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Bayezid II

Bayezid II
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
An oil painting of Bayezid II
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
Reign 3 May 1481 – 26 May 1512
Predecessor Mehmed II
Successor Selim I
Consort Nigar Hatun
Şirin Hatun
Gülruh Hatun
Bülbül Hatun
Hüsnüşah Hatun
Gülbahar Hatun
Ferahşad Hatun
Royal house House of Osman
Father Mehmed II
Mother Gül-Bahar Hatun
Religion Islam
Crimean Tatar khan, Mengli Giray at the court of the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II

Bayezid II or Sultân Bayezid-î Velî (December 3, 1447 – May 26, 1512) (Ottoman Turkish: بايزيد ثانى Bāyezīd-i sānī, Turkish:II. Bayezid or II. Beyazıt) was the eldest son and successor of Mehmed II and Sitt-î Mükrîme Khātûn, ruling as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1481 to 1512. During his reign, Bayezid II consolidated the Ottoman Empire and thwarted a Safavid rebellion soon before abdicating his throne to his son, Selim I. He is most notable for evacuating Jews from Spain after the proclamation of the Alhambra Decree and resettling them throughout the Ottoman Empire.

Bayezid II fighting his son Selim I at Uğraşdere.


  • Early life 1
  • Fight for the throne 2
  • Reign 3
    • Jewish and Muslim immigration 3.1
  • Succession 4
  • In popular culture 5
  • Marriages and progeny 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life

Bayezid II was the son of Mehmed II (1432–81). His mother's identity is undetermined; there are two main theories, that she was Emine Gülbahar Hatun or Sitti Mükrime Hatun.

Bayezid II married Gülbahar Hatun, who was the mother of his eldest son Şehzade Ahmet, as well as Bayezid II's heir and successor, Selim I and nephew of Sitti Mükrime Hatun.

Tomb of Bayezid II in Istanbul.

Fight for the throne

Bayezid II's overriding concern was the quarrel with his brother Cem, who claimed the throne and sought military backing from the Mamluks in Egypt. Having been defeated by his brother's armies, Cem sought protection from the Knights of St. John in Rhodes. Eventually, the Knights handed Cem over to Pope Innocent VIII (1484–1492). The Pope thought of using Cem as a tool to drive the Turks out of Europe, but, as the papal crusade failed to come to fruition, Cem was left to languish and die in a Neapolitan prison. Bayezid II paid both the Knights Hospitaller and the pope to keep his brother prisoner.


Bayezid II ascended the Ottoman throne in 1481.[1] Like his father, Bayezid II was a patron of western and eastern culture and unlike many other Sultans, worked hard to ensure a smooth running of domestic politics, which earned him the epithet of "the Just". Throughout his reign, Bayezid II engaged in numerous campaigns to conquer the Venetian possessions in Morea, accurately defining this region as the key to future Ottoman naval power in the Eastern Mediterranean. The last of these wars ended in 1501 with Bayezid II in control of the whole Peloponnese. Rebellions in the east, such as that of the Qizilbash, plagued much of Bayezid II's reign and were often backed by the Shah of Persia, Ismail, who was eager to promote Shi'ism to undermine the authority of the Ottoman state. Ottoman authority in Anatolia was indeed seriously threatened during this period, and at one point Bayezid II's grand vizier, Ali Pasha, was killed in battle against rebels.

Jewish and Muslim immigration

In July 1492, the new state of Spain expelled its Jewish and Muslim populations as part of the Spanish Inquisition. Bayezid II sent out the Ottoman Navy under the command of Admiral Kemal Reis to Spain in 1492 in order to evacuate them safely to Ottoman lands. He sent out proclamations throughout the empire that the refugees were to be welcomed.[2] He granted the refugees the permission to settle in the Ottoman Empire and become Ottoman citizens. He ridiculed the conduct of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile in expelling a class of people so useful to their subjects. "You venture to call Ferdinand a wise ruler," he said to his courtiers — "he who has impoverished his own country and enriched mine!"[3] Bayezid addressed a firman to all the governors of his European provinces, ordering them not only to refrain from repelling the Spanish refugees, but to give them a friendly and welcome reception.[3] He threatened with death all those who treated the Jews harshly or refused them admission into the empire. Moses Capsali, who probably helped to arouse the sultan's friendship for the Jews, was most energetic in his assistance to the exiles. He made a tour of the communities, and was instrumental in imposing a tax upon the rich, to ransom the Jewish victims of the persecutions then prevalent.

The Muslims and Jews of al-Andalus (Iberia) contributed much to the rising power of the Ottoman Empire by introducing new ideas, methods and craftsmanship. The first printing press in Constantinople was established by the Sephardic Jews in 1493. It is reported that under Bayezid's reign, Jews enjoyed a period of cultural flourishing, with the presence of such scholars as the Talmudist and scientist Mordecai Comtino; astronomer and poet Solomon ben Elijah Sharbiṭ ha-Zahab; Shabbethai ben Malkiel Cohen, and the liturgical poet Menahem Tamar.


