Before his death, Saladin divided his kingdom among his sons and brothers. The kingdom was divided into smaller kingdoms at Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Hamat, and Diyar Bakr (in the actual Kurdistan, where Saladin was born). The Most important kingdom was in Egypt, where Al-Aziz Othman (Saladin’s son) succeeded him in 1193, and it effectively controlled the rest of the kingdoms. Othman allied with his uncle, Al-Adil, against Saladin’s other sons. Finally Al-Adil took power in 1200.
Al-Adil’s troops defeated the advance of the crusaders from Damietta to Cairo by flooding the Nile, which forced then to evacuate Egypt in 1221. Al-Adil died in Syria upon hearing the news of the crusaders’ seizure of the Chain Bridge (Burj al-Silsila) at Damietta in 1218.
Al-Kamil (Al-Adil’s son and Saladin’s nephew) succeeded his father. He was the one to drive back the Fifth Crusade. But the Sixth Crusade and the struggles in Damascus forced him to sign a peace treaty with them, according to which he left various cities in Palestine and Syria to Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor.
– Najm al-Din Ayyub
Najm al-Din Ayyub, the son of Sultan Al-Kamil, ascended to the throne in 1240. He recaptured Jerusalem in 1244. Najm increased the size of his Mameluke army to face the Seventh Crusade led by Louis IX of France and the competition of the Ayyubids in Syria. In 1249, Damietta fell in the hand of Louis IX and Najm al-Din died. His wife Shajart al-Durr and his son Turanshah with his generals of Mameluke soldiers defeated Louis IX and expelled the Crusaders from Egypt. But, later,unrest struck the Ayyubid State due to the struggle of both Turanshah and Shajart al-Durr over power. Together with Izz al-Din Aybak, she schemed against Toran, who was eventually killed by the Mamelukes of his late father. Thus, with the help and support of the Mamelukes, she seized the throne, becoming the Sultana of Egypt and married Aybak who, given the royal name ‘al-Malik al-Muizz’, became the new Sultan of Egypt. Thus, the Ayyubids lost control over the country and the Mamluk State had risen.