Koca Hüsrev Mehmed Pasha

"Hüsrev Pasha" redirects here. For the grand vizier from 1628 to 1631, see Gazi Hüsrev Pasha.
This is an Ottoman Turkish style name. Hüsrev Mehmed is the given name, the title is Pasha, and there is no family name.

Mehmed Hüsrev Pasha (also known as Koca Hüsrev Pasha; sometimes known in Western sources as just Husrev Pasha or Khosrew Pasha;[1] 17691855) was an Ottoman Kapudan Pasha ("Grand Admiral") of the Ottoman Navy and statesman who reached the position of Grand Vizier rather late in his career, between 2 July 1839 and 8 June 1840 in the reign of Abdülmecid I. However, during the 1820s, he occupied key administrative roles in the fight against regional warlords, the reformation of the army, and the reformation of Turkish attire.

In Egypt

He was a protégé of Küçük Hüseyin Pasha, a reformer who became Kapudan Pasha in 1792.[1] In 1801, Hüsrev Pasha commanded the 6,000 Turkish troops who assisted the British in removing the French from Rashid (Rosetta). For this, he was made governor of Egypt Eyalet (province),[1] in which position he was charged with assisting Hüseyin Pasha in the killing or imprisoning the surviving leaders of the Mamluks. Many of these were freed by or fled with the British, while others held Minia between Upper and Lower Egypt.

Amid these disturbances, Husrev Pasha attempted to disband his Albanian bashi-bazouks without pay. This led to rioting that drove him from Cairo to Damietta, where he was ultimately captured by a combined Mamluk-Albanian army (see Muhammad Ali's seizure of power).[1] He was later made governor again by Muhammad Ali for 2 days, although he held no real power; he was released later.

Kapudan Pasha; governor of Trabzon

Hüsrev Pasha held the rank of Kapudan Pasha of the Ottoman Navy from 1811 to 1818. He was then appointed governor of the Vilayet of Trabzon twice, during which time he conducted for the Black Sea region of Turkey the struggle the central Ottoman state was waging against local feudal rulers (Derebeys).

Greek War of Independence

During the Greek War of Independence, he was appointed Kapudan Pasha again in the end of 1822. In this role, he captured and destroyed the island of Psara in June 1824 and then moved against Samos, where he was joined by the Egyptian fleet. During the months of July and August, several skirmishes and constant maneuvers followed between the Ottoman and Greek fleets, culminating in the Battle of Gerontas, a Greek victory.

Moderniser of the army

In 1826, Husrev Pasha played vital roles both in the Auspicious Incident (the annihilation of the Janissary Corps in 1826) and in the formation of the new "Mansure Army" modeled after those of European Powers. Appointed as serasker (commander the army) of the Mansure in May 1827, Husrev reformed and disciplined the corps. Himself ignorant of modern military methods, he assembled a staff of foreign experts and other personnel to assist him, the "Seraskeriye", which constituted the first staff in Ottoman history. Due to his early championing of military reform and virtual control over the new Ottoman army, Husrev was able to install many of his protégés in senior military positions. In total, Husrev's household produced more than 30 generals.[2]

Adoption of children raised to become high-ranking officers

Husrev Pasha adopted at early ages up to one hundred children, sometimes including slaves bought at market, who, after an attentive education, later became his protégés and rose to important positions in the state structure, the most notable of these being Ibrahim Edhem Pasha, a child from Chios bought in an İzmir slave market in 1822 after the horrific Chios massacre. Levy mentions that in the 27,000-strong initial Mansure Army of 1827, the direct ancestor to today's Turkish Army, the officer corps included a core group of 70-80 of Husrev Pasha's "children".

Adoption of the fez to replace the turban

Husrev Pasha was also instrumental for the near-abandonment of the turban and the adoption of the fez as a universal headgear for Muslim men of the Ottoman Empire (excluding the religious classes) under Sultan Mahmud II. He had seen the fez as worn occasionally by Tunisians and Algerians during a Mediterranean journey and introduced it to the Ottoman capital, from which the custom spread to all Ottoman lands including the nominal dependency of Egypt. It is to be noted that dress and headgear often signified symbol-laden and politically charged statements in Turkish lands.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Inalcık, Halil. Trans. by Gibb, H.A.R. The Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Ed., Vol. V, Fascicules 79-80, pp. 35 f. "Khosrew Pasha". E.J. Brill (Leiden), 1979. Accessed 13 Sept 2011.
  2. Uyar, Mesut; Erickson, Edward (2009). A Military History of the Ottomans: From Osman to Atatürk. pp. 133–4, 145–6. ISBN 978-0-275-98876-0.
Political offices
Preceded by
Ebu Merak Mehmed Pasha
Ottoman Governor of Egypt
22 January 1802 – 6 May 1803
Succeeded by
Tahir Pasha
Preceded by
Trabluslu Ali Pasha
Ottoman Governor of Egypt
12 March 1804 – 14 March 1804
Succeeded by
Hurshid Ahmed Pasha
Preceded by
Mehmed Emin Rauf Pasha
Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire
July 1839 – 29 May 1841
Succeeded by
Mehmed Emin Rauf Pasha
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