II. Mahmud
CKM 2018-19 / Aziz Yardımlı



II. Mahmud


Mahmud II

  Mahmud II 1785-1839 1808-1839

Portretten van acht vorsten van Europa (L)

📂 Subject

  • Gregorius XVI 
  •  Willem I Frederik (koning der Nederlanden) 
  •  Ferdinand II (koning der Beide Siciliën) 
  •  Mahmud II (sultan van het Ottomaanse Rijk) 
  •  Nicolaas I Pavlovitsj (tsaar van Rusland) 
  •  Tachet, Claude Francois 
  •  Karel Albert (koning van Sardinië) 
  •  Frans II Josef Karel (Rooms-Duits keizer)


Der neue Palast Sultan Mahmud II (L)


Mahmud II

Mahmud II 1785-1839 1808-1839 (W)


30th Ottoman Sultan (Emperor)
Reign 28 July 1808 – 1 July 1839
Predecessor Mustafa IV
Successor Abdulmejid I
Born 20 July 1785
Topkapı Palace, Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
(present day Istanbul, Turkey)
Died 1 July 1839 (aged 53)
Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
(present day Istanbul, Turkey)
Tomb of Sultan Mahmud II, Fatih, Istanbul
Consorts Kamerfer Kadın
Nevfidan Kadın
Dilseza Kadın
Hoşyar Kadın
Aşubcan Kadın
Mislinayab Kadın
Nurtab Kadın
Bezmiâlem Sultan
Ebrureftar Kadın
Pervizifelek Kadın
Hüsnümelek Hanım
Pertevniyal Sultan
Tiryal Hanım
Zernigar Hanım
Lebrizifelek Hanım
Issue see below
Full name
Mahmud Han bin Abdülhamid
Dynasty Ottoman
Father Abdul Hamid I
Mother Nakşidil Sultan
Religion Sunni Islam



Mahmud II (Ottoman Turkish: محمود ثانىMahmud-u s̠ānī, محمود عدلى Mahmud-u Âdlî; Turkish: İkinci Mahmut; 20 July 1785 – 1 July 1839) was the 30th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1808 until his death in 1839.

His reign is recognized for the extensive administrative, military, and fiscal reforms he instituted, which culminated in the Decree of Tanzimat ("reorganization") that was carried out by his sons Abdulmejid I and Abdülaziz. Often described as "Peter the Great of Turkey", Mahmud's reforms included the 1826 abolition of the conservative Janissary corps, which removed a major obstacle to his and his successors' reforms in the Empire. The reforms he instituted were characterized by political and social changes, which would eventually lead to the birth of the modern Turkish Republic.

Notwithstanding his domestic reforms, Mahmud's reign was also marked by nationalist uprisings in Ottoman-ruled Serbia and Greece, leading to significant loss of territory for the Empire following the emergence of an independent Greek state.

In the general structure of the Ottoman Empire, Mahmud's reign was characterized by showing major interest to Westernization; institutions, palace order, daily life, clothing, music and many other areas saw radical reform as the Ottoman Empire opened up to the modernisation.



Accession (W)

His mother was Nakşidil Valide Sultan. In 1808, Mahmud II's predecessor, and half-brother, Mustafa IV ordered his execution along with his cousin, the deposed Sultan Selim III, in order to defuse the rebellion. Selim III was killed, but Mahmud was safely kept hidden by his mother and was placed on the throne after the rebels deposed Mustafa IV. The leader of this rebellion, Alemdar Mustafa Pasha, later became Mahmud II’s vizier. Western historians give Mahmud a poor reputation for simply being the Sultan during a time of deterioration of the Ottoman Empire.


