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Selim III,1761–1808, Ottoman sultan (1789–1807), nephew and successor of Abd al-Hamid I to the throne of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). He suffered severe defeats in the second of the Russo-Turkish WarsRusso-Turkish Wars.
The great eastward expansion of Russia in the 16th and 17th cent., during the decline of the Ottoman Empire, nevertheless left the shores of the Black Sea in the hands of the Ottoman sultans and their vassals, the khans of Crimea.
..... Click the link for more information. with Catherine II, but suffered no major territorial losses when peace was made at Jassy in 1792. An ardent reformer, Selim set out to rebuild the Turkish navy on European lines, to reform the army, and to curb the JanissariesJanissaries
[Turk.,=recruits], elite corps in the service of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). It was composed of war captives and Christian youths pressed into service; all the recruits were converted to Islam and trained under the strictest discipline.
..... Click the link for more information. . In 1798 Selim joined the second coalition against France in the French Revolutionary Wars. Turkish forces lost Jaffa to Napoleon Bonaparte, who had invaded (1799) Syria after taking Egypt, but they held out at Acre and forced Napoleon to retreat. In 1801 the French left Egypt, which was restored to the sultan. In 1804 the Serbs under KarageorgeKarageorge
, 1768?–1817, Serbian patriot. Born George Petrović, he was known as Karageorge, or Black George. He led the Serbs in their insurrection (1804) against the Ottomans, took (1806) Belgrade, where the Ottoman population was massacred, and was proclaimed (1808)
..... Click the link for more information. revolted. In 1806 war with Russia broke out again. A revolt of the Janissaries and conservatives who opposed his reforms led to Selim's deposition and imprisonment in 1807. Mustafa IVMustafa IV,
1778–1808, Ottoman sultan (1807–8), son of Abd al-Hamid I. He was raised to the throne by the reactionary Janissaries who had deposed Mustafa's cousin, Selim III, because they opposed his attempted reforms.
..... Click the link for more information. was placed on the throne. A loyal army marched on Constantinople to restore Selim. It entered the city in 1808, just after Selim had been strangled on Mustafa's orders. Mustafa was executed and another of Selim's cousins, Mahmud II, was put on the throne. During Selim's reign Egypt became virtually independent under Muhammad AliMuhammad Ali,
1769?–1849, pasha of Egypt after 1805. He was a common soldier who rose to leadership by his military skill and political acumen. In 1799 he commanded a Turkish army in an unsuccessful attempt to drive Napoleon from Egypt.
..... Click the link for more information. , as did Albania under Ali PashaAli Pasha
, 1744?–1822, Turkish pasha [military governor] of Yannina (now Ioánnina, Greece), a province of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). He was called the Arslan [lion] of Yannina.
..... Click the link for more information. . Selim's well-intentioned and efficient reforms came too late to arrest the decay of the Ottoman Empire.