Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror

Ruled 1444-1446 & 1451-1481

Sultan Mehmet the ConquerorMehmed II, called the Conqueror, was born in March 30, 1432 and died in May 3, 1481. As a sultan of the Ottoman Empire between 1444-1446 and 1451-1481, he extended the Ottoman control from southeastern Europe to the Danube and from Anatolia to the Euphrates river. His father, Murad II, tried to abdicate when Mehmet was only 12 years old, but in the wake of the son's unsuccessful first reign, the father returned to power.

When the more mature Mehmet ascended the throne once more (after Murat's death), he tried to create a world empire like that of the Romans. He first conquered Constantinople in 1453 from the Byzantines and rebuilt it into the prosperous Ottoman capital of Istanbul. To counter the power of the Turkish aristocracy, Mehmet continued his father's policy of expanding the Janissary infantry corps. These Janissaries were made up of young Christians, recruited through the devshirme system, who were given salaries rather than fiefdoms to keep them loyal to and dependent on the sultan. Mehmet authorized autonomous religious communities to give his subjects religious freedom and gain the support of their religious leaders. Equitable tax and administrative systems were created, and justice for all was emphasized.

Mehmet subsequently conquered Serbia in 1459 and the Morea by 1460, extending the empire in Europe to the Danube and the Aegean despite resistance from Albania and Venice, with which he warred between 1463 and 1479. By 1461 he had conquered Anatolia as far as the Euphrates from the Turkmen principalities, but Mehmed failed to push further due to resistance from the Mamelukes of Syria as well as from the White Sheep Turkmen of Iran. He was just beginning new campaigns to capture Rhodes and southern Italy when he died suddenly in 1481. Mehmet II was succeeded by his son, Bayezid II.

Mehmet The Conqueror was the seventh sultan in the Ottoman Dynasty.