The Karamanids or Karamanid dynasty (Modern Turkish: Karamanoğulları, Karamanoğulları Beyliği), also known as the Principality of Karaman and Beylik of Karaman (Karaman Beyliği), was one of the Islamic Anatolian beyliks, centered in south-central Anatolia around the present-day Karaman Province. From the 13th century until its fall in 1487, the Karamanid dynasty was one of the most powerful Turkish beyliks in Anatolia.[3]

Karamanid dynasty

Flag of Karamanids
The Karamanid beylik and other eastern Mediterranean states in 1450
The Karamanid beylik and other eastern Mediterranean states in 1450
Common languagesOld Anatolian Turkish[2]
• 1256?
Kerimeddin Karaman Bey
• 1483–1487
Turgutoğlu Mahmud
Historical eraLate Medieval
• Established
• Disestablished
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Sultanate of Rum
Ottoman Empire


The Karamanids traced their ancestry from Hodja Sad al-Din and his son Nure Sufi Bey, who emigrated from Arran (roughly encompassing modern-day Azerbaijan) to Sivas because of the Mongol invasion in 1230.

The Karamanids were members of the Salur tribe of Oghuz Turks.[4] According to Muhsin Yazicioglu and others, they were members of the Afshar tribe,[5] which participated in the revolt led by Baba Ishak and afterwards moved to the western Taurus Mountains, near the town of Larende, where they came to serve the Seljuks. Nûre Sûfi worked there as a woodcutter. His son, Kerîmeddin Karaman Bey, gained a tenuous control over the mountainous parts of Cilicia in the middle of the 13th century. A persistent but spurious legend, however, claims that the Seljuq Sultan of Rum, Kayqubad I, instead established a Karamanid dynasty in these lands.[5]

Karaman Bey expanded his territories by capturing castles in Ermenek, Mut, Ereğli, Gülnar, and Silifke. The year of the conquests is reported as 1225,[6] during the reign of Ala al-Din Kaykubadh I (1220–1237), which seems excessively early. Karaman Bey's conquests were mainly at the expense of the Kingdom of Lesser Armenia (and perhaps at the expense of Rukn al-Din Kilij Arslan IV, 1248–1265); in any case it is certain that he fought against the Kingdom of Lesser Armenia (and probably even died in this fight) to such extent that King Hethum I (1226–1269) had to place himself voluntarily under the sovereignty of the great Khan, in order to protect his kingdom from Mamluks and Seljuks (1244).

The rivalry between Kilij Arslan IV and Izz al-Din Kaykaus II allowed the tribes in the border areas to live virtually independently. Karaman Bey helped Kaykus, but Arslan had the support of both the Mongols and Pervâne Sulayman Muin al-Din (who had the real power in the sultanate).

The Mongolian governor and general Baiju was dismissed from office in 1256 because he had failed to conquer new territories, but he continued to serve as a general and appeared, the same year, fighting the Sultan of Rum, who had not paid the tax, and he managed to defeat the sultan a second time. Rukn al-Din Kilidj Arslan IV got rid of almost all hostile begs and amirs except Karaman Bey, to whom he gave the town of Larende (now Karaman, in honor of the dynasty) and Ermenek (c. 1260) in order to win him to his side. In the meantime, Bunsuz, brother of Karaman Bey, was chosen as a Candar, or bodyguard, for Kilij Arslan IV. Their power rose as a result of the unification of Turkish clans that lived in the mountainous regions of Cilicia with the new Turkish population transferred there by Kayqubad.

Good relations between the Seljuqs and the Karamanids did not last. In 1261, on the pretext of supporting Kaykaus II, who had fled to Constantinople as a result of the intrigues of the chancellor Mu'in al-Din Suleyman, the Pervane, Karaman Bey and his two brothers, Zeynül-Hac and Bunsuz, marched toward Konya, the Seljuq capital, with 20,000 men. A combined Seljuq and Mongol army, led by the Pervane, defeated the Karamanid army and captured Karaman Bey's two brothers.

After Karaman Bey died in 1262, his older son, Mehmet I of Karaman, became the head of the house. He immediately negotiated alliances with other Turkmen clans to raise an army against the Seljuqs and Ilkhanids. During the 1276 revolt of Hatıroğlu Şemseddin Bey against Mongol domination in Anatolia, Karamanids also defeated several Mongol-Seljuq armies. In the Battle of Göksu in 1277 in particular, the central power of the Seljuq was dealt a severe blow. Taking advantage of the general confusion, Mehmed Bey captured Konya on 12 May and placed on the throne a pretender called Jimri, who claimed to be the son of Kaykaus. In the end, however, Mehmed was defeated by Seljuq and Mongol forces and executed with some of his brothers in 1278.

