Mehmed III Adli (Ottoman Turkish: محمد ثالث Meḥmed-i sālis, Turkish: III.Mehmet; May 26, 1566 – December 21/22, 1603) was sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1595 until his death.
He was born at Manisa Palace, the son of sultan Murad III, whom he succeeded in 1566. His mother was his father's maternal relative Valide Sultan Safiye Sultan, originally named Sofia Baffo, a Venetian noblewoman.
Mehmed III remains notorious even in Ottoman history for having nineteen of his brothers and half brothers murdered to secure power. He also killed over twenty of his sisters as well. They were all strangled by his deaf-mutes. Mehmed III was an idle ruler, leaving government to his mother Safiye Sultan, the valide sultan. The major event of his reign was the Austro-Ottoman War in Hungary (1593–1606).
Ottoman defeats in the war caused Mehmet III to take personal command of the army, the first sultan to do so since Suleyman I. Mehmed III's armies conquered Eger in 1596 and defeated the Habsburg and Transylvanian forces at the Battle of Keresztes (Turkish for Battle of Hacova) during which the Sultan had to be dissuaded from fleeing the field halfway through the battle. The next year it was noted, "the doctors declared that the Sultan cannot leave for war on account of his bad health, produced by excesses of eating and drinking".
Mehmed III's reign saw no major setbacks for the supposedly declining Ottoman Empire. He died at Topkapı Palace, Istanbul.
He married Valide Sultan Handan Sultan, an ethnic Greek originally named Helena and the mother of Ahmed I and Mustafa I.
His third oldest son, Jahja, is of interest to some because he reportedly converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity and campaigned for a good part of his life to gain the Ottoman Imperial throne, to which his younger brother Ahmed I succeeded to in 1603. Feeling cheated, he spent years developing and implementing conspiracies to further his ambitions. Travelling mostly across Western Europe, he promised several backers as well as four Roman Catholic Popes that he would make Christianity the state religion of the Ottoman sultanate if he ever succeeded to the Imperial throne.
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