There are many stories surrounding the circumstances of his attempted murder. A version by the 19th-century Ottoman historian Ahmed Cevdet Pasha gives the following account: one of his slaves, a Georgian girl named Cevri, gathered ashes when she heard the commotion in the palace surrounding the murder of Selim III. When the assassins approached the harem chambers where Mahmud was staying, she was able to keep them away for a while by throwing ashes into their faces, temporarily blinding them. This allowed Mahmud to escape through a window and climb onto the roof of the harem. He apparently ran to the roof of the Third Court where other pages saw him and helped him come down with pieces of clothes that were quickly tied together as a ladder. By this time one of the leaders of the rebellion, Alemdar Mustafa Pasha arrived with his armed men, and upon seeing the dead body of Selim III proclaimed Mahmud as padishah. The slave girl Cevri Kalfa was awarded for her bravery and loyalty and appointed haznedar usta, the chief treasurer of the Imperial Harem, which was the second most important position in the hierarchy. A plain stone staircase at the Altınyol (Golden Way) of the Harem is called Staircase of Cevri (Jevri) Kalfa, since the events apparently happened around there and are associated with her.


Reign overview

Reign overview

Reign overview (W)

The vizier took the initiative in resuming reforms that had been terminated by the conservative coup of 1807 that had brought Mustafa IV to power. However, he was killed during a rebellion in 1808 and Mahmud II temporarily abandoned the reforms. Mahmud II's later reformation efforts would be much more successful.


Maslak Pavilion.

The hilltop site of these royal lodges overlooking the Bosphorus is between the districts of Levent and Ayazaga on the European shore. Sultan Mahmud II (1808 1839) first had a pavilion constructed here, and Abdulhamid II (1876 1909) lived in the later pavilion as a young man. Exactly when the royal lodges were constructed and by whom is unknown, but most can be roughly dated to the reign of Abdulaziz (1861 1876). Set in a wooded park with an area of 170,000 square metres, the Maslak Royal Lodges consist of the main Kasr-i Humayun, the Mabeyn-i Hümayun with its adjoining Conservatory, the Cadir Kosk and Pasalar Dairesi. Commanding a magnificent view over the Bosphorus strait and set amongst green woodland, the kasirs are outstanding examples of late 19th century Ottoman architecture. (L)


War against the Saudi state

War against the Saudi state (W)

During the early years of Mahmud II's reign, his governor of Egypt Mehmet Ali Paşa successfully waged the Ottoman-Saudi War and reconquered the holy cities of Medina (1812) and Mecca (1813) from the First Saudi State.

Abdullah bin Saud and the First Saudi State had barred Muslims from the Ottoman Empire from entering the holy shrines of Mecca and Medina; his followers also desecrated the tombs of Ali ibn Abi Talib, Hassan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali. Abdullah bin Saud and his two followers were publicly beheaded for their crimes against holy cities and mosques.


Greek War of Independence

Greek War of Independence (W)

His reign also marked the first breakaway from the Ottoman Empire, with Greece gaining its independence following a revolution that started in 1821. During the Battle of Erzurum (1821), part of the Ottoman-Persian War (1821-1823), Mahmud II's superior force was routed by Abbas Mirza, resulting in a Qajar Persian victory which got confirmed in the Treaties of Erzurum. Several years later, in 1827, the combined British, French and Russian navies defeated the Ottoman Navy at the Battle of Navarino; in the aftermath, the Ottoman Empire was forced to recognize Greece with the Treaty of Constantinople in July 1832. This event, together with the French conquest of Algeria, an Ottoman province (see Ottoman Algeria) in 1830, marked the beginning of the gradual break-up of the Ottoman Empire. Non-Turkish ethnic groups living in the empire's territories, especially in Europe, started their own independence movements.


The Auspicious Incident

The Auspicious Incident (W)

One of Mahmud II's most notable acts during his reign was the destruction of the Janissary corps in June 1826. He accomplished this with careful calculation using his recently reformed wing of the military intended to replace the Janissaries. When the Janissaries mounted a demonstration against Mahmud II's proposed military reforms, he had their barracks fired upon effectively crushing the formerly elite Ottoman troops and burned the Belgrade forest outside Istanbul to incinerate any remnants. This permitted the establishment of a European-style conscript army, recruited mainly from Turkish speakers of Rumelia and Asia Minor. Mahmud was also responsible for the subjugation of the Iraqi Mamluks by Ali Ridha Pasha in 1831. He ordered the execution of the renowned Ali Pasha of Tepelena. He sent his Grand Vizier to execute the Bosniak hero Husein Gradaščević and dissolve the Bosnia Eyalet.


