Following the Islamic conquest in 639 AD,
Lower Egypt was ruled at
first by governors acting in the name of the Rashidun Caliphs and then
Ummayad Caliphs in Damascus, but in 747 the Ummayads were
overthrown. In 1174, Egypt came under the rule of Ayyubids, which
lasted until 1252.
Ayyubids were overthrown by their bodyguards, known as the
Mamluks, who ruled under the suzerainty of
Abbasid Caliphs until 1517,
when Egypt became part of the
Ottoman Empire as Eyālet-i Mıṣr
1 Early Islamic period
1.1 Muslim conquest of Egypt
1.2 Administration of early Islamic Egypt
1.3 Umayyad period
1.5 Tulunids, second
Abbasid period, and Ikhsidids
2 Fatimid period
3 Ayyubid period
4 Mamluk Egypt
4.1 Bahri dynasty
4.2 Burji dynasty
5 See also
Early Islamic period
Muslim conquest of Egypt
Main article: Muslim conquest of Egypt
The Age of the Caliphs
Prophet Mohammad, 622-632
Patriarchal Caliphate, 632-661
Umayyad Caliphate, 661-750
In 639 an army of some 4,000 men were sent against Egypt by the second
caliph, Umar, under the command of Amr ibn al-As. This army was joined
by another 5,000 men in 640 and defeated a Byzantine army at the
battle of Heliopolis. Amr next proceeded in the direction of
Alexandria, which was surrendered to him by a treaty signed on
November 8, 641.
Alexandria was regained for the
Byzantine Empire in
645 but was retaken by Amr in 646. In 654 an invasion fleet sent by
Constans II was repulsed. From that time no serious effort was made by
the Byzantines to regain possession of the country.
Administration of early Islamic Egypt
Following the first surrender of Alexandria, Amr chose a new site to
settle his men, near the location of the Byzantine fortress of
Babylon. The new settlement received the name of Fustat, after Amr's
tent, which had been pitched there when the Arabs besieged the
Fustat quickly became the focal point of Islamic Egypt,
and, with the exception of the brief relocation to
Helwan during a
plague in 689, and the period of 750–763, when the seat of the
governor moved to Askar, the capital and residence of the
administration. After the conquest, the country was initially
divided in two provinces,
Upper Egypt (al-sa'id) and
Lower Egypt with
Nile Delta (asfal al-ard). In 643/4, however,
appointed a single governor (wāli) with jurisdiction over all of
Egypt, resident at Fustat. The governor would in turn nominate
deputies for Upper and Lower Egypt.
Alexandria remained a distinct
district, reflecting both its role as the country's shield against
Byzantine attacks, and as the major naval base. It was considered a
frontier fortress (ribat) under a military governor and was heavily
garrisoned, with a quarter of the province's garrison serving there in
semi-annual rotation. Next to the wāli, there was also the
commander of the police (ṣāḥib al-shurṭa), responsible for
internal security and for commanding the jund (army).
The main pillar of the early Muslim rule and control in the country
was the military force, or jund, staffed by the Arab settlers. These
were initially the men who had followed Amr and participated in the
conquest. The followers of Amr were mostly drawn from Yamani (south
Arabian) tribes, rather than the northern Arab (Qaysi) tribes, who
were scarcely represented in the province; it was they who dominated
the country's affairs for the first two centuries of Muslim rule.
Initially, they numbered 15,500, but their numbers grew through
emigration in the subsequent decades. By the time of
Caliph Mu'awiya I
(r. 661–680), the number of men registered in the army list (diwān
al-jund) and entitled an annual pay (ʿaṭāʾ) reached 40,000.
Jealous of their privileges and status, which entitled them to a share
of the local revenue, the members of the jund then virtually closed
off the register to new entries. It was only after the losses of
Second Fitna that the registers were updated, and occasionally,
governors would add soldiers en masse to the lists as a means to
garner political support.
