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Biography of Bayezid I

He was born in Bursa in 1354, as the oldest son of Sultan Murad I. His mother is Gülçiçek Hatun. He married Sultan Hatun, the daughter of Süleyman Çelebi, the Bey of the Germiyanoğlu Principality, and Kütahya was handed to the Ottomans as his wife’s dowry, and Prince Bayezid was made Sanjak Bey of the Kütahya province. Thus, he took on the responsibility of guarding the eastern frontier of the Ottoman Empire. He participated in his father’s war against Karamanoğlu Alaeddin Bey in 1386, and acquired the moniker Yıldırım because to the boldness and aggressiveness he displayed at the Battle of Frankish Writing. He became the first Governor of Amasya after the Amasya area joined the Ottomans.

Prince Bayezid played an important role in winning the First Kosovo War, which ensured the permanence of the Turks in Rumelia on 15 June 1389; Prince Bayezid, who assumed the command of the right column in the war, not only defeated the Serbian forces on his own side, but also came to the aid of the weak left column, ensuring that the war ended in victory. When Murad I was gravely injured during this conflict, he was summoned from the battlefield by his father owing to his being the eldest son, his tremendous achievements and his superior talent, and shortly after he was seated on the throne in his stead, Murad I drank the sherbet of martyrdom.

The new sultan took quick measures to return to Bursa after the conflict. Because in the interim, the princes that were subject to the Ottomans in Anatolia sought to rebel and rallied around Karamanoğlu to retake ownership of their previous domains. Karamanoğlu Alâeddin Bey captured Beyşehir and stretched to Eskişehir, Germiyanoğlu II. Yâkub Bey reconquered the territory he had lost via inheritance, and Kadı Burhaneddin took Kırşehir. Before heading to Anatolia, Bayezid spoke with Stefan Lazarevic, the son of the Serbian King, and established an arrangement to marry his sister Olivera (Maria Despina) and to profit from the Serbs as an auxiliary army. After this, Stefan stayed faithful to Bayezid due to continual Hungarian pressure and even joined in his wars. However, Vuk Brankovic, the ruler of Upper Serbia (Skopje, Pristina districts), opposed the Ottomans who wanted to gain control of the significant mining centers in his province. However, Pasha Yiğit Bey, who was active in this region, succeeded to take Skopje in 1391. Thus, a base was secured for operations against Bosnia and Albania.

Sultan Bayezid soon proceeded to Anatolia and seized Alaşehir in the winter of 1389-1390, as well as taking the Turkmen princes in Western Anatolia, Aydın, Saruhan, Menteşe, Hamîd and Germiyan, under Ottoman power. Candaroğlu Süleyman Bey and Manuel Palaeologus, the son of the Byzantine Emperor, also engaged in this operation alongside the Ottoman Army with their armies. Bayezid was at Afyonkarahisar in May 1390 and was busy planning for the campaign against Karamanoğlu. He eventually took action and seized Beyşehir, then marched to Konya and besieged the city. Meanwhile, Süleyman Bey, who abandoned the coalition and retreated to Kastamonu, struck an arrangement with Kadı Burhaneddin to support Karamanoğlu. The arrival of united troops in Kırşehir caused Bayezid to abandon the siege of Konya and accept Karamanoğlu’s treaty offer. With this pact, Çarşamba river formed the boundary between the two nations, while Beyşehir and other territories near it remained under Ottoman administration.

Bayezid marched on Süleyman Bey in 1391. However, he was unsuccessful against the soldiers of Süleyman’s ally, Kadı Burhaneddin. In the spring of 1392, he proceeded to make considerable preparations to march on Süleyman Bey again. In reality, in a Venetian dispatch dated April 6, 1392, it was alleged that Manuel Palaeologus, a subordinate of Bayezid, was preparing to join the maritime expedition against Sinope. This mission culminated in the seizure of Suleiman’s domains, except Sinop, and his death. Later, Bayezid marched on Osmancık and seized this area, despite the warnings of Kadı Burhaneddin. However, Kadı Burhaneddin won the conflict between the two sides in Çorumlu site and the beaten Ottoman soldiers fled. With the boldness of this triumph, Kadı Burhaneddin pushed his raids to Sivrihisar and Ankara and committed looting and devastation. However, the emir of Amasya, which was under siege by Burhaneddin, handed over Amasya to the Ottomans in 1392. Bayezid, who came to the region the next year, invaded Amasya and took over the city. Local lords in that region, such as Tâceddinoğulları in Çarşamba valley, Taşanoğulları in Merzifon region and the king of Bafra, accepted Bayezid’s supremacy. Meanwhile, Kadı Burhaneddin, who had fallen out with his comrades, had to return.

