On April 25, 1512, Yavuz Sultan Selim ascended the Ottoman throne in Istanbul. Later, he also became the First Ottoman Caliph in 1517.
A very brief account of the military campaigns of Sultan Selim I
Sultan Selim I inherited from his father, Bayezid II, a sound administration and secure frontiers against the western Christian powers. But in the East, the new Sultan had to face two great Muslim rivals: the Sunni Mamluk sultans of Egypt and the Shia Safavid Shah Ismail I of Persia.
Selim Yavuz first devoted most of his energies to fighting against the Shia Safavids of Iran, who challenged Ottoman sovereignty in eastern Anatolia and Azerbaijan. As a result, in 1514, Selim set out on a campaign from Istanbul against the Shah of Persia.
The two armies met at the Battle of Chaldiran in northwestern Iran. Selim’s disciplined infantry, supported by field artillery, smashed the Safavid armies, and thus, the Ottomans secured a very significant victory against the Shah of Iran. The Battle of Chaldiran was just the beginning of the decades of destructive war, which only ended in 1555 with the Treaty of Amasya.
From 1516 to 1517, Selim devoted his time fighting against the Sunni Mamluks and overthrew them in a single year of campaigning, winning two decisive battles that again proved the superiority of the Ottoman army over their foes.
The Ottoman and Mamluk armies met in north of Aleppo at Marj Dabik on August 24, 1516. When Mamluk sultan Qansuh al-Ghawri died, apparently of a heart attack, the remnants of his troops fled. Aleppo and Damascus both surrendered without a fight.
On January 23, 1517, Selim now defeated the Mamluks at the Battle of Ridaniya and annexed the entire Mamluk Sultanate to the Ottoman Empire, including the Hejaz. Although remnants of the Mamluk army offered stiff resistance in Cairo, the resistance collapsed when Sultan Tumanbay (r. 1516–17) was captured and killed.
Sultan Selim I was by now the most prominent Muslim ruler. He ruled over the holiest places of Islam, was the protector of Mecca and Medina, and guarantor of the hajj. In just 8 years of his reign, he brought enormous expansion to his empire. He died in 1520 and was succeeded by his son Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.
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