Selim I Giray, Selim Khan Girai (Crimean Tatar: I Selim Geray, Turkish: 1. Selim Giray) was a Crimean khan (1631–1704). He reigned four times between 1671 and 1704.
Crimean khans were the direct descendants of Genghis Khan, the Mongol Emperor. After the death of Genghis Khan (1227) the empire was partitioned and the part in East Europe and Northwest Asia was named Golden Horde. The Golden Horde khans embraced Islam. That region which was also called Desht-i Qipchaq was the home of Kypchak Turks and the khanate was a Turkified. In the early 15th century Golden Horde was further partitioned. One of the parts was the Crimean Khanate founded in and around the Crimean Peninsula, modern Ukraine in 1441. Giray was the name of the dynasty of khans. However, after partitioning, the parts of the khanate were no longer the major powers in East Europe steps and in 1478 Crimean Khanate had to accept the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire. Being the main Moslem vassal of the empire, Crimean Khanate had a privileged status in the Ottoman Empire.
First reign (1671–1678)
In 1671 Selim ascended to throne as the 25th khan. In 1672 he was assigned to join Ottoman army during the Polish–Ottoman War (1672–76) in which he was successful in the conquest of Bar, Ukraine (then a part of Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth). However he failed in his next mission during the siege of Chyhyryn (modern central Ukraine) in 1677. He was dethroned.
Second reign (1684–1691)
During the Great Turkish War both Murad Giray, Selim’s successor, and Hacı Giray had been dethroned. Selim was called back. During his second reign, Selim was successful in defeating an Austrian army in Bulgaria and a Russian army in the Ukraine. But, after Köprülü Mustafa Pasha was appointed as the Grand Vizier, the difference of opinions (and probably competition) between the two led Selim to resign.The news about his son's death in the war might also contribute to his decision.
Third reign (1692–1699)
Selim travelled to Mecca, then an Ottoman territory for hajj (pilgrimage) after resignation. During this period Köprülü Mustafa Pasha had been killed in the battle of Slankamen. On the other hand, Sefa Giray, the new khan was unpopular among his subjects. Thus Ottoman porte decided to reenthrone Selim as the new khan while Selim was returning home over İstanbul in 1682.
During his third reign he continuously fought against Peter I of Russia. The war ended by the treaties of Karlowitz (1699) and Constantinople (1700). After the treaty of Karlowitz, Selim resigned again and moved to his farm in Silivri, what is now a suburb of Istanbul.
Fourth reign (1702–1704)
Selim's successor Devlet II Giray was planning a campaign to Moscow which meant a new war for the war-weary Ottoman Empire. Thus, Selim was called back to throne by the porte. During his last reign, Selim put an end to interior chaos in Crimea. He died in Bahçesaray, Crimea and was buried in the tomb of the mosque named after him.
(22 July 1704)
Although a war hero, Selim is also known for his talent as a poet and a musician. As a poet, he wrote the zafername (book of victories) about his victories against Russians at Perekop. During his frequent stays in İstanbul, he supported musicians like Hafız Post (1630–1694).