While Yıldırım Bayezid was seeking to create order in Anatolia, the margraves along the border in the Balkans were repressing their adversaries and continuing their war operations. Pasha Yiğit subdued Vuk Brankovic, Evrenos Bey seized Kitros and Vodena and marched towards Thessaly, Firuz Bey ravaged Wallachia, and Şahin Bey raided Albania. However, the Wallachian prince Mirčea, taking advantage of Bayezid’s attention in Anatolia, managed to take back Silistra and staged successful raids against the pirates in Karinâbâd. While the Venetians were seeking to put pressure on Byzantium, they were also active in Peloponnese and Albania, while the Hungarians were trying to expand their influence in Wallachia and Danube Bulgaria. Faced with this scenario, Bayezid was compelled to dedicate all his energies to Balkan issues. He conquered Tarnova, which had been under Ottoman rule since 1388, on 17 June 1393, and the Bulgarian King Şişman had to move to Nicopolis as an Ottoman vassal. Yıldırım Bayezid sailed to Thessaloniki in 1394 and besieged it, and managed to seize it despite the support of Frankish ships. After Thessaloniki, an attack was undertaken on Northern Greece and Larisa (Yenişehir) was seized. He also captured the Thessaly area, including cities like as Salone and Neopatras. He despatched Evrenos Bey to Mora with his men. Another Ottoman region was Southern Albania, which was directly dominated. Lala Şahin imposed oppressive pressure on the areas under Venetian administration on the Albanian coast.

Yıldırım Bayezid placed Istanbul, which he had blockaded for seven years, under a strict siege again in the spring of 1394. In 1395, he attacked Hungary and assaulted fortresses like as Slankamen, Titel, Beçkerek, Tımışvar, Kraşova and Mehadiye on his route. He installed Vlad on the throne instead of Mirčea, whom he vanquished in the fight that took place on May 17, 1395, near the Argeş river in Wallachia. Then he crossed the Danube and reached Nicopolis and had King Şişman imprisoned and executed (June 3, 1395).


Yıldırım Bayezid followed his similar stance against the Balkan republics and Byzantium, trying to unify the Ottoman empire. Just as he attacked Istanbul, he annihilated the Bulgarian Kingdom and the Dobruja Despotate. He broke the Hungarian influence here with the Wallachian expedition. Thus, securing a position that directly threatened Venice and Hungary in the west created considerable enthusiasm in Europe. With the help of the Pope, a new Crusader spirit was awakened.

Crusaders arrived from England, Scotland, Poland, Bohemia, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and the Southeastern European nations that were under Ottoman attack and convened in Buda. In the spring of 1396, the Hungarian King Sigismund crossed the Danube at Nicopolis with a great Crusader army, conquered the cities of Vidin and Orsova along the river and murdered all the Muslim population. When Nicopolis, the last major Danube defensive position under Ottoman hands, was besieged, there was no hope left for the small Ottoman force defending it. However, Sultan Bayezid relieved the siege of Istanbul, rapidly reached Nicopolis with the warriors he brought from Anatolia, and dispersed the Crusader army on September 25, 1396. Thousands of knights died either on the battlefield or by drowning in the river while escaping. Thousands of noblemen from all across Europe who fought in the conflict were arrested and released only after very costly ransoms were paid. Essentially, this conflict is one of the most notable events of the late Middle Ages, not only because of the prominence of individuals who engaged in it, but also because it was the last big worldwide endeavor of chivalry, and it represents the end of a period in European history. He subsequently seized Vidin from the last independent Bulgarian ruler, Stratsimir. Now the destiny of the Balkans and Istanbul was fully in Bayezid’s hands.

