Kanuni Sultan Süleyman's tomb
Kanuni Sultan Süleyman's tomb.
Suleiman I (Ottoman Turkish: سليمان Sulaymān, Turkish: Süleyman; almost always Kanuni Sultan Süleyman in Turkish) (November 6, 1494 – September 5/6, 1566), was the tenth and longest-serving Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, reigning from 1520 to 1566. He is known in the West as Suleiman the Magnificent and in the East, as the Lawgiver (in Turkish Kanuni; Arabic: القانونى, al‐Qānūnī), deriving from his complete reconstruction of the Ottoman legal system. Suleiman became the pre-eminent monarch of 16th century Europe, presiding over the apogee of the Ottoman Empire's military, political and economic power. Suleiman personally led Ottoman armies to conquer the Christian strongholds of Belgrade, Rhodes, and most of Hungary before his conquests were checked at the Siege of Vienna in 1529. He annexed most of the Middle East in his conflict with the Persians and large swathes of North Africa as far west as Algeria. Under his rule, the Ottoman fleet dominated the seas from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean.
At the helm of an expanding empire, Suleiman personally instituted legislative changes relating to society, education, taxation and criminal law. His canonical law (or the Kanuns) fixed the form of the empire for centuries after his death. Not only was Suleiman a distinguished poet and goldsmith in his own right; he also became a great patron of culture, overseeing the golden age of the Ottoman Empire's artistic, literary and architectural development. In a break with Ottoman tradition, Suleiman married a harem girl who became Hurrem Sultan, whose intrigues in the court and power over the Sultan have become as famous as Suleiman himself. Their son, Selim II, succeeded Suleiman following his death in 1566 after 46 years of rule.