The New International Encyclopædia/Mohammed (sultans)
MOHAMMED. The name of four sultans of Turkey. — Mohammed I. was the son of Sultan Bajazet I., who was defeated and captured by Timur in 1402 and died in captivity in 1403. Mohammed I., after sharing the supreme power with his brothers, became sole Sultan in 1413. He reigned until 1421. He consolidated the Empire, which had suffered from the inroad of Timur. — Mohammed II. (c. 1430-81) was Sultan from 1451 to 1481. He was surnamed El-Ghazi, i.e. conqueror (of infidels), and also Buyuk, i.e. the Great. He was born at Adrianople, and succeeded his father, Amurath II. His first acts were the murder of his brothers and the suppression of a rebellion in Karamania. Having thus secured himself on the throne, he bent all his energies in order to effect the capture of Constantinople. This city was now the sole remnant of the once mighty empire of the Cæsars, and after more than a year spent in preparations, Mohammed commenced the siege on April 6, 1453, with an army of about 70,000 and a fleet of 320 vessels. The Greeks, aided by gallant bands under Gian Giustiniani, a noble Genoese, long maintained an obstinate resistance. On the morning of May 29th the Turks made a combined attack by land and sea without success; but the retirement from the ramparts of Giustiniani, who had been severely wounded, caused a panic among his followers, and the simultaneous charge of a chosen body of Janizaries, with Mohammed himself at their head, proved irresistible. The brave Emperor, Constantine XI., died in the breach, and the Turks poured in over his corpse to plunder and devastate his capital. Mohammed now transferred the seat of his government to Constantinople, and sought to gain the good will of the inhabitants by promising them a free exercise of their religion. After achieving this great conquest, he made formidable preparations for the invasion of Hungary. Belgrade was the first point of attack; but János Hunyady (q.v.) compelled him to raise the siege (1450). Soon after this Mohammed became master of the Morea, annexed Servia, and conquered the Empire of Trebizond, an offshoot of the Byzantine Empire. He then turned his arms against the Albanians, whose leader, Scanderbeg, long defied the Turkish power. Scanderbeg died in 1468, and ten years later the subjugation of Albania was completed. In 1470 Mohammed conquered Negropont from the Venetians. In 1475 he made the Khan of the Crimea tributary, and at the same time deprived the Genoese of Kaffa. In 1480, however, he was repulsed by the Knights of Saint John from Rhodes. In the same year he captured Otranto, in Italy, the last achievement of his reign. Mohammed was possessed of great abilities; he was brave, enterprising, and sagacious; he is said to have spoken five languages fluently, and to have been well versed in geography, ancient history, natural sciences, and the fine arts. But the brilliancy of his career, and the occasional generosity and even magnanimity which he showed, cannot obliterate the recollection of those acts of cruelty and treachery which have justly branded him as the most ruthless tyrant of the House of Osman. — Mohammed III. (1566-1603) was Sultan from 1595 to 1603. He succeeded his father and at once murdered his nineteen brothers. He waged war against Austria without success. — Mohammed IV. (1641-91) was Sultan from 1648 to 1687. He came to the throne when only seven years of age, succeeding his father, Ibrahim, who had been murdered by the Janizaries. The real rulers were the Kiuprili (q.v.). The reign of Mohammed IV. witnessed the collapse of Turkish power in Europe. The great onslaught upon the House of Austria in 1683 resulted in the defeat of Kara Mustapha (q.v.) before Vienna. When other disasters followed, Mohammed was dethroned in 1687. He died in prison.