Bayezid proceeded to Anatolia to march against Karamanoğlu Alaeddin Bey, who launched hostile acts during the battle of Niğbolu. Alaeddin Bey, who was defeated at the Battle of Akçay, was imprisoned in Konya Castle, but was captured and slain. Konya and neighboring Karaman regions fell under Ottoman administration in the fall of 1397. The next year, the Canik region and the districts ruled by Kadı Burhaneddin joined the Ottoman lands. Later, Bayezid took cities like as Elbistan, Malatya, Behisni, Kâhta and Divriği.


Yıldırım Bayezid, on the one hand, was seeking to bring to justice those who were stabbing the Ottomans from behind in Anatolia, while on the other side, he was continuing the siege of Istanbul. After the conquest of Nicopolis, Bayezid dispatched an embassy to the Byzantine Emperor and begged for the surrender of Istanbul, and after Emperor Manuel refused the offer, he prolonged the siege. While the pressure on Istanbul was sustained by siege from land, the Ottoman Empire, which was not yet evolved in terms of naval force, could not do much from the water. The Ottoman sultan expertly caressed the Venetians and the Genoese, whose naval forces were considerable, and ensured that they did not obstruct his efforts as much as possible.

If these two republics desired, they might have held on to Çanakkale and not even permitted the Ottoman soldiers, whose naval was not yet formidable, to travel from Anatolia to Rumelia. Hopes for support from Europe were also dashed. However, Pope Bonifas’ remarks urging the defense of Istanbul in April 1398 and March 1399 did not have the impact they deserved. Finally, Busiko, who was captured in Nicopolis in order to save the interests of the Genoese Republic in Galata and Beyoğlu, which had fallen under the influence of France at that time, and to help Istanbul, came to the aid of Istanbul with twelve hundred knights, four ships and two galleys in the summer of 1399. he ran. Genoese and Venetian galleys joined him on the way, he reached to Istanbul, and scored some triumphs in the Marmara and Bosphorus at Izmit.

Meanwhile, Bayezid was on the Malatya campaign. Busiko persuaded the emperor to make peace with the Emperor’s nephew Yuannis, who was at Silivri. Bayezid also wanted Manuel to be withdrawn and given to Yuannis, whom he deemed the rightful successor of the Empire. Manuel accepted Busiko’s counsel and deemed it fitting to grant the sultanate to his nephew Yuannis, who was a tool in the hands of the Turks, and brought him from Silivri and appointed him co-emperor (1399).

Bayezid’s purpose was to capture Istanbul from Yuannis through this protection. According to Dukas, they had already agreed on this. Bayezid agreed to transfer Morea to Yuannis in return for Istanbul. As Yuannis’s partner in the kingdom, the Emperor stopped Bayezid’s scheme. After ceding the empire to his nephew, Manuel secretly departed Istanbul on a Venetian galley in December 1399 and left his family and children with his brother Theodore in the Peloponnese while he journeyed to Europe to unify the churches and thus aid. Busiko’s operations like as bombing various Ottoman coastal cities, taking the Riva (Irva) castle on the Anatolian side of the Bosphorus, murdering its guards, and setting fire to the Turkish ships hiding in the Riva harbor did not decrease the Ottomans’ siege capability.

In the summer of 1399, an Ottoman army of ten thousand people tried to reach Istanbul following a skirmish with the Genoese in Galata, but they were not successful. As seen above, it was at this moment when Busiko came to Istanbul’s assistance and gave Manuel hope. Since there were no heavy cannons to bombard the castle at that time, Bayezid anticipated that Istanbul would succumb through famine. There were even individuals who fled by rappelling from the castle owing to starvation.

During this siege of Istanbul following the Battle of Niğbolu, Yıldırım Bayezid had the Anatolian Fortress erected, a section of which is still there, named Güzelhisar, where the Göksu Stream falls into the sea.
In 1301, some Genoese and French warriors came to the help of Istanbul. Thus, the siege of Istanbul lingered until the middle of the same year due to the conflict that was about to commence between Bayezid and Timur. When the danger of Timur emerged, Yıldırım Bayezid notified Emperor Yuannis that he would end the siege of Istanbul by accepting specific conditions. By accepting the conditions provided by Bayezid, the siege of Istanbul was ended.

