18th century portrait of Bayezid II
|Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (Padishah)|
|Reign||22 May 1481 - 24 April 1512 (30 years, 338 days)|
|Born||3 December 1447|
Demotika, Ottoman Sultanate (modern-day Demotika, Greece)
|Died||26 May 1512 (aged 64)|
Abalar, Havsa, Ottoman Empire
Bayezid II Mosque, Istanbul
Gülbahar Valide Hatun
|Issue||?ehzade Sultan Ahmed|
?ehzade Sultan Korkud
Bayezid II (Ottoman Turkish: ?, romanized: B?yez?d-i sn?, December 1447 - 26 May 1512, Turkish: II. Bayezid) was the eldest son and successor of Mehmed II, ruling as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1481 to 1512. During his reign, Bayezid II consolidated the Ottoman Empire and thwarted a Safavid rebellion soon before abdicating his throne to his son, Selim I. He is most notable for evacuating Sephardi Jews from Spain after the proclamation of the Alhambra Decree, and resettling them throughout Ottoman lands, especially in Salonica.
There are sources that claim that Bayezid was the son of Mükrime Hatun. This would make Ayse Hatun a first cousin of Bayezid II. However, the marriage of Mükrime Hatun took place two years after Bayezid was born and the whole arrangement was not to Mehmed's liking. The Albanian-born Gülbahar Hatun is generally accepted as the real mother of Bayezid II.
Bayezid II's overriding concern was the quarrel with his brother Cem Sultan, who claimed the throne and sought military backing from the Mamluks in Egypt. Having been defeated by his brother's armies, Cem sought protection from the Knights of St. John in Rhodes. Eventually, the Knights handed Cem over to Pope Innocent VIII (1484-1492). The Pope thought of using Cem as a tool to drive the Turks out of Europe, but as the papal crusade failed to come to fruition, Cem was left to languish and die in a Neapolitan prison.
Bayezid II ascended the Ottoman throne in 1481. Like his father, Bayezid II was a patron of western and eastern culture. Unlike many other sultans, he worked hard to ensure a smooth running of domestic politics, which earned him the epithet of "the Just". Throughout his reign, Bayezid II engaged in numerous campaigns to conquer the Venetian possessions in Morea, accurately defining this region as the key to future Ottoman naval power in the Eastern Mediterranean. The last of these wars ended in 1501 with Bayezid II in control of the whole Peloponnese. Rebellions in the east, such as that of the Qizilbash, plagued much of Bayezid II's reign and were often backed by the shah of Persia, Ismail I, who was eager to promote Shi'ism to undermine the authority of the Ottoman state. Ottoman authority in Anatolia was indeed seriously threatened during this period and at one point Bayezid II's vizier, Had?m Ali Pasha, was killed in battle against the ?ahkulu rebellion.
In July 1492, the new state of Spain expelled its Jewish and Muslim populations as part of the Spanish Inquisition. Bayezid II sent out the Ottoman Navy under the command of admiral Kemal Reis to Spain in 1492 in order to evacuate them safely to Ottoman lands. He sent out proclamations throughout the empire that the refugees were to be welcomed. He granted the refugees the permission to settle in the Ottoman Empire and become Ottoman citizens. He ridiculed the conduct of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile in expelling a class of people so useful to their subjects. "You venture to call Ferdinand a wise ruler," he said to his courtiers, "he who has impoverished his own country and enriched mine!" Bayezid addressed a firman to all the governors of his European provinces, ordering them not only to refrain from repelling the Spanish refugees, but to give them a friendly and welcome reception. He threatened with death all those who treated the Jews harshly or refused them admission into the empire. Moses Capsali, who probably helped to arouse the sultan's friendship for the Jews, was most energetic in his assistance to the exiles. He made a tour of the communities and was instrumental in imposing a tax upon the rich, to ransom the Jewish victims of the persecution.
The Muslims and Jews of al-Andalus contributed much to the rising power of the Ottoman Empire by introducing new ideas, methods and craftsmanship. The first printing press in Constantinople (now Istanbul) was established by the Sephardic Jews in 1493. It is reported that under Bayezid's reign, Jews enjoyed a period of cultural flourishing, with the presence of such scholars as the Talmudist and scientist Mordecai Comtino; astronomer and poet Solomon ben Elijah Sharbi? ha-Zahab; Shabbethai ben Malkiel Cohen, and the liturgical poet Menahem Tamar.
During Bayezid II's final years, on 14 September 1509, Constantinople was devastated by an earthquake, and a succession battle developed between his sons Selim and Ahmet. Ahmet unexpectedly captured Karaman, and began marching to Constantinople to exploit his triumph. Fearing for his safety, Selim staged a revolt in Thrace but was defeated by Bayezid and forced to flee back to the Crimean Peninsula. Bayezid II developed fears that Ahmet might in turn kill him to gain the throne, so he refused to allow his son to enter Constantinople.
When Selim returned from Crimea and, with support from the Janissaries, he forced his father to abdicate the throne on 25 April 1512. Bayezid departed for retirement in his native Dimetoka, but he died on 26 May 1512 at Havsa, before reaching his destination and only a month after his abdication. He was buried next to the Bayezid Mosque in Istanbul.
Bayezid was praised in a ghazal of Abdürrezzak Bah, a scribe who came to Constantinople from Samarkand in the second half of the 15th century that worked at the courts of Mehmed II and Bayezid II, and wrote in Chagatai with the Old Uyghur alphabet:
I had a pleasant time in your reign my Padishah.
I was without fear of all fears and dangers.
The fame of your justice and fairness reached to China and Hotan.
Thanks to God that there exist a merciful person like my Padishah.
Sultan Bayezid Khan ascended the throne.
This country had been his fate since past eternity.
Any enemy that denied the country of my master:
That enemy's neck had been in rope and gallows.
Your believing servants' faces smile like Bah's.
The place of those who walk unbelieving is hellfire.
Bayezid had seven consorts:
Bayezid had eight sons:
Bayezid had eleven daughters: