Mamelukes


Also found in: Dictionary.
Related to Mamelukes: Mamaluke, janissaries

Mamelukes

 

warrior-slaves (made up of Turkomans, Georgians, Circassians, and other Caucasian peoples in Egypt), which formed the guard for the rulers of the Ayyubid dynasty (1171-1250). In 1250 the command elite of the Mamelukes overthrew the Ayyubites and seized power. There were two Mameluke dynasties—the Bahrites (primarily of Turkoman origin; reigned from 1250 to 1390) and the Burjites (primarily from Caucasia; reigned from 1390 to 1517).

The Mamelukes (whose numbers varied from 9,000 to 12,000) were subordinate to 24 beys—important feudal lords who owned the best lands and state-controlled craft enterprises and received the income from customs houses. Under the Mamelukes in the 13th and 14th centuries the system of government was reorganized, the irrigation system was improved, and there was a cultural upsurge. The Mamelukes preserved the military and feudal-estate system of their predecessors.

In the 13th century the Mamelukes routed the Mongols (in a battle near Ayn Jalut on Sept. 3, 1260), pushed the Crusaders out of Palestine and Syria (1268), and inflicted a resounding defeat on the Ismaili Assassins (1273). The most notable Mameluke sultans were Aibak (reigned 1250-57), Baybars I (1260-77), Qalaun (1279 or 1280-90), Barsbay (1422-38), and Ghuri (1501-16).

In 1516-17 the troops of the Turkish sultan Selim I conquered Syria, Egypt, and Palestine, putting an end to Mameluke supremacy. After the Turkish conquest, part of the land in Egypt was left to the Mameluke feudal lords, who were obligated to pay tribute to the Turkish pasha in Cairo. The weakening of the Ottoman Empire that began at the end of the 17th century permitted the Mamelukes to reassert their power on a de facto basis. The Mamelukes were not deprived of their lands until 1808, during the rule of the Egyptian pasha Muhammad Ali (reigned 1805-48); in 1811 the Mameluke beys were executed.

REFERENCES

Istoriia stran zarubezhnoi Azii v srednie veka. Moscow, 1970. Chapter 23.
Pevzner, S. B. “Ikta v Egipte v kontse XIII-XIV vv.” In the collection Pamiati akademika I. Iu. Krachkovskogo. Leningrad, 1958.
Semenova, L. A. Salakh ad-din i mamliuki v Egipte. Moscow, 1966.
Poliak, A. N. Feudalism in Egypt, Syria, Palestine and the Lebanon, 1250-1900. London, 1939.
Darrag, A. L’Egypte: Sous le regne de Barsbey. Damascus, 1961.

L. A. SEMENOVA

References in periodicals archive ?
Uniquely, unlike the British Empire, Ottoman Empire, Crusaders, Arabs, Byzantines, Mamelukes, Romans or all the other invaders who conquered the Holy Land, Israel was established by the United Nations.
Throughout the Islamic period, rulers -- Mamelukes, Ottomans and others -- hoped to reinforce their authority and legitimacy by giving gifts to the Holy Places such as doors, keys, and ornate coverings for the Kaaba.
The strategic importance of the Port of Muhammara would be magnified when the Mamelukes of Egypt fought a titanic struggle against the Muslim Mongols over control of the Levant in the 13th century.
The ruler of the Mamelukes, Ahmad Ibn Tuleu (1193-1250) built palatial gardens and a magnificent hippodrome to house his collection of the choicest Arabian horses.
One of the oldest civilizations via the Pharaonic ages that covered nearly 5000 years of recorded history, Egypt also was ruled by Greeks, Romans, Persians, Ottoman Turks, Mamelukes, French, British, and finally by its own people--after the rise of Nasser.
Located at a natural military and commercial crossroads, the region was repeatedly conquered and settled by, among others, the Hittites, Egyptians, Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, Arab Muslims, Christian crusaders, Mamelukes, Ottoman Turks and the British.
Legend says the hermitage was built in the 13th century, when the many caves in the Qadisha Valley served as hiding places for Maronite Christians who had fled from persecution by the Mamelukes.
Ronald Pawly's NAPOLEON'S MAMELUKES (184176955X, $15.
The Army of the Nile overwhelmed the Mamelukes, Cairo fell to the French, and Egypt was conquered.
Despite initial military successes however--including the rout of the Mamelukes at the Battle of the Pyramids on July 21st--Napoleon's expedition soon ran into difficulties, both with insurgent natives and with the British.