In return for a tribute of money and food for the troops of
occupation, the Christian inhabitants of Egypt were excused from
military service and left free in the observance of their religion and
the administration of their affairs.
Conversions of Copts to
Islam were initially rare, and the old system
of taxation was maintained for the greater part of the first Islamic
century. The old division of the country into districts (nomoi) was
maintained, and to the inhabitants of these districts demands were
directly addressed by the governor of Egypt, while the head of the
Copt but in some cases a Muslim
Egyptian—was responsible for compliance with the demand.
During the First Fitna,
Ali (r. 656–661) appointed Muhammad
ibn Abi Bakr as governor of Egypt, but Amr led an invasion in summer
658 that defeated Ibn Abi Bakr and secured the country for the
Umayyads. Amr then served as governor until his death in 664. From
667/8 until 682, the province was governed by another fervent
pro-Umayyad partisan, Maslama ibn Mukhallad al-Ansari. During the
Ibn al-Zubayr gained the support of the
Egypt and sent a governor of his own, Abd al-Rahman ibn Utba al-Fihri,
to the province. The Kharijite-backed Zubayrid regime was very
unpopular with the local Arabs, who called upon the Umayyad caliph
Marwan I (r. 684–685) for aid. In December 684, Marwan invaded Egypt
and reconquered it with relative ease. Marwan installed his son
Abd al-Aziz as governor. Relying on his close ties with the jund, Abd
al-Aziz ruled the country for 20 years, enjoying wide autonomy and
governing as a de facto viceroy. Abd al-Aziz also supervised the
completion of the Muslim conquest of North Africa; it was he who
Musa ibn Nusayr
Musa ibn Nusayr in his post as governor of Ifriqiya. Abd
al-Aziz hoped to be succeeded by his son, but when he died,
al-Malik ibn Marwan (685–695) sent his own son, Abdallah, as
governor in a move to reassert control and prevent the country from
becoming a hereditary domain.
Abd al-Malik ibn Rifa'a al-Fahmi in 715 and his successor Ayyub ibn
Sharhabil in 717 were the first governors chosen from the jund, rather
than members of the Umayyad family or court. Both are reported to have
increased pressure on the Copts, and initiated measures of
Islamization. The resentment of the Copts against taxation led to
a revolt in 725. In 727, to strengthen Arab representation, a colony
of 3,000 Arabs was set up near Bilbeis. Meanwhile, the employment of
Arabic language had been steadily gaining ground, and in 706 it
was made the official language of the government. Egyptian Arabic, the
modern Arabic accent of Egypt, began to form. Other revolts of the
Copts are recorded for the years 739 and 750, the last year of Umayyad
domination. The outbreaks in all cases are attributed to increased
Abbasid period was marked by new taxations, and the Copts revolted
again in the fourth year of
Abbasid rule. At the beginning of the 9th
century the practice of ruling Egypt through a governor was resumed
under Abdallah ibn Tahir, who decided to reside at Baghdad, sending a
deputy to Egypt to govern for him. In 828 another Egyptian revolt
broke out, and in 831 the Copts joined with native Muslims against the
A major change came in 834, when
Caliph al-Mu'tasim discontinued the
practice of paying the jund as they nominally still formed the
province's garrison—the ʿaṭāʾ from the local revenue.
Al-Mu'tasim discontinued the practice, removing the Arab families from
the army registers diwān and ordering that the revenues of Egypt be
sent to the central government, which would then pay the ʿaṭāʾ
only to the Turkish troops stationed in the province. This was a move
towards centralizing power in the hands of the central caliphal
administration, but also signalled the decline of the old elites, and
the passing of power to the officials sent to the province by the
Abbasid court, most notably the Turkish soldiers favoured by
al-Mu'tasim. At about the same time, for the first time the Muslim
population began surpassing the
Coptic Christians in numbers, and
throughout the 9th century the rural districts were increasingly
subject to both Arabization and Islamization. The rapidity of this
process, and the influx of settlers after the discovery of gold and
emerald mines at Aswan, meant that
Upper Egypt in particular was only
superficially controlled by the local governor. Furthermore,
the persistence of internecine strife and turmoil at the heart of the
Abbasid state—the so-called "Anarchy at Samarra"—led to the
appearance of millennialist revolutionary movements in the province
under a series of
Alid pretenders in the 870s. In part, these
movements were an expression of dissatisfaction with and alienation
from imperial rule by Baghdad; these sentiments would manifest
themselves in the support of several
Egyptians for the
Fatimids in the
Abbasid period, and Ikhsidids
Spiral Minaret of the
Mosque of Ibn Tulun
Mosque of Ibn Tulun in Cairo
Caliph al-Mu'tazz (r. 866–869) gave charge of Egypt to the
Turkish general Bakbak. Bakbak in turn sent his stepson Ahmad ibn
Tulun as his lieutenant and resident governor. This appointment
ushered in a new era in Egypt's history: hitherto a passive province
of an empire, under Ibn Tulun it would re-emerge as an independent
political centre. Ibn Tulun would use the country's wealth to extend
his rule into the Levant, in a pattern followed by later Egypt-based
regimes, from the
Ikhshidids to the Mamluk Sultanate. 
The first years of Ibn Tulun's governorship were dominated by his
power struggle with the powerful head of the fiscal administration,
the Ibn al-Mudabbir. The latter had been appointed as fiscal agent
(ʿāmil) already since ca. 861, and had rapidly become the most hated
man in the country as he doubled the taxes and imposed new ones on
Muslims and non-Muslims alike. By 872 Ibn Tulun had achieved Ibn
al-Mudabirbir's dismissal and taken over the management of the fisc
himself, and had managed to assemble an army of his own, thereby
becoming de facto independent of Baghdad. As a sign of his power,
he established a new palace city to the northeast of Fustat, called
al-Qata'i, in 870. The project was a conscious emulation of, and rival
Abbasid capital Samarra, with quarters assigned to the
regiments of his army, a hippodrome, hospital, and palaces. The new
city's centrepiece was the
Mosque of Ibn Tulun. Ibn Tulun
continued to emulate the familiar Samarra model in the establishment
of his administration as well, creating new departments and entrusting
them to Samarra-trained officials. His regime was in many ways
typical of the "ghulām system" that became one of the two main
paradigms of Islamic polities in the 9th and 10th centuries, as the
Abbasid Caliphate fragmented and new dynasties emerged. These regimes
were based on the power of a regular army composed of slave soldiers
or ghilmān, but in turn, according to Hugh N. Kennedy, "the paying of
the troops was the major preoccupation of government". It is
therefore in the context of the increased financial requirements that
in 879, the supervision of the finances passed to Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn
Ibrahim al-Madhara'i, the founder of the al-Madhara'i bureaucratic
dynasty that dominated the fiscal apparatus of Egypt for the next 70
years. The peace and security provided by the Tulunid regime,
the establishment of an efficient administration, and repairs and
expansions to the irrigation system, coupled with a consistently high
level of Nile floods, resulted in a major increase in revenue. By the
end of his reign, Ibn Tulun had accumulated a reserve of ten million
Ibn Tulun's rise was facilitated by the feebleness of the Abbasid
government, threatened by the rise of the
Saffarids in the east and by
Zanj Rebellion in
Iraq itself, and divided due to the rivalry
Caliph al-Mu'tamid (r. 870–892) and his increasingly
powerful brother and de facto regent, al-Muwaffaq. Open conflict
between Ibn Tulun and al-Muwaffaq broke out in 875/6. The latter tried
to oust Ibn Tulun from Egypt, but the expedition sent against him
barely reached Syria. In retaliation, with the support of the Caliph,
in 877/8 Ibn Tulun received responsibility for the entirety of Syria
and the frontier districts of
Cilicia (the Thughūr). Ibn Tulun
occupied Syria but failed to seize Tarsus in Cilicia, and was forced
to return to Egypt due to the abortive revolt of his eldest son,
Abbas. Ibn Tulun has Abbas imprisoned, and named his second son,
Khumarawayh, as his heir. In 882, Ibn Tulun came close to having
Egypt become the new centre of the Caliphate, when al-Mu'tamid tried
to flee to his domains. In the event, however, the
overtaken and brought him back to Samarra (February 883) and under his
brother's control. This opened anew the rift between the two rulers:
Ibn Tulun organized an assembly of religious jurists at
denounced al-Muwaffaq a usurper, condemned his maltreatment of the
Caliph, declared his place in the succession as void, and called for a
jihād against him.