Russo-Turkish War

Russo-Turkish War (W)

Russo-Turkish War

Russo-Turkish War broke out during Mahmud II's reign and was this time fought without Janissary.


Tanzimat Reforms

Tanzimat Reforms (W)

Main article: Tanzimat

In 1839, just prior to his death, he began preparations for the Tanzimat reform era which included introducing a Council of Ministers or the Meclis-i Vukela. The Tanzimat marked the beginning of modernization in Turkey and had immediate effects on social and legal aspects of life in the Empire, such as European style clothing, architecture, legislation, institutional organization, and land reform.

He was also concerned for aspects of tradition. He made great efforts to revive the sport of archery. He ordered archery master Mustafa Kani to write a book about the history, construction, and use of Turkish bows, from which comes most of what is now known of Turkish archery.

Mahmud II died of tuberculosis, in 1839. His funeral was attended by crowds of people who came to bid the Sultan farewell. His son Abdulmejid I succeeded him and would continue to implement Tanzimat reform efforts.



Mahmudiye, The Ottoman Navy, Mahmudiye, 1829.

(1829), built by the Imperial Naval Arsenal on the Golden Horn in Constantinople, was for many years the largest warship in the world. The 201 x 56 kadem or 76.15 × 21.22 m (249.8 × 69.6 ft) ship of the line was armed with 128 cannons on 3 decks and carried 1,280 sailors on board. She participated in numerous important naval battles, including the Siege of Sevastopol (1854–1855) during the Crimean War.




Mahmud II, (born July 20, 1785, Constantinople — died July 1, 1839, Constantinople), Ottoman sultan (1808-39) whose westernizing reforms helped to consolidate the Ottoman Empire despite defeats in wars and losses of territory.

Mahmud was brought to the throne (July 28, 1808) in a coup led by  Bayrakdar Mustafa Paşa, ʿayn (local notable) of Rusçuk (now Ruse, Bulg.), who had first wanted to restore Mahmud’s uncle, the reform-minded sultan  Selim III, until he was strangled by the conservatives. Before the year was out, however, the  Janissaries revolted, killing Bayrakdar, Mahmud’s grand vizier (chief minister), and delaying his reform program until the mid-1820s.

Early in his reign Mahmud faced erosion of his empire in the Balkans. The war with Russia, which had continued fitfully after a truce in 1807, was ended by the  Treaty of Bucharest (May 28, 1812), ceding the province of Bessarabia to Russia. By 1815, Serbia was virtually autonomous and Greek independence movement was stirring. The Greeks in the Morea (the Peloponnese) rebelled (1821) against Ottoman rule, and Mahmud summoned the assistance of  Muḥammad ʿAlī Pasha, governor of Egypt. After massacres on both sides, Ottoman authority in Greece had been partly restored when the united British, French, and Russian fleets destroyed the Ottoman-Egyptian fleet in the  Bay of Navarino (Oct. 20, 1827) in southern Greece. Mahmud then declared war against Russia. The Ottomans were defeated in the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-29, and he acknowledged Greek independence in 1830.

Earlier in the year, Mahmud had agreed to appoint Muḥammad ‘Ali as governor of Syria and Tarsus (in southern Anatolia). In return for his services against the Greeks, Muḥammad ʿAlī demanded (1831) the promised governorship. When Mahmud refused, Muḥammad ʿAlī’s forces under his son  Ibrāhīm Pasha invaded Syria, captured Damascus and Aleppo, routed the Ottoman army at  Konya (1832), and advanced on Constantinople. Mahmud sought British aid, but — with France supporting Egypt — Great Britain refused. The Sultan then turned to Russia, which sent its fleet to the Bosporus and signed a treaty of mutual defense (July 1833). Determined to take revenge, Mahmud sent his army against the Egyptians in Syria but was severely defeated at  Nizip on June 24, 1839, a few days before his death.

The string of military defeats and the separatist revolts earlier had convinced Mahmud of the need for reforms in his army and administration. In 1826 he destroyed the defunct Janissary corps, thousands of its members dying in the ensuing massacre. He abolished military fiefs granted to cavalrymen (1831) and then established a new army, under his direct control, trained by German instructors.

