CKM 2017-18 / Aziz Yardımlı



  Mamluk Sultanate (1250-1517)
Mamluk Sultanate of Cairo (1317) / Extent of the Mamluk Sultanate under Sultan an-Nasir Muhammad

  • The Mamlukes had once been mighty in Egypt, Libya, and Syria before losing them all to the Ottomans in 1517.

Mamluk Sultanate of Cairo

Mamluk Sultanate of Cairo (1250-1517) (W)

Capital Cairo
Common languages Arabic (Egyptian and Classical), Turkic (Oghuz and Cuman-Kipchak), Circassian
Religion Sunni Islam, Shia Islam, Christian minorities
Government Monarchy

• 1250 Shajar ad-Durr
• 1250-1257 Izz al-Din Aybak
• 1260-1277 Baibars
• 1516-1517 Tuman bay II

• Murder of Turanshah 2 May 1250
• Second Ottoman-Mamluk War 22 January 1517

Mamluk defeat in the Battle of the Pyramids.

The Mamluk Sultanate (Arabic: سلطنة المماليك‎, romanized:Salṭanat al-Mamālīk) was a medieval realm spanning Egypt, the Levant, and Hejaz. It lasted from the overthrow of the Ayyubid dynasty until the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517. Historians have traditionally broken the era of Mamlūk rule into two periods—one covering 1250-1382, the other, 1382–1517. Western historians call the former the Baḥrī” period and the latter the “Burjī due to the political dominance of the regimes known by these names during the respective eras. Contemporary Muslim historians refer to the same divisions as the “Turkic” and “Circassian” periods in order to stress the change in the ethnic origins of the majority of Mamlūks.

The Mamlūk state reached its height under Turkic rule with Arabic culture and then fell into a prolonged phase of decline under the Circassians. The sultanate's ruling caste was composed of Mamluks, soldiers of predominantly Cuman-Kipchaks (from Crimea), Circassian, Abkhazian, Oghuz Turks and Georgian slave origin. While Mamluks were purchased, their status was above ordinary slaves, who were not allowed to carry weapons or perform certain tasks. Mamluks were considered to be "true lords", with social status above citizens of Egypt. Though it declined towards the end of its existence, at its height the sultanate represented the zenith of medieval Egyptian and Levantine political, economic, and cultural glory in the Islamic Golden Age.



The term 'Mamluk Sultanate' is a modern historiographical term. Arabic sources for the period of the Bahri Mamluks refer to the dynasty as the State of the Turks (Arabic: دولة الاتراك‎, Dawlat al-Atrāk; دولة الترك, Dawlat al-Turk) or State of Turkey (الدولة التركية, al-Dawla al-Turkiyya). Other official name was State of the Circassians (دولة الجراكسة, Dawlat al-Jarākisa) during Burji rule. A variant thereof (الدولة التركية الجراكسية, al-Dawla al-Turkiyya al-Jarkasiyya) emphasized the fact that the Circassians were Turkish-speaking.




The mamluk was an "owned slave", distinguished from the ghulam, or household slave. After thorough training in various fields such as martial arts, court etiquette and Islamic sciences, these slaves were freed. However, they were still expected to remain loyal to their master and serve his household. Mamluks had formed a part of the state or military apparatus in Syria and Egypt since at least the 9th century, rising to become governing dynasties of Egypt and the Levant during the Tulunid and Ikhshidid periods. Mamluk regiments constituted the backbone of Egypt's military under Ayyubid rule in the late 12th and early 13th centuries, beginning with Sultan Saladin (r, 1174-1193) who replaced the Fatimids' black African infantry with mamluks. Each Ayyubid sultan and high-ranking emir had a private mamluk corps. Most of the mamluks in the Ayyubids' service were ethnic Kipchak Turks from Central Asia, who, upon entering service, were converted to Sunni Islam and taught Arabic. They were highly committed to their masters, whom they often referred to as "father", and were in turn treated more as kinsmen than as slaves by their masters. Sultan as-Salih Ayyub (r. 1240-1249), the last of the Ayyubid sultans, had acquired some 1,000 mamluks (some of them free-born) from Syria, Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula by 1229, while serving as na'ib (viceroy) of Egypt during the absence of his father, Sultan al-Kamil (r. 1218-1238). These mamluks were called the "Salihiyyah" (singular "Salihi") after their master.

