Suleiman the magnificent was the the ruler of the now dissolved Ottoman empire from 1520 to 1566, a whopping 46 year rule, making him the longest ruler in the history of the Ottoman empire. During his time as ruler, the Ottoman empire was, some may argue, the most powerful empire in the world. The Ottoman empire came about through the Muslim expansion after Muhammed’s death in 632 A.
D. After his death Islam began to spread across Asia, Europe and Africa. The Ottomans began to seize territory during the fall of the Byzantine empire. When Suleiman ascended to the throne in 1520, he made it clear to the rest of the world that the Ottoman empire intended to be the most powerful empire in the world. Suleiman believed that the entire world was his possession as a gift of God.
Suleiman applied this belief to his political leadership by employing expansionary policies, such as capturing Belgrade in 1521, the capture of Rhodes in 1522, and the capture of Baghdad in 1534. These expansionary policies, as well as the military that he worked to build up, led to the conquering of most of the middle east, parts of Africa, and some of the Balkans. Suleiman also facilitated alliances and trade partnerships, one of the most notable being that between the Ottoman empire and France. Although this was an unusual alliance, both nations disliked the House of Hapsburg that currently controlled Austria. This partnership and the capitulations that followed helped the Ottoman empire to prosper economically. Due to its location, the Ottoman empire was beneficial trade-wise.Suleiman facilitated the trade of silk, spices, dyes, porcelain, and rhubarb through the region.
Because of Suleiman’s institution of capitulations, trade throughout the region was very prosperous for the Ottomans. Suleiman is also credited with instituting a justice system within the Ottoman empire, which gave him the name Kanuni, which means “the lawgiver” in Arabic. Historian Lord Kinross states that “…He was a great legislator, standing out in the eyes of his people as a high-minded sovereign and a magnanimous exponent of justice.” In addition to the supreme law of Shari’ah, he introduced what is known as canonical law which dealt with troubles of criminal and tax law. In conclusion, Suleiman truly was magnificent as he led the Ottoman empire into a golden age of justice, art, power, and prosperity.