Suleiman I (, ), known as “the Magnificent” in the West and “Kanuni” (the Lawgiver) in the East, (6 November 1494 – 7 September 1566) was the Caliph of Islam and the tenth and longest-reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, from 1520 to his death in 1566. Suleiman became a prominent monarch of 16th-century Europe, presiding over the apex of the Ottoman Empire’s military, political and economic power. Suleiman personally led Ottoman armies in conquering the Christian strongholds of Belgrade, Rhodes, as well as most of Hungary before his conquests were checked at the Siege of Vienna in 1529. He annexed much of the Middle East in his conflict with the Safavids and large areas of North Africa as far west as Algeria. Under his rule, the Ottoman fleet dominated the seas from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea and through the Persian Gulf. At the helm of an expanding empire, Suleiman personally instituted major legislative changes relating to society, education, taxation, and criminal law. His canonical law (or the Kanuns) fixed the form of the empire for centuries after his death. Not only was Suleiman a distinguished poet and goldsmith; he also became a great patron of culture, overseeing the “Golden” age of the Ottoman Empire in its artistic, literary and architectural development. Breaking with Ottoman tradition, Suleiman married Roxelana, a former Christian girl converted to Islam from his harem, who became subsequently known and influential as Hürrem Sultan. Their son, Selim II, succeeded Suleiman following his death in 1566 after 46 years of rule. Suleiman’s previous heir apparent, Mustafa, had been strangled to death 13 years prior at the sultan’s order. His other son Bayezid, had been killed by his support and Selim’s order in 1561 with four of his sons.
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