As-Salih became sultan of Egypt in 1240, and upon his accession to the Ayyubid throne, he manumitted and promoted large numbers of his original and newly recruited mamluks on the condition that they remain in his service. To provision his mamluks, as-Salih forcibly seized the iqtaʿat (fiefs; singular iqtaʿ) of his predecessors' emirs. As-Salih sought to create a paramilitary apparatus in Egypt loyal to himself, and his aggressive recruitment and promotion of mamluks led contemporaries to view Egypt as "Salihi-ridden", according to historian Winslow William Clifford. Despite his close relationship with his mamluks, tensions existed between as-Salih and the Salihiyyah, and a number of Salihi mamluks were imprisoned or exiled throughout as-Salih's reign. While historian Stephen Humphreys asserts that the Salihiyyah's increasing dominance of the state did not personally threaten as-Salih due to their fidelity to him, Clifford believes the Salihiyyah developed an autonomy within the state that fell short of such loyalty. Opposition among the Salihiyyah to as-Salih rose when the latter ordered the assassination of his brother Abu Bakr al-Adil in 1249, a task which many of the Salihiyyah were affronted by and rejected; four of the Salihiyyah ultimately agreed to execute the controversial operation.


While the Ottoman sultan Bayezid II was engaged in Europe, a new round of conflict broke out between Egypt and the Safavid dynasty in Persia in 1501. Shah Ismail I sent an embassy to Venice and Syria inviting them to join arms and recover the territory taken from them by the Ottoman Empire. The Mamluk sultan Qansuh al-Ghawri was warned by the Ottoman sultan Selim I that al-Ghawri was providing the envoys of the Ismail I safe passage through Syria on their way to Venice and harboring refugees. To appease him, al-Ghawri placed in confinement the Venetian merchants then in Syria and Egypt, but after a year released them.

After the Battle of Chaldiran in 1514, Selim I attacked the Dulkadirids, an Egyptian vassal, and sent their chief's head to al-Ghawri. Secure now against Ismail I, in 1516 he drew together a great army aiming at conquering Egypt, but to deceive it he represented his army to further the war against Ismail I. The war started in 1516 which led to the later incorporation of Egypt and its dependencies in the Ottoman Empire, with Mamluk cavalry proving no match for the Ottoman artillery and the janissaries. On 24 August 1516, at the Battle of Marj Dabiq, al-Ghawri was killed. Syria passed into Ottoman possession, and the Ottomans were welcomed in many places as deliverance from the Mamluks.

The Mamluk Sultanate survived until 1517, when it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. Ottoman sultan Selim I captured Cairo on January 20, the center of power transferred then to Constantinople. On January 25, the Mamluk Sultanate collapsed. Although not in the same form as under the Sultanate, the Ottoman Empire retained the Mamluks as an Egyptian ruling class and the Mamluks and the Burji family succeeded in regaining much of their influence, but remained vassals of the Ottomans.

Although the Mamluk Sultanate was ended by the Ottoman conquest, the Mamluks as a "self-perpetuating, largely Turkish-speaking warrior class" continued to influence politics under Ottoman rule. Between 1688 and 1755, Mamluk beys, allied with Bedouin and factions within the Ottoman garrison, deposed no fewer than thirty-four governors. The Mamluk influence remained a force in Egyptian politics until their abrupt end at the hands of Muhammad Ali in 1811.




Mamlūk, also spelled Mameluke, slave soldier, a member of one of the armies of slaves that won political control of several Muslim states during the Middle Ages. Under the Ayyūbid sultanate, Mamlūk generals used their power to establish a dynasty that ruled Egypt and Syria from 1250 to 1517. The name is derived from an Arabic word for slave.

The use of Mamlūks as a major component of Muslim armies became a distinct feature of Islāmic civilization as early as the 9th century AD. The practice was begun in Baghdad by the ʿAbbāsid caliph al-Muʿtaṣim (833–842), and it soon spread throughout the Muslim world. Moreover, the political result was almost invariably the same: the slaves exploited the military power vested in them to seize control over the legitimate political authorities, often only briefly but sometimes for astonishingly long periods of time. Thus, soon after al-Muʿtaṣim’s reign the caliphate itself fell victim to the Turkish Mamlūk generals, who were able to depose or murder caliphs almost with impunity. Although the caliphate was maintained as a symbol of legitimate authority, the actual power was wielded by the Mamlūk generals; and by the 13th century, Mamlūks had succeeded in establishing dynasties of their own, both in Egypt and in India, in which the sultans were necessarily men of slave origin or the heirs of such men.

