Early life Kösem was of Greek origin, the daughter of a priest on the island of Tinos. Her maiden name was Anastasia. She was bought in Ottoman Bosnia by the Bosnian beylerbey, and sent to Istanbul, the Ottoman capital, at the age of fifteen, to the harem of Sultan Ahmed I after cancelling her education in Istanbul. Upon her conversion to Islam, her name was changed to Mahpeyker (Moon-Shaped), and later by Sultan Ahmed I to Kösem. She was transferred to the old palace on the death of Sultan Ahmed in 1617, but returned as Valide Sultan (Queen Mother), when her son Murad IV was enthroned in 1623. First reign She was appointed not only Valide Sultan but also, as her son was a minor, as official regent during his minority; between 1623 and 1632 she became the first of two women in history who ruled the Ottoman Empire officially and alone. While women had been de facto regents in the empire before her, no woman had ever formally been regents, and her position was thereby new. During most of the reign of Murad IV she effectively ran the empire, attending meetings of the Divan (cabinet) from behind a curtain, even after 1632, when she was no longer official regent. Second reign When her son Ibrahim succeeded his brother in 1640, he proved too mentally unstable to rule. This enabled Kösem to continue in power. Eventually Ibrahim was deposed and Kösem presented her seven-year-old grandson Mehmed IV to the divan with the words "Here he is!, see what you can do with him!" Thus, she declared herself official regent for the second time, and ruled openly again between 1648 and 1651. Death It was Mehmed's mother Turhan Hatice who proved to be Kösem's nemesis. It is rumoured that Turhan ordered Kösem's assassination when she heard that Kösem was said to be plotting Mehmed's removal and replacement by another grandson with a more pliant mother. Furthermore, some have speculated that Kösem was strangled with a curtain by the chief black eunuch of the harem, Tall Süleyman. The Ottoman renegade Bobovi, relying on an informant in the harem, states that Kösem was strangled with her own hair. After her death her body was taken from Topkapi to the Old Palace (Eski Sarayı) and then buried in the mausoleum of her husband Ahmed I. Kösem was renowned for her charity work and for freeing her slaves after 3 years of service. When she died the people of Istanbul observed three days of mourning.