Hurrem Sultan , Roxelana, was the beloved wife of Suleiman the magnificent and one of the most celebrated empresses of the Ottoman dynasty. She was the first royal lady to move to Topkapi Palace from the old Palace which was situated in the grounds of present site of the Istanbul University.
Political power, however, was different from the prestige genered by charitable acts. When Hurrem moved into the imperial residence, she was breaking the rule that mothers of princes follow their sons' careers and reside with them in their provincial posts. She and the sultan Süleyman together also broke with other precedents. For instance, by bearing him four sons, Hurrem abandoned a central feature of the dynasty's reproductive policy - that a concubine cease her child-bearing career once she had borne one son.
The point here was that no prince should have to share with brothers the valuable political resources that a mother could provide. No wonder the public was suspicious of Hurrem and worried about the privileges that the sultan was bestowing on her. The Italian page Luigi Bassano reported that Süleyman 'has so astonished all his subjects that they say she has bewitched him'.
ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Work has begun to establish Hürrem Sultan Museum in Ukraine's Rohatyn city. Ukrainian tourism professionals said in Kiev.
Aimée du Buc de Rivéry - Naksh-i-Dil Haseki
Wife of Sultan Abdulhamid I and mother of sultan Mahmud II
A cousin of Empress Josephine, who went missing at sea at the age of eleven. There is a legend that she was captured by Barbary pirates, sold as a harem concubine, and was the same person as Naksh-i-Dil Haseki, a Valide Sultan.
She was born the daughter of wealthy French plantation owners on the Caribbean island of Martinique. After being sent to a convent school in France, she was returning home in July or August 1788 when the ship she was on vanished at sea. It is thought that the ship was attacked and taken by Barbary pirates. It has been suggested that she was enslaved and eventually sent to Constantinople as a gift to the Ottoman Sultan by the Bey of Algiers.
Valide Sultan Kadinefendi Kösem Sultan ( Mahpeyker), at one time named Anastasia. She was a favourite concubine in the harem. Started the sultanate of the women as she was so influential, a prominent lady.
Professor Leslie Peirce, "power in the Ottoman empire was centred on the sultan's harem in Istanbul".
For some 130 years, the women of the Ottoman royal harem enjoyed extraordinary political influence. This unusual period during the 16th and 17th centuries when powerful women exercised all royal prerogatives but one: leading Ottoman armies into battle is popularly known as the 'sultanate of women'.
Four women stand out in this story, all royal concubines whose sons went on to occupy the Ottoman throne:
Hurrem, who first established residence in the imperial palace, in the early 1530s
Nurbanu, who, when she died in 1583, was described by the Venetian ambassador as 'a woman of the utmost goodness, courage and wisdom' despite the fact that she 'thwarted some while rewarding others' .
Kösem, the 17th-century regent mother.
Turhan, Kösem and her daughter-in-law Turhan, whose political rivalry culminated in Kösem's murder in 1651.
Mother Sultans, about 30 mother sultans only seven of them were of Turkish origion, the rest as indicated below:
It is not that royal women were not powerful in the Ottoman empire before or after the 'sultanate of women'. The famous Muslim world-traveller, Ibn Battuta, who visited the nascent Ottoman state in 1336, remarked that 'among the Turks and the Tatars their wives enjoy a very high position.'
From the time of the Ottoman dynasty's emergence in the 14th century, mothers of princes played a recognised role as political tutors and guardians of their sons roles they would maintain throughout the dynasty's 600-year lifespan. In the 15th century, elder females aunts, mothers and sisters of sultans were often entrusted with critical diplomatic missions. For instance, the aspiring prince Cem sent his great-aunt, the Lady Selcuk, to persuade his elder brother to divide the empire between them a mission that failed.
The list of the Valide Sultans of the Ottoman Empire:
Hayme Hatun - Wife of Ertugrul Gazi, mother of Osman I, Turkish.
1324- Mal (Bala) Khatun - Wife of OsmanI, mother of OrhanI, Turkish.