These conditions:

  • Increasing the tribute offered to the Ottoman treasury every year.
  • Establishing a Turkish neighborhood in Istanbul and erecting a mosque.
  • Appointment of a judge to adjudicate conflicts between Muslims and Greeks in Istanbul in line with Islamic law.
  • The territories up to Silivri, including Silivri, were left to the Ottomans.
  • The Byzantine Emperor Yuannis abided by this arrangement and supplied seven hundred dwellings and a mosque for the Turks at Sirkeci in Istanbul, and the Sultan transported immigrants from Taraklı Yenicesi, Göynük and the Black Sea coast to reside in Istanbul, and settled them with kadis (judges) and imams. has appointed.
  • During the siege of Istanbul, the town of Şile, which belonged to the Byzantines in the Anatolian half and on the Black Sea coast, was taken over quietly by the men despatched under the direction of Yahşi Bey.


At a time when the siege of Istanbul was gathering steam and the collapse of the city was close, the Timur menace appeared in the east. In the fall of 1399, Timur was in Eastern Anatolia. After his initial conquest of the eastern half of Anatolia in 1394, Timur sought to seize the western sections as well. Timur, who conquered Iran, intended to establish authority over Anatolia, claiming to be the heir of the Great Seljuks and Ilkhanids. Bayezid, on the other hand, was dreaming of attaining unification in Anatolia as the heir of the Seljuks. However, Timur first hesitant to take action against Bayezid, who controlled the leadership of the fight. He welcomed the Anatolian lords who defied Bayezid and fled and took sanctuary with him. On the other side, Bayezid saved Timur’s opponents, Sultan Ahmed Celayir and Kara Yusuf, and took them into his service. This made Timur very angry. He proceeded to Anatolia and came to Erzincan and was greeted by the Emir of Erzincan, Mutahharten. Then he besieged the Sivas Castle belonging to the Ottomans. Although the city surrendered in 1401, it was bloodily ravaged and a massive murder was committed in the city.

Timur, who seized and devastated Sivas, did not advance any farther after inflicting the first blow to the Ottomans. Hearing the tragic condition of Sivas, Bayezid was deeply grieved and could not reply promptly since he was unprepared, while Timur marched for Syria after demolishing Sivas. Meanwhile, Yıldırım Bayezid, who was making preparations, arrived to Kayseri, Erzincan and Kemah and captured Erzincan and Kemah from Timur’s ally Mutahharten. In this way, this behavior towards the beys of Erzincan and Kemah, who were subjects of Timur, produced a wedge between Bayezid and Timur. In the frightening letter Timur addressed to Bayezid during the Syrian expedition; After recounting his own victories, he commanded Bayezid to obey him. In answer, Yıldırım Bayezid revealed his beginnings, his pedigree and his conquests with the name he sent with his envoy Yakup Bey, and then proclaimed that he was ready to battle against the opponent he would confront.

However, the Ottoman statesmen, who saw Timur rushing from victory to triumph, encouraged Yıldırım Bayezid, notably the Grand Vizier Çandarlı zade Ali Pasha, and made him turn towards peace, and in this way they succeeded in sending an embassy to Timur. In the letter he sent, Bayezid proposed an agreement by claiming that there was no justification for the division between them and that he, like all his forefathers, was in the struggle with the unbelievers. These subtle signals spoilt Timur even more and, judging by the inadequacy of the Ottoman forces, he resolved to march on Anatolia and concluded his preparations by bringing his fresh soldiers to action in the spring of 1402. Timur, who completed his preparations and decided to go to war, asked Yıldırım Bayezid for things that he could not accept: giving the places in Anatolia that had been annexed to the Ottoman lands to the former rulers, sending a prince to his side, Kara Yusuf and the others who had previously taken refuge in Bayezid, being handed over to him, and Bayezid giving them to him. offered recommendations for connectivity.

Sultan Bayezid said to Grand Vizier Ali Pasha, who advised him to act cautiously against all these: “We have honor and the strength to resist; He responded with the words “We cannot be subject to it and we cannot live without independence” and after the war with Timur broke out, he agreed with the Byzantine Emperor and lifted the siege of Istanbul and withdrew his troops there.


