Suleyman the Lawgiver was born in Trebizond during the time when his father was Governor there. He had been well trained and educated and was made Sultan when he was 26 years of age. He was serious and dignified and always acted with great composure. He would always give careful consideration before making a decision but once he made up his mind he would never change it. Suleyman always promoted his advisors by their ability and efficiency.
He was called the Lawgiver or the Legislator because he applied laws strictly. During his sultanate Henry VIII, the English king, sent a mission to Istanbul to study how the Ottoman system of law worked. Henry used Turkish laws as an example for his own country.
Suleyman took part in a large number of battles. In 1522 he conquered Rhodesia and acted as mediator for the release of the French King, Francis, who was then released by the Germans. In 1526 he defeated Hungary and seized Budapest. In 1529 he seized Vien, in 1532 he waged war on Austria and in 1533 allied himself to Germany. He took Otranto in 1537 and Belgrade in 1543.
Under the Barbarossa Brothers the Turks routed all fleets in the Mediterranean and subjected Northern Africa to Ottoman rule. Turkish rule in the Crimea stretched almost to Moscow.
Suleyman sent a fleet to the Indian Ocean to aid the Mohammedans and gained a number of possessions in Sudan and Abyssinia.
On September 7th, 1566 Suleyman was commanding Turkish forces at the siege of Zigetwar Castle when he was killed. He was 74 years old and had ruled over the Empire for 46 years. He was a respected statesman and poet whose best known poem is as follows:
"Nothing is respected more than the Empire,
No fortune in the world is as important as health,
The sultanate is just something on the way to death.
Nothing but unity is better than fortune and happiness."
Suleyman expanded the Empire from 6,557,000 to 14,893,000 square kilometres during his reign. His burial service was performed by the Grand Mufti Eboussououd Effendi and Nakibu-l Eshraf Mouhterem of Tashkent He was interred into his mausoleum in the yard of the Suleymaniye Mosque.
Suleyman had eight sons whose names were Selim the Second, Bavezid, Abdoullah, Amurath, Mehemed, Mahmoud, Djikhangir and Moustapha. His two daughters were called Mikhrimakh Sultana, and Raziye Sultana.