Al-Muwaffaq was duly denounced in sermons in the
mosques across the Tulunid domains, while the
Abbasid regent responded
in kind with a ritual denunciation of Ibn Tulun. Ibn Tulun then
tried once more, again without success, to impose his rule over
Tarsus. He fell ill on his return journey to Egypt, and died at Fustat
on 10 May 884.
Map of the Tulunid domains towards the end of Khumarawayh's reign
At Ibn Tulun's death, Khumarawayh, with the backing of the Tulunid
elites, succeeded without opposition. Ibn Tulun bequeathed his
heir "with a seasoned military, a stable economy, and a coterie of
experienced commanders and bureaucrats".
Khumarawayh was able to
preserve his authority against the
Abbasid attempt to overthrow him at
Battle of Tawahin
Battle of Tawahin and even made additional territorial gains,
recognized in a treaty with al-Muwaffaq in 886 that gave the Tulunids
the hereditary governorship over Egypt and Syria for 30 years. The
accession of al-Muwaffaq's son al-Mu'tadid as
Caliph in 892 marked a
new rapprochement, culminating in the marriage of Khumarawayh's
daughter to the new Caliph, but also the return of the provinces of
Diyar Rabi'a and
Diyar Mudar to caliphal control. Domestically,
Khumarawayh's reign was one of "luxury and decay" (Hugh N. Kennedy),
but also a time of relative tranquility in Egypt as well as in Syria,
a rather unusual occurrence for the period. Nevertheless,
Khumarawayh's extravagant spending exhausted the fisc, and by the time
of his assassination in 896, the Tulunid treasury was empty.
Following Khumarawayh's death, internal strife sapped Tulunid power.
Khumarawayh's son Jaysh was a drunkard who executed his uncle, Mudar
ibn Ahmad ibn Tulun; he was deposed after only a few months and
replaced by his brother Harun ibn Khumarawayh. Harun too was a weak
ruler, and although a revolt by his uncle Rabi'ah in
Tulunids were unable to confront the attacks of the
Qarmatians who began at the same time. In addition, many commanders
defected to the Abbasids, whose power revived under the capable
leadership of al-Muwaffaq's son,
Caliph al-Mu'tadid (r. 892–902).
Finally, in December 904, two other sons of Ibn Tulun,
Shayban, murdered their nephew and assumed control of the Tulunid
state. Far from halting the decline, this event alienated key
commanders in Syria and led to the rapid and relatively unopposed
reconquest of Syria and Egypt by the Abbasids under Muhammad ibn
Sulayman al-Katib, who entered
Fustat in January 905. With the
exception of the great
Mosque of Ibn Tulun, the victorious Abbasid
troops pillaged al-Qata'i and razed it to the ground.
In 969 the Fatimid general
Jawhar as-Siqilli was placed at the head of
an army said to number 100,000 men and attempted to seize Egypt. He
had little difficulty defeating the Egyptian army. And on July 6, 969,
Fustat at the head of his forces. Egypt was transferred
from the Eastern to the Western caliphate.
Main article: Fatimid Caliphate
The near East in 1025 AD, showing the
Fatimid Caliphate and neighbors.
