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Hafsa (d. 1534)

Hafsa (d. 1534)

Ottoman sultana. Name variations: Hafsa Sultana; Hafsa Hatun. Died in March 1534; possibly a Tatar princess from the Crimea, or a Circassian or Georgian woman from the Caucasus; consort of Selim I the Grim, Ottoman sultan (r. 1512–1520); children: Suleyman or Suleiman I the Magnificent (1494/95-1566), Ottoman sultan (r. 1520–1566); and daughters Sah and Hatice .

Hafsa was possibly a Tatar princess from the Crimea, or a Circassian or Georgian woman from the Caucasus, before she married the sultan, Selim I the Grim. The new paradigm for women's public buildings in the Ottoman Empire commenced during the reign of her son Suleiman I the Magnificent (r. 1520–1566). The precedent for imperial buildings was set by Hafsa Sultana. Mothers of sultans had enormous influence, ranking second only to their sons in power. Shortly after Suleiman's accession to the throne, Hafsa built the largest mosque complex ever constructed. It included a mosque, soup kitchen, religious college, primary school, and dervish hostel. Baths were added later. Hafsa's work set another precedent in that her mosque had two minarets, an honor which had heretofore been reserved only for the sultan. From this point forward, members of the sultan's family, especially female members, were allowed to give their mosques the same status as the ruler's.

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