Solyman II., Or Suleiman, called the Magnificent, an Ottoman sultan, born about 1495, died before Sziget in Hungary, Sept. 5, 1566. He was the son of Selim I., whom he succeeded in 1520. In 1521 he subdued the rebellion of Ghazali Bey in Syria, and in Hungary took Belgrade and other fortified towns. After an arduous siege he took Rhodes from the knights of St. John in 1522. He invaded Hungary a second time in 1526, won the decisive battle of Mohacs (Aug. 29), in which Louis II. of Hungary lost his life, overran a part of the kingdom, and recognized as king John Zapolya, who put himself under Solyman's protection. This embroiled the sultan with Ferdinand I. of Hapsburg, who was elected king by the majority of the Hungarians, and began the first of the Turkish Avars against Germany. In 1529 Solyman took Buda, and appeared before Vienna with a vast army; but after a number of assaults he retired with a loss of 80.000 men. A second attempt in 1532 was baffled by the resistance of Guns under Jurisics. in 1534 he invaded Persia, and subdued Armenia and Irak, with the cities of Tabriz and Bagdad; in 1536 formed an alliance with Francis I. of France against Charles V., the brother of Ferdinand; in the same year created the Bar-bary corsair Khair ed-Din or Barbarossa a Turkish admiral, and thus swept the Mediterranean and Italian coasts; conquered Croatia in 1537 by a great victory over the imperialists at Eszek; and in 1538 made the conquest of Yemen. An attempt in 1537 on Corfu failed.
Upon the death of John Zapolya in 1540, he supported his son John Sigismund, and continued the war with Ferdinand till 1547, when a truce humiliating to that prince was agreed upon. He now again invaded Persia, in 1548 gained a victory at Van in Armenia, and in 1549-50 conquered the provinces of Shirvan and Georgia. Hostilities in Hungary were renewed in 1552. John Sigismund was established in Transylvania under Turkish protection, and Solyman's fleets under Piali, the successor of Khair ed-Din, gained a victory over the combined fleets of the emperor at Jerba on the African coast. A truce made in 1562 left the Turks in possession of their Hungarian conquests. In an attempt upon Malta in 1565, the whole naval force of Solyman was repulsed. In 1566 he again led a vast army to the invasion of Hungary, crossed the Drave, and laid siege to the fortress of Sziget, which was defended by a small garrison under Zrinyi; but a paroxysm of anger at the terrible repulses he encountered induced an attack of apoplexy, in which he died a few days before the last and fatal assault was made.
Under this sultan the Ottoman empire attained its greatest military power, and it began immediately to decline under his successor, Selim II. By the Turks he was surnamed the Legislator (Kanuni), and the Kanun Na-meh, or code of laws and regulations, drawn up under his direction, formed the basis for a long period of the Turkish administration of government and justice. He was also a patron of literature and art; in his reign the use of the Turkish language in literature superseded that of the Persian.