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Abdülaziz I or Abd Al-Aziz, His Imperial Majesty (Ottoman Turkish: `Abdü´l-Âzīz-i evvel عبد العزيز) (February 9/18 1830 4 June 1876) was the 32nd Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and reigned between 25 June 1861 and 30 May 1876. He was the son of Sultan Mahmud II and succeeded his brother Abdülmecid I in 1861.

Born at the Eyüp Palacemarker, Istanbulmarker, on 9/18 February 1830, Abdülaziz received an Ottoman education but was nevertheless an ardent admirer of the material progress that was made in the West. He was interested in literature and was also a classical music composer. Some of his compositions have been collected in the album "European Music at the Ottoman Court" by the London Academy of Ottoman Court Music.


His parents were Mahmud II and Valide Sultan Pertevniyal, (1812 - 1883), originally named Bezime. The name of his mother is also spelled as "Partav-Nihal". By 1868, Pertevniyal was settled in the Dolmabahçe Palacemarker. That year Abdülaziz led the visiting Eugénie de Montijo, Empress of France to see his mother. Pertevniyal perceived the presence of a foreign woman within her quarters of the seraglio as an insult. She reportedly slapped Eugénie across the face, almost resulting in an international incident. The Pertevniyal Valide Sultan Mosquemarker was built under the patronage of his mother. The construction work began in November 1869 and the mosque was finished in 1871.

His paternal grandparents were Sultan Abdul Hamid I and Sultana Naksh-i-Dil Haseki. Several accounts identify his paternal grandmother with Aimée du Buc de Rivéry, a cousin of Joséphine de Beauharnais. Pertevniyal was reportedly a sister of Hoshiar (Khushiyar), third wife of Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt. Hoshiar and Ibrahim were the parents of Isma'il Pasha.


Between 1861 and 1871, the Tanzimat reforms which began during the reign of his brother Abdülmecid were continued under the leadership of his able chief ministers, Keçecizade Mehmed Fuad Pasha and Mehmed Emin Aali Pasha. New administrative districts were set up in 1864 and a Council of State was established in 1868. Public education was organized on the French model and the Istanbul Universitymarker was reorganized as a modern institution in 1861.
Abdülaziz cultivated good relations with the Second French Empire and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Irelandmarker and was the first Ottoman sultan to visit Western Europe, in 1867, which included a visit to England, where he was made a Knight of the Garter by Queen Victoria and shown a Royal Navy Fleet Review with his Khedive of Egypt. He travelled by a private rail car, which today can be found in the Rahmi M.marker Koç Museummarker in Istanbul. His fellow Knights of the Garter created in 1867 were Charles Gordon-Lennox, 6th Duke of Richmond, Charles Manners, 6th Duke of Rutland, Henry Somerset, 8th Duke of Beaufort, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, Franz Joseph I of Austria and Alexander II of Russia.

In 1869, Abdülaziz received visits from Eugénie de Montijo, Empress consort of Napoleon III of France and other foreign monarchs on their way to the opening of the Suez Canalmarker. The Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII of the United Kingdom, twice visited Istanbul.

By 1871 both ʿAlī Pasha and Fuʿād Pasha were dead. The Second French Empire, his Western European model, had been defeated in the Franco-Prussian War by the North German Confederationmarker under the leadership of the Kingdom of Prussiamarker. In foreign policy, Abdülaziz turned to the Russian Empiremarker for friendship, as turmoil in the Balkan provinces continued. In 1875, the Herzegovinian rebellion was the beginning of further unrest in the Balkan provinces. In 1876, the April Uprising saw insurrection spreading among the Bulgarians. Ill feeling mounted against Russia for its encouragement of the rebellions.

The crop failure of 1873, the sultan's lavish expenditures for the Ottoman Navy and the new palaces which he built, and the mounting public debt had also heightened public discontent. Abdülaziz was deposed by his ministers on 30 May 1876; his death at Feriye Palacemarker, Istanbul, a few days later was attributed to suicide, although he might have been murdered. He was buried in Istanbul.


The biggest achievement of Abdülaziz was to modernize the Ottoman Navy. In 1875, the Ottoman Navy had 21 battleships and 173 warships of other types, ranking as the third largest navy in the world after the British and French navies.

He also established the first Ottoman railroad network and Sirkeci Train Stationmarker in Istanbul, terminus of the Orient Express.

Impressed by the museums in London, Paris and Vienna, he established the Istanbul Archaeological Museummarker.

Under Abdülaziz's reign, Turkey's first postage stamps were issued in 1863, and Turkey joined the Universal Postal Unionmarker in 1875 as a founding member.

He was made the 756th Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1867 and the 127th Grand Cross of the Order of the Tower and Sword.

Marriages and issue

Ten children survived him.

First marriage and issue

He married firstly at the Dolmabahçe Palacemarker in Istanbul, in 1856 to Georgian HH Dürrünev Kadın Efendi (Batumimarker, 15 March 1835 - Istanbul, Üsküdarmarker, Çamlıca Palace, 4 December 1892), and had:
  • HIH Prince Şehzade Yusuf Izzeddin Efendi (Dolmabahçe Palace, 10 October 1857 - 1 February 1916), married firstly at the Beşiktaş Palace in Beşiktaşmarker, Istanbul, on 20 May 1885 to Georgian HH Cavidan Hanım Efendi (Karsmarker, 12 January 1870 - 1935), without issue, married secondly at the Beşiktaş Palace, on 6 July 1886 to Abkhaz HH Emine Nazikedâ Hanım Efendi (Sukhumimarker, Abkhaziamarker, 30 May 1872 - 1946), without issue, married thirdly at the Beşiktaş Palace, on 15 October 1892 to Georgian HH Tazende Hanım Efendi (Potimarker, 10 October 1875 - Istanbul, Ortaköy, 1950), without issue, and married fourthly at the Çamlıca Palace in Üsküdarmarker, Istanbul, on 4 February 1904 to Georgian HH Leman Ünlüsoy Hanım Efendi (Batumimarker, 6 June 1888 - Çamlıca Palace, 3 August 1953), and had two daughters and one son:
    • HH HIH Princess Hadice Sükriye Sultan Hanım Efendi (Çamlıca Palace, 24 February 1906 - Cairomarker, 1 April 1972), married firstly at the Nişantaşı Palace in Nişantaşımarker, Istanbul, on 14 November 1923 and divorced in 1927 as his first wife her cousin HIH Prince Şehzade Muhammed Sharifuddin Efendi (Ortaköy Palace in Ortaköy, Istanbul, 19 May 1904 - Beirutmarker, 1966), without issue, and married secondly in Cairomarker on 4 September 1935 and divorced in 1937 HH Sheikh Ahmad I Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (1885 - Dasman Palace, Kuwaitmarker, 29 January 1950), created HH in 1937, Emir of Kuwait from 1921 to 1950, without issue
    • HIH Prince Şehzade Mehmed Nizameddin Efendi (10 January 1909 - Orsellina, 21 March 1933 and buried in Turkeymarker in 1967), unmarried and without issue
    • HH HIH Princess Mihriban Mihrishah Sultan Hanım Efendi (Beşiktaş Palace, Istanbul, 1 June 1916 - Istanbul, 25 January 1987), married in Alexandriamarker on 31 July 1948 as his second wife to her cousin HIH Prince Şehzade Ömer Faruk Efendi (Ortaköy Palace, Istanbul, 27 February 1898 - 1969/1971), without issue
  • HIH Princess Fatma Saliha Sultan (Dolmabahçe Palacemarker, Istanbul, 9 August 1862 - Cairo, 1941), married to HE Damat Kürt Ismail Pasha Beyefendi, without issue
  • HIH Princess Emine Sultan (30 November 1866 - 23 January 1867)

Second marriage and issue

He married secondly at the Dolmabahçe Palace in 1861 to HH Edâdil Kadın Efendi (1845 - Dolmabahçe Palace, 12 December 1875), and had:
  • HIH Prince Şehzade Mahmud Celaleddin Efendi (Dolmabahçe Palace, 16 November 1862 - 1 September 1888)

Third marriage and issue

He married thirdly in 1872 to Circassian HH Gevherin Nedaxe Kadın Efendi (Caucasus, 8 July 1856 - Ortaköy Palace, Ortaköy, Istanbul, 20 September 1894), and had:
  • HIH Prince Şehzade Mehmed Seyfeddin Efendi (Beşiktaş Palace or Dolmabahçe Palace, 21/22 September 1874 - Nicemarker, 19 October 1927), Rear Admiral of the Ottoman Navy, married firstly at the Ortaköy Palace, on 4 December 1899 to Georgian HH Necem Felek Hanım Efendi (Kutaisimarker, 5 January 1880 - Nice, 1930), and had one son, and married secondly at the Ortaköy Palace, on 23 February 1902 Georgian HH Nervaliter Hanım Efendi (Caucasus, 27 March 1885 - Nice, 1935), and had two sons and one daughter:
    • Mehmed Abdulaziz II
    • HIH Prince Şehzade Mahmud Sevket Efendi (Ortaköy Palace, Istanbul, 20 July 1903 - 1 February 1973), excluded from the Imperial House in 1931, married in Shkodërmarker on 4 May 1922 and divorced in 1928 his cousin HH HH Princess Adile Hanımsultan Hanım Efendi (Ortaköy Palace, 12 November 1900 - February 1979), and had one daughter:
      • HIH Princess Hamide Nermin Nezahat Sultan (Shkodër, 27 January 1923 - 7 November 1998), unmarried and without issue
    • HIH Prince Şehzade Ahmed Tevhid Efendi (Çamlıca Palace, Üsküdarmarker, Istanbul, 30 November 1904 - Beirutmarker, 24 April 1966), twin with the below, unmarried and without issue
    • HIH Princess Fatma Gevheri Sultan (Çamlıca Palace, 30 November 1904 - 10 December 1980), twin with the above, unmarried and without issue
  • HIH Princess Gwaschemasch'e Kadın Efendi (Istanbulmarker, Çırağan Palacemarker, 21 June 1877 - ?)

Fourth marriage and issue

He married fourthly at the Dolmabahçe Palacemarker, Istanbul, on 21 September 1866 to Georgian HH Hayranidil Kadın Efendi (Karsmarker, 2 November 1846 - Ortaköy Palace, Istanbul, 26 November 1898), and had:
  • HIH Princess Nazima Sultan (Dolmabahçe Palace, 14 February 1866 - Beirutmarker, 1947), married to HE Damat Halit Pasha Beyefendi, without issue
  • Abdülmecid II

Fifth marriage and issue

He married fifthly at the Dolmabahçe Palace, in 1868 to HH Nesherek Haseki Kadın Efendi (1848 - 11 June 1876), and had:
  • HIH Prince Şehzade Mehmed Salâhaddin Efendi (25 March 1870 - 29 August 1900/1916), unmarried and without issue

Sixth marriage and issue

He married sixthly to Georgian HH Nesrin Kadın Efendi (Tbilisimarker, 1860 - Ortaköy Palace, Istanbul, 29 September 1895), and had:
  • HIH Prince Şehzade Muhammed Shefket Efendi (Beşiktaş Palace, Istanbul, 5 June 1872 - Ortaköy Palace, Istanbul, 22 October 1899), married at the Yıldız Palace, Istanbul, on 3 April 1890 to HH Fatma Ruhnaz Hanım Efendi (Bandırmamarker, 2 January 1873 - Ortaköy Palace, Istanbul, 1935), and had one son:
    • HIH Prince Şehzade Muhammed Cemaleddin Efendi (Yıldız Palace, Istanbul, 28 October 1890 - Beirutmarker, 18 November 1946), married at the Ortaköy Palace, on 2 March 1913 to Georgian HH Cemile Destaviz Hanım Efendi (Batumimarker, 13 August 1895 - ?), and had two sons:
      • HIH Prince Şehzade Mahmud Husameddin Efendi (Ortaköy Palace, 1 September 1916 - Beirut, 7 August 1966), unmarried and without issue
      • HIH Prince Shehzade Suleyman Saadeddin Efendi (Ortaköy Palace, 20 November 1917 - 8 May 1985), married in Beirut on 1 April 1956 to HH Lamia Baba Saoui Hanım Efendi (Beirut, 1930 -), and had one son and two daughters:
        • HIH Prince Şehzade Orhan İbrahim Suleiman Saadeddin Efendi (b. Beirut, 16 July 1959), married to HH Rita Eid Hanım Efendi (b. 1966), without issue
        • HIH Princess Perihan Suleiman Saadeddin Sultan (b. Beirut, 2 October 1963), unmarried and without issue
        • HIH Princess Gülhan Suleiman Saadeddin Sultan (b. Beirut, 30 January 1968), unmarried and without issue
  • HIH Princess Esma Sultan (Dolmabahçe Palacemarker, 21 March 1873 - 7 May 1899), married at the Yıldız Palace, Istanbul, on 20 April 1889 to HE Damat Cerkes Mehmed Pasha Beyefendi (Istanbul, 1856 - 24 April 1909), created Damat in 1889, and had four sons and one daughter:
    • HH Prince Beyzade Sultanzade Hasan Bedreddin Beyefendi (1890 - 29 January 1909), unmarried and without issue
    • HH Prince Beyzade Sultanzade Husain Hayreddin Beyefendi (Istanbul, 1890 - Istanbul, 1956), unmarried and without issue
    • HH Princess Fatma Sidika Hanımsultan (1894 - 1894)
    • HH Prince Beyzade Sultanzade Saadeddin Mohamed Beyefendi (Istanbul, 14 June 1895 - Beirut, 1976), unmarried and without issue
    • HH Prince Beyzade Sultanzade Abdullah Beyefendi (7 May 1899 - 7 May 1899)
  • HIH Princess Emine Sultan (Dolmabahçe Palace, 24 August 1874 - 29 January 1920), married to HE Damat Mehmet Bey Beyefendi, without issue

Seventh marriage and issue

He married seventhly to HH Yıldız Kadın Efendi, sister of HH Safinaz Kadın Efendi, a wife of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, and had:
  • HIH Princess Fatma Gevheri Sultan (1874 - 1875)
  • HIH Princess Munire Sultan (1877 - 1877), born posthumously


  1. Chambers Biographical Dictionary, ISBN 0-550-18022-2, page 2
  2. His profile in the Ottoman Web Site
  3. Daniel T. Rogers, "All my relatives: Valide Sultana Partav-Nihal"
  4. "Women in Power" 1840-1870, entry: "1861-76 Pertevniyal Valide Sultan of The Ottoman Empire"
  5. Christine Isom-Verhaaren, "Royal French Women in the Ottoman Sultans' Harem: The Political Uses of Fabricated Accounts from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-first Century"
  6. Christopher Buyers, "The Muhammad 'Ali Dynasty Genealogy"
  7. Non European Royalty Website, entry:"Egypt"
  8. "Women in Power" 1840-1870, entry: "1863-79 Valida Pasha Khushiyar of Egypt"
  9. Rulers from the House of Mohammed Aly
  10. Genealogical entry: "Hoshiar Walda Pasha"
  11. i339.html

External links

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