Valide Sultana of the Ottoman Empire
Hijri 1052-1127 (AH); Common Era 1642-1715 (CE)
A former slave whose descent is disputed as being Greek or Venetian, Emetullah Rabia Gülnûş Sultan was the the wife of Mehmet IV and acted as valide sultan twice for her sons Mustafa II and Ahmed III. In the harem of the Topkapi Palace she received an exceptionally Turkish and Muslim education. She soon came to the attention of the Sultan and her future husband, Mehmet IV and became his favorite harem girl, accompanying him on hunting expeditions to the Balkans. She even gave birth to the second of their two sons on a hunting expedition. In 1695, following the deaths of three sultans (Mehmet IV, Suleiman II, and Ahmed II), Emetullah’s first son, Mustafa II was confirmed as sultan. She was in a position of no little political power and prestige, and when Mustafa II abdicated, it was she who confirmed the succession of her second son, Ahmed III. In 1711, she counseled Ahmed to go to war against Russia and Peter the Great’s newly-modernizing country following the urging of the brilliant young general and king Charles XII of Sweden. Charles XII sent his emissaries directly to Emetullah to convince her after he had heard rumors of her influence over Ahmed and, intrigued, even corresponded with her himself. However, despite Charles’ tactical genius, Sweden lost to Russia. Following 20 years of influence, she died before the beginning of a period of flourishing peace known as the Tulip Era, which began under her son.