Ottoman Empire ruled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa for over 600 years. The name of the empire came from Osman 1, but the foundation of the empire was laid down by Ertugrul Ghazi in the town of Sogut.
Ertugrul Ghazi was the father of Osman 1, the founder of the ottoman empire. The date of birth of Ertugrul is unknown to historian and very little is known about the early life of him. According to some sources he was the son of Suleman Shah, who was the leader of a Turkish tribe named Kayi.
Kayi was a small nomad tribe in central Asia, people of Kayi tribe made their living by grazing sheep and selling handmade carpets. They used to migrate from place to place in search of water and fertile land. Young men of the Kayi Tribe were valiant, brave, and were experts in sword fighting and shooting arrows. for young men, it was compulsory to take formal training of Soldiers. Turkish term for a soldier is Alp.
The 13th century was the age of Mongols. Mongols were brutal and their aim was to conquer the whole world. After capturing more than half of the World explored at that time, Mongols decided to capture the Muslim states which were ruled by the Seljuq empire. Kayi tribe migrated from central Asia to Iran and then from Iran to Anatolia (The modern Day turkey) to escape t he Mongols raid.
Ertugrul’s personal life:
Ertugrul’s wife was halime hatun, but this matter is disputed among historians. There is a grave outside the tomb of ertugrul which bears the name of Halime Hatun. Some historians believe that he had more than one wife. Ertugurl had three sons Gunduz, Savci and Osman. Osman was his youngest son who continued his legacy and became the founder of the Ottoman Empire. His son Savci died at a young age. Ertugrul was a valiant warrior and pious Muslim. Ghazi at the end of his name represents “a heroic champion fighter for the cause of Islam”.
Ertugrul became the leader of Kayi:
Suleman Shah(the father of ertugrul) was suffering from cancer, he died while crossing the Euphrates River with his sons. After the death of Suleman Shah, a dispute aroused among the sons of Suleman Shah. Kayi Tribe was divided into two. Two of his son, along with their families and many companions went to ahlat, while Ertugrul with his mother and 400 companions went to Asia Minor.
Ertugrul encounter with sultan Kaykabad:
On his way to Asia minor, Ertugrul and his companion saw two forces fighting with each other. He didn’t know who they were. Still, he decided to support the weak force. His support turned the tables and Army which was about to lose the battle turned victorious. That army was of Sultan Aladdin kayqubad(the leader of Seljuq Empire).
Views of historians about the opponent Army are disputed, some say the opponent Army was of Byzantine empire, while most of the historians believe Army was of Mongols. Sultan Keykabud got impressed by the Ertugrul and his Alps and granted him land in Karaca da. It is said that Sultan awarded him that area to secure the border of the Seljuq empire, as that area was adjacent to the byzantine empire. Ertugrul defeated Mongols and captured various castles of the Byzantine Empire. Later the Sultan of Seljuq Empire Aladin kayqubad allotted him with new territory in the town of Sogut which was on the frontier with the Byzantines. Ertugrul captured sogut along with its surrounding lands. Later this town sogut became the Ottoman capital under his son, Osman I.
Fall of Seljuq and the rise of Ottomans:
Ertugrul became a close ally of Sultan Aladdin kayqubad. After his death, his young son Keykavus took his throne. Though Sultan Keykavusn was young when took his father’s place, still, he resisted well against the invasion of Mongols and Byzantines. Keykavus was the last powerful Sultan of Seljuq Empire. After Keykavus, power fell into the hands of Mongols. In 1258, Mongols sacked Baghdad (capital of the Abbasid caliphate), killed its caliph Al-Musta’sim and massacred residents of the city. Leaders of the Seljuk empire wanted to avoid the fate of Baghdad and agreed to pay heavy taxes to Mongols to avoid their invasion on Seljuk’s land.
Seljuq empire became a dummy empire and was controlled by Mongols. Seljuq leaders cannot make a single decision without the permission of Mongols. This led to the fall of the Seljuq empire.
Ertugrul was in sogut at that time. Seeing the miserable condition of his state. He decided not to pay taxes to Mongols and built his own state in sogut. This vision of Ertugrul was later taken by his youngest son Osman which led to the rise of another empire The Great ottoman empire. which ruled till World war 1.
Ertugrul was died in 1281 at the age of 90. Tomb and mosque dedicated to Ertuğrul had been built by Osman I at Söğüt.
The last will of Ertugrul Gazi to his son, Osman Gazi, in front of his tomb, reads:
Lo, son! Offend me, offend not Shaykh Edebali. He is the light of our clan. His balance does not err by a dirham. Oppose me, oppose him not. If you oppose me, I will be sad and hurt. If you oppose him, my eyes will not look at you, even if they look they will not see. Our words are not for Edebali but for you dear. Consider what I have said my last will.
— Ertuğrul Gazi