Today on November 6, 1494, Suleiman the Magnificent, the future sultan of the Ottoman Empire was born.
Suleiman I, commonly known as Suleiman the Magnificent, was born to the Sultan Selim I. He was born in the ancient city of Trabzon located along the cost of the Black Sea. From a young age, Suleiman was groomed to be an intellectual and accomplished monarch. He spent much of his childhood studying at the Imperial Topkapi Palace in the heart of Constantinople. The young prince was exposed to a wide range of disciplines, from emerging science to military tactics to classical literature. At the age of 26, he succeeded his father to become the longest reigning sultan in history; ruling over the vast Ottoman Empire for an impressive 46 years. Suleiman the Magnificent was undoubtedly one of the most powerful monarchs of sixteenth-century Europe.
The Ottoman Empire expanded to new territory across the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa. Under his leadership, the population rapidly grew from fifteen to twenty-five million citizens living under the rule of the sultan. Suleiman launched three campaigns against his Persian rivals, completing his father vision of conquering all of Iraq. The Ottomans also gained control of Lake Van (the largest lake in Turkey) and subdued several rebellions along the eastern front. Ottoman naval strength became quite formidable under his command, challenging the mighty Spanish and Venetian fleets for control of the Mediterranean Sea. Near the end of his reign, the Ottoman army suffered a significant defeat at the Great Siege of Malta.
Beyond his military successes, Suleiman the Magnificent is remembered for implementing vast changes across the empire. He focused on reforming their legislature, society, taxation, criminal law, and education. He is known for fostering a new golden age and promoted the arts, literature, architecture, and poetry. Interestingly, Suleiman himself was an accomplished poet and goldsmith. He built a strong defensive network of fortifications in his newly conquered territory. Throughout the Islamic world, such as Damascus and Baghdad, he constructed numerous mosques, bridges, and aqueducts.