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The Sultanate of Women in the Ottoman Empire

For centuries, women lived in the shadow of men in the Ottoman Empire. However, in the 16th-17th centuries, a radical change began and well-positioned mistresses could find themselves in the upper echelons of the sultan’s state. If the ruler’s concubine or the sultan’s mother managed to win the battle against the other women in the harem, she could accumulate great power, and could even be on par with European rulers. With the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the time of women had come.

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