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Cigalazade Pasha, Italian Muslim, Ottoman Grand Vizier, Admiral and General
Cağaloğlu Hamam (Turkish bath) in İstanbul's Cağaloğlu quarter, built by and named after Yusuf Sinan Pasha (source&permission:

Cigalazade Yusuf Sinan Pasha (c. 1545 - 1605), meaning son of Cigala, was an Ottoman statesman of Italian background, who held the office of Grand Vizier for forty days between 27 October to 5 December 1596, during the reign of Mehmed III.

He was born in Messinamarker in Sicily around 1545, a member of the aristocratic Genoesemarker family of Cicalamarker. His Christian name was Scipione Cicala. His father, a Viscount (di Cicala), was, according to Gerlach, a corsair in the service of Spainmarker, while his mother is said to have been a Turk from Castelnuovo (Herceg Novimarker today). The Visconte and his son, captured at the Battle of Djerba by the Ottoman navy in 1560 or 1561, were taken first to Tripolimarker in North Africa and then to İstanbulmarker. The father was in due course ransomed from captivity and, after living for some time at Beyoğlumarker (Pera), returned to Messina, where he died in 1564. His son, Scipione, was not released, but was inducted into the Ottoman corps of young boys to be trained for imperial service. He converted, as was required, to Islam and was trained in the Imperial palace, rising to the rank of silahtar. He eventually married, first one (1573) and then (1576) another great-granddaughter of Süleyman the Magnificent. He found himself assured of wealth, high office and protection at the Porte.

In 1574, he successfully led an Ottoman fleet of between 250 and 300 warships and about 75,000 men in the landslide Capture of Tunis. He became Agha of the Janissaries in 1575 and retained this office until 1578. During the next phase of his career he saw much active service in the long Ottoman-Persianmarker war of 1578-1590. He was beylerbey (governor-general) of Van in 1583, and assumed command, in the same year, of the great fortress of Erivanmarker, baing raised to the rank of vizier at the same time. He also played a prominent role, once more as Beylerley of Van, in the campaign of 1585 against Tabrizmarker. As Beylerbey of Bayazıtmarker, an appointment which he received in 1586, he fought with success in western Persia during the last years of the war, bringing Nihavand and Hamadanmarker under Ottoman control.

After the peace of 1590 he was made Beylerbey of Erzurummarker and in 1591 became Kapudan Pasha, i.e. High Admiral of the Ottoman fleet. He held this office until 1595. During the third Grand Vizierate (1593-1595) of Koca Sinan Pasha he was promoted to Fourth Vizier. At that time, the Ottomans had been at war with Austriamarker since 1593. Cağaloğlu Yusuf Sinan Pasha, by then appointed Third Vizier, accompanied Sultan Mehmed III on the Hungarianmarker campaign of 1596. He tried in vain to relieve the fortress of Hatvanmarker, which fell in September 1596. He was present at the successful Ottoman siege of Egermarker (Eğri) (September-October 1596) and at the Battle of Mezö-Keresztes in October 1596 and took part in the final assault that turned an imminent defeat into a notable triumph for the Ottomans. In reward for his services, he was made Grand Vizier, but the discontent arising from the measures which he used in an effort to restore discipline amongst the Ottoman forces, the troubles which followed his intervention in the affairs of the Crimean Tatars, and the existence at court of powerful influences eager to restore Damat İbrahim Pasha to the Grand Vizierate, brought about his deposition from this office after 40 days.

He was Beylerbey of Damascusmarker from December 1597 to January 1598. In May 1599 he was made Kapudan Pasha for the second time. In 1604, he assumed command of the eastern front, where a new war between the Ottomans and the Persians had broken out in the preceding year. His campaign of 1605 was unsuccessful, the forces he led towards Tabrizmarker suffering defeat near the shore of Lake Urmiya. Cağaloğlu had to withdraw to the fortress of Van and thence in the direction of Diyarbekirmarker. He died in the course of this retreat in December 1605. He was ancestor of İlhan İrem, who is a famous Turkish pop singer.

The Cağaloğlumarker quarter in İstanbulmarker, a household name in Turkeymarker for having been the equivalent of Londonmarker's Fleet Streetmarker as the press center, and where Cağaloğlu Yusuf Sinan Pasha had constructed a palace and a hammam (Turkish bath), is named after him and carries his name to our day. The bath was reconstructed in 1741.

The song "Sinàn Capudàn Pascià" by the Genoesemarker singer-songwriter Fabrizio De André tells the story of Sinan Pasha. It is completely in Genoese dialect and is part of the album Creuza de Mä.

See also


  1. Cervantes in Algiers by María Antonia Garcés, p.220 [1]


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