Jawhar as-Siqilli immediately began the building of a new city, Cairo,
to furnish quarters for the army which he had brought. A palace for
Caliph and a mosque for the army were immediately constructed,
which for many centuries remained the centre of Muslim learning.
Damascus under Hasan al-Asam advanced
through Palestine to Egypt, and in the autumn of 971 Jauhar found
himself besieged in his new city. By a timely sortie, preceded by the
administration of bribes to various officers in the Carmathian host,
Jauhar succeeded in inflicting a severe defeat on the besiegers, who
were compelled to evacuate Egypt and part of Syria.
Meanwhile, the caliph in 2 al-Muizz had been summoned to enter the
palace that had been prepared for him, and after leaving a viceroy to
take charge of his western possessions he arrived in
Alexandria on May
31 973, and proceeded to instruct his new subjects in the particular
form of religion (Shiism) which his family represented. As this was in
origin identical with that professed by the Carmathians, he hoped to
gain the submission of their leader by argument; but this plan was
unsuccessful, and there was a fresh invasion from that quarter in the
year after his arrival, and the caliph found himself besieged in his
Carmathians were gradually forced to retreat from Egypt and then
from Syria by some successful engagements, and by the judicious use of
bribes, whereby dissension was sown among their leaders. Al-Muizz also
found time to take some active measures against the Byzantines, with
whom his generals fought in Syria with varying fortune. Before his
death he was acknowledged as
Mecca and Medina, as well as
Syria, Egypt and
North Africa as far as Tangier.
Under the vizier al-Aziz, there was a large amount of toleration
conceded to the other sects of Islam, and to other communities, but
the belief that the Christians of Egypt were in league with the
Byzantine emperor, and even burned a fleet which was being built for
the Byzantine war, led to some persecution. Al-Aziz attempted without
success to enter into friendly relations with the
Buwayhid ruler of
Baghdad, and tried to gain possession of Aleppo, as the key to Iraq,
but this was prevented by the intervention of the Byzantines. His
North African possessions were maintained and extended, but the
recognition of the Fatimid caliph in this region was little more than
The Al-Azhar Mosque, of medieval Fatimid Cairo.
His successor al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah came to the throne at the age of
eleven, being the son of Aziz by a Christian mother. His conduct of
affairs was vigorous and successful, and he concluded a peace with the
Byzantine emperor. He is perhaps best remembered by his destruction of
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre in
Jerusalem (1009), a measure which
helped to provoke the Crusades, but was only part of a general scheme
for converting all Christians and Jews in his dominions to his own
opinions by force.
A more reputable expedient with the same end in view was the
construction of a great library in Cairo, with ample provision for
students; this was modelled on a similar institution at Baghdad. His
system of persecution was not abandoned till in the last year of his
reign (1020) he thought fit to claim divinity, a
doctrine which is perpetuated by the Druze, called after one Darazi,
who preached the divinity of al-Hakim at the time. For unknown reasons
al-Hakim disappeared in 1021.
In 1049 the
Zirid dynasty in the Maghrib returned to the
and became subjects of the Caliphate in Baghdad, but at the same time
Yemen recognized the Fatimid caliphate. Meanwhile,
Baghdad was taken
by the Turks, falling to the Seljuk
Tughrul Beg in 1059. The Turks
Cairo in 1068, but they were driven out by 1074. During
this time, however, Syria was overrun by an invader in league with the
Seljuk Malik Shah, and
Damascus was permanently lost to the Fatimids.
This period is otherwise memorable for the rise of the Hashshashin, or
During the Crusades, al-Mustafa maintained himself in Alexandria, and
helped the Crusaders by rescuing
Jerusalem from the Ortokids, thereby
facilitating its conquest by the Crusaders in 1099. He endeavoured to
retrieve his error by himself advancing into Palestine, but he was
defeated at the battle of Ascalon, and compelled to retire to Egypt.
