SULTAN III. SELİM HAN
Father : Sultan Mustafa III
Mother : Mihrişah Sultan
Date of Birth : December 24, 1761
Accession to the Throne : April 7, 1789
Date of Dethronement : May 29, 1807
Death : July 28, 1808
Selim was accessed to the Ottoman throne as the twentyeighth Sovereign. He led
an easy life as a prince and got a very good education. He was interested in
music at a young age, liked Turkish music and enjoyed playing musical
instruments. He later composed music and became such a learned musician as to
contribute to our music with new tunes. During his youth, he closely observed
the operation of state administration and political, social and military
corruption (especially the Janissary Corps). He believed that the state could be
improved through renovations and reformations especially at the military sector.
He closely followed up the development in the post revolutionary France.
Following his enthronement, he made several contacts for the improvement of
relationships between the two states.
The war with Austria was continuing on the date of his enthronement. The
forcing of the Austrian Army on the rear ranks at the battle with Russia in the
region of Jassy, caused the “Fochani Rout”. Shortly following. Beograde
surrendered. The war was suspended for some time by the signing of first the
Svistov and then the 1792 Jassi Treaties; and activities for augmenting the army
and its weaponry. Plans were drawn up for the establishment of a new army under
the name of “Nizam-i Cedid” (The New Military System). Tutors were invited from
France and Swieden for the training of the army. Trustworthy state officials
went around the territories of the empire and the registration of soldiers were
realized under their personal control. France, which closely followed up the
renovations in the army, did not miss this opportunity and dared to conquer
Egypt and Alexandria. A major new era in our history had perhaps begun under
these circumstances. Russia and Britain made an alliance with the Ottoman State
against the French threat in the Mediterranean. Russia was thus able to go down
to the warm waters.
New equilibriums were formed in the Mediterranean, the superiority of the
French navy over the British navy was recognized and the first seeds of Greek
uprisings were sown.
Selim III was a slender person, with fair complexion, deep looking eyes and a
dense, black beard. He was a good calligrapher as well as a good poit and a
composir. He liked people, got pleasure out of helping them and protected
artisans. He was also interested in reconstruction issues and ordered the
construction of Selimiye Barracks and a mosque.