Well aware of his own military weakness, Mustafa III assiduously avoided war and chose not to contest the annexation of the Crimea by Catherine II of Russia (1762-1796).
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.
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.
Mihr-i-Mah Sultan (5 February 1762 – 6 October 1762), daughter of Ayn ul-Hayat. Mihr-i-Shah Sultan (9 January 1763 – 21 February 1769).
Hatum Sultan (1764 – March 1769).
Bayhan Sultan (13 January 1765 – 7 November 1824), daughter of Aisha Adil-Shah. Married 22 April 1784, Damad Jalik Mustafa Pasha. Hatice Sultan (15 June 1766 – 17 July 1821), daughter of Aisha Adil-Shah.
Married 10 November 1786, Damad Sayyid Ahmed Pasha.
Fatma Sultan (9 January 1770 – 26 May 1772), daughter of Mihrişah. Raykhan 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:
“Yıkılupdur bu cihan sanma ki bizde düzele
Devleti çarh-ı deni verdi kamu müptezele
Şimdi erbab-ı saadette gezen hep hazele
İşimiz kaldı hemen merhamet-i lem yezele.”
"This world has ruined, don"t even think with us it recovers,
lieutenant was the lousy fate that has delivered the power to vulgars
Now the perfidious ones have populated the Imperial Palace
lieutenant"s now the mercy of the everlasting God that runs our business.".