Osman Gâzi (1299 – 1324)
“Because the one with the fear of Allah, the Creator, has no fear of the created.” – Osman Gâzi Hân


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Osman Bey, the first Ottoman Sultan who ruled for 45 years, the founder of the Empire and the dynasty that were named after him, was also known by the names of: Kara Osman, Fahruddin and Muinüddin.

***[Fahruddin means – “the Glory of Faith” or “Pride Of Religion”, and Muinüddin means “Helper of the Faith”]
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His life, although much shorter than his father’s, since he passed away aged 67 [the exact age of Ertuğrul Gazi when Osman was born], has been an extraordinary one, marked with many achievements and which inspired many legends.
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Osman descended from the Kayı tribe of the Boz-Oklar branch of the Oğuz Turks, to which his father Ertuğrul Gazi also belonged, and from which the future Ottomans will emerge. While, his mother Halime Sultan has descended from the Kınık, the Üç-Oklar branch of Oğuz Turks, from which the Seljuks originated. That claim later became part of the official Ottoman genealogy and it was eventually incorporated into the Turkish nationalist historical tradition.

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Osman Bey was born in 1258 in Söğüt or Osmancık. He came very late into Ertuğrul’s and Halime’s life. When he was born, Ertuğrul Gazi was about 67 years old, and because Halime Sultan was also older, at an age when women no longer give birth, Osman was considered to be a miracle sent by Allah.
Osman’s birth coincided with a time when “the world of declining empires” was desperate for a new leader.
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He was only 23 years old when in 1281, upon the death of Ertuğrul Gazi, he took over the leadership of Kayı Boyu {clan} and the principality of Sögüt, what was then known as the province of Bithynia.
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And, from then on, “The roots of the Platanus tree (Çınar) that rose from Osman’s chest, and whose majestic branches would extend across the seas and the lands, the continents and states, began to spread in the soil. So much so that, all humanity lived under the shadow of this Platanus for six centuries, in a way that they couldn’t have even imagined seeing it once again after the age of Bliss (Asr-ı Saâdetten).” [Prof. Dr. Ahmet Şimşirgil, “the Kayi XI”; the citation translated by Melisa Dirilish]

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With many conquests he carried out, he extended his territory in a short time, and gradually turned it into an independent principality, then into an independent state.
Firmly controlling the region around the town of Söğüt, he launched his raids from there and waged a slow and persistent war against the neighbouring Byzantine Empire. Osman appears to have followed a strategy of increasing his territories at the expense of the Byzantines, while at the same time he avoided conflicts with his more powerful Turkmen neighbours, until his State become strong enough to deal with them too.
He extended his lands from Marmara coast in the north, to the mouth of Sakarya River and Kutahya in the south. These boundaries included Söğüt, Karacahisar, Yarhisâr, Eskişehir, Harmankaya, Inegöl.
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In the years preceding the conquest of Karacahisar fortress, Osman has suffered two private loses which caused him a great grief. His young nephew, Bey Hoca, the son of his brother Savci, was martyred in 1285 in the ambush during the Ermeni Beli battle, and sometime later his brother Savci also died in the struggle before the conquest of Karacahisar. [KemâlPaşa-zâde Tarihi]

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After he conquered Karacahisar, Yarhisar and Bilecik, he transferred the centre of the Beylik to Bilecik. Years later, in 1301, he founded town of Yenişehir near Bursa and transferred the Sultanate’s headquarters there.

He then gave the governing of the Eskişehir to his brother Gündüz Bey, of town of Sultânönü to his son Orhan Bey, Yarhisâr to Hasan Alp, Bilecik to Sheikh Edebali and Inegöl to Turgut Alp, and took Edebali’s grandson Ala’addin (his son) with him.
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Afterwards, he continued to increase his territories, and as per today’s Mülkî Taksimat (state’s office assets records), the lands of Osmanli domain [Osmanoğulları’nın ülkesi] at the time of Osman Khan’s death covered the districts of Bilecik, Eskişehir (administrative centre), Sarkaya with the attached Geyve, Akyazı and Hendek, Kütahya-Domanic and the province of Bursa, encompassing districts of Mudanya (including the port), Yenisar and Inegöl. [Prof. Dr. A. Şimşirgil, – Osmân Gâzî Hân’ın Şahsiyeti]
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When the Seljuk State was brought to an end by the Ilkhanid’s ruler Ahmad Ghazan in 1308, the Osman’s Principality became completely detached.
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During his amazing life, Osman Gazi has been addressed by the titles of Emir and Bey. And, at his death he was titled Khan and Sultan, the 1st Sultan of Ottomans.

