Mustafa I

Mustafa I
مصطفى اول
Caliph of Islam
Amir al-Mu'minin
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
15th Ottoman Sultan (Emperor)
1st reign November 22, 1617 – February 26, 1618
Predecessor Ahmed I
Successor Osman II
2nd reign May 20, 1622 – September 10, 1623
Predecessor Osman II
Successor Murad IV
Born (1591-06-24)24 June 1591
Manisa Palace, Manisa, Ottoman Empire
Died 20 January 1639(1639-01-20) (aged 47)
Eski Palace, Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
Burial Mustafa I Mausoleum, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
Consort Two wives[1]
Issue A son[1]
Two daughters[1]
Full name
Mustafa bin Mehmed
Dynasty House of Osman
Father Mehmed III
Mother An Abkhazian woman
Religion Sunni Islam

Mustafa I (June 24, 1591 – January 20, 1639) (Ottoman Turkish: مصطفى اول), called Mustafa the Saint (Veli Mustafa) during his second reign and often called Mustafa the Mad (Deli Mustafa) by modern historians, was the son of Mehmed III and was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1617 to 1618 and from 1622 to 1623.

Early life

He was born in the Manisa Palace, as the younger brother of Ahmed I (160317). His mother was an Abkhazian lady whose name is lost.[2]

Before 1603 it was customary for an Ottoman Sultan to have his brothers executed shortly after he gained the throne (Mustafa's father Mehmed III had executed 19 of his own brothers). But when the thirteen-year-old Ahmed I was enthroned in 1603, he spared the life of the twelve-year-old Mustafa.[3]

Mustafa might have been left alive because Ahmed had not yet produced any sons, so at the time Mustafa was his only heir. Though Ahmed went on to father several sons, he did not execute Mustafa, perhaps because of his brother's apparent mental problems. Another factor in Mustafa's survival is the influence of Kösem Sultan (Ahmed's favorite concubine), who may have wished to preempt the succession of Osman, Ahmed’s first-born son from another concubine. If Osman became Sultan, he would likely try to execute his half-brothers, the sons of Ahmed and Kösem. This scenario later became a reality when Osman II executed his brother Mehmed in 1621.[4]

Until the death of Ahmed in 1617, Mustafa was confined to the Old palace, along with his mother, grandmother Safiye Sultan, and other women of his father's harem.

First reign (1617-1618)

Ahmed's death created a dilemma never before experienced by the Ottoman Empire. Multiple princes were now eligible for the Sultanate, and all of them lived in Topkapı Palace.[5] A court faction headed by the Şeyhülislam Esad Efendi and Sofu Mehmed Pasha (who represented the Grand Vizier when he was away from Istanbul) decided to enthrone Mustafa instead of Ahmed's son Osman. Sofu Mehmed argued that Osman was too young to be enthroned without causing adverse comment among the populace. The Chief Black Eunuch Mustafa Agha objected, citing Mustafa's mental problems, but he was overruled.[6] Mustafa's rise created a new succession principle of seniority that would last until the end of the Empire. It was the first time an Ottoman Sultan was succeeded by his brother instead of his son.

It was hoped that regular social contact would improve Mustafa's mental health, but his behavior remained eccentric. He pulled off the turbans of his viziers and yanked their beards. Others observed him throwing coins to birds and fish. The Ottoman historian İbrahim Peçevi wrote "this situation was seen by all men of state and the people, and they understood that he was psychologically disturbed."[7]


Mustafa was never more than a tool of court cliques at the Topkapı Palace.[8] In 1618, after a short rule, another palace faction deposed him in favour of his young nephew Osman II (161822), and Mustafa was sent back to the Kafes. The conflict between the Janissaries and Osman II presented him with a second chance. After a Janissary rebellion led to the deposition and assassination of Osman II in 1622, Mustafa was restored to the throne and held it for another year.[9]

Alleged mental instability

Nevertheless, according to Baki Tezcan, there is not enough evidence to properly establish that Mustafa was mentally imbalanced when he came to the throne. Mustafa "made a number of excursions to the arsenal and the navy docks, examining various sorts of arms and taking an active interest in the munitions supply of the army and the navy." One of the dispatches of Baron de Sancy, the French ambassador, "suggested that Mustafa was interested in leading the Safavid campaign himself and was entertaining the idea of wintering in Konya for that purpose."[10] After Ahmed's death, he also completed the outer court of the Blue mosque, the mausoleum and the college.[11]

Moreover, one contemporary observer provides an explanation of the coup which does not mention the incapacity of Mustafa. Baron de Sancy ascribes the deposition to a political conspiracy between the grand admiral Ali Pasha and Chief Black Eunuch Mustafa Agha, who were angered by the former's removal from office upon Sultan Mustafa's accession. They may have circulated rumors of the sultan's mental instability subsequent to the coup in order to legitimize it.[12]

Second reign (1622-1623)

He commenced his reign by executing all those who had taken any share in the murder of Sultan Osman. Hoca Ömer Efendi, the chief of the rebels, the kızlar Agha Suleiman Agha, the vizier Dilaver Pasha, the Kaim-makam Ahmed Pasha, the defterdar Baki Pasha, the segban-bashi Nasuh Agha, and the general of the janissaries Ali Agha, were cut into pieces.[13]

