Abdul Hamid I: Ottoman Sultan from 1774 to 1789

Abdul Hamid I: Ottoman Sultan from 1774 to 1789


Abdul Hamid I was the Ottoman Sultan from 1774 to 1789, when he signed the humiliating Treaty of Kuçuk Kaynarca to end the war with Russia. Russia received strongholds on the coast of the Sea of Azov, the land between the Dnieper and Bug rivers, and navigation and economic advantages in the Ottoman Empire under the treaty's provisions. In 1775, Austria received Bukovina. In 1783, Russia conquered Crimea (a tributary state of the Ottoman Empire) and planned to partition the Ottoman Empire. When confronted with Russian plans, Abdul Hamid I declared war in 1787, which lasted until his death. He was a religious and compassionate man who took a strong interest in state issues and promoted reform by appointing capable grand viziers to whom he delegated broad authority. He reformed the army and established the Imperial Naval Engineering School. In Syria, Egypt, and Iraq, he likewise worked to bolster the central power against local governors.

Abdul Hamid I

27th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire


21 January 1774 – 7 April 1789


Mustafa III


Selim III


20 March 1725


7 April 1789 (aged 64


Tomb of Abdul Hamid I, Fatih, Istanbul


  • Ayşe Kadın
  • Ruhşah Kadın
  • Humaşah Kadın
  • Sineperver Sultan
  • Binnaz Kadın
  • Mehtabe Kadın
  • Mutebere Kadın
  • Şebsefa Kadın
  • Nakşidil Sultan




Ahmed III


Şermi Kadın


Sunni Islam

Early Life

Sultan Ahmed III (reigned 1703–1730) and his spouse Şermi Kadın had him born on 20 March 1725 in Constantinople. Ahmed III abdicated in favour of his nephew Mahmud I, who was succeeded by his brother Osman III, who was succeeded by Ahmed's older son Mustafa III. Thus, Abdul Hamid was imprisoned in comfort by his relatives and older brother as a future heir to the kingdom, as was traditional. This was in effect until 1767. His mother was responsible for his early schooling, Rabia Şermi, who taught him history and calligraphy throughout this time.



Abdul Hamid rose to the throne with a ceremony held in the palace on Mustafa's death, 21 January 1774. The funeral procession for Mustafa III took place the next day. On the front, the new Sultan addressed a letter to the Grand Vizier and Serdar-ı Ekrem Muhsinzade Mehmed Pasha, instructing him to continue his duties. The sword was armed at Eyup Sultan on 27 January 1774. The Ottoman-Russian front conflicts were still going on when the army was on the move, and there was a food scarcity in Istanbul.


Abdul Hamid's extended confinement had rendered him uninterested in state issues and susceptible to his advisors' schemes. He was, nonetheless, a devout Christian and a pacifist by inclination. At the time of his accession, the treasury's financial situation was such that the regular donation to the Janissary Corps could not be made. "As all of our army sons should understand," the new Sultan addressed the Janissaries, "there are no longer gratuities in our coffers." Abdul Hamid was now working to restructure the empire's military. He counted the Janissaries and attempted to renovate them, as well as the fleet. He created a brand-new artillery corps. In addition, he is credited with founding the Imperial Naval Engineering School. Abdul Hamid attempted to consolidate Ottoman control over Syria, Egypt, and Iraq. However, minor victories against rebels in Syria and the Morea could not compensate for the loss of the Crimean Peninsula, which had declared independence from Russia in 1774 but was again under Russian rule in reality. Russia used its position as protector of Eastern Christians to intervene in the Ottoman Empire on several occasions, both implicitly and explicitly. In 1787, the Ottomans finally declared war on Russia. Austria soon became a part of Russia. Initially, Turkey held her own throughout the fight, but Ochakov fell to Russia on 6 December 1788. (all of its inhabitants being massacred). Abdul Hamid's spirit was reported to have been broken by this humiliating setback, as he died four months later. Abdul Hamid was recognized as the most gracious Ottoman Sultan, notwithstanding his failings. During the 1782 fire in Constantinople, he oversaw the fire department. People loved him for his religious dedication, and he was even dubbed a Veli ("saint"). He also developed a reform agenda, kept a close eye on the government, and collaborated with politicians. After the war with Russia concluded in this way, Abdul Hamid I shifted his attention to internal matters. He used Algerian Gazi Hasan Pasha to put down internal uprisings and Silâhdar Seyyid Mehmed Pasha (Karavezir) and Halil Hamid Pasha to control reform efforts. The insurrection of Zahir al-Omar, who collaborated with Russian navy admirals in the Mediterranean, benefiting from the chaos generated by the Russian expedition of the 1768 Russian war, and subdued the rebellion in Egypt in 1775, as well as the Kölemen in Egypt, was brought to the road. On the other side, the chaos in Peloponnese was put to an end, and peace was restored. All of these incidents were suppressed thanks to the efforts of Kaptanıderyâ Gazi Hasan Pasha and Cezzâr Ahmed Pasha.

Agreement of Kuçuk Kaynarca

The Ottoman Empire was forced to continue the ongoing war with Russia almost immediately, despite his pacifist tendencies. This resulted in the humiliating Treaty of Kuçuk Kaynarca, which was signed on 21 July 1774, after the Turkish defeat at Kozludzha. The Ottomans gave Russia territory and the authority to act on behalf of the Empire's Orthodox Christians. The region, as well as Russia's ambassador at Istanbul level and an authorized representative, this ambassador's participation in other state ceremonies, the right to pass through the Straits to Russia, and the Russian envoy's envoys, were given immunity, were all left with the Treaty of Kuçuk Kaynarca. In addition, the exclusive commercial rights of England and France were granted, and marketing options for all kinds of commodities in Istanbul and other ports. The contract also stipulated that the Russian authorities construct a church at Ga lata. Under these circumstances, the church would be open to the public, known as the Russo-Greek Church, and would be perpetually protected by Russian ambassadors in Istanbul.