Among his administrative reforms, Mahmud adopted the cabinet system of government, provided for a census and a land survey, and inaugurated a postal service (1834). In education, he introduced compulsory primary education, opened a medical school, and sent students to Europe. In addition, the sultan’s right to confiscate the property of deceased officials was abolished, and European dress was introduced.


“Piknik” / “The Babyses,“ or, “Sweet Waters of Europe,” Thomas Allom 1836








Only two rivers flow within many leagues of the great city of Constantinople; they rise at a short distance between it and the Black sea, and wind their way along a valley at the head of the Golden Horn. One of them was formerly called the Cydaris, and now the Bey Low; the other the Babyses, now changed to the Kyatkana Low, or “Water of the Paper Manufactory.” Where they fall into the harbour, the soil is alluvial and marshy, and the quantity of slime collected there induced the ancients to designate it “Marcidem Mare,” “the Putrid Sea.” The French, however, called it, les Eaux Doux, because the water was not salt; and the English now denominate it the “Sweet Waters.”

Notwithstanding that the waters are impure, and the high grounds around sterile and denuded, the place possesses many attractions. Higher up the stream, the valley improves, and circumstances have given the locality much celebrity. The paper factory having fallen into ruins, Sultan Selim built a kiosk in its place, in imitation of the palace of Versailles. A mound has been thrown across the river, and the stream detained, so as to form a large and tranquil sheet of water. On its banks stands the kiosk, one side of which is supported by pillars rising out of the water. It was once a favourite residence of Mahmoud II., but a slave, to whom he was greatly attached, died here in the prime of life; and her master having erected a tomb to her memory on the bank, abandoned the place for many years. Time, however, has worn out the impression, and it is again a favourite retreat. At the head of the valley is the Ocmeidan, or “Place of the Arrow,” the royal archery-ground; and marble pillars, erected at different distances, attest the Sultan’s skill, and the almost incredible distance to which he can send a shaft. On these occasions, he is attended by his officers, and sometimes the females of his family, in arrhubas: the valley is then shut up with guards, and no stranger permitted to intrude: at other times, it is open to all classes, who come here to rusticate, particularly Greeks, on Sundays and festivals.

There is one period, however, in which it is the thronged resort of every person seeking amusement; and the Golden Horn is covered with caïques from all parts of Pera and Constantinople. This occurs on St. George’s day in the month of May, when the splendid stud of the sultan is brought out from the stables of the seraglio, for the first time in the season, to graze on the rich herbage of this place. The horses are in the care of Bulgarians, and crowds of peasants accompany their countrymen. They come down from the Balkan mountains at this season of the year, to dress the vineyards about the city; and groups of them, with their honest, good-natured faces, are seen everywhere dancing through the streets. Their dress is a jacket of brown cloth, caps of brown sheep-skin with the wool on, and sandals of raw hide, drawn under the sole, and bound over the instep. But what particularly distinguishes them is an enormous bagpipe. The minstrel draws after him a crowd of his countrymen, capering through the streets of Pera and Constantinople, on their way to the Sweet Waters, to amuse the company assembled there. The banks at this season are covered with a rich verdure, and enamelled with a profusion of flowers of all hues: the very humidity of the soil confers a luxuriance on the sward which is nowhere else to be seen. The soil round the city is a poor and sterile gravel, and for nine months in the year presents a parched and arid surface of irksome brown; it is only in the cool, humid valleys, that a blade of verdure is to be seen. This spot, therefore, is much frequented by the Franks; and there is no stranger on a visit to the capital, who is not invited to see the Sweet Waters. The Illustration represents one of these festive meetings. On the right of the foreground is a group of Greek girls, dancing through the graceful mazes of the romaika, their unveiled faces and necks, and their neatly sandalled feet, forming a striking contrast to the yasmaks and slippered-boots of other Oriental females of the capital. In the background are companies engaged in various festivities, and embosomed in the trees; behind is seen the sultan’s kiosk, with a never-failing minaret peeping through the foliage.




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