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Portrait of Sultan Abdulmejid

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December 31, 1849
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Internet Archive
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Bahadur Shah II 1837–1857

Portrait of Sultan Abdulmejid

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Abdulmejid I (Ottoman Turkish: عبد المجيد اول‎, romanized: Abdülmecîd-i evvel, Turkish: Birinci Abdülmecid; 25 April 1823 – 25 June 1861), was the 31st Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and succeeded his father Mahmud II on 2 July 1839. His reign was notable for the rise of nationalist movements within the empire's territories. Abdulmejid wanted to encourage Ottomanism among secessionist subject nations and stop rising nationalist movements within the empire, but despite new laws and reforms to integrate non-Muslims and non-Turks more thoroughly into Ottoman society, his efforts failed. He tried to forge alliances with the major powers of Western Europe, namely the United Kingdom and France, who fought alongside the Ottoman Empire in the Crimean War against Russia. In the following Congress of Paris on 30 March 1856, the Ottoman Empire was officially included among the European family of nations. Abdulmejid's biggest achievement was the announcement and application of the Tanzimat (reorganization) reforms which were prepared by his father and effectively started the modernization of the Ottoman Empire in 1839. For this achievement, one of the Imperial anthems of the Ottoman Empire, the March of Abdulmejid, was named after him. Early life Abdulmejid was born on 25 April 1823 at the Beşiktaş Sahil Palace or at the Topkapı Palace, both in Istanbul. His mother was his father's first wife in 1839, Valide Sultan Bezmiâlem, originally named Suzi (1807–1853), either a Circassian or Georgian slave. Abdulmejid received a European education and spoke fluent French, the first sultan to do so. Like Abdülaziz who succeeded him, he was interested in literature and classical music. Like his father Mahmud II, he was an advocate of reforms and was lucky enough to have the support of progressive viziers such as Mustafa Reşit Pasha, Mehmet Emin Ali Paşa and Fuad Pasha. Abdulmejid was also the first sultan to directly listen to the public's complaints on special reception days, which were usually held every Friday without any middlemen. Abdulmejid toured the empire's territories to see in person how the Tanzimat reforms were being applied. He travelled to İzmit, Mudanya, Bursa, Gallipoli, Çanakkale, Lemnos, Lesbos and Chios in 1844 and toured the Balkan provinces in 1846. Reign When Abdulmejid succeeded to the throne on 2 July 1839 when he was only sixteen, he was young and inexperienced, the affairs of the Ottoman Empire were in a critical state. At the time his father died at the start of the Egyptian–Ottoman War, the news reached Istanbul that the empire's army had just been defeated at Nizip by the army of the rebel Egyptian viceroy, Muhammad Ali. At the same time, the empire's fleet was on its way to Alexandria, where it was handed over to Muhammad Ali by its commander Ahmed Fevzi Pasha, on the pretext that the young sultan's advisers had sided with Russia. However, through the intervention of the European powers during the Oriental Crisis of 1840, Muhammad Ali was obliged to come to terms, and the Ottoman Empire was saved from further attacks while its territories in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine were restored. The terms were finalised at the Convention of London (1840). Sultan Abdulmejid (left) with Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Emperor Napoleon III of France Dolmabahçe Palace, the first European-style palace in Istanbul, was built by Abdulmejid between 1843 and 1856, at a cost of five million Ottoman gold pounds, the equivalent of 35 tons of gold. Fourteen tons of gold was used to adorn the interior ceiling of the palace. The world's largest Bohemian crystal chandelier, a gift from Queen Victoria, is in the centre hall. The palace has the largest collection of Bohemian and Baccarat crystal chandeliers in the world, and even the staircases are made of Baccarat crystal. Egyptian governor Mehmed Ali Pasha, who came to Istanbul as the official invitation of the sultan on July 19, 1846, was shown privileged hospitality by the sultan and vükela. So much so that the old vizier built the Galata bridge in 1845 so that he could drive between Beșiktaș Palace and Babıali. In compliance with his father's express instructions, Abdulmejid immediately carried out the reforms to which Mahmud II had devoted himself. In November 1839 an edict known as the Hatt-ı Șerif of Gülhane, also known as Tanzimat Fermanı was proclaimed, consolidating and enforcing these reforms. The edict was supplemented at the close of the Crimean War by a similar statute issued in February 1856, named the Hatt-ı Hümayun. By these enactments it was provided that all classes of the sultan's subjects should have their lives and property protected; that taxes should be fairly imposed and justice impartially administered; and that all should have full religious liberty and equal civil rights. The scheme met with strong opposition from the Muslim governing classes and the ulema, or religious authorities, and was only partially implemented, especially in the more remote parts of the empire. More than one conspiracy was formed against the sultan's life on account of it.


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Ismail Mazari

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Very good information.

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