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Yıldırım Bayezid

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Fourth Padishah of Ottoman Empire (B. 1354 Edirne – D. 8th March 1403, Akşehir / Konya). He is known as Bayezid I as well. He was the elder son of Murat I and Gülçiçek Hatun, who was of Greek origin. Since his early ages he took Islamic lessons from the famous scholars of the time and military and administrative lessons from valuable generals. In 1381, he married Devlet Sultan, the daughter of Süleyman Şah, the ruler of Germiyanids (Germiyanoğulları) and nearly the whole lands of Germiyanids joined the Ottomans as her dowry. He became the sanjak (T.N. district) governor of Eğrigöz, Simav and Tavşanlı some of those who joined the Ottomans as the dowry.

Bayezid I grew up right behind his father Sultan Murad Hüdavendigâr, and attend campaigns along with his father. He was nicknamed “Yıldırım” (T.N. the thunderbolt) because of his swiftness in a battle against Karamanids (Karamanoğulları) in 1386. His effectiveness in commanding the army at the Battle of Kosova had a very important role in the Ottoman victory. Bayezid ascended to the throne at the battlefield following the death of his father Murad I, who was killed by a wounded Serbian knight in 1389.

Upon gaining control of the Balkans with the victory of Kosova, Bayezid headed towards Istanbul. He took Asian Minor of Constantinople (Istanbul) and had the first Turkish fortress on the Bosphorus, Anadoluhisarı, built and besieged Constantinople. The siege of Constantinople lasted for eight months. Upon realizing the Byzantine will be captured by Ottomans, the Christian world called for a new crusade with a strong army against the Ottoman Empire and marched toward the Danube River. When Bayezid I found out that Nicopolis (Niğbolu) was besieged by the Crusader Army, he left the siege of Constantinople and advanced towards Nicopolis swiftly. Two army met at Nicopolis and but he was defeated. When he learnt that Kütahya was occupied by the Karamanids, he left for Bursa. Meanwhile, the principalities under the control of Ottomans revolted to take their independences back and gathered around the Karamanids. Alaaddin Bey of Karamanids expanded his lands from Beyşehir to Eskişehir, Yakup Bey II of Germiyanids took back their lands which they gave as dowry, and Kadi Burhaneddin conquered Kırşehir. Before crossing to Anatolia, Beyazid I made a deal with Stefan Lazaroevic, the son of the Serbian King Lazar, to marry his daughter Oliveta Lazarević (Maria Despina) and to get the assistance of Serbians as a support. From then on, he remained faithful to Bayezid I because of Hungarian threats, and even joined the campaigns along with Bayezid I.

 Once he crossed to Anatolia, Bayezid took over Aydın, Saruhan (Manisa), Menteşe, Hamit and Germiyan (Kütahya) from the Turkmen Principalities in the Western Anatolia and captured Alaşehir as well during the winter times of 1389-90. In 1391, Bayezid began to prepare for a campaign against the Karamanids in Afyon and in 1391 he advanced towards Süleyman Bey, whom he defeated in Afyon in May 1390. However, he was defeated by Kadı Burhaneddin, an ally of Süleyman Bey. Later on, Bayezid took Osmancık and conquered Amasya the following year in order to secure unity of Anatolia.

Bayezid’s next target was the west. In 1393-94, he gathered all Balkan princes and Palaiologos in Serez in order to empower their loyalties and then in 1394 he marched to Greek, recapturing Thessaloniki, which had been lost in 1389. In the meantime, Lala Şahin exercised control over the shores of Albania, which was under the rule of Venice. In the spring of 1394, he again besieged Constantinople, which he had blockaded for seven years. In 1395, he advanced towards Hungary and attacked the fortresses on the way. Afterwards he crossed the Danube River to reach Niğbolu. There he captured the King of Bulgaria and killed him (3rd June 1395).

While Bayezid was trying to conquer Istanbul in 1396, the Crusader Army under the leadership of the King of Hungary Sigismund laid siege to Nicosia, but they were defeated decisively by Bayezid I. (25th September 1396). Bayezid, then, took Vidin from Bulgarian Prince Stratsimir, the last independent prince of Bulgaria. From then on, the fate of Balkans and Istanbul were in the hands of Bayezid I. The Byzantine emperor Manuel II Palaeologus had to accept to found a Turkish town, to build a mosque and appoint a kadi (T.N. islamic judge) in Istanbul.

Bayezid crossed to Anatolia to march towards Alaeddin Bey of Karamanids, who committed hostile acts during the Battle of Niğbolu. Alaeddin Bey, who was defeated at the Battle of Akçay, fled to Castle of Konya, but he was captured and killed, thus Konya and other parts of Karamanids were taken over by the Ottomans (1397). The following year he took the Canik region and other lands which were under the control of Kadı Burhaneddin. Bayezid conquered some towns belonging to Mamelukes such as Elbistan, Malatya, Behisni, Kâhta and Divriği rather than conciliating with them against the Timur threat.

On the other hand, Marshal Boucicaut, who set sail to the Mediterranean to help the Byzantine hit a weak Turkish fleet on Gallipoli, reached Constantinople but the forces he brought along was not enough to relieve. By the time Ottomans accelerated the campaign of Constantinople and the city was about to fall, the Timurid threat arose in the east. Timur wanted to take the Western Anatolia and establish his sovereignty on Anatolia declaring himself the heir of Ilkhanate and the Great Seljuk after his first conquest in the Eastern Anatolia in 1394, whereas Bayezid I wanted to rule Anatolia as the heir of the Seljuk. Timur moved to Anatolia and entered Erzincan, and then he laid siege to the fortress of Sebaste (Sivas) (1400). Eventually, Timur and Bayezid met in Çubuk prairie, near Ankara (28th July 1402). The Ottoman army was overpowered and Bayezid was captured by Timur. It is claimed that Beyazid I committed suicide in Akşehir where he was held captive (8th March 1403).

The Battle of Ankara caused the state expanded by Beyazid to collapse, because the princes (four of the six sons of Bayezid), who were fighting for the throne, recognized Timur’s authority. The era called The Ottoman Interregnum in the history of Ottoman was restored peremptorily by Fatih Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror. After the defeat of Sultan Bayezid, The Ottomans shrank to their borders during the first years of Murad I in Anatolia. However, this chaos reign was overcame, for the Rumelia region was still secure. Bayezid, who was very brave, skilled, active and a fair administrator, was a fierce padishah as well. He spent his whole life in battlefields; however he left many charity institutions behind when he passed away. He had zaviye (T.N. a small Islamic monastery), madrasah, imaret, inns, bridge, hospitals built in Bursa. The Bursa Ulu Mosque was constructed during his reign, too (1400). In Yıldırm district of Bursa, which was named after Yıldırım Beyazıt, there are a lot of historical structures of the Ottoman Empire. He had Yıldrım Külliyesi composed of a mosque, madrasah, imaret, tomb, fountain, şadırvan (T.N. water tank with a fountain) and a hospital built  and also Anadoluhisarı, also known as Güzelhisar, was built by Yıldırım Bayezid to blockade Istanbul (1396-97). He also had numerous charity institutions built in Rumelia and Anatolia.

Biyografya. (2021, September 29). Yıldırım Bayezid. Retrieved from https://www.biyografya.com/biyografi/18009

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