The Mamlūk Dynasty

This process of usurping power was epitomized by and culminated in the establishment of the Mamlūk dynasty, which ruled Egypt and Syria from 1250 to 1517 and whose descendants survived in Egypt as an important political force during the Ottoman occupation (1517–1798). The Kurdish general Saladin, who gained control of Egypt in 1169, followed what by then constituted a tradition in Muslim military practice by including a slave corps in his army in addition to Kurdish, Arab, Turkmen, and other free elements. This practice was also followed by his successors. Al-Malik aṣ- Ṣāliḥ Ayyūb (1240–49) is reputed to have been the largest purchaser of slaves, chiefly Turkish, as a means of protecting his sultanate both from Ayyūbid rivals and from the crusaders. Upon his death in 1249 a struggle for his throne ensued, in the course of which the Mamlūk generals murdered his heir and eventually succeeded in establishing one of their own number as sultan. Thenceforth, for more than 250 years, Egypt and Syria were ruled by Mamlūks or sons of Mamlūks.

Historians have traditionally broken the era of Mamlūk rule into two periods—one covering 1250–1382, the other, 1382–1517. Western historians call the former the “ Baḥrī” period and the latter the “ Burjī,” because of the political dominance of the regiments known by these names during the respective times. The contemporary Muslim historians referred to the same divisions as the “Turkish” and “Circassian” periods, in order to call attention to the change in ethnic origin of the majority of Mamlūks, which occurred and persisted after the accession of Barqūq in 1382, and to the effects that this change had on the fortunes of the state.

There is universal agreement among historians that the Mamlūk state reached its height under the Turkish sultans and then fell into a prolonged phase of decline under the Circassians. The principal achievements of the Turkish Mamlūks lay in their expulsion of the remaining crusaders from the Levant and their rout of the Mongols in Palestine and Syria; they thereby earned the thanks of all Muslims for saving Arabic-Islāmic civilization from destruction. It is doubtful, however, that such a goal figured in their plans; rather, as rulers of Egypt they were seeking to reconstitute the Egyptian Empire. The Mamlūks also sought to extend their power into the Arabian Peninsula and into Anatolia and Little Armenia; to protect Egypt’s rear, they strove to establish their presence in Nubia.

To consolidate their position in the Islāmic world, the Mamlūks revived the caliphate, which the Mongols had destroyed in 1258, and installed a caliph under their surveillance in Cairo. Their patronage of the rulers of the holy cities of Arabia, Mecca and Medina, served the same purpose. Spectacular success in war and diplomacy was underpinned economically by the Mamlūks’ support of industries and crafts as well as by their restoration of Egypt as the principal trade and transit route between the Orient and the Mediterranean.

Among the most outstanding Mamlūk sultans were Baybars I (1260–77) and al-Malik an- Nāṣir (1293–1341). The Mamlūks’ failure to find an able successor after the latter’s death weakened the strength and stability of their realm. But the historians of the era date the beginning of the dynasty’s decline from the accession of the first Circassian sultan (Barqūq) in 1382, claiming that thereafter, advancement in the state and the army was dependent on race (i.e., Circassian descent) rather than on proved skill in the art of war, which had served as the chief criterion for promotion during the Turkish period. The increased importance assigned to ethnic affiliation was, however, only one cause of decline; equally or even more important were economic and other factors. Part of the explanation undoubtedly lies in the inability of the Mamlūks, split into hostile factions, to provide necessary safeguards against the Bedouins for the peaceful conduct of trade and agriculture. Furthermore, the demographic losses caused by plagues that raged in Egypt and elsewhere in the East contributed to economic decay. In such conditions the Mamlūks were unable to defend Syria against the Turkic conqueror Timur (Timur Lenk) in 1400. Under the rule of Sultan Barsbay (1422–38) internal stability was restored briefly and Mamlūk glory resuscitated by the conquest of Cyprus in 1426. Yet the increasingly higher taxes demanded to finance such ventures enlarged the Mamlūks’ financial difficulties. The final economic blow fell with the Portuguese assault on trade in the Red Sea (c. 1500), which was accompanied by Ottoman expansion into Mamlūk territory in Syria. Having failed to adopt field artillery as a weapon in any but siege warfare, the Mamlūks were decisively defeated by the Ottomans both in Syria and in Egypt and from 1517 onward constituted only one of the several components that formed the political structure of Egypt.

