Hafsa Sultan (wife of Selim I)

This is an Ottoman Turkish style name. Hafsa is the given name, the title is Sultan, and there is no family name.
Hafsa Sultan
حفصه سلطان

Bust in Manisa
Valide Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Tenure 30 September 1520 – 19 March 1534
Predecessor New title
(Emine Gülbahar as Valide Hatun)
Successor Nurbanu Sultan
Born 1479
Died 19 March 1534 (aged 54–55)
Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
Burial Yavuz Selim Mosque, Fatih, Istanbul
Spouse Sultan Selim I
Issue Sultan Suleiman I
Hatice Sultan
Fatma Sultan
Hafsa Sultan
House House of Osman (by marriage)
Father Abd'ûl-Muin[1]
Religion Islam

Hafsa Sultan[2] (Ottoman Turkish: حفصه سلطان; 1479 – 19 March 1534) was wife of Selim I and the first valide sultan of the Ottoman Empire as mother of Suleiman the Magnificent. During the period between her son's enthronement in 1520 and her death in 1534, she was one of the most influential persons in the Empire.[3]


Hafsa Sultan was once incorrectly regarded as having been the daughter of Meñli I Giray, but is now understood to have been a convert to Islam of unknown origins.[4]


Having resided in the city of Manisa in western Turkey with her son, who administered the surrounding region between 1513 and 1520, the town being one of the traditional residences for Ottoman crown princes (şehzade) in apprenticeship for future power, Hafsa Sultan is the initiator of the Manisa's "Mesir Festival", a local tradition still continued today. She also had a large complex consisting of a mosque, a primary school, a college and a hospice built in the city.

She was also the first Ottoman imperial women who held title "sultan" after her given name, replacing title "hatun". This usage reflected the Ottoman conception of sovereign power as "family prerogative".[5] Consequently, the title valide hatun (title for living mother of the reigning Ottoman sultan before 16th century) also turned into valide sultan, made Hafsa the first valide sultan. Her period signalled the shifting status of the sultan's mother and her increased share in power.[6] After the birth of her son Suleiman, born on 6 November 1494 in Trabzon, she gave birth to three daughters: Hatice, Fatma and Hafsa.

She was the most powerful woman of the Ottoman Empire during her son's reign.

The türbe of Hafsa Sultan is located inside "The Yavuz Selim Mosque" in Fatih, Istanbul, Turkey.

Burial place

Hafsa Sultan died in March 1534 and was buried near her husband in a mausoleum behind the qiblah wall of Yavuz Selim Mosque, in Fatih, Istanbul. The mausoleum was largely destroyed in an earthquake in 1884, a reconstruction effort started in the 1900s (decade) having been left discontinued, and her tomb today is much simpler than it was built originally.

The entrance of the türbe of Hafsa Sultan.


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ayşe Hafsa Sultan.
  1. Sakaoğlu, Necdet (2008). Bu mülkün kadın sultanları: Vâlide sultanlar, hâtunlar, hasekiler, kadınefendiler, sultanefendiler. Oğlak Yayıncılık. p. 148. ISBN 978-9-753-29623-6. (Her name is given as "Hafsa bint-i Abdü'l-Muin" in Kitâbeler by İ. H. Uzunçarşılı. This proves that she was of non-Turkish origin, and later converted to Islam. The assertions that she was daughter of Meñli I Giray of the Crimean Khanate was never proven even though one of the wives of Selim I, namely Ayşe Hatun (wife of Selim I), was the real daughter of Meñli I Giray.)
  2. Though generally known as "Hafsa Sultan", she is sometimes incidentally referred to as "Ayşe Hafsa Sultan" by some authors, without indication of the origin of this name. Name "Hafsa" referred to Muhammad's wive Hafsa (حفصة) daughter of Umar ibn Al Kattab.
  3. Pietro Bragadin, Venetian Republic's ambassador in the early years of Suleiman the Magnificent's reign notes "a very beautiful woman of 48, for whom the sultan bears great reverence and love..." Leslie Peirce (1993). The Imperial Harem : Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire p. 62 ISBN 0-19-508677-5. Oxford University Press.
  4. Alan Fisher (1993). "The Life and Family of Süleymân I". In İnalcık, Halil; Cemal Kafadar. Süleymân The Second [i.e. the First] and His Time. Istanbul: Isis Press. p. 9. ISBN 975-428-052-5.
  5. Peirce, Leslie P. (1993). The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-508677-5.
  6. Amy Singer (2002). Constructing Ottoman beneficence: An imperial soup kitchen in Jerusalem p. 90 ISBN 0-7914-5351-0. State University of New York Press.

Further reading

External links

Ottoman royalty
Preceded by
Emine Gülbahar
as Valide Hatun
Valide Sultan
30 September 1520 – 19 March 1534
Succeeded by
Nurbanu Sultan
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