Sultan Suleiman I. (1494-1566)

Suleiman the Magnificent 1
Suleiman with captives
Under the rule of the sultan Suleiman (1520-1566), the Ottoman Empire enjoyed its most successful periods and became one of the main contenders in the rivalry between the great powers in Europe. Suleiman was referred to as "Magnificent" in the West and as "Legislator" by the Turks. He considered Charles V. and the Habsburg-House as his main rivals, therefore the objective of his first military campaign was to break their power over Central-Europe. After he was defeated in Vienna and K§szeg he opened a new front-line in the Mediterranean which was a success: by the end of his power most of the Mediterranean was under the control of the Ottoman navy. Suleiman however, did not undertake the risk of waging war against in the Indian Ocean where the Portuguese threatened the long distance-trade route. Instead, he was content with securing Mesopotamia, Egypt and the shores of the Red Sea. He fought more than one war against Persia adding important military and trading territories to the Ottoman Empire. In the second half of his reign he gave up his intention to become a world power and began to focus his attention on the internal organisation of the empire. The establishment of a united, Islamic-nature law and order system of the empire, the development in public building works as well as the appearance of the peculiar characteristic features of Ottoman architecture and literature all took place with his active participation. He is deservedly considered to be one of the creators of classic Ottoman civilisation by succeeding generations. The last stage of his reign was overshadowed by Anatolian rebellions and attempts to dethrone him which were not entirely within his power to suppress. He was the last sultan to regularly take part in wars at the head of his army.