Culturally, the Mamlūk period is known mainly for its achievements in historical writing and in architecture and for an abortive attempt at socio-religious reform. Mamlūk historians were prolific chroniclers, biographers, and encyclopaedists; they were not strikingly original, with the exception of Ibn Khaldūn, whose formative and creative years were spent outside Mamlūk territory in the Maghrib (North Africa). As builders of religious edifices—mosques, schools, monasteries and, above all, tombs—the Mamlūks endowed Cairo with some of its most impressive monuments, many of which are still standing; the Mamlūk tomb-mosques can be recognized by stone domes whose massiveness is offset by geometrical carvings. By far the most famous single religious figure of the period was Ibn Taymīyah, who was imprisoned by Mamlūk authorities because of his attempts to rid Mamlūk Islām of superstition and foreign accretions.

The Mamlūks Under The Ottomans (1517-1798)

With the Ottoman victories over the Mamlūks in 1516–17, Egypt and Syria reverted to the status of provinces within an empire. Although the Mamlūk sultanate was destroyed, the Mamlūks remained intact as a class in Egypt and continued to exercise considerable influence in the state. As had been the case during the Mamlūk dynasty, the Mamlūk elite continued to be replenished by purchases from slave markets. The slaves, after a period of apprenticeship, still formed the core of the army and were soon being appointed to offices in the Ottoman government. Thus, gradually the Mamlūks infiltrated the Ottoman ruling class and eventually were able to dominate it.

One major innovation changed the character of the Mamlūks. Earlier, during the era of the Mamlūk sultanate, the sons of Mamlūks had been excluded from serving in any but the nonslave regiments and from holding offices reserved for Mamlūks in the state. But under Ottoman rule the sons were no longer denied these privileges, so that the principles of Mamlūk loyalty and solidarity were undermined by ties of kinship. Consequently, rather than grouping themselves into military factions that lasted no longer than the lifetime of their individual members, the Ottoman Mamlūks formed “houses” that perpetuated themselves through their sons. The importance of these houses arose from the attempts of each house to dominate the others; thereby a new element of instability, perpetuated by heredity, was introduced into the Mamlūk institution.

To the degree that the Ottoman governors were able to exploit Mamlūk divisiveness, they were able to retain some degree of influence in the government of Egypt. But near the end of the 17th century, when Ottoman power was in decline throughout the empire, the Mamlūks once again held virtual control over the army, the revenues, and the government. Eventually, Istanbul was reduced to recognizing the autonomy of that faction of Mamlūks that would guarantee annual payment of certain sums to the Ottomans. And thus it was that when Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798 he was confronted by Mamlūk armies and a Mamlūk state. Their power there was finally destroyed by Egypt’s new ruler, Muḥammad ʿAlī Pasha, in a massacre in 1811.



Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar

Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar (W)

The Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar, also known as the Third Battle of Homs, was a Mamluk victory over the Mongols in 1299.

(W) The Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar (Battle of Homs) of 1299 (14th-century miniature).


This is an early depiction of a “star and crescent” flag. It is important to note that various combinations of stars and crescents are shown in this manuscripts, and they are not consistently attributed to a particular faction (e.g. the Crusaders have a crescent flag on fol. 19v and a star flag on fol. 9v, and the Mongols have a star and crescent on fol. 22rv -- a secondary source is needed for a coherent discussion).(LINK)

Date between circa 1300 and circa 1325 (early 14th century).


📹 History of Mamluk Sultanate / Every Year (VİDEO)

History of Mamluk Sultanate / Every Year (LINK)


📹 The Ottoman-Mamluk War (1516 1517) / Every Fortnight (VİDEO)

The Ottoman-Mamluk War (1516 1517) / Every Fortnight (LINK)

See how the Ottomans decisively conquered the Mamluks to establish themselves as not only the dominant Eastern Mediterranean power but the new Caliphate.


📹 Mongol invasion of Palestine (battle of Ayn Jalut 1260) (VİDEO)

Mongol invasion of Palestine (battle of Ayn Jalut 1260) (LINK)

The Battle of Ain Jalut took place in September 1260 between Mamluks Sultanate and the Mongol Ilkhanate in the southeastern Galilee, Palestine.

