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Ahmed II

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Ahmed II

Ahmed II
Caliph of Islam
Amir al-Mu'minin
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Reign 22 June 1691 – 6 February 1695
Predecessor Suleiman II
Successor Mustafa II
Consort Rabia Sultan
Royal house House of Osman
Father Ibrahim
Mother Hatice Muazzez Sultan
Religion Sunni Islam

Ahmed II (Ottoman Turkish: احمد ثانى Aḥmed-i sānī) (February 25, 1643 – February 6, 1695) was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1691 to 1695. Ahmed II was born at Topkapı Palace, Constantinople, the son of Sultan Ibrahim (1640–48) by Valide Sultan Hatice Muazzez, and succeeded his brother Suleiman II (1687–91) in 1691.


During his short reign, Sultan Ahmed II devoted most of his attention to the wars against the Habsburgs and related foreign policy, governmental and economic issues. Of these, the most important were the tax reforms and the introduction of the lifelong tax farm system (malikane) (see tax farming). Ahmed’s reign witnessed major military defeats against the Austrian Habsburgs in the long Hungarian war of 1683–99, several devastating fires in Istanbul, and the emergence of ayan, or local magnates, which further weakened the central government’s hold over the provinces.

Among the most important features of Ahmed’s reign was his reliance on Köprülüzade Fazıl Mustafa Pasha. Following his accession to the throne, Sultan Ahmed II confirmed Köprülüzade Fazıl Mustafa Pasha in his office as grand vizier. In office from 1689, Fazıl Mustafa Pasha was from the famous Köprülü family of grand viziers, and like most of his Köprülü predecessors in the same office, was an able administrator and military commander. Like his father Köprülü Mehmed Pasha (grand vizier 1656–61) before him, he ordered the removal and execution of dozens of corrupt state officials of the previous regime and replaced them with men loyal to himself. He overhauled the tax system by adjusting it to the capabilities of the taxpayers affected by the latest wars. He also reformed troop mobilization and increased the pool of conscripts available for the army by drafting tribesmen in the Balkans and Anatolia. In October 1690 he recaptured Belgrade (northern Serbia), a key fortress that commanded the confluence of the rivers Danube and Sava; in Ottoman hands since 1521, the fortress had been conquered by the Habsburgs in 1688.

Fazıl Mustafa Pasha’s victory at Belgrade was a major military achievement that gave the Ottomans hope that the military debacles of the 1680s—which had led to the loss of Hungary and Transylvania, an Ottoman vassal principality ruled by pro-Istanbul Hungarian princes— could be reversed. However, Ottoman success proved ephemeral. On August 19, 1691, Fazıl Mustafa Pasha suffered a devastating defeat at Slankamen (northwest of Belgrade) at the hands of Ludwig Wilhelm von Baden, the Habsburg commander in chief in Hungary, fittingly nicknamed “Türkenlouis” (Louis the Turk) for his splendid victories against the Ottomans. In the confrontation, recognized by contemporaries as “the bloodiest battle of the century,” the Ottomans suffered heavy losses: 20,000 men, including the grand vizier. With him, the sultan lost his most capable military commander and the last member of the Köprülü family, who for the previous half century had been instrumental in strengthening the Ottoman military.

Under Fazıl Mustafa Pasha’s successors, the Ottomans suffered further defeats. In June 1692 the Habsburgs conquered Várad (Oradea, Romania), the seat of an Ottoman governor (beylerbeyi) since 1660. Although the best Habsburg forces were elsewhere, fighting French invaders along the German Rhine—part of the Holy Roman Empire, ruled by the Austrian Habsburgs—the Ottomans were unable to regain their Hungarian possessions. In 1694 they tried to recapture Várad, but to no avail. On January 12, 1695, they gave up the fortress of Gyula, the center of an Ottoman sancak or subprovince since 1566. With the fall of Gyula, the only territory still in Ottoman hands in Hungary was to the east of the River Tisza and to the south of the river Maros, with its center at Temesvár. Three weeks later, on February 6, 1695, Ahmed II died in Edirne Palace, worn out by disease and sorrow.

Marriages and issue

He married Rabia Sultan and had two sons and two daughters:

  • Şehzade Ibrahim
  • Şehzade Selim
  • Asiye Sultan
  • Atike Sultan


Further reading

  • Caroline Finkel, Osman’s Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire, 1300–1923 (London: John Murray, 2005), 312–15
  • Michael Hochendlinger, Austria’s Wars of Emergence: War, State and Society in the Habsburg Monarchy, 1683–1797 (London: Longman, 2003), 157–64.

External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

Wikisource logo Works written by or about Ahmed II at Wikisource

Ahmed II
Born: February 25, 1643 Died: February 6, 1695
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Suleiman II
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Jun 22, 1691 – Feb 6, 1695
Succeeded by
Mustafa II
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
Suleiman II
Caliph of Islam
Jun 22, 1691 – Feb 6, 1695
Succeeded by
Mustafa II
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