Gevherhan Sultan (daughter of Selim II)

Gevherhan Sultan (Ottoman Turkish: کوھرخان سلطان‎; c. 1544 – fl. 1622) was an Ottoman princess, the daughter of Sultan Selim II (reign 1566—1574). She was the granddaughter of Suleiman the Magnificent (reign 1520–66) and Hürrem Sultan, sister of Sultan Murad III (reign 1574–95) and aunt of Sultan Mehmed III (reign 1595–1603).

Gevherhan Sultan
Bornc. 1544
Bursa, Ottoman Empire
Diedfl. 1622[1]
Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
(m. 1562; died 1578)
(m. 1579; died 1604)
  • Mustafa Bey
  • Ayşe Sultan
  • Fatma Sultan
  • Hatice Sultan
Turkish: Gevherhan Sultan
Ottoman Turkish: کوهرخان سلطان
FatherSelim II
MotherNurbanu Sultan (possibly)[2]
ReligionSunni Islam

Early lifeEdit

Gevherhan Sultan was born in Bursa in 1544.[3][4] Her father was Şehzade Selim (future Selim II), son of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and Hurrem Sultan.[3][4] She spent her early life in Manisa and Konya, where her father served as a sanjak-bey.[4] Her mother is unknown.[5]

First marriageEdit

In 1562, strong alliances were made for the daughters of Şehzade Selim, the prince who would succeed Suleiman as Selim II, Ismihan married Sokollu Mehmed Pasha, Gevherhan the admiral Piyale Pasha, and Şah the chief falconer Hasan Agha.[6] The State Treasury covered the expenses for the imperial wedding and granted 10,000 florins as a wedding gift to the imperial son-in-law.[7][8]

After the triple wedding, Mihrimah Sultan, Gevherhan's aunt, pushed assiduously for a naval campaign against Malta, enlisting the help of the grand vizier Semiz Ali Pasha, and promising to outfit four hundred ships at her own expanse. However, Suleiman and his son Selim prevented the campaign from going forward so that the admiral, Piyale Pasha, might remain in Istanbul with his new wife, Gevherhan Sultan.[9]

The two together had a son, Mustafa Bey, who died in 1593,[10] and three daughters, Ayşe Sultan, Fatma Sultan,[11][8] and Hatice Sultan.[12][13] One of them married Sinanpaşaoğlu Mehmed Pasha in November 1598.[14]

In 1575, just after her brother Sultan Murad ascended to the throne her daily stipend consisted of 250 aspers.[15] Gevherhan was widowed at Piyale Pasha's death in 1578.[11][8]

Second marriageEdit

In 1579,[1] Gevherhan Sultan married Cerrah Mehmed Pasha.[16] When he was promoted from the generalship of the janissaries to the governorship of Rumelia in March 1580, people opined that it was due to the political power of Gevherhan Sultan.[1] In 1583, he presented Handan to then Prince Mehmed (later Mehmed III) on his departure for Manisa.[17] In 1598, when her husband was appointed the grand vizier during Mehmed III's reign, Gevherhan became an influential political figure in court circles. This position seems to have enabled her to keep in touch with Mehmed III's sons and their mothers as well.[18]

Gevherhan wrote many letters to her youngest son, sancakbeyi of Klis in Dalmatia, which were considered so important from a political point of view that their translations were sent in Venice by the baylo. She also protected her daughter's husband Sinanpaşaoğlu Mehmed Pasha.[19] She was on friendly terms with Süleyman Agha, the mute of Safiye Sultan.[20]

Vaqf made by Gevherhan about the baths of Eski Mosque

Soon after his succession, Mehmed's son by Handan Sultan, Ahmed I wanted to express his gratitude to Mehmed Pasha and Gevherhan Sultan for the role they had played in bringing his parents together. By then, however, Cerrah Mehmed Pasha was old and ailing, and died on 9 January 1604. Ahmed, therefore, honored the late pasha's wife. Venetian bailo Contarini records that "having remembered this [i.e., his mother’s background], he sent the sultana [Gevherhan] a thousand gold coins and a sable robe with many other gifts as a sign of welcome, since she had been the origin of his good fortune and of the greatness in which at present he found himself."[21]