The epithet "Veli" (meaning "saint") was used in reference to him during his reign.[14]

His mental condition unimproved, Mustafa was a puppet controlled by his mother and brother-in-law, the grand vizier Kara Davud Pasha. He believed that Osman II was still alive and was seen searching for him throughout the palace, knocking on doors and crying out to his nephew to relieve him from the burden of sovereignty.[15] "The present emperor being a fool" (according to English Ambassador Sir Thomas Roe), he was compared unfavorably with his predecessor.[16]

Deposition and last years

Political instability was generated by conflict between the Janissaries and the sipahis (Ottoman cavalry), followed by the Abaza rebellion, which occurred when the governor-general of Erzurum, Abaza Mehmed Pasha, decided to march to Istanbul to avenge the murder of Osman II. The regime tried to end the conflict by executing Kara Davud Pasha, but Abaza Mehmed continued his advance. Clerics and the new Grand Vizier (Kemankeş Kara Ali Pasha) prevailed upon Mustafa's mother to allow the deposition of her son. She agreed, on condition that Mustafa's life would be spared.[17][18]

The 11-year-old Murad IV, son of Ahmed I and Kösem, was enthroned on September 10, 1623. In return for her consent to his deposition, the request of Mustafa's mother that he be spared execution was granted.[19] Mustafa was sent along with his mother to the Eski (old) Palace.[20].


He died at the Eski (old) Palace, Istanbul on 20 January 1639 of certainly natural causes. He was buried in the courtyard of Haghia Sophia Mosque. Later his nephew Ibrahim I was also buried there.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Sakaoğlu, Necdet (2008). Bu mülkün kadın sultanları: Vâlide sultanlar, hâtunlar, hasekiler, kadınefendiler, sultanefendiler. Oğlak Yayıncılık. p. 325. ISBN 978-9-753-29623-6.
  2. Börekçi, Günhan. "Mustafa I." Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire. Ed. Gábor Ágoston and Bruce Masters. New York: Facts on File, 2009. p.409.
  3. Piterberg, Gabriel. "Ahmed I ." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Third Edition. Edited by: Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Everett Rowson. Brill Online, 2012. Reference. Accessed 10 July 2012 <>
  4. Börekçi, "Mustafa I," p.409.
  5. Börekçi, "Mustafa I," p.409.
  6. Boyar, Ebru and Kate Fleet. A Social History of Ottoman Istanbul. New York: Cambridge University Press, p.42
  7. Boyar and Fleet. A Social History, p.42
  8. Imber, Colin. The Ottoman Empire: The Structure of Power, 2nd ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009, pp. 66-68, 97-98. ISBN 0-230-57451-3.
  9. Imber. The Ottoman Empire, pp. 98-99.
  10. Baki Tezcan (2010). The Second Ottoman Empire: Political and Social Transformation in the Early Modern World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-521-51949-6.
  11. Evliya Çelebi, Joseph Freiherr von Hammer-Purgstall (1834). Narrative of Travels in Europe, Asia, and Africa in the Seventeenth Century, Volume 1. Oriental Translation Fund. p. 115.
  12. Baki Tezcan (2010). The Second Ottoman Empire: Political and Social Transformation in the Early Modern World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 110–2. ISBN 978-0-521-51949-6.
  13. Evliya Çelebi, Joseph Freiherr von Hammer-Purgstall (1834). Narrative of Travels in Europe, Asia, and Africa in the Seventeenth Century, Volume 1. Oriental Translation Fund. p. 115.
  14. Baki Tezcan (2010). The Second Ottoman Empire: Political and Social Transformation in the Early Modern World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-521-51949-6.
  15. Imber. The Ottoman Empire, p. 99.
  16. Boyar and Fleet. A Social History, p.42
  17. Börekçi, "Mustafa I," p.409.
  18. Kramers, J.H. "Mustafa I." Encyclopedia of Islam, New Edition. Vol. VII. Ed. C.E. Bosworth, E. Van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs and Ch. Pellat. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1993. p. 707.
  19. Piterberg, Gabriel (2003). An Ottoman Tragedy: History and Historiography at Play. California: University of California Press. p. 29. ISBN 0-520-23836-2.
  20. Şefika Şule Erçetin (November 28, 2016). Women Leaders in Chaotic Environments:Examinations of Leadership Using Complexity Theory. Springer. p. 80. ISBN 978-3-319-44758-2.

External links

Media related to Mustafa I at Wikimedia Commons

Mustafa I
Born: 1591 Died: January 20, 1639
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Ahmed I
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Nov 22, 1617 – Feb 26, 1618
Succeeded by
Osman II
Preceded by
Osman II
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
May 20, 1622 – Sep 10, 1623
Succeeded by
Murad IV
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
Ahmed I
Caliph of Islam
Nov 22, 1617 – Feb 26, 1618
Succeeded by
Osman II
Preceded by
Osman II
Caliph of Islam
May 20, 1622 – Sep 10, 1623
Succeeded by
Murad IV
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