Timur assaulted the castle as soon as Ankara arrived. He was trying to demolish this location before the Ottoman army arrived. Although Timur believed that the Ottoman army would come later, he was fooled in his forecast. While Timur was waiting for the Ottoman army to approach from the south-east, the Ottomans came from the north-east, that is, via Kalecik and Ravlı, and dropped to the Çubuk plain. In this circumstance, Timur seemed as if he had been attacked. Yıldırım Bayezid, who caught Timur before he could organize his forces, did not heed to the pleas of his sons and commanders regarding a quick attack and squandered a wonderful chance by claiming that he “deemed it appropriate to fight in Merdçe”. This event gained Timur time and saved him from the terrible predicament he was in. The Battle of Ankara, which pushed back the Ottoman conquests by half a century, was fought on Friday, July 28, 1402. The armies of the two sides were disproportionate; Timur had a force of one hundred and sixty thousand people, armed with armor, and elephants that were absolutely unknown in Anatolia, were intimidating and especially terrified the horses. The Ottoman armies numbered seventy thousand according to the report of Timur’s Conquest. The Ottoman army were crushed against these massive forces, and Yıldırım Bayezid and others of the princes were taken by Timur.

Bayezid died in captivity at Akşehir on March 8, 1403. The Battle of Ankara led to the downfall of the state that Bayezid had swiftly established, and caused the Ottoman Empire to endure a period of disintegration, dubbed the “Interregnum”, which lasted 11 years. Çelebi Mehmed won the conflict between the princes, which caused the blood of thousands of brothers to be shed, and guaranteed the unity of the kingdom and the security of the country in 1413.


Bayezid, whose life was full of conflicts and hardships, had a dashing, nimble, swift, hurried and resolute personality. He put attention to information and valued and defended intellectuals. This quality is best exemplified by the proximity with which Emir Sultan arrived from Bukhara and settled in Bursa. Yıldırım Bayezid married his daughter Hundi Hatun to Emir Sultan.


It was erected by Yıldırım Bayezid between 1391 and 1395 on a hill in the east of the city. A mosque, madrasah, soup kitchen, baths and mausoleum were established in Yıldırım Social Complex. The madrasa was erected 70-80 meters below the mosque. Darüşşifa, which completes the complex, was erected a little distance from the complex. Darüşşifa, constructed by Yıldırım Bayezid, is the first medical faculty and hospital erected in the Ottoman Empire. Yıldırım Bayezid Tomb was erected by his son Emir Süleyman in 1406, and Bayezid’s remains was moved from Akşehir and interred in the tomb.


The penultimate example of the Seljuk Grand Mosques tradition is the Ulu Mosque (Cami-i Kebir) erected by Yıldırım Bayezid in Bursa. According to the legend, before going on the Nicopolis expedition, Bayezid prayed to God and requested that he would have 20 mosques erected if the victory was effective. After winning the victory in 1396, he wanted to fulfill this promise, but his son-in-law, the great scholar Emir Sultan, whom he trusted very much, advised him that it would be more acceptable to build a mosque with twenty domes instead of twenty mosques, so he had the mosque built with the spoils obtained. When Timur invaded Bursa, he utilized the Grand Mosque as a stable. Later, the mosque was erected by Karamanoğlu Mehmet Bey and the Mongolian Sheikh Emir Bedrüddin, and once Çelebi Mehmed acquired control, he had it restored and opened it for prayer.


After Sultan Bayezid was captured alive during the fight, he was transported to Timur’s tent. In all historical sources, it is reported that Timur greeted Yıldırım Bayezid well. Timur and his troops seized Bursa and Iznik and finally Izmir; They ravaged and burned. During these campaigns and his stay in Anatolia, Timur constantly kept Bayezid near and would not allow him to leave.

Yıldırım Bayezid died as a hostage at Akşehir on March 8, 1403, at the age of 43. The reason of death is contested among historians.

According to Ibn Arabshah , he died of natural causes, although according to certain accounts, he died due to stress and profound melancholy. While some records suggest that he died owing to increasing rheumatism and bronchitis, some historians think that he was poisoned. There are even reports that he committed suicide because he could not tolerate the imprisonment.

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