Osman, House of

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the longest ruling dynasty in islamic history, 13001922.

The Osmanli dynasty was named for Osman I, the Turkish leader in whose time (ruled c. 12991324) the foundations were laid for a state that later became the Ottoman Empire. The name was corrupted to Othoman, which became Ottoman in European usage. Succession went to the most successful son, often as a result of civil war or at least the threat of it. To prevent further strife, the new sultan was obliged to kill all his brothers and their sons. From the early 1600s, lateral succession became possible; and by the end of the 1600s, seniority had become the rule.

During the reign of the thirty-sixth sultan, Mehmet VI Vahidettin, the Ankara government abolished the sultanate (1 November 1922) and, on 3 March 1924, also the caliphatethe office of the head of Islamwhich had been assumed by Ottoman sultans. Abdülmecit II, the last caliph and thirty-seventh ruler, and all members of the dynasty were immediately sent into exile, from which they were to be allowed back into the Republic of Turkey fifty years laterthirty years for female members of the family.

see also abdÜlmecit ii.


Alderson, A. D. The Structure of the Ottoman Dynasty. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956.

i. metin kunt