The two armies were roughly matched in numbers, but the Mamluks had one great advantage: one of their generals, Baybars, was familiar with the terrain because he had been a fugitive in the area earlier in his life. Baybars reputedly drew up the battle strategy, which used one of the Mongols’ most successful tactics: that of the feigned retreat.

At ʿAyn Jālūt the Mamluks concealed the bulk of their army among trees in the hills and sent forward a small force under Baybars; his group rode back and forward repeatedly in order to provoke and occupy the Mongols for several hours, before beginning a feigned retreat. Ked-Buqa fell for the trick and ordered an advance; his army poured forward in pursuit only to be ambushed by the main Mamluk army in the hills. Then the Mamluks attacked from all sides, unleashing their cavalry and a heavy storm of arrows, but the Mongols fought with typical ferocity and succeeded in turning and breaking the left wing of the Mamluk army.

In this close fighting, the Mamluks used hand cannon—known as "midfa" in Arabic—primarily to frighten the Mongolian warriors’ horses and cause confusion. Contemporary accounts report that Mamluk sultan Qutuz threw down his helmet and urged his men forward to fight in the name of Islam, and that after this inspiring speech the Mamluks began to gain the upper hand.

Finally, the Mongols turned and began to retreat, heading for Beisan, eight miles (13 km) away. The Mamluks pursued them all the way. At Beisan, the Mongols turned to fight once more, but were heavily defeated. Kitbuqa and almost the whole Mongol army that had remained in the region perished.

This victory ended Mongol expansion toward Palestine, Egypt & Arabian peninsula. Saving the Holy city of Jerusalem, and two holy cities in arabian peninsula from Mongol attack.


📹 Mongol Invasions / Mamluk-Ilkhanate Wars (VİDEO)

📹 Mongol Invasions / Mamluk-Ilkhanate Wars (LINK)

Our animated historical documentary series on the Mongol Invasions continues with the aftermath of the battle of Ain Jalut 1260 — the Mongol empire is now divided and the Mamluk Sultanate led by Qutuz and Baibars is facing the Ilkhanate ruled by Hulagu. In this episodes we will cover the Mamluk-Ilkhanate War with the focus on the battles of Elbistan and Wadi al-Khaznadar and features the Seljuks, Georgians, Armenians, Crusader states.




Mamluk (W)

Mamluk (Arabic: مملوك mamlūk (singular), مماليك mamālīk (plural), meaning “property,” also transliterated as mamlouk, mamluq, mamluke, mameluk, mameluke, mamaluke or marmeluke) is an Arabic designation for slaves. The term is most commonly used to refer to Muslim slave soldiers and Muslim rulers of slave origin.

More specifically, it refers to:


The most enduring Mamluk realm was the knightly military caste in Egypt in the Middle Ages, which developed from the ranks of slave soldiers. These were mostly enslaved Turkic peoples, Egyptian Copts, Circassians, Abkhazians, and Georgians. Many Mamluks were also of Balkan origin (Albanians, Greeks, and South Slavs). The "mamluk phenomenon", as David Ayalon dubbed the creation of the specific warrior class, was of great political importance; for one thing, it endured for nearly 1000 years, from the ninth to the nineteenth centuries.

Over time, Mamluks became a powerful military knightly caste in various societies that were controlled by Muslim rulers. Particularly in Egypt, but also in the Levant, Mesopotamia, and India, mamluks held political and military power. In some cases, they attained the rank of sultan, while in others they held regional power as emirs or beys. Most notably, mamluk factions seized the sultanate centered on Egypt and Syria, and controlled it as the Mamluk Sultanate (1250-1517). The Mamluk Sultanate famously defeated the Ilkhanate at the Battle of Ain Jalut. They had earlier fought the western European Christian Crusaders in 1154-1169 and 1213-1221, effectively driving them out of Egypt and the Levant. In 1302 the mamluks formally expelled the last Crusaders from the Levant, ending the era of the Crusades.

While mamluks were purchased as property, their status was above ordinary slaves but they were not allowed to carry weapons or perform certain tasks. In places such as Egypt, from the Ayyubid dynasty to the time of Muhammad Ali of Egypt, mamluks were considered to be "true lords" and "true warriors", with social status above the general population in Egypt and the Levant. In a sense they were like enslaved mercenaries.


The Mamluks as ‘Slaves’

The Mamluks as ‘Slaves’ (W)

A Mamluk from Aleppo (painted between circa 1816 and circa 1824).

