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Murad I (Serbian: Мурат /Murat I) (nick-named Hüdavendigâr - from Khodāvandgār - "the God-like One") ( ) (March or June 29, 1326, Sogutmarker or Bursamarker – June 15, 1389, Battle of Kosovo) ( ) was the ruler of the Ottoman Empire, Sultan of Rûm, from 1362 to 1389. He was the son of Orhan I and the Valide Sultan Nilüfer Hatun (whose name means Water lily in Turkish), daughter of the Prince of Yarhisar or Byzantine princess Theodora Kantakouzene (also named Nilüfer), who was of ethnic Greek descent and became the ruler following his father's death in 1362.

Establishment of Empire

He established the Empire by building up a society and government in the newly conquered city of Adrianople (Edirnemarker in Turkish) and by expanding the realm in Europe, bringing most of the Balkans under Ottoman rule and forcing the Byzantine emperor to pay him tribute. It was Murad who established the former Osmanli tribe into an empire. He established the title of sultan in 1383 and the corps of the janissaries and the devşirme recruiting system. He also organised the government of the Divan, the system of timars and timar-holders (timariots) and the military judge, the kazasker. He also established the two provinces of Anadolu (Anatoliamarker) and Rumeli (Europe).


Murad fought against the powerful emirate of Karaman in Anatolia and against the Serbs, Bulgarians and Hungarians in Europe. His moves in the Balkans brought together a Christian coalition under the king of Hungarymarker, but it was defeated at the Battle of Maritsa on September 26, 1371, by Murad's capable second lieutenant Lala Şâhin Paşa, the first governor (beylerbey) of Rumeli. In 1366 the Serbian king was forced to pay tribute to the Sultan and in 1385 Sofiamarker fell to the Ottomans. In 1386 Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović defeated a small Ottoman force at the Battle of Pločnik. The Ottoman army did not suffer heavy casualties, and was unable to capture Nišmarker on the way back. In 1389 Murad's army defeated the Serbian Army and its allies under the leadership of Lazar at the Battle of Kosovo.

There are different accounts from different sources about when and how Murad I was assassinated. One Western source states that during first hours of the battle, Murad I was assassinated by Serbian nobleman and knight Miloš Obilić by knife.Most Ottoman chroniclers (including Dimitrie Cantemir) state that he was assassinated after the finish of the battle while going around the battlefield. Others state that he was assassinated in the evening after the battle at his tent by the assassin who was admitted to ask a special favour. His older son Bayezid, who was in charge of the left wing of the Ottoman forces, took charge after that. His other son, Yakub Bey, who was in charge of the other wing, was called to the Sultan's command center tent by Bayezid, but when Yakub Bey arrived he was strangled, leaving Bayezid as the sole claimant to the throne.

In the earliest preserved Christian record, a letter of Florentine senate to the King Tvrtko I of Bosnia, dated 20 October 1389, Murad I's killing was described. Milos Obilic, a Serbian warrior had managed to get through the Ottoman army and kill Murad I.

Fortunate, most fortunate are those hands of the twelve loyal lords who, having opened their way with the sword and having penetrated the enemy lines and the circle of chained camels, heroically reached the tent of Amurat himself. Fortunate above all is that one who so forcefully killed such a strong vojvoda by stabbing him with a sword in the throat and belly. And blessed are all those who gave their lives and blood through the glorious manner of martyrdom as victims of the dead leader over his ugly corpse.

Sultan Murad's internal organs were buried in Kosovo field and remains to this day on a corner of the battlefield in a location called Meshed-i Hudavendigar which has gained a religious significance by the Muslims (which had been renamed Obilićmarker by the Serbs). It has recently been renovated. His other remains were carried to Bursa, his Anatolian capital city, and were buried in a tomb at the complex built in his name.

Marriages and Progeny

Marriages of Murad I:

Progeny of Murad I:
  • Yakub Celebi (? - d. 1389) - son. In the first recorded fratricide in the history of the Ottoman dynasty, Bayezid I had Yakup killed during or following the Battle of Kosovo at which their father had been killed.
  • Sultan Bayezid I (1354-1402)- son of Gulcicek Hatun
  • Savci Bey - son. He and his lover, Byzantyne emperor John V Palaeologus' son Andronicus, rebelled against their fathers. Murad had Savci killed. Andronicus, who had surrendered to his father, was imprisoned and blinded at Murad's insistence.
  • Ibrahim Bey - son
  • Yahshi Bey - son of Gulcicek Hatun
  • Halil Bey - son
  • Nefise - daughter
  • Sultan - daughter

Sultan Murad in literature

Prince Harry refers to Murad as "Amurath" in Act V Scene 2 when he succeeds his father, King Henry IV, in 1412:

Chief Justice. Good morrow, and God save your majesty!

King Henry V. This new and gorgeous garment, majesty,
Sits not so easy on me as you think.
Brothers, you mix your sadness with some fear:
This is the English, not the Turkish court;
Not Amurath an Amurath succeeds,
But Harry Harry!

  • Murad (as "Amurath the First") is the subject of Thomas Goffe's play The Courageous Turk, published in 1632.


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