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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In 1517, he invaded and seized Egypt after he defeated the country's then ruling Mamelukes in a battle in which thousands were killed.
Its history dates back to the year 1250 A.D., when the Mamelukes were ruling Egypt, but others believe that it was invented earlier in Levant countries.
Speaking to his fellow Illuminati, Viridor thunders, "But what could ordinary statesmen, with their barren inventions, ignorant confidence in their limited experience, and cautious timidities, have done during the late revolutions in Paris, in Rome, in Hungary?...Without the venal slaves and reckless renegades of the press, they would vainly seek for Mamelukes to carry out their designs" (191).
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. In this paper, we shall relate, discuss and analyze the story of Judaea and Samaria during the First Crusader Kingdom period--from approximately 1099 till 1187 (Runciman, 1987).
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.
He had a major obstacle in the Mamelukes, descendants of slave-warriors who had been recruited from abroad centuries before and trained into a first-class army.
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.
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.