Many of the Palestinian possessions of the
Fatimids then successively
fell into the hands of the Crusaders.
In 1118 Egypt was invaded by Baldwin I of Jerusalem, who burned the
gates and the mosques of Farama, and advanced to Tinnis, when illness
compelled him to retreat. In August 1121 al-Afdal Shahanshah was
assassinated in a street of Cairo, it is said, with the connivance of
the Caliph, who immediately began the plunder of his house, where
fabulous treasures were said to be amassed. The vizier's offices were
given to al-Mamn. His external policy was not more fortunate than that
of his predecessor, as he lost Tyre to the Crusaders, and a fleet
equipped by him was defeated by the Venetians.
In 1153 Ascalon was lost, the last place in Syria which the Fatimids
held; its loss was attributed to dissensions between the parties of
which the garrison consisted. In April 1154 the
Caliph al-Zafir was
murdered by his vizier Abbas, according to Usamah, because the Caliph
had suggested to his favorite, the vizier's son, to murder his father;
and this was followed by a massacre of the brothers of Zafir, followed
by the raising of his infant son Abul-Qasim Isa to the throne.
In December 1162, the vizier
Shawar took control of Cairo. However,
after only nine months he was compelled to flee to Damascus, where he
was favorably received by the prince Nureddin, who sent with him to
Cairo a force of Kurds under Asad al-din Shirkuh. At the same time
Egypt was invaded by the Franks, who raided and did much damage on the
Cairo but a dispute then arose with his
Syrian allies for the possession of Egypt. Shawar, being unable to
cope with the Syrians, demanded help of the Frankish king of Jerusalem
Amalric I, who hastened to his aid with a large force, which united
with Shawar's and besieged
Bilbeis for three months; at the
end of this time, owing to the successes of Nureddin in Syria, the
Shirkuh a free passage with his troops back to Syria,
on condition of Egypt being evacuated (October 1164).
Two years later Shirkuh, a Kurdish general known as "the Lion",
persuaded Nureddin to put him at the head of another expedition to
Egypt, which left Syria in January 1167; a Frankish army hastened to
Shawar's aid. At the battle of Babain (April 11, 1167) the allies were
defeated by the forces commanded by
Shirkuh and his nephew Saladin,
who was made prefect of Alexandria, which surrendered to Shirkuh
without a struggle. In 1168 Amalric invaded again, but Shirkuh's
return caused the Crusaders to withdraw.
Shirkuh was appointed vizier but died of indigestion (March 23, 1169),
Saladin as successor to Shirkuh; the new
vizier professed to hold office as a deputy of Nureddin, whose name
was mentioned in public worship after that of the Caliph. Nureddin
loyally aided his deputy in dealing with Crusader invasions of Egypt,
and he ordered
Saladin to substitute the name of the
for the Fatimid in public worship. The last Fatimid caliph died soon
after in September, 1171.
Main article: Ayyubid dynasty
Ayyubid Empire at its greatest extent
Saladin, a general known as "the Lion", was confirmed as Nureddin's
deputy in Egypt, and on the death of Nureddin on April 12, 1174 he
took the title sultan. During his reign Damascus, rather than Cairo,
was the major city of the empire. Nevertheless, he fortified Cairo,
which became the political centre of Egypt. It was in 1183 that
Saladin's rule over Egypt and North Syria was consolidated. Much of
Saladin's time was spent in Syria, where he fought the Crusader
States, and Egypt was largely governed by his deputy Karaksh.
Saladin's son Othman succeeded him in Egypt in 1193. He allied with
his uncle (Saladin's brother)
Al-Adil I against Saladin's other sons,
and after the wars that followed, Al-Adil took power in 1200. He died
in 1218 during the siege of
Damietta in the Fifth Crusade, and was
succeeded by Al-Kamil, who lost
Damietta to the Crusaders in 1219.
