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Candaroğlu Beylik (sometimes referred to as Candar, Candaroğulları or İsfendiyaroğulları in Turkish) is an Anatolian Turkish Beylik that ruled principally in the regions corresponding to present-day Kastamonumarker and Sinopmarker provinces of Turkeymarker, also covering parts of Zonguldakmarker, Bartınmarker, Karabükmarker, Samsunmarker, Bolumarker, Ankaramarker and Çankırımarker provinces, between 1292 - 1461, in the Black Seamarker region of modern day Turkeymarker. The region is also known in western Literature as Paphlagonia, a name used for the same geographic area during the Roman period.

The founder of the beylik is Temür Yaman Candar (also known as Demir Yaman Candar); the beylik collapsed in 1461 when the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II, whose mother is supposedly linked to the Candaroğlu dynasty, annexed the region.

The flag of Candar may confuse many with what is now known as the Star of David. In medieval times however, this was not solely a Jewish symbol, but also an Islamic one known as the "Seal of Solomon" and was extremely popular amongst the Turkish Beyliks of Anatoliamarker. Another state known to use the seal on their flag was the Beylik of Karaman.

Following the incorporation of the principality in the Ottoman Empire, the ruling dynasty has been offered various important functions within the Ottoman administration, which they maintained until its collapse in 1922. Ayşe Sultan, who was the last identified descendent of the Candaroğlu dynasty having benefited from the status offered by the Ottoman Empire to the dynasty, died 1981 in Ankaramarker.

History

The Seljuk Sultan Masud II gave Kastamonumarker to Temür Yaman Candar, a commander from the sultan's candar corps, inthanks for rescuing him from Mongol captivity. This province, however, was already under the control of the Çobanoğulları. Following Temür's death, his son Süleyman I conquered the province and annexed Safranbolumarker and Sinop, formerly ruled by the descendants of Mu‘in al-Din Suleyman. Süleyman then appointed his son İbrahim I as governor to Sinop and a second son Ali to Safranbolumarker. Süleyman reigned under the authority of the Ilkhanate, the Mongols of Persia, until the death of the ruler Abu Sa'id.

Following the death of Süleyman I, his sons Ibrahim I and Ali fought for the throne. In 1339 Ibrahim was victorious and took over the rule of Kastamonu. Upon his death, his cousin Adil replaced him (1346 - 1361). When Adil died, his son Kötürüm Bayezid became bey. Bayezid fought twice with Kadi Burhan al-Din, the ruler of the Sivasmarker region, and in 1383 lost Kastamonu to one of his own sons, Süleyman II, who received military support from the Ottoman sultan Murad I. Bayezid left for Sinop, and thus the Candaroğlu Beylik was divided. After Bayezid's death in 1385, his son İsfendiyar succeeded him.

Based in Kastamonumarker, Süleyman II remained faithful to Murad I, his supporter in his revolt against his father, and participated in Ottoman campaigns in Europe in 1386 and 1389. Murad's successor, the aggressive Beyazid I launched an assault in 1391 on Kastamonu as part of an effort to control the Anatolian beyliks. Süleyman II was killed and Candaroğlu rule in Kastamonu ended.

Meanwhile, fearing conflict with the powerful Ottomans, İsfendiyar requested immunity from Beyazid in return for being subject to Ottoman reign. Beyazid granted İsfendiyar an autonomy. Following the sultan's defeat by the Mongols in 1402, İsfendiyar recognized the authority of the Mongol khan Timur, who confirmed him in the traditional Candaroğlu lands of Kastamonumarker, Kalecik, Tosyamarker, and Çankırımarker.

After Timur left Anatolia, during the Ottoman Interregnum, İsfendiyar stood close to all the four sons of Beyazid avoiding any conflict. When one of his sons, Kasım claimed control over Çankırı and Tosya, and declared the annexation of these areas to the Ottoman empire, the Candaroğlu dominion was divided once more. But İsfendiyar revolted against the new sultan Murad II, only to be defeated, and retreated to Sinop (1423). İsfendiyar died in 1439, to be succeeded by his son İbrahim II, who upon his death was replaced by İsmail in 1443.

After his conquest of Constantinoplemarker in 1453, the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II turned to Anatolia to unite the Anatolian beyliks/principalities under his rule. In 1461, joining forces with İsmail's brother Ahmed (the Red), he captured Sinop and ended the official reign of the Candaroğlu dynasty, although he appointed Ahmed as the governor of Kastamonu and Sinop, only to revoke Ahmed's appointment the same year. Various other members of the Candaroglu dynasty were offered important functions throughout the history of the Ottoman Empire, until its collapse during the First World War. Descendents of the Candaroglu dynasty live today as Citizens of the Turkish Republic mostly in Istanbul and in Europe, using various family names.Ayshe Sultan, who was the last identified descendent of the Candaroglu dynasty having benefited from the status offered by the Ottoman Empire to the dynasty, died 1981 in Ankara.

Culture and economy

The Candaroğlu beylik was located at a very important region in the northeast of Anatoliamarker. They were quite significant in their area with their high population (420,000 in 1332) and political influence, existing along other beyliks and states in their era. Having reigned for about 170 years, Candaroğlu were quite advanced in architecture, cultural and social life and welfare. Also, many books in Turkish were written during their reign by court scientists and writers, including poems, books on medicine, chemistry, social sciences, and translations from Arabic and Persian.

Many architectural structures have remained from the Candaroğlu era in the region, including hammams, caravanserais, numerous mosques, inns, religious schools (madrassas) and libraries.

The 14th century Persian geographer al-Omari notes that the seat of the beylik, Kastamonumarker was one of the most prominent provinces in that region, as well as Sinop being one of the most important ports in the Black Seamarker, maintaining a crucial trade route between other ports, the Genoese who owned a warehouse at the port, and the inner provinces. The nearby province Sivasmarker was then inhabited by many Genoese merchants, transporting the goods that would arrive from the east and the south to their ports in Trabzonmarker, Samsunmarker and Sinop. Venetianmarker archives mention that Candaroğlu had close financial and trade relations with the city states of Venice and Genoa. Kastamonu was also rich in natural resources such as iron ore and copper, which were important industrial raw materials then too.

In their trade with the Genoese, Candaroğlu used copper coins they minted that had two fish, and the inscription Dârü's-saâde-i Sinop (the palace of Sinop) engraved on them.

Military

Candaroğlu beylik had a light cavalry corps of 25,000. This vast military power had often contributed to the Ottoman campaigns in Roumelia as well as in Anatolia, including the siege of Constantinople. Being neighbors with the Byzantines, Candaroğlu aided to campaigns and raids here while preventing them to proceed further towards other beyliks.

Candaroğlu also possessed a shipyard in Sinop that equipped them with a strong naval force. The size of this force is unknown, however, it is known that this force was used in an attack to the Genoese outpost Kefe (Theodosia today, in Crimeamarker, Ukraine).

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