Mustafa III (Ottoman Turkish: مصطفى ثالث Mustafa-yi salis) (January 28/18, 1717 – January 21, 1774) was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1757 to 1774. He was a son of Sultan Ahmed III (1703–30) and was succeeded by his brother Abdul Hamid I (1774–89). He was born in Edirne Palace. His mother was Amina Mihr-i-Shah Sultan.
An energetic and perceptive ruler, Mustafa III sought to modernize the army and the internal state machinery to bring his empire in line with the Powers of Europe.
Unfortunately the Ottoman state had declined so far that any general attempts at modernization were but a drop in the ocean, while any major plans to change the administrative status quo immediately roused the conservative Janissaries and imams to the point of rebellion. Mustafa III did secure the services of foreign generals to initiate a reform of the infantry and artillery. The Sultan also ordered the founding of Academies for Mathematics, Navigation and the Sciences.
Well aware of his own military weakness, Mustafa III assiduously avoided war and was powerless to prevent the annexation of the Crimea by Catherine II of Russia (1762–96). However this action, combined with further Russian aggression in Poland compelled Mustafa III to declare war on Russia shortly before his death.
He died at Topkapi Palace, Constantinople.
Mustafa married Valide Sultan Mihrisah (Mihr-i shah, originally from Georgia), and had two sons: Selim, son of Mihrisah (Mihr-i shah) and Mohammed. He also had five daughters, among them Hatice Sultan.
He was well talented and educated . He was an excellent poet, his poetry being written under the pseudonym of Cihangir. One of his most famous poems is as follows:
“Yikilupdur bu cihan sanma ki bizde duzele
Devleti carh-i deni verdi kamu muptezele
Simdi erbab-i saadette gezen hep hazele
Isimiz kaldi hemen merhamet-i lem yezele.”
"This world has ruined, don't even think with us it recovers,
It was the lousy fate that has delivered the power to vulgars
Now the perfidious ones have populated the Imperial Palace
It's now the mercy of the everlasting God that runs our business."