Abdulhamid II: The Strategic Guardian of the Ottoman Empire’s Legacy

Abdulhamid II was born on September 21, 1842, in Istanbul, ascending to the position of the Ottoman Empire’s Sultan and 113th Islamic Khalif at the age of 34. In the tumultuous year of 1876, his uncle Sultan Abdulaziz was killed in a coup, leading to a succession of rulers, including Sultan Murat V, whose mental health issues prompted his dethronement. This period witnessed three different Sultans in a single year: Abdulaziz, Murat, and finally, Abdulhamid.

Following Murat’s removal, Abdulhamid assumed the throne and ruled for an impressive 33 years. In 1876, he declared a constitutional monarchy, rendering himself a puppet Sultan during the constitutional period from 1876 to 1878. The Ottoman Empire faced a severe crisis in 1877 when Russia declared war, resulting in the loss of significant territories, including Algeria, Egypt, Romania, Serbia, half of Bulgaria, Bosnia, Kars, Ardahan, and Batum.

Abdulhamid, recognizing the dire state of the empire, took measures after the war, including closing councils and consolidating power for 30 years. Addressing the issue of external debt, he reduced it by half, striving to eliminate this financial burden. Remarkably, he maintained a policy of non-participation in wars for three decades, preventing the collapse of the empire.

Abdulhamid’s rule was characterized by an extensive network of intelligence agencies. The Ottoman-Greek War in 1897 marked the last military victory under his leadership, although the Ottomans failed to capitalize on this success.

In 1901, Theodor Herzl, a Jewish leader, proposed a solution to the empire’s debt problem by acquiring Palestine for Jewish settlement. However, Abdulhamid declined this offer. In 1908, the Young Turks declared a second constitutional monarchy, leading to Abdulhamid’s dethronement in 1909. He passed away on February 10, 1918, having played a crucial role in saving the Ottoman Empire from collapse. Abdulhamid’s political acumen and strategic decisions during his 30-year rule left a lasting impact, raising speculation about the alternate course of history had he remained on the throne longer.

Yusuf Bera Sarıhan

Yusuf Bera Sarıhan

About Author

Hello I am Yusuf Bera and I am editor of history. I am 16 years old. I am interested in history. I like reading books. I love Ottoman Empire and my favorite sultan is II. Abdülhamid.

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