The Beylik of Karaman (orange) in 1300

Despite these blows, the Karamanids continued to increase their power and influence, largely aided by the Mamluks of Egypt, especially during the reign of Baybars. Karamanids captured Konya on two more occasions in the beginning of the 14th century, but were driven out the first time by emir Chupan, the Ilkhanid governor of Anatolia, and the second time by Chupan's son and successor Timurtash. An expansion of Karamanoğlu power occurred after the fall of the Ilkhanids. A second expansion coincided with Karamanoğlu Alâeddin Ali Bey's marriage to Nefise Sultan, the daughter of the Ottoman sultan Murat I, the first important contact between the two dynasties.

As Ottoman power expanded into the Balkans, Aleaddin Ali Bey captured the city of Beyşehir, which had been an Ottoman city. However, it did not take much time for the Ottomans to react and march on Konya, the Karamanoğlu capital city. A treaty between the two kingdoms was formed, and peace existed until the reign of Bayezid I.

Timur gave control of the Karamanid lands to Mehmet Bey, the oldest son of Aleaddin Ali Bey. After Bayezid I died in 1403, the Ottoman Empire went into a political crisis as the Ottoman family fell prey to internecine strife. It was an opportunity not only for Karamanids but also for all of the Anatolian beyliks. Mehmet Bey assembled an army to march on Bursa. He captured the city and damaged it; this would not be the last Karamanid invasion of Ottoman lands. However, Mehmet Bey was captured by Bayezid Pasha and sent to prison. He apologized for what he had done and was forgiven by the Ottoman ruler.

Ramazanoğlu Ali Bey captured Tarsus while Mehmet Bey was in prison. Mustafa Bey, son of Mehmet Bey, retook the city during a conflict between the Emirs of Sham and Egypt. After that, the Egyptian sultan Sayf ad-Din Inal sent an army to retake Tarsus from the Karamanids. The Egyptian Mamluks damaged Konya after defeating the Karamanids, and Mehmet Bey retreated from Konya. Ramazanoğlu Ali Bey pursued and captured him; according to an agreement between the two leaders, Mehmet Bey was exiled to Egypt for the rest of his life.

During the Crusade of Varna against the Ottomans in 1443–44, Karamanid İbrahim Bey marched on Ankara and Kütahya, destroying both cities. In the meantime, the Ottoman sultan Murad II was returning from Rumelia with a victory against the Hungarian Crusaders. Like all other Islamic emirates in Anatolia, the Karamanids were accused of treason. Hence, İbrahim Bey accepted all Ottoman terms. The Karamanid state was eventually terminated by the Ottomans in 1487, as the power of their Mameluke allies was declining. To never again gather and threaten the integrity of the Empire, they displaced the entire population to the last man. Some were resettled in various parts of Anatolia. Large groups were accommodated in northern Iran on the territory of present-day Azerbaijan. The main part was brought to the newly conquered territories in north-eastern Bulgaria — the Ludogorie region, another group — to what is now northern Greece and southern Bulgaria— present-day Kardzhali region and Macedonia. Ottomans founded Karaman Eyalet from former territories of Karamanids.


According to Abraham Cresques' Catalan Atlas (compiled in 1375), the flag of Karamanoğlu consisted of a blue six-edged star. In the medieval times, this star was a popular Islamic symbol (especially among the Hanafi Madhhab[7]) known as the Seal of Solomon due to the belief that the Jewish king, King Solomon was a prophet, and was used by several of the Anatolian beyliks (such as the Isfendiyarids). As such the seal was also used by Ottomans in their mosque decorations, coins and even in the personal flags of individual Pasha (e.g. that of Hayreddin Barbarossa[8]). It adorned the tombs of several early Islamic figures in Medina until the destruction of al-Baqi cemetery. al-Buni and Ibn Arabi consider the seal to represent the Greatest Name, and its use remains common in contemporary Muslim esoteric circles.

Power of the Karamanid state in Anatolia

According to Mesâlik-ül-Ebsâr, written by Şehâbeddin Ömer, the Karamanid army had 25,000 riders and 25,000 saracens. They could also rely on some Turkmen tribes and their warriors.

Their economic activities depended mostly on control of strategic commercial areas such as Konya, Karaman and the ports of Lamos, Silifke, Anamur, and Manavgat.