1359 - Nilufer Khatun - Wife of OrhanI, Greek descent.
1389-? Gul-cicek Khatun - Wife of MuradI, mother of Bayezid I. ethnic Greek.
Devlet Khatun mother of Mehmed I wife of BayezidI, Turkish
1421-1449: Emine (Amina) Khatun - The third wife of Mehmed I, mother of Murad II. Turkish.
1432-?: Huma Khatun - Wife of Murad II, mother of Mehmed II. Turkish
1481-1492 : Amina Gul-Bahar (also known as Kul-Bahar Khatun or Gulbahar Hatun) - Wife of Mehmed II, mother of Bayezid II. Albanian or Serbian decent.
1453-1510 : Gul-Bahar Sultan; Ayşe Khatun - Gul-Bahar Sultan, mother of Selim I, wife of Bayezid II; Turkish.
Nakshi-Dil Haseki Sultan
1520-1534: Ayse Hafsa (Ayisha Hâfize) Sultan; Ayisha Khatun II - Ayşe Hafsa (Ayisha Hâfize) Sultan was the wife of SelimI, mother of SuleimanI, Turkish decent.
1506 -15 April 1558 Roxelana or Alexandra Lisowska, wife of Süleyman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire, Ukrainian Ruthenian decent.
1574-1583 Afife Nur-Banu - Wife of Selİm II, mother of Murad III., noble Venetian birth.
1594-1603 : Safiye - Wife of Murad III, mother of Mehmed III., noble Venetian birth.
1603-1605 : Handan - Wife of Mehmed III, mother of AhmedI and MustafaI., ethnic Greek, originally named Helena.
1617-1621 : Mah-Firuze Hatice (Khadija) - Wife of AhmedI, mother of Osman II., ethnic Serbİan, originally named Marİja.
1623-1648 : Mâh-Peyker Kösem - Another wife of AhmedI, mother of MuradIV and IbrahimI., Greek Bosnian descent, originally named Anastasia.
1648-1683: Turhan Hatice - Wife ofIbrahİmI, mother of MehmedIV., Rutheian descent, original name Nadya.
1687-1689: Saliha Dilashub (or Salİha Dİlâşub) - Another wife ofIbrahİm I, mother of Suleİman II, Serbİan descent. original name Katarina.
1695-1715: Mâh-Pâra Ummatullah (Emetullah) Râbi'a Gul-Nûş - Wife of Mehmed IV, mother of Mustafa II and Ahmed III., Originally named Evmanİa Voria, ethnic Greek from Crete.
1730-1739 : Saliha Sabkati - Wife of Mustafa II, mother of Mahmud I., Serbian descent. original name Jelizabeta.
1754-1756 : Shehsuvar - Another wife of Mustafa II, mother of Osman III., Serbİan descent, original name Velinka.
1789-1807: Mihr-î-Şah - Wife of Mustafa III, mother of Selİm III. Genoese descent., original name was Agnes.
1807-1808: Ayse Seniyeperver (also known as Aisha Sina Pervar or Ayşe Seniyeperver) - Wife of Abdul HamİdI, mother of MustafaIV. Bulgarian descent. Her original name Sonija.
1808-1817 : Nakş-î-Dil Haseki - Another wife of Abdul Hamid I, and adoptive mother of Mahmud II., cousin of Napoleon's wife Josephine, (Aimée du Buc de Rivéry)
1839-1852 : Bezm-i-Alem (or Bazİm-î Alam) - The fİrst wife of Mahmud II, mother of AbdulmecİdI., Russİan Jewİsh or Georgİan Jewİsh descent.
1861-1876 : Pertav-Nihal (Pertevniyal) - Wife of Mahmud II, mother of Abdulaziz., Romanian descent.
1876-1876 : Shevkefza - Wife of Abdulmecid I, mother of Murad V., Mingrelian descent.
1876-1904 : Rahîme Piristû (Perestû) - Wife of Abdulmecid I, adoptive mother of Abdul Hamid II), Circassian descent.