Portrait of Mehmed III (1566-1603), Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (1595-1603)
Mehmed III (Turkish: III. Mehmed; 26 May 1566–21 December 1603) was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1595 until his death in 1603. Mehmed was born at the Manisa Palace in 1566, during the reign of his great-grandfather, Suleiman the Magnificent. He was the son of Şehzade Murad (later Murad III), himself the son of Şehzade Selim (later Selim II), who was the son of Sultan Suleiman and Hürrem Sultan. His mother was Safiye Sultan, an Albanian from the Dukagjin highlands. His great-grandfather died the year he was born and his grandfather became the new Sultan, Selim II. His grandfather Selim II died when Mehmed was eight, and Mehmed's father, Murad III, became Sultan in 1574. Mehmed thus became Crown Prince until his father's death in 1595, when he was 28 years old. Mehmed III remains notorious even in Ottoman history for having nineteen of his brothers executed to secure power. They were all strangled by his deaf-mutes. The major event of his reign was the Austro-Ottoman War in Hungary (1593–1606). Ottoman defeats in the war caused Mehmed III to take personal command of the army, the first sultan to do so since Suleiman I in 1566. Accompanied by the Sultan, the Ottomans conquered Eger in 1596.
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