Ertuğrul Biography

(Turkish Chieftain Who was the Father of Osman I, the Founder of the Ottoman Empire)

Born In: Ahlat, Turkey

Ertuğrul was a 13th century Turkish chieftain or bey who is known as the father of Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman Empire. He is often described as the first person in Turkish history to move away from the nomadic lifestyle and settle down in Söğüt, which became the capital of the future Ottoman Empire. As such, he is often credited with events that eventually led to the founding of the Ottoman Empire. While the Ottoman tradition describes him as the son of Suleyman Shah, the leader of the Kayı tribe, some historians believe that he was the son of Gündüz Alp who was granted dominion over the town of Söğüt by the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum for his service in the fight against the Byzantine Empire. Some sources also believe that his wife, Halime Hatun, was a Seljuk princess, the daughter of a Seljuk ruler. He lived up to the age of 93, according to 15th century Ottoman historian Neşri, and spent the final years of his life quietly with his tribe.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Ertuğrul bin Suleyman Shah, Ertuğrul bin Gündüz Alp


Spouse/Ex-: Halime Hatun

father: Suleyman Shah

mother: Hayme Ana

siblings: Dündar Bey, Gündoğdu, Sungurtekin Bey

Born Country: Turkey

Turkish Male Turkish Historical Personalities

Died on: 1280

place of death: Söğüt, Turkey

Childhood & Early Life

While Ertuğrul is well-known as the father of Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman Empire, there are conflicting opinions about his early life. According to the Ottoman tradition, he was the son of Suleyman Shah, the leader of the Kayı tribe of the Oghuz Turks, who fled from western Central Asia to Anatolia to escape the Mongol conquests.

According to 15th century Ottoman writers Enveri and Karamani Mehmet Pasha, he was the son of Gündüz Alp. This version of the legend is also supported by three coins, supposedly from the time of Osman, which read "Osman bin Ertuğrul bin Gündüz Alp".

Several Turkish sources claim that he had three brothers named Sungur-tekin, Gündoğdu and Dündar, among whom the former two took the clan eastward after their father’s death. Ertuğrul, along with his mother Hayme Hatun, brother Dündar, and his followers from the Kayı Tribe, migrated west into Anatolia and entered the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum.

He had helped the Seljuks against the Byzantines, because of which Kayqubad I, the Seljuk Sultan of Rum, granted him lands in Karaca Dağ, a mountainous area between Diyarbakır and Urfa. He later received the village of Söğüt, where he eventually passed away and which became the Ottoman capital during his son’s rule.

Continue Reading Below
Personal Life & Legacy

Ertuğrul is believed to have died around 1280/1281 A.D., following which his son Osman I built a tomb and mosque dedicated to him at Söğüt. However, details about the original structures have been lost because they have been re-built several times, the latest by sultan Abdul Hamid II (1842 – 1918) in the late 19th century.

A woman recognized as Halime Hatun is generally considered to be the wife of Ertuğrul and the mother of Osman I. A grave bearing her name can be found outside the Ertuğrul Gâzi Tomb, but its authenticity is disputed as many historians believe that the name was added during the recent rebuilding and was politically motivated.

Apart from Osman I, Ertuğrul had two more children, Saru-Batu (Savci) Bey and Gündüz Bey. However, according to some historians, Saru-Batu and Savci are two different people as there are two different graves at Savcı Bey's mausoleum.

Ottoman sultan Abdul Hamid II had a yacht named Ertuğrul which was named after him. The Ottoman frigate Ertuğrul, launched in 1863, was also named in his honor, as was the Ertuğrul Cavalry Regiment of the Ottoman Army in 1826.

Apart from the mosque at Söğüt, there is also the Ertuğrul Tekke Mosque, built in the late 19th century, in Istanbul, Turkey. Moreover, the Ertuğrul Gazi Mosque in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan was built by the Turkish government in 1998 as a symbol of the link between Turkey and Turkmenistan.

One of several statues surrounding the Independence Monument in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, is named Ertuğrul, and it also featured on a 2001 commemorative coin. It and the other statues around the monument were in memory of people praised in the Ruhnama, a spiritual guide written by Turkmenistan president Saparmurat Niyazov.

Ertuğrul Bey is a fictional character based upon him who has appeared in several Turkish television series such as the historical fiction series Diriliş: Ertuğrul (Resurrection: Ertuğrul) which ran from 2014 to 2019. In the series, his character was portrayed by Turkish actor Engin Altan Düzyatan, while Tamer Yiğit played him in the sequel, Kuruluş: Osman (2019, Establishment: Osman).

The television series has inspired several statues of Ertuğrul, including two on horseback placed by a private cooperative housing society in Lahore, Pakistan in 2020. A bust of Ertuğrul, erected in Ordu, Turkey in 2020 was later removed by local authorities due to its resemblance with the actor from the television series.

The Turkish television series accessed several sources about him, in order to make an informed portrayal, such as Turkish archives, Ibn Arabi’s chronologies, Western archives about Templars, Byzantine’s chronologies as well as legends. The series depicts him in charge of a small part of Kayi tribe consisting of about 400 tents who draws the attention of Sultan Alaeddin of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum for his bravery and loyalty.

After Sultan Alaeddin was poisoned by Sadettin Kopek, he revolted against Kopek’s government and established his own State, with the City of Söğüt as its capitol. He was also portrayed as having huge love and respect for his wife Halime Sultan, with whom he had four children, and lived well into his 90s, which is accurate according to 15th century Ottoman historian Neşri.


Like his son Osman and his descendants, Ertuğrul is also referred to as a Ghazi, a heroic champion fighter for the cause of Islam.

See the events in life of Ertuğrul in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Ertuğrul Biography
- Editors,

People Also Viewed

Abdullah II of Jordan Biography
Abdullah II of Jordan
James V of Scotland Biography
James V of Scotland
Boudica Biography
Harold Harefoot Biography
Harold Harefoot
Christian X Biography
Christian X
Hirohito Biography