Sultan II. Abdülhamid Han


Father : Sultan Abdülmecid
Mother : Tirimüjgan Sultan
Date of Birth : September 21, 1842
Accession to the Throne : August 31, 1876
Date of Dethronement : April 27, 1909
Death : February 10, 1918

Sultan Abdülhamid was accessed to the Ottoman throne as the thirtyfourth Sovereign. He had an easy life at the Palace when he was a prince. He learned Persian, Arabic and French from the best tutors of the period, and he was able to easily read, write and converse in these languages. He also got music lessons from French and Italian tutors.

Sultan Abdülhamid took over the sovereignty in a period of turmoil. With the purpose of making an issue of Serbia and Karadağ question, Western states succeeded in convening the Maritime Arsenal Conference in İstanbul in vain. On the same day, the first Constitution and the Constitutional Government was declared. The first Council of Ministers was opened on March 19, 1877.

On the 5th day of the Constitutional Government the 1877 Ottoman Russian war started. Russians proceeded up to Ayastefanos (Yeşilköy) and a treaty was signed under the same name. The war ended with the Berlin Treaty. The western states thus, gained the opportunity which colud enable them to implement their Sharing Out Project for the eastern territories of the Empire. Cyprus was given to Britain as a base and the State’s financial control was in a way taken over by the Western States with the increasing financial embarrassment, inability in the payment of loan interests, the Muharrem Decree and the institution of Public Debts. Britain replaced its policy of equilibrium with the implementation of the immediate dissolution of the Ottoman State; and following Cyprus, took under its control Egypt also.

The western states created the Armenian Issue in order to scatter and disable the Ottoman State and to institute small territories under their control. Various uprisings occurred during this period, and some rebels were even bold enough to place a bomb in the Sovereign’s carriage.

Sultan Abdülhamid was rather tall, with a somewhat dark complexion. He had a long nose, hazel eyes and curly beard. He was quick witted and cultured. He had an extremely strong memory. He never forgot anything he saw once.

He liked working a lot, and kept himself busy at his workshop as a skilled joiner outside his working hours. He attached great importance to culture. The University, Fine Arts Academy, high schools in provinces, medium schools in districts, primary schools in villages, arts and crafts school for girls, Agricultural and Commercial schools, Darüşafaka and schools for the deaf and the blind were instituted during his reign. Şişli Etfal Hospital and Darülaceze, also established during his time, were institutions providing for the social protection of the public.