Karamanid architecture

66 mosques, 8 hammams, 2 caravanserais and 3 medreses built by the Karamaninds survived to the present day. Notable examples of Karamanid architecture include:

  • Hasbey Medrese (1241)
  • Şerafettin Mosque (13th century)
  • İnce Minare (Dar-ül Hadis) Medrese (1258–1279)
  • Hatuniye Medrese (Karaman)
  • Mevlana Mosque and Tomb in Konya
  • Mader-i Mevlana (Aktekke) mosque in Karaman
  • Ibrahim Bey Mosque (Imaret) in Karaman

List of rulers

  1. Nûre Sûfî Bey (Capital City: Ereğli) (1250–1256)[1]
  2. Kerîmeddin Karaman Bey (Capital City: Ermenek) (1256?-1261)
  3. Şemseddin I. Mehmed Bey (1261–1277), notable for making Turkish official language
  4. Güneri Bey (1277–1300)
  5. Bedreddin Mahmut Bey (1300–1308)
  6. Yahşı Han Bey (1308–1312) (Capital City: Konya)
  7. Bedreddin I. İbrahim Bey (1312–1333, 1348–1349)
  8. Alâeddin Halil Mirza Bey (1333–1348)
  9. Fahreddin Ahmed Bey (1349–1350)
  10. Şemseddin Bey (1350–1351)
  11. Hacı Sûfi Burhâneddin Musa Bey (Capital City: Mut) (1351–1361)
  12. Seyfeddin Süleyman Bey (1361–1357)
  13. Damad I. Alâeddin Ali Bey (1357–1398)
  14. Sultanzâde II. Mehmed Bey (1398–1399, 1402–1420, 1421–1423)
  15. Damad Bengi Ali Bey (1423–1424)
  16. Damad II. İbrahim Bey (1424–1464)
  17. Sultanzâde İshak Bey (1464)
  18. Sultanzâde Pîr Ahmed Bey (1464–1469)
  19. Kasım Bey (1469–1483)
  20. Turgutoğlu Mahmud Bey (1483–1487)

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b Türk Tarih Sitesi, Türk Tarihi, Genel Türk Tarihi, Türk Cumhuriyetleri, Türk Hükümdarlar - Tarih Archived 24 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ http://www.kimkimdir.gen.tr/kimkimdir.php?id=1547
  3. ^ Ágoston, Gábor; Masters, Bruce Alan (1 January 2009). Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire. Infobase Publishing. p. 40. ISBN 9781438110257. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  4. ^ Boyacıoğlu, Ramazan (1999). Karamanoğulları'nın kökenleri (The Origin Of The Karamanids) Archived 19 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Language: Turkish. Cumhuriyet Üniversitesi İlahiyat Fakültesi Dergisi C.I S.3 Sivas 1999 s.,27-50
  5. ^ a b Cahen, Claude, Pre-Ottoman Turkey: A General Survey of the Material and Spiritual Culture and History c. 1071–1330, trans. J. Jones-Williams (New York: Taplinger, 1968), pp. 281–2.
  6. ^ Encyclopedia of Islam vol. IV, page 643.
  7. ^ Stephen F. Dale, The Muslim Empires of the Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals, 2009
  8. ^ [1]
Ahmet of Karaman

Ahmet of Karaman, was a short term bey of Karaman Beylik, a Turkish principality in Anatolia in the 14th century. He succeeded his father İbrahim Bey. But his succession date is not known. According to one source, he fell during a battle against Mongols in 1350.

Ala Bridge

Ala Bridge (Turkish: Ala Köprü) is a historic bridge in Turkey. It is still in use.

Alaattin Ali of Karaman

Alaattin Ali of Karaman (aka Damat Ali Bey) was a bey of Karaman Beylik, a Turkish principality in Anatolia in the 14th century. Like most other Karaman beys, Ali Bey was a rival of the rising Ottoman Empire, and the two principalities engaged in chronic wars against one another.

Bengi Ali of Karaman

Ali of Karaman (also known as Bengi Ali) was the ruler (Turkish: Turkish: bey) of Karamanids in what is now modern Turkey in the 15th century .

Gedik Ahmed Pasha

Gedik Ahmed Pasha (died 18 November 1482) was an Ottoman statesman and admiral who served as Grand Vizier and Kapudan Pasha (Grand Admiral of the Ottoman Navy) during the reigns of sultans Mehmed II and Bayezid II.

His background remains largely unknown. Most sources claim that he was of Serbian descent and others that he was of Greek or Albanian descent. He undertook virtually all of his construction enterprises in Anatolia.

