Mamelukes


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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 ?
From that time onwards, the fate of Judaea and Samaria was yoked to the Muslim overlords of the Holy Land--the Adjubids and the Mamelukes.
The Mamelukes made their non-Muslim subjects wear identifying clothing (yellow turbans for Jews, blue for Christians) and were excessively brutal even by Islamic standards.
The lighthouse was completely destroyed in 1480 by Egyptian sultan of Mamelukes Quaitbay, who used the ruins of the lighthouse to build defensive forts of Alexandria.
Contemporary observers have noted these similarities, and some Arab critics have "called their rulers Mamelukes, alluding to the slave-soldiers who exercised unrestrained and arbitrary power in those countries" (Kedourie 1994, p.
Many years ago, in a Knesset debate on education, I put forward the idea that every pupil in Israel learn not only the history of his people -- the Jewish or the Arab, respectively -- but also the history of the country from ancient days to the present, Canaanites, Israelites, Samaritans, Jews, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Mamelukes, Turks, Palestinians, British, Israelis, as a way to see what unites us.
Muhammad All allied himself with Elfi against Bardisi while stirring the pot of Egyptian resentment of both the Mamelukes and the Ottomans.
North African units like the Zouaves, the Turcos, the French Foreign Legion, or even the Mamelukes who served in Napoleon Bonaparte's Imperial Guard developed distinctive styles of dress which were later adopted by the French Metropolitan Army during the nineteenth century.
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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.
Not only did the Mamelukes neglect the agricultural sector of the Egyptian economy, they also imposed heavy taxes on the peasantry and nearly bled the country white.
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.