(W) This is one of twenty-one costume figure studies, probably intended for illustration, by Page in the Museum’s collections. They show Ottoman subjects of various ranks and occupations, both male and female. Page recorded in fine detail their elaborate costumes in the last years preceding the modernising reforms that steadily eroded many traditional forms of dress and behaviour. It is not clear how many Mamluks survived the massacre by Muhammad Ali in 1811, but the detail of the costume of this individual, and that it seems to be a kind of portrait, implies that Page saw this survivor first-hand. Unlike Henry Alken’s preoccupation with horses [See SD.17], Page has focused his attention on the remarkable costume, including the embroidered shawl round the waist and the distinctive turban. The fact that he was a horseman is only suggested by the rope he is holding, and the long lance that had made the Mamluks so feared in battle.

The Mamluks (literally `owned’, i.e., slaves) had controlled Egypt from 1250 until the Ottoman conquest of 1516-17, yet even then they still continued to govern Egypt for the Ottoman Sultan, while paying tribute. Originally they had been a military caste of former slaves serving the Egyptian sultans. Young boys, mainly Kipchak Turks from regions north of the Black Sea, were bought from slave dealers and trained as warriors by previous generations of Mamluk amirs or commanders. They were set free on reaching adulthood, given a horse and arms, and then took employment with their former masters. In 1250, a group of Mamluk generals seized power from the Ayyubid dynasty, and ruled Egypt, even after the Ottoman conquest, until the time of Napoleon’s invasion in 1797. Under the Mamluk Sultan Baybars, they had even defeated the Mongols in a pitched battle in 1260. Although to the end spectacularly brave horsemen, their power slowly declined. The Egyptian economy was weakened by the rise of European trading rivals and new trade routes, and by devastating visitations of the plague. After surviving the invasion by the French, and then the British, the Mamluks struggled on. Yet, apart from a few survivors, the most prominent were finally eliminated in a treacherous massacre by the new ruler of Egypt, the Albanian general Muhammad Ali in 1811.



Language (W)

By the time the Mamluks took power, Arabic had already been established as the language of religion, culture and the bureaucracy in Egypt, and was widespread among non-Muslim communities there as well. Arabic's wide use among Muslim and non-Muslim commoners had likely been motivated by their aspiration to learn the language of the ruling and scholarly elite. Another contributing factor was the wave of Arab tribal migration to Egypt and subsequent intermarriage between Arabs and the indigenous population. The Mamluks contributed to the expansion of Arabic in Egypt through their victory over the Mongols and the Crusaders and the subsequent creation of a Muslim haven in Egypt and Syria for Arabic-speaking immigrants from other conquered Muslim lands. The continuing invasions of Syria by Mongol armies led to further waves of Syrian immigrants, including scholars and artisans, to Egypt.

Although Arabic was used as the administrative language of the sultanate, Turkish was the spoken language of the Mamluk ruling elite.According to Petry, "the Mamluks regarded Turkish as their caste's vehicle of communication, even though they themselves spoke Central Asian dialects such as Qipjak, or Circassian, a Caucasic language." According to historian Michael Winter, “Turkishness” was the distinctive aspect of the Mamluk ruling elite, for only they knew how to speak Turkish and had Turkish names. While the Mamluk elite was ethnically diverse, those who were not Turkic in origin were Turkicized nonetheless. As such, the ethnically Circassian mamluks who gained prominence with the rise of the Burji regime and became the dominant ethnic element of the government, were educated in the Turkish language and were considered to be Turks by the Arabic-speaking population.



Religion (W)

A wide range of Islamic religious expression existed in Egypt during the early Mamluk era, namely Sunni Islam and its major madhabs (schools of thought) and various Sufi orders, but also small communities of Ismai'li Shia Muslims, particularly in Upper Egypt. In addition, there was a significant minority of Coptic Christians. Under Sultan Saladin, the Ayyubids embarked on a program of reviving and strengthening Sunni Islam in Egypt to counter Christianity, which had been reviving under the religiously benign rule of the Fatimids, and Ismailism, the branch of Islam of the Fatimid state. Under the Bahri sultans, the promotion of Sunni Islam was pursued more vigorously than under the Ayyubids. The Mamluks were motivated in this regard by personal piety or political expediency for Islam was both an assimilating and unifying factor between the Mamluks and the majority of their subjects; the early mamluks had been brought up as Sunni Muslims and the Muslim faith was the only aspect of life shared between the Mamluk ruling elite and its subjects. While the precedent set by the Ayyubids highly influenced the Mamluk state's embrace of Sunni Islam, the circumstances in the Muslim Middle East in the aftermath of the Crusader and Mongol invasions also left Mamluk Egypt as the last major Islamic power able to confront the Crusaders and the Mongols. Thus, the early Mamluk embrace of Sunni Islam also stemmed from the pursuit of a moral unity within their realm based on the majority views of its subjects.


  House of Muhammad Ali in Egypt (1811-1953)

House of Muhammad Ali in Egypt

House of Muhammad Ali in Egypt (1811-1953) (LINK)

The Ottoman wali, Muhammad Ali Pasha, (oil on canvas by Auguste Couder, 1840).

Muhammad Ali seized a weakened Egypt from the Mamluke sultans
by tricking them into attending a celebration of the declaration of war against the Wahhabis of Arabia. Once there, most of them were murdered. A general massacre of Mamelukes throughout the country followed. Muhammad Ali's position as wali, or Governor, became hereditary, and his descendants ruled Egypt thereafter, albeit under the nominal authority of the Ottoman empire at first. Despite this they continued to increase their power, becoming viceroys in 1867, sultans in 1914, and kings in 1922. In fact, so weak was Ottoman authority that Muhammad Ali himself ruled in almost complete independence, styling himself khedive (viceroy) of Egypt.

In rather more ordinary circumstances, Muhammad Ali was born in Kavala in Macedonia, the second son of an Albanian family which originated from Korçë in Albania. His father was a tobacco and shipping merchant named Ibrahim Agha, who also served as the Ottoman commander of a small unit in Kavala. As a young man, Muhammad Ali showed promise as a tax collector, and was promoted to second-in-command of the Kavala Volunteer Contingent of Albanian mercenaries which was sent to re-occupy Egypt following General Napoleon Bonaparte's withdrawal. The expedition landed at Aboukir Bay in spring 1801, and it took Muhammad Ali very little time to recognise the fact that Egypt was there for the taking.


Muhammad Ali Pasha — Timeline

Muhammad Ali Pasha — Timeline (L)

1811-1849 Muhammad Ali Pasha
1818-1822 Upon the request of the Ottoman sultan, Muhammad Ali occupies Arabia to crush the growing Saudi power there and retake Makkah and Madinah in the Hijaz. He does so in a merciless campaign which ends with the siege of Diriyya. Arabia is temporarily occupied by the pasha's forces. However, the garrisons in Arabia are unable to prevent the rise of a new Saudi state.


Ismail, son of Muhammad Ali, is sent to conquer Sudan, which he does in relatively short order, destroying the Funj sultanate of Sinnar in the process. He retains initial supreme command of the conquered Sudan before making way for subsequent military commanders. A governor-generalship is eventually established in order to control the country in Egypt's name.


Ordered by the Ottoman empire to send a fleet to Greece to put a stop to the efforts being made for independence there, Muhammad Ali's troops secure most of the country in 1825. A fleet of ships made up of Russians, French, and British arrives and sinks the Egyptian fleet at the Battle of Navarino in 1827, ending Egyptian participation in the war.


Damascus is annexed by Ibrahim Pasha between May and June on behalf of Muhammad Ali Pasha, and subsequently operates on an autonomous basis. The Ottomans retain only nominal suzerainty in the region.


Muhammad Ali re-occupies Arabia, transporting the head of the al-Saud family to Cairo and installing a vassal ruler. However, in 1843 the Saudi are able to re-establish their own independent power.


Age has taken its toll on Muhammad Ali Pasha. However, his son Ibrahim is also declining, having suffered from increasing rheumatic pains and tuberculosis. Muhammad Ali has already secured the agreement of the Ottoman sultan that his family will continue to rule Egypt as his successors, but by now he is too weak and debilitated to govern in his own right. The terminally-ill Ibrahim takes over and lasts a further four months before predeceasing his father. Muhammad Ali is too ill himself to be told of the death. Ibrahim is succeeded by his nephew, Abbas, and Muhammad Ali lingers only a few months more before dying.


İdea Yayınevi Site Haritası | İdea Yayınevi Tüm Yayınlar
© Aziz Yardımlı 2018-2019 |