly on 1 March 1926 to Fernand Comte Bertier de Sauvigny and thirdly on 18 August 1933 to Lord Sholto George Douglas (7 June 1872 – 6 April 1942), former husband of Loretta Mooney and son of the 9th Marquess of Queensberry), and married thirdly in London, Middlesex, on 3 July 1933 to Elsie Deming Jackson (New York City, 6 September 1879 – New York City, 12 May 1952), and by first wife he had:
    • Prince Şehzade Mehmed Fahreddin Efendi (Nişantaşı, Nişantaşı Palace, Pera (today Beyoğlu), 26 November 1911 – New York City, 13 July 1968), who married in Paris on 31 August 1933 Greek Catherine Papadopoulos Hanım Efendi (Paris, 20 May 1914 – Athens, 15 June 1945), marriage not recognized by the Imperial House, without issue
    • Ertuğrul Osman V

Fifth marriage and issue

He married fifthly at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, on 24 January 1893 to Caucasian Peyvesti Osman Haseki Kadın Efendi (Caucasus, 10 May 1873 – Paris, 1944 and buried there at Bobigny Cemetery), and had:

  • Prince Şehzade Abdurrahim Hayri Efendi (Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 14 August 1894 – Paris, 1 June 1952), married at Nişantaşı Palace, Pera (today Beyoğlu), on 4 June 1919 and divorced in 1923 his cousin HGlory Nabila Emine Halim Hanım Efendi (Constantinople, 1 June 1899 – Istanbul, 6 December 1979), and had issue:
    • Princess Mihrishah Selcuk Sultan (Istanbul, 14 April 1920 – Monte Carlo, Monaco, 11 May 1980 and buried in Cairo), married firstly on 7 October 1940 to HE Damat Ahmed el-Djezuly Ratib Beyefendi (Alexandria – 1972), and had issue, and married secondly in Cairo on 7 April 1966 to Ismail Assem, without issue:
      • Princess Hatice Türkân Ratib Hanımsultan (b. Cairo, 1941), married to Hüseyin Fehmi (1941–2000), and had two daughters:
        • Melek Fehmi (b. 1966), 3 sons, Ahmed Ragab (b. 1987), Abdelrahman Ragab (b. 1991), Aly Ragab (b. 1996).
        • Nesrin Fehmi (b. 1968), Married to Mohamed El Naggar (b. 1963). 2 sons, Amr El Naggar (b. 1989), Sherif El Naggar (b. 1992).
      • Princess Mihrimah Ratib Hanımsultan (Cairo, 1943 – Cairo, 1946 and buried there)
      • Prince Sultanzade Beyzade Touran Ibrahim Ratib Beyefendi (b. Giza, 3 May 1950), married in Bogotá on 27 July 1974 to French Noblewoman Anne de Montozon de Leguilhac (b. Toulouse, 13 January 1947), and had issue:
        • Fatıma Nimet Selçuk Mahiveş Ratib Hanım (b. Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, 11 July 1976)
        • Karim El-Djezouly Ratib Bey (b. Bogotá, 13 December 1978)

Sixth marriage and issue

He married sixthly at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, on 10 May 1900 to Georgian Behice Maan Haseki Kadın Efendi (Batumi, 10 October 1882 – 22 October 1969), and had:

  • Prince Şehzade Ahmed Nureddin Efendi (Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 12 Juin 1900 – 2 juin 1945), married at Maslak, Bosphorus, on 5 May 1919 to Fasriye Andelib Hanım Efendi (Adapazarı, 8 August 1902 – ?), without issue
  • Prince Şehzade Mehmed Badreddin Efendi (Istanbul, Yıldız Palace, 22 June 1901 – 13 October 1903)

Seventh marriage and issue

He married seventhly at Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, on 4 November 1904 to Saliha Naciye Haseki Kadın Efendi (1887 – Erenköy, Asia Minor, 4 December 1923), and had:

  • Prince Şehzade Mehmed Abid Efendi (Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 17 September 1905 – Beirut, 8 December 1973 and buried in Damascus), married in Tirana on 12 January 1936 and divorced in 1949 Princess Senije Zogu (Mati, 15 November 1908 – Cannes, 15 April 1969), sister of King Zog I, without issue
  • Princess Samiye Sultan (16 January 1908 – Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 24 January 1909)

Other marriages and issue

He married Nazikedâ Kadın Efendi and had:

  • Princess Ulviye Sultan (1868 – 5 October 1875)

He married an unknown wife, and had:

  • Princess Seniha Sultan (1885–1885)

He married Georgian Emsalinur Kadın Efendi (Tbilisi, 2 January 1866 – ?), and had:

  • Princess Sadiye Sultan (Istanbul, Yıldız Palace, 30 November 1886 – 20 November 1977), unmarried and without issue

He married Caucasian Müsfikâ Kadın Efendi (Hopa, Caucasus, 10 December 1867 – Istanbul, July 1961), and had:

  • Princess Ayşe Sultan (Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 31 October 1887 – 11 August 1960), married at Nişantaşı, Nişantaşı Palace, Pera (today Beyoğlu), on 3 April 1921 to HE Damat Mushir Mehmed Ali Rauf Nami Pashazade Beyefendi (Istanbul, 1877 – Viroflay, Yvelines, 21 September 1937 and buried in Paris at Bobigny Cemetery), and had issue:
    • Prince Ömer Nami Osmanoğlu Beyefendi (1911 – ?), unmarried and without issue
    • Prince Osman Nami Osmanoğlu Beyefendi (1918–2010), married firstly to Adile Tanyeri (?–1958), and had three daughter, and married secondly to German Müşfika Rothraud Granzow (1934–), and had two daughters:
      • Mediha Şükriye Nami Hanım (b. 1947), unmarried and without issue
      • Fethiye Nimet Nami Bey (b. 1953), unmarried and without issue
      • Ayşe Adile Nami Hanım (b. 1958), married and had issue
      • Gül Nur Dorothee Nami Hanım (b. 1960),married and without issue
      • Sofia Ayten Nami Hanım (b. 1961), married Erman Kunter and had issue
        • Roksan Kunter (b. 1985)
    • Prince Beyzade Sultanzade Abdülhamid Rauf Osmanoğlu Beyefendi (October 1921/1922 – 11 March 1981), unmarried and without issue

He married Sazkâr Haseki Kadın Efendi (8 May 1873 – ?), and had:

  • Princess Refia Sultan (Istanbul, Yıldız Palace, 15 June 1891 – Beirut, 1938), unmarried and without issue

He married an unknown wife, and had:

  • Princess Hadice Sultan (Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 10 July 1897 – 13 February 1898)

He married an unknown wife, and had:

  • Princess Aliye Sultan (1900–1900)

He married Circassian Gwaschemasch'e Kadın Efendi (Istanbul, Çırağan Palace, 21 June 1877 – ?), and had:

  • Princess Cemile Sultan (Constantinople, Yıldız Palace, 22 December 1900 – 9 January 1901)

He married Safinaz Kadın Efendi, sister of Yıldız Kadın Efendi, a wife of Sultan Abdülaziz I, without issue


His Imperial Majesty, The Sultan Abdülhamid II, Emperor of the Ottomans, Caliph of the Faithful

Awards and honors

Ottoman orders

Abdul Hamid II was Grand Master of the following Ottoman Orders:

Foreign orders and decorations

See also

  • List of nicknames of European Royalty and Nobility
  • Kansu Braves


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Hoiberg, Dale H., ed (2010). "Abdulhamid II". Encyclopedia Britannica. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica Inc.. pp. 22. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8. 
  2. Some sources state that his birth date was on the 22nd of September.
  3. Overy, Richard pp. 252, 253 (2010)
  4. Kinross, Patrick (1977) The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire London: Perennial. ISBN 978-0-688-08093-8. p. 576.
  5. Carter Vaughn Vaughn Findley, 'Bureaucratic Reform in the Ottoman Empire: The Sublime Porte, 1789-1922,' Chapter, 6, 'Restoringrestoring political balance: the first constitutional period and return to sultanic domanace. political balance: the first constitutional period and return to Sultanic dominance.'
  6. 6.0 6.1 Freely, John – Inside the Seraglio, published 1999, Chapter 15: On the Shores of the Bosphorus
  7. Chambers Biographical Dictionary, ISBN 0-550-18022-2, p. 3
  8. Roderique H. Davison, Reform in the Ottoman Empire (Princeton, 1963)
  9. The Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol.7, Edited by Hugh Chisholm, (1911), 3; Constantinople, the capital of the Turkish Empire
  10. Britannica, Istanbul:When the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923, the capital was moved to Ankara, and Constantinople was officially renamed Istanbul in 1930.
  11. Curios Information about Armenia – Armenia
  12. Constitutional Rights Foundation
  13. Selim Deringil "The Well-Protected Domains: Ideology and the Legitimation of Power in the Ottoman Empire, 1876–1909" p 139–150
  14. Kemal H. Karpat (2001). The politicization of Islam: reconstructing identity, state, faith, and community in the late Ottoman state. Oxford University Press US. p. 237. ISBN 0195136187. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  15. Creelman, James (22 August 1909). "The Slaughter of Christians in Asia Minor". The New York Times. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 Cleveland, William; Burton, Martin (2013). A History of the Modern Middle East. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. pp. 123–124. ISBN 978-0-8133-4833-9. 
  17. Turkish Naval History: The Period of the Navy Ministry
  18. "Turkish Royalty". Ancestry. Retrieved 2012-11-29. 
  19. "Osmanlı İmparatorluğu Türk Sultanları". Osmanlı Araştırmaları Vakfı. Retrieved 2012-11-29. 
  20. Ottoman Diplomacy: Abdülhamid II and the Great Powers 1878–1888
  21. F. A. K. Yasamee. Ottoman Diplomacy: Abdülhamid II and the Great Powers 1878–1888 p.20
  22. Minkus New World-Wide Stamp Catalog (1974–75 ed.), Turkey, note preceding no. 144.
  23. Turner, Barry. Suez.1956 p.32–33
  24. The Royal Tourist—Kalakaua's Letters Home from Tokio to London. Editor: Richard A. Greer. Date: 10 March 1881


Further reading

  • Akarli, Engin D. (2001). "The Tangled Ends of an Empire and Its Sultan". In Leila Tarazi Fawaz and C. A. Bayly (eds.). Modernity and Culture: From the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 261–284. ISBN 978-0-231-11426-4. 
  • Georgeon, François (2003). Abdülhamid II. Le sultan calife. Paris: Fayard. 
  • Shaw, Stanford J.; Shaw, Ezel K. (1977). History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. Vol. 2: Reform, Revolution, and Republic: The Rise of Modern Turkey, 1808–1975. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-29166-8. 
  • Yasamee, F. A. K. (1996). Ottoman Diplomacy: Abdülhamid II and the Great Powers, 1878–1888. Istanbul: ISIS. ISBN 978-975-428-088-3. 
  • Pears, Sir E. (1917). Life of Abdul-Hamid. University of California. 
  • Haslip, Joan (1973). The Sultan: The life of Abdul Hamid (2 ed.). ISBN 978-0297765196. 

External links

Abdul Hamid II
House of Osman
Born: 21 September 1842 Died: 10 February 1918
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Murad V
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
31 Aug 1876 – 27 Apr 1909
Succeeded by
Mehmed V
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
Murad V
Caliph of Islam
31 Aug 1876 – 27 Apr 1909
Succeeded by
Mehmed V

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