Relations with Tipu Sultan

Tipu Sultan, the Sultan of Mysore, dispatched an embassy to Abdul Hamid in 1789, pleading for help against the British East India Company and proposing an offensive and defensive alliance. However, the Ottomans were still enmeshed and fatigued from the ongoing conflict with Russia and Austria, Abdul Hamid warned the Mysori ambassadors.


Abdul Hamid I left many architectural works, the majority of which were in Istanbul. The most notable is the current in Sirkeci, which began in 1777. The Vakıf Inn constructed the structure. Next to this structure, he built a fountain, an elementary school, a madrasah, and a library. The library's books are now housed in the Suleymaniye Library, and the madrasah serves as a stock exchange. The fountain was removed by construction during the construction of the Vakıf Inn and relocated to the corner of Zeynep Sultan Mosque opposite Gulhane Park. Aside from these projects, he erected a mosque with a mosque on the beach of Beylerbeyi on behalf of Râbia Şermi Kadın in 1778, and he built fountains in Çamlıca Kısıklı Square, as well as  İskele Square, Çınarönu, Havuzbaşı and Car Square. In addition, he rebuilt the Beylerbeyi Mosque. He constructed a mosque, a fountain, a spa, and stores in Emirgân in 1783, as well as another for Humâşah Sultan and his son Mehmed. The fountain has been expanded. Another fountain near the Neslişah Mosque in Istinye and another on the embankment between Dolmabahçe and Kabatas.


He reported the problems he had witnessed to his empire's grand vizier or governor. He accepted his grand vizier's invitations and travelled to his mansions, where a Quran reading greeted him. He was a holy Sultan who was modest. Abdul Hamid, I was known to adore his children, to value family life, and to spend his summer months in Karaaaç, Beşiktaş, with his consorts, sons, and daughters. His daughter Esma Sultan's fashion sense, her love of entertainment, and her trips to the objects with her journeymen and concubines have set a precedent for Istanbul ladies.


All of Abdul Hamid's consorts had been married. He had made a conscience marriage since he had reason to believe the women in question had been born Muslims. On each occasion, the Sultan declared the girl free and repeated the marriage pledge in her honour in front of the Şeyhulislam, but without fanfare.






Ayşe Kadın



Ruhşah Kadın alias El-Hace Hatice



Humaşah Kadın



Sineperver Sultan


11 December 1828

Binnaz Kadın


June 1823

Mehtabe Kadın



Mutebere Kadın


16 May 1837

Şebsefa Kadın



Nakşidil Sultan


22 August 1817



Mustafa IV



Mahmud II



Şehzade Abdullah

10 January 1776

10 January 1776

Şehzade Mehmed

22 August 1776

3 February 1781

Şehzade Ahmed

12 December 1776

18 December 1778

Şehzade Abdurrahman

31 July 1777

2 August 1777

Şehzade Suleyman

13 March 1779

19 January 1786

Şehzade Abdulaziz

19 August 1779

19 August 1779

Şehzade Mehmed Nusret

20 September 1782

23 October 1785

Şehzade Seyfullah Murad

22 October 1783

21 January 1786



Hatice Sultan

12 January 1776

8 November 1776

Ayşe Sultan

30 July 1777

9 September 1777

Esma Sultan

16 July 1778

4 June 1848

Rabia Sultan

19 April 1780

28 June 1780

Aynışah Sultan

10 July 1780

28 July 1780

Melikşah Sultan

29 December 1780


Rabia Sultan

10 August 1781

3 October 1782

Fatma Sultan

19 January 1782

11 January 1786

Alemşah Sultan

10 November 1784

10 March 1786

Saliha Sultan

28 November 1786

10 April 1788

Emine Sultan

4 February 1788

9 March 1791

Hibetullah Sultan

16 March 1789

18 September 1841


Adopted daughters


Ahtermelek Hanım


3-31 December 1785

Durruşehvar Hanım


May 1826

Deposition and Last Years

Political unrest was created by a conflict between the Janissaries and the sipahis (Ottoman cavalry), followed by the Abaza insurgency, which occurred when Erzurum's governor-general, Abaza Mehmed Pasha, prepared to march to Istanbul to avenge Osman II's killing. Authorities tried to end the struggle by assassinating Kara Davud Pasha, but Abaza Mehmed persisted. Finally, clerics and the new Grand Vizier (Kemankeş Kara Ali Pasha) convinced Mustafa's mother to allow her son's deposition. She agreed on the condition that Mustafa's life is saved. On 10 September 1623, Murad IV, the 11-year-old son of Ahmed I and Kösem, was crowned. Mustafa's mother was granted her request to have him spared from execution in exchange for her consent to his deposition. Mustafa was transported to the Eski (ancient) palace with his mother.


Abdul Hamid died at Constantinople on 7 April 1789, at the age of 64. He was laid to rest in Bahcekapi, a tomb he had constructed himself. He was a passionate Arabian horse breeder. After him, a breed of Kuheylan Arabians was named "Kuheylan Abdulhamid."

Last updated: 2021-October-19
Tags: Ottoman Empire
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