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Abdul-Medjid

Abdul-Medjid, thirty-first Sultan of the Ottoman dynasty, born 1823, and succeeded his father, Mahmoud II., 1839. The young sovereign found himself at once face to face with grave political difficulties. The conservative and fanatical Turks, secretly instigated by Russia, had resolved to restore the ancient order of things, and had chosen as their leader Mehemet Ali, the powerful pasha of Egypt, already in revolt against his suzerain. Ibrahim, Mehemet Ali's putative son, won the battle of Nezib just as Abdul-Medjid came to the throne, and the Turkish fleet mutinied. The Porte was saved by Lord Palmerston's diplomacy and the intervention of the Powers, always excepting France. The Sultan, aided by Reschid Pasha, now resumed the measures of reform initiated by his father; promulgated the Tauzimut or Edict of Gulhane, giving all his subjects equal civil rights; proclaimed the equality of all creeds in the eyes of the law; and extended his protection to the Polish and Hungarian refugees of 1848. Russian intrigue at this juncture began to weave fresh toils round "the sick man," and England and France drawing together to check Russian aggression, the Crimean War ensued. The Treaty of Paris (1856) brought this chapter of history to a close, but Turkey was left weak and impoverished, a prey to intestine factions, and by no means free from Russian influence. Abdul-Medjid showed signs of premature exhaustion, and his habits became extravagant. He died in 1861, and was succeeded by his brother Abdul-Aziz.

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