Pargalı Ibrahim Pasha, Suleiman the Magnificent’s grand vizier, was killed on this day. His name, “Pargalı” stems from the fact that he was born in a town called Parga, which is located on the western Greek coast, south of the island of Corfu. Ibrahim Pasha was a Greek and an Orthodox Christian by birth, but it seems he was later forcefully converted to Islam.
Even though he was at first something akin to a slave, he received a good education, and in his youth he became friends with the famous Suleiman – future ruler of the Ottoman Empire, nicknamed “The Magnificent”. The two of them were almost peers and there were allegedly many similarities between them. It was precisely his friendship with Suleiman that led to Ibrahim’s rise in power.
After Suleiman acceded to the throne of the Ottoman Empire, Ibrahim gradually gained more and more titles, beginning that of Falconer, and eventually becoming the Grand Vizier (chief minister) of the empire.
Ibrahim Pasha even married Suleiman’s sister – Hatice Sultan. Suleiman the Magnificent also gave him the title “serasker”, which denoted the supreme commander of the Ottoman army.
However, Ibrahim’s fortunes eventually took a turn for the worse. Namely, at the time when Ibrahim Pasha and Suleiman the Magnificent conquered Baghdad, Suleiman received a letter which Ibrahim Pasha allegedly signed as “serasker-sultan”. This means that he added the title “sultan” to his military title (it is important to note that “sultan” approximately means “prince” among the Turks, while the ruler – usually called “sultan” in the West – was actually usually called Padishah by the Turks). It is also possible that there was a court conspiracy against Ibrahim Pasha, with the goal of removing him from power. In any case, Suleiman the Magnificent eventually decided to have him executed, which happened on this day in 1536.