Selim III.

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Selim III.

Selim III. (* December 24, 1762 in Constantinople, today Istanbul ; † July 28, 1808 there ) was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1789 to 1807 .


Selim was a son of the Sultan Mustafa III. and a Georgian woman and succeeded his uncle Abdülhamid I on the throne. He had socialized a lot with foreigners and had come to the realization that the state had to be thoroughly reformed. At first, however, he continued the wars against Austria and Russia with little success. Only after the peace of Sistowa in 1791 with Austria and the peace of Jassy ( Iași ) with Russia in 1792 did he get a respite in Europe, while Bonaparte's invasion of Egypt and Syria from 1798 tied all the forces of the Ottoman Empire and also the old alliance with the French let break. In the peace treaty of 1802, however, he was able to secure Egypt again for his empire.

Selim made the administration more effective through reforms, especially in the financial sector, drew numerous fiefs from militarily unreliable vassals and tried to improve the educational system. He modernized the military by founding an engineering and a seafaring school. In addition, Selim hired foreign officers as instructors, through whom he established a small, new corps, the Nizâm-ı Cedîd  /نظام جديد / 'New Order'. These troops were so well organized that they could hold their own against rebelling janissaries in the European provinces. Encouraged by this success, Selim issued an order that selected men from the ranks of the Janissaries should be transferred to the new troop every year in the future. When Selim began to prepare plans for a kind of general conscription , the Janissaries rose in Adrianople (Edirne). In view of the number of rebels, which is said to have exceeded 10,000, and in view of the vehemence of their opposition, which was also supported by the clergy, Selim initially stopped reforms in 1806.

Serbia , Egypt and other regions were successively the scene of clashes in which the Turks were unsuccessful. The Janissaries rose again in revolt and led the Şeyhülislâm to issue a fatwa against the reforms. On May 29, 1807, they dethroned and imprisoned Selim and brought his cousin Mustafa to the throne.

Bairakdar Mustafa Paşa , the Pasha of Rustschuk , a staunch supporter of the reforms, now gathered an army of 40,000 and marched on the capital to reinstate the fallen sultan. However, he was late; Selim had been murdered. In order to be able to continue the reforms anyway, after Mustafa's removal, his brother Mahmud was appointed as the new ruler.

Selim's legacy is his valuable compositions for classical Turkish music . He was very artistically gifted and was a lover of music. A total of 46 musical works and makams are known today. His uncle Abdülhamid I gave Selim a good education.


  • Betül Başaran: Selim III, Social Control and Policing in Istanbul at the End of the Eighteenth Century. Between Crisis and Order , Brill, 2014. ISBN 978-90-04-27455-6
  • Seyfi Kenan (Ed.): Nizâm-ı Kadîm'den Nizâm-ı Cedîd'e - III. Selim ve dönemi / Selim III. and his era - from Ancien Régime to New Order. Istanbul: Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslâm Araştırmaları Merkezi (İSAM), 2010, ISBN 978-605-5586-27-0 (collection of essays on Selim III. And his time - mostly Turkish, partly English).
  • Stanford J. Shaw : Between Old and New: The Ottoman Empire under Selim III, 1789-1807. Cambridge, Mass .: Harvard University Press, 1971 (English).
  • Ali Yaycıoğlu: Partners of the Empire: The Crisis of the Ottoman Order in the Age of Revolutions . Stanford University Press, Stanford (California) 2016, ISBN 978-0-8047-9612-5 (English).
  • Aysel Yıldız: Crisis and Rebellion in the Ottoman Empire: The Downfall of a Sultan in the Age of Revolution . IB Tauris, London / New York 2017, ISBN 978-1-78453-510-0 (English).
  • Selim . In: Encyclopædia Britannica . 11th edition. tape 24 : Sainte-Claire Deville - Shuttle . London 1911, section Selim III. , S. 606 (English, full text [ Wikisource ]).

Web links

Commons : Selim III.  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Selim III (Ottoman sultan). In: Encyclopædia Britannica . (English).
predecessor Office successor
Abdülhamid I. Sultan and Caliph of the Ottoman Empire
Mustafa IV.