Leading the Ottoman Army, he defeated the last Anatolian Turkish beylik (principality) resisting Ottoman expansion in the region, the Karamanids. The Karamanids had been the strongest principality in Anatolia for nearly 200 years, even stronger than the Ottomans in the latter's beginning. They effectively succeeded the Sultanate of Rûm in the amount of possessions they held, among them the city of Konya, the former Selçuk capital. Gedik Ahmed Pasha's victory against the Karamanids in 1471, conquering their territory as well as the Mediterranean coastal region around Ermenek, Mennan and Silifke, proved crucial for the future of the Ottomans..

Gedik Ahmed Pasha also fought against Venetians in the Mediterranean and was dispatched in 1475 by the Sultan to aid the Crimean Khanate against Genoese forces. In Crimea, he conquered Caffa, Soldaia, Cembalo and other Genoese castles as well as the Principality of Theodoro with its capital Mangup and the coastal regions of Crimea. He rescued the Khan of Crimea, Meñli I Giray, from Genoese forces. As a result of this campaign, Crimea and Circassia entered into the Ottoman sphere of influence.

In 1479, when he was a sanjakbey of the Sanjak of Avlona, Sultan Mehmet II ordered him lead a siege force of between 10,000 and 40,000 troops in the siege of Shkodra. Later that year, the sultan ordered him to lead the Ottoman Navy in the Mediterranean Sea as part of the war against Naples and Milan. During his campaign, Gedik Ahmed Pasha conquered the islands of Santa Maura (Lefkada), Kefalonia, and Zante (Zakynthos). Since he had conquered Constantinople in 1453, Mehmed II saw himself as the inheritor of the Roman Empire and seriously considered the conquest of Italy to reunite Roman lands under his dynasty. As part of this plan, Gedik Ahmed Pasha was sent with a naval force to the heel of the Italian peninsula.

After a failed attempt to conquer Rhodes from the Knights of St. John, Ahmed successfully took the Italian harbor city of Otranto in 1480. However, due to lack of food and supplies, he had to return with most of his troops to Albania in the same year, planning to continue the campaign in 1481.

The death of Mehmed II prevented this. Instead, Ahmet sided with Beyazid II in the struggle for who would succeed the sultan. However, Beyazid II did not fully trust Ahmed and had him imprisoned and later killed on 18 November 1482 at Adrianople.

Güneri of Karaman

Güneri of Karaman was the third bey of Karaman Beylik, a Turkish principality in Anatolia in the 13th century.

His father was Karaman Bey. After his elder brother Mehmet I was killed by the Mongols in 1277, he became the leader of the beylik. Early years of his reign were eventless. But in 1284 he took advantage of the civil war in Seljuk lands and he supported two infants for the Seljuk throne (not much different from the policy of Mehmet I.) In turn, he was declared a beylerbey of Seljuks. But upon the intervention of Arghun (Mongol khan) he had to recede to his own territory to the south of Seljuk lands. In 1287 he attacked Tarsus, then a part of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia. However Seljuks and Mongols who supported Leon II of Armenia invaded his territory, burned his capital Karaman and forced him to recede once more. Next year he accepted the suzerainty of Seljuks. In 1294, he recaptured Alaiye an important port on the Mediterranean Sea which was recently captured by a coalition of Armenians and the Kingdom of Cyprus from the Seljuks.He died in 1300. He was succeeded by his brother Mahmut.

Halil of Karaman

Halil, a.k.a. Alaattin Halil, was a bey of Karaman Beylik, a Turkish principality in Anatolia in the 14th century.

His father was Mahmut Bey. He succeeded his elder brothers Musa and İbrahim in 1332. He wasn't active in military campaigns. But he commissioned some mosques and other social buildings in Ermenek during his reign. He died in 1340.

Ibrahim II of Karaman

Ibrahim II (died 1464) was a bey of Karaman.

Ibrahim I of Karaman

Ibrahim I, a.k.a. Bedrettin Ibrahim , was a bey of the Karamanids, a Turkish principality in Anatolia in the 14th century.

His father was Mahmut Bey. His elder brother Musa had succeeded Mahmut in 1312. But soon Ibrahim laid claim to throne and rebelled in 1318. Although the details of the civil war are not known, according to Ibn Battuta, the famous Arabian traveller who acted as Ibrahim's envoy to Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt, he won the throne with the help of Mamluks. Between 1332 and 1340 he abdicated on behalf of his brother Halil. Upon Halil's death however, he resumed his former title. His death date is not certain. But he died no sooner than 1343 when he campaigned to Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.

Ishak of Karaman

Ishak of Karaman was a bey of the Karamanids, a Turkish principality in Anatolia in the 15th century. He succeeded his father Ibrahim Bey in 1464.

He was the legal heir to throne, but his mother was a concubine and his half brothers opposed him. At the time of his father's death, he was a local governor in Silifke. When he tried to march to his capital Konya, he learned that his younger brother Pir Ahmet had put a claim on the throne. This resulted in an interregnum in the beylik. The help of Uzun Hasan, the sultan of Akkoyunlu (White Sheep) Turkmens enabled him to ascend to the throne, albeit for a short reign. Because, Pir Ahmet appealed to Ottoman sultan Mehmet II for help. He offered Mehmet some territory which Ishak refused to cede. With Ottoman help, Pir Ahmet defeated Ishak in the battle of Dağpazarı. Ishak had to be concerned with Silifke for an unknown time.


Karaman is a city in south central Turkey, located in Central Anatolia, north of the Taurus Mountains, about 100 km (62 mi) south of Konya. It is the capital district of the Karaman Province. According to 2000 census, the population of the province is 231,872 of which 132,064 live in the town of Karaman. The district covers an area of 3,686 km2 (1,423 sq mi), and the town lies at an average elevation of 1,039 m (3,409 ft). The Karaman Museum is one of the major sights.

Laal Pasha Mosque

Laal Pasha Mosque is a Medieval mosque in Mut in Mersin Province, Turkey. (Names such as Lal Pasha, Lael Pasha and Lala Agha are also used.)

Mahmut of Karaman

Mahmut of Karaman was a bey of Karaman Beylik, a Turkish principality in Anatolia in the 14th century.

His father was Karaman Bey. He succeeded his elder brother Güneri in 1300. Although he is known to have participated in the campaign to Alaiye during Güneri's reign, the details of his reign are not known. But when Seljuk sultan Mesut II died in 1308, he saw his chance to capture Konya, the Seljuks capital.He died in 1312. His tomb is in Balkusan village at Ermenek district of Karaman Province. He was succeeded by his son Musa.

Mehmet II of Karaman

Mehmet II of Karaman, Mehmed Beg (Turkish: Mehmet Bey), Mehmed Beg II, also known as Nasir al-Din Mehmed Beg ( ?- 1423) was the ruler (Turkish: bey) of Karaman in what is now modern Turkey in the 15th century. His mother was Nefise Hatun, a daughter of Sultan Murad I

Mehmet I of Karaman

Mehmet I of Karaman (Turkish: Karamanoğlu Mehmet Bey), also known as Şemseddin Mehmet, was the second bey of Karaman Beylik, a Turkish principality in Anatolia in the 13th century. His father was Karaman Bey.

Musa of Karaman

Musa of Karaman, a.k.a. Hacı Sufi Burhanettin Musa, was a bey of Karaman Beylik, a Turkish principality in Anatolia in the 14th century.

His father was Mahmut Bey. He succeeded his father in 1312. Although he appointed his brother Yahşi as the governor of Konya, the Seljuk capital, Emir Coban, the Mongol commander, captured the city and Musa had to be contended with the former possessions of his beylik. However, he even lost Karaman, his capital city (ancient Larende) to his rebelling brother İbrahim, who was backed by the Mamluks of Egypt. According to Ibn Batuta, in 1332 he was ruling only in Ermenek. But in 1352, after a chaos period in the beylik, he was invited to Karaman, where he ruled till 1356.

Pir Ahmet of Karaman

Pir Ahmet of Karaman was a bey of Karaman Beylik, a Turkish principality in Anatolia in the 15th century.

Süleyman of Karaman

Süleyman of Karaman (Seyfeddin Süleyman) was a bey of the Karaman Beylik, a Turkish principality in Anatolia in the 14th century.

His father was Halil Bey. He served as the governor of Ermenek during his uncle Musa Bey's reign. Upon the death of Musa in 1356, he became the bey of Karaman. He appointed his brother Alaattin Ali Bey as the governor of Ermenek. His brother also served as a commander during the wars. According to the contemporary Turkish writer Şikari, after Ali defeated a coalition of forces, the losers collaborated with Mehmet, the ruler of the neighbouring beylik of Eretna, against Süleyman. In 1361 while he was on his way to a burial service of one of his old soldiers, he was assassinated.His tomb is in Konya, next to the tomb of the mother of Mevlana (Rumi).

Şemseddin of Karaman

Şemsettin of Karaman (died 1352) was a bey of the Karaman Beylik, a Turkish beylik in Anatolia in the 14th century.

His father was İbrahim Bey. He succeeded his brother Ahmet Bey in 1350. However, his reign was short, and it is believed he was poisoned by one of his brothers in 1352.

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