Ahmed also named his firstborn daughter Gevherhan to further mark his great-aunt’s role in his life.[21] Her daily stipend consisted of 350 aspers.[13]


From her properties she constituted a religious and charitable foundation with whose revenues built and maintained a high theological college in the İstanbul neighbourhood of Cağaloğlu.[11]


When she died, she was buried in the mausoleum of her father Sultan Selim II's, next to Hagia Sophia Mosque.[11][22]


  1. ^ a b c Tezcan, Baki (November 2001). Searching for Osman: A reassessment of the deposition of the Ottoman Sultan Osman II (1618-1622). pp. 327 n. 16, 343 n. 132.
  2. ^ Tezcan, Baki (2001). Searching For Osman: A Reassessment Of The Deposition Of Ottoman Sultan Osman II (1618-1622). unpublished Ph.D. thesis. pp. 327 n. 16.
  3. ^ a b Taner, Melis (2009). 'Power to Kill:' A Discourse of the Royal Hunt During the Reigns of Süleyman the Magnificent and Ahmed I. p. 41.
  4. ^ a b c "SELİM II (ö. 982/1574): Osmanlı padişahı (1566-1574)". İslam Ansiklopedisi. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  5. ^ Emecen, Feridun M. (2015). Osmanlı Araştırmaları/The Journal of Ottoman Studies, Volume XLVI, Osmanlı Taşrasında Saray Bürokrasisi: Şehzade Selim’in Kazayâ Defteri. pp. 221–22.
  6. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 67.
  7. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 68.
  8. ^ a b c Sakaoğlu 2008, p. 275.
  9. ^ Peirce 1993, pp. 68-9.
  10. ^ Historical-Geographical Analysis of the Cornelis De Jode's Map "Croatia Versus Turcam" From 1593. 2017. p. 92.
  11. ^ a b c d Uluçay 2011, p. 70.
  12. ^ Haskan, Mehmet Nermi (2001). Yüzyıllar boyunca Üsküdar - Volume 3. Üsküdar Belediyesi. p. 1295. ISBN 978-9-759-76063-2.
  13. ^ a b Belgeler, Türk tarih belgeleri dergisi, Volumes 9-11. Türk Tarih Kurumu Basımevi. 1979. p. 155.
  14. ^ Ipşırlı, Mehmet (June 1976). Mustafa Selaniki's history of the Ottomans. p. 211.
  15. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 127.
  16. ^ Peirce 1993, p. 193.
  17. ^ Börekçi 2010, p. 93.
  18. ^ Börekçi 2010, p. 93-4.
  19. ^ Pedani 2000, p. 29.
  20. ^ Pedani 2000, p. 20 n. 39.
  21. ^ a b Börekçi 2010, p. 94.
  22. ^ Sakaoğlu 2008, p. 276.


  • Börekçi, Günhan (2010). Factions And Favorites At The Courts Of Sultan Ahmed I (r. 1603-17) And His Immediate Predecessors.
  • Peirce, Leslie P. (1993). The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-195-08677-5.
  • Sakaoğlu, Necdet (2008). Bu mülkün kadın sultanları: Vâlide sultanlar, hâtunlar, hasekiler, kadınefendiler, sultanefendiler. Oğlak Yayıncılık. ISBN 978-9-753-29623-6.
  • Uluçay, Mustafa Çağatay (2011). Padişahların kadınları ve kızları. Ankara: Ötüken. ISBN 978-9-754-37840-5.
  • Pedani, Maria Pia (2000). Tucica, Volume 32: Safiye's Household and Venetian Diplomacy.