Yes in this article you get two sultans and three reigns – but as it all only covers six years we decided it only merited one article.

Yes in this article you get two sultans and three reigns – but as it all only covers six years we decided it only merited one article.

Whilst it had not been generally known that Mustafa had mental health problems, as soon as he took the throne it became all too obvious.  His reign limped along for a year with his mother effectively ruling through him, and all kinds of power cliques building up at court.  On 26 February 1618 he was declared ‘unfit to rule’, confined to an inner apartment of Topkapi Palace known as the Cage (of which much more later) and the now thirteen and four month-year-old nephew Osman succeeded to the throne.

{mosimage}One of Osman’s first acts seems to have been to dismiss everyone involved in denying him the throne a year earlier – not bad for his age.  He then set about the business of producing an heir at which he wasn’t so good with his first two sons dying in infancy.  By 1621 he was becoming paranoid about his brothers waiting in the wings so he had his eldest brother Mehmet executed, no doubt intending this to be a warning for the others.  However, Osman was never popular with his subjects, or his army, and this eventually led to a revolt in May 1622 during which Osman was captured, taken to the Yedikule Fortress, murdered and immediately interred next to his father in the tomb at Sultan Ahmet Mosque.

Mustafa was now brought from the Old Palace and enthroned, beginning his second reign on 19 May 1622.  This time he hung on for almost eighteen months whilst the nation was in a state of chaos.  There were revolts in Anatolia and the troops in Istanbul didn’t get paid because the imperial treasury was empty, so they were on the verge of rising against the throne as well.  No less than six grand viziers came and went during this short period, none of them managing to restore order.  Finally, on 10th September 1623, Mustafa agreed to give up his throne (again) in favour of his nephew who became Murat IV.  Mustafa returned to the Old Palace and this time he remained there for the rest of his life.

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