Orhan I

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Orhan I (Ottoman: اورخان غازی, Turkish: Orhan Gazi or Orhan Bey) (1281 Sogut – March 1361 Bursa), was the second Bey, or chief, of the nascent Ottoman Empire (then known as the Osmanli principality) from 1324 to 1361. He was the son of Osman I, and his mother was Mal Hatun, daughter of Abdulaziz Bey.

In the early stages of his reign, Orhan focused his energies on conquering most of northwestern Anatolia. The majority of these areas were under Byzantine rule and he won the first battle, the Battle of Pelekanon, against the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos. Orhan also occupied the lands of Karesi Principality ruled by a Turkish Emir and of Ankara which was controlled by religious fraternity-guilds called Ahis.

During the last years of the civil war in the Byzantine Empire, John VI Cantacuzene induced Orhan to marry Theodora, daughter of Cantacuzene, in order to support him in his aim to become the ruling Emperor, usurping Emperor John V Palaeologus.

In 1354 Orhan's son, Suleyman Pasha (Süleyman Paşa), occupied Gallipoli (The town walls were damaged by a recent earthquake) and gave the Ottoman state a bridgehead into mainland Europe. The damaged town walls feature nowhere in contemporary Ottoman records.

Contents

Passage of power

When Orhan succeeded his father, he proposed to his brother, Alaeddin, that they should share the emerging empire. The latter refused on the grounds that their father had designated Orhan as sole successor, and that the empire should not be divided. He only accepted as his share the revenues of a single village near Bursa.

Orhan then told him, "Since, my brother, thou will not take the flocks and the herds that I offer thee, be thou the shepherd of my people; be my Vizier." The word vizier, vezir in the Ottoman language, from Persian wazīr, meant the bearer of a burden. Alaeddin, in accepting the office, accepted his brother's burden of power, according to oriental historians. Alaeddin, like many of his successors in that office, did not often command the armies in person, but he occupied himself with the foundation and management of the civil and military institutions of the state.

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