However, he defeated their advance to
Cairo by flooding the Nile, and
they were forced to evacuate Egypt in 1221.
Al-Kamil was later forced
to give up various cities in Palestina and Syria to Frederick II, Holy
Roman Emperor during the Sixth Crusade, in order to gain his help
Najm al-Din became sultan in 1240. His reign saw the recapture of
Jerusalem in 1244, and the introduction of a larger force of Mameluks
into the army. Much of his time was spent in campaigns in Syria, where
he allied with the Khwarezmians against the Crusaders and Ayyubids. In
1249 he faced an invasion by
Louis IX of France
Louis IX of France (the Seventh Crusade),
Damietta was lost again. Najm al-Din died soon after this, but his
Turanshah defeated Louis and expelled the Crusaders from Egypt.
Turanshah was soon overthrown by the Mameluks, who had become the
"kingmakers" since their arrival and now wanted full power for
Main article: Mamluk Egypt
Mamluk Egypt period began with the Bahri Dynasty and be followed
by the Burji Dynasty. The Bahri Dynasty would rule from 1250 to 1382,
Burji dynasty would last from 1382 to 1517. The end of the
Mamluk period was brought about due to things such as famine, military
tensions, disease, and high taxation. 
Main article: Bahri dynasty
Bahri Mamluks at its greatest extent. Blue indicates the Ilkhanates.
The Mameluk sultans were drawn from the enfranchised slaves who formed
the court and officered the army. The sultans were unable to
effectively form a new dynasty, usually leaving behind infants who
were then overthrown. The first of these was Aybak, who married Shajar
al-Durr (the widow of al-Salih Ayyub) and quickly began a war with
Syria. He was assassinated in 1257 and was succeeded by Qutuz, who
faced a growing danger from the Mongols.
Qutuz defeated the army of
Hulagu Khan at the
Battle of Ain Jalut
Battle of Ain Jalut in
1260, allowing him to regain all of Syria except Crusader strongholds.
On the way back to Egypt after the battle,
Qutuz died and was
succeeded by another commander, Baybars, who assumed the Sultanate and
ruled from 1260 to 1277. In 1291 al-Ashraf Khalil captured Acre, the
last of the crusader cities.
The Bahris greatly enhanced the power and prestige of Egypt, building
Cairo from a small town into one of the foremost cities in the world.
Due to the sacking of
Baghdad by the Mongols,
Cairo became the central
city of the Islamic world. The Mamluks built much of the earliest
remaining architecture of Cairo, including many mosques built out of
stone using long, imposing lines.
Since 1347 the Egyptian population, economy, and political system
experienced significant destruction as a result of the Black Death
pandemic whose waves continued to destroy Egypt up to the early 16th
In 1377 a revolt in Syria spread to Egypt, and the government was
taken over by the
Circassians Berekeh and Barkuk.
proclaimed sultan in 1382, ending the Bahri dynasty. He was expelled
in 1389, but recaptured
Cairo in 1390, setting up the Burji dynasty.
Main article: Burji dynasty
Burji dynasty (1382–1517) proved especially turbulent, with
political power-plays designating short-lived sultans. During the
Burji dynasty, the Mamluks fought
Timur Lenk and conquered Cyprus.
The plague epidemics continued to destroy Egypt during this period;
they attacked this country in 1388–1389, 1397–1398, 1403–1407,
1410–1411, 1415–1419, 1429–1430, 1438–1439, 1444–1449, 1455,
1459–1460, 1468–1469, 1476–1477, 1492, 1498, 1504–1505 and
Constant bickering contributed to the inability to resist the
Selim I defeated the Mamluks and captured
January 20, 1517, transferring the center of power to Istanbul.
Ottoman Empire retained the Mamluks as the Egyptian
ruling class. The Mamluks and the Burji family regained much of their
influence, but technically remained vassals of the Ottomans.
^ a b Kennedy 1998, p. 64.
^ Athamina 1997, p. 102.
^