Because, by the end of his life he had become The Bey of Principality, in his own right.
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He first became a semi-independent governor, when the Seljuk Sultan Gıyaseddin Mesūd II recognised his rule in 1284, and sent him an envoy with a Mehterhane (military band), the Tuğ (the Tugh – symbol of duty, office and sovereignty) and a Sancak (Sancak/Sanjak – a military flag) as a gift, and also his decree that Söğüt and its environs were allocated to him. [Tevârîh-i Âl-i Osmân]
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The first legitimation of Osman’s rule on the part of the Seljuk Sultan, happened during the siege of Karachahisar, when the next Seljuk Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad III, summoned him and said that he displays many signs of success [bliss], adding “You and your family are unique in their kind. My prayers, Allah’s help, the Evliyaullah’s support [Allah’s aleem/ulamā’/wise men] and Muhammed’s miracles are with you”. [Âşıkpaşa-zâde]
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And then, several years later, on 27 January 1300, Sultan Alaaddin Keykubad III sent him an edict, along with another Tuğ, Sancak and a drum (as the symbols of his sovereignty), by which Osman Bey became an independent Principality Bey.
After gaining his independency, he proceeded to mint his own coins (Akce) with the inscription “Minted by Osman, son of Ertuğrul”, and had Jummah prayers recited in his name only.

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Osman’s last campaign, before dying, was against the Byzantines in the city of Bursa. He masterminded and put in motion the siege of Bursa, which would last for 9 years (1317-1326), and then he left the battlefield under the command of his son, Orhan.
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However, since he was long suffering from Nikris (goutte) disease, his health deteriorated towards the end of the siege, and he passed away in February 1324, before seeing the fall of Bursa.
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He was buried temporarily in the graveyard next to Ertuğrul Gazi’s tomb. But Osman last request addressed to his son on his deathbed was that Osman re-bury him in Bursa, after he conquers it.
So, 2.5 years later his remains were taken from Söğüt and re-buried in in the old Eastern Roman chapel, known as “Gümüşlü Kümbet”, in Bursa, in 1326. [Osmanlı Araştırmaları Vakfı]
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With the conquest of Bursa, on April 6th 1326, which heralded the founding of the Ottoman Empire, the Ottoman Turks have finally established themselves as the major power in Asia Minor.

And Bursa, in later history recognized as the birthplace of the Ottoman Empire, became the new Ottoman capital until the conquest of Adrianople (today known as Edirne) in 1362, by Osman’s grandson, Sultan Murad I.

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The physical and spiritual foundations of the State he left after his passing, were so strong that only 150 years later it would became a superpower and eventually one of the greatest world’s Empires, which lasted for more than six centuries and spread across three continents.’

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“If this smallest of unions (beyliks) among the Anatolian principalities, has made claim back then, that they would be the ones who would ensure the Turks’ unity and that they would defeat many states in Europe and Asia and dominate in these regions, no one would have believe them, they would say: ‘You are dreaming!’. However, this distinguished Turk’s hero, surrounded by the Sufi masters, and backed by his Gazi-Alps and many valiants ready to sacrifice their lives for this cause, has believed in this and strived hard for this great birth.” [Prof. Dr. Ahmet Şimşirgil; Kayı XI; the citation translated by Melisa Dirilish]]


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The subject of Osman Gazi is really huge, with a lot of material to cover. It could not fit in just one or two articles, as can be seen from this one, so I will write it as a series of articles, as the show “Osman, the Founder” goes on.
And, as always, I won’t use any of the foreign sources which are full of subjective information, but the Turkish sources and archives which are well documented and include more facts than legends.

By Melisa Dirilish
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