On September 14, 1509, Constantinople[4][5] was devastated by an earthquake. Bayezid II's final years saw a succession battle between his sons Selim I and Ahmet. Ahmet unexpectedly captured Karaman, an Ottoman city, and began marching to Constantinople to exploit his triumph. Fearing for his safety, Selim staged a revolt in Thrace but was defeated by Bayezid and forced to flee back to the Crimean Peninsula. Bayezid II developed fears that Ahmet might in turn kill him to gain the throne and refused to allow his son to enter Constantinople.

Selim returned from Crimea and, with support from the Janissaries, forced his father to abdicate the throne on April 25, 1512. Beyazid departed for retirement in his native Demotika, but he died on May 26, 1512 at Büyükçekmece before reaching his destination, and only a month after his abdication. He was buried next to the Bayezid Mosque in Istanbul.

In popular culture

  • Bayezid II is depicted in his childhood by Yiğitcan Elmalı in the 2012 Turkish film Fetih 1453.
  • Sultan Bayezid II's statesmanship, tolerance, and intellectual abilities are depicted in the historical novel The Sultan's Helmsman, which takes place in the middle years of his reign.
  • Sultan Bayezid II and his struggle with his son Selim is a prominent subplot in the video game Assassin's Creed: Revelations. In the game, due to Bayezid's absence from Constantinople, the Byzantines had the opportunity to sneak back into the city, hoping to revive their fallen empire. Near the end of the game, Bayezid surrendered the throne to his son Selim. However, Bayezid does not make an actual appearance.
  • Cem is depicted during his time with
  • Bayezid II, prior to becoming Sultan, is depicted by Akin Gazi in the Starz series, Da Vinci's Demons. He seeks an audience with Pope Sixtus IV (having been manipulated into believing that peace between Rome and Constantinople is a possibility), only to be ridiculed and humiliated by Sixtus, actions which later serve as a pretext for the Ottoman invasion of Otranto. Sixtus assumes that Bayezid has been overlooked in favor of his brother Cem, and is merely acting in his own interests.

Marriages and progeny

  • Şehzade Abdullah - son with Şirin Hatun, Governor of Sarihan 1481, and of Karaman 1481-1483
  • Şehzade Ahmet - son with Bülbül Hatun, Governor of Sarihan 1481-1483 and of Amasya 1483-1513
  • Şehzade Korkut - son with Nigar Hatun, Governor of Sarihan 1483-1501 and 1511-1513, and of Anatolia 1502-1509 and 1510-1511
  • Şehzade Selimşah - son with Gülbahar Hatun, who succeeded as Sultan Selim Khan I Yavuz
  • Şehzade Şehinşah - son with Hüsnüşah Hatun, Governor of Sarihan 1481-1483 and of Karaman 1483-1511
  • Şehzade Alemşah - son with Gülruh Hatun, Governor of Kastamonu 1504 and of Sarihan 1504-1507
  • Şehzade Mahmud - son with Bülbül Hatun, Governor of Kefe
  • Şehzade Mehmed - son with Ferahşad Hatun, Governor of Sarihan 1502
  • Ayşe Sultan (1465 - 1515) married 1480, Damat Guveyi Sinan Pasha
  • Hatice Sultan (1465 - 1500) married firstly 1479, Damat Kara Mustafa Pasha, Vizier. m. (secondly) 1484, Damad Faiq Pasha
  • Gevkhermülük Sultan (1467 - 1550) m. 1480, Damat Ahmed Pasha Dukakis
  • Selçuk Sultan (1469 - 1508) m. (firstly 1484, Damat Farhad Bey m. (secondly) 1486, Damad Muhammad Bey, son of Damad Kara Mustafa Pasha
  • Ilaldi Sultan (? - 1518) m. 1482, Damat Hain Ahmed Pasha, Governor of Egypt 1523-1524
  • Hundi Sultan (1470 - 1511) m. 1481, Damad Ahmed Pasha Hersekzada, Grand Vizier 1487, 1497-1516
  • Aynışah Sultan (? - 1513) m. 1490, Prince (Sultanzade) Damat Sultan Ahmed Göde Akkoyunlu
  • Şehzade Sultan (? - 1520) m. 1501/1502, Damad Malkoshoglu Yahya Pasha (b. 1450; d. 1506), Vizier 1505
  • Şah Sultan (1475 - 1506) m. 1490, Damad Nasuh Bey
  • Kamerşah Sultan (1476 m. 1490, Damad Mustafa Pasha, Vizier 1512-1513
  • Hümaşah Sultan (? - 1504) m. 1482, Damad Antalyali Bali Pasha, Vizier 1482
  • Sofiye Fatma Sultan m. 1504, Damad Guzelce Hasan Bey


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b The Jewish Encyclopedia: a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day, Vol.2 Isidore Singer, Cyrus Adler, Funk and Wagnalls, 1912 p.460
  4. ^ The Encyclopædia Britannica, Vol.7, Edited by Hugh Chisholm, (1911), 3; Constantinople, the capital of the Turkish Empire...
  5. ^ 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.
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain

External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

Bayezid II
Born: Dec 3, 1447 Died: May 26, 1512
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Mehmed II
Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
May 3, 1481 – April 25, 1512
Succeeded by
Selim I
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Mehmed II
Byzantine Emperor Claim merged into Sultanate
Caliph of Islam Succeeded by
Selim I
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