The Mamelukes (1250-1517)

Immediately before the decline of the Ayyubid State , the Mamelukes controlled most of the important posts in Egypt . After the murdering of Turanshah (the last of the Ayyubid Sultans) , Shajart El-Durr (wife of King Al-Saleh Ayyub) married Aybak who was one of the Bahari Mamelukes chiefs . By the assassination of Aybak in 1257 , the Mamelukes had already established themselves in Egypt and were able to establish their own empire because the Mongols destroyed the Abbasid Caliphate . In 1258 , the Mongol invaders put to death the last Abbasid caliph in Baghdad . In the following year , a 120 , 000-man Mongol army , commanded by Hulagu Khan , crossed the Euphrates and entered Syria . Meanwhile , in Egypt , the last Ayyubid sultan had died in 1250 , and political control of the state had passed to the Mameluke guards whose generals seized the sultanate .
The word ' Mameluke' means 'Owned' and it was given to the white male slaves , captured in war or bought in the markets . El-Aziz , the Fatimid Caliph was the first one to introduce Turkish Mamelukes into the army of Egypt . Their numbers increased more and more under the Ayyubid Dynasty , especially , in the reign of El-Malik-Es-Saleh , who brought more than 1000 Mamelukes from Western Asia . Then , they formed a private army that stayed at the Castle , which El-Malik built on the Island of Roda , on the Nile . For that reason , they had the name 'Bahari (River) Mamelukes' .


Overall view of the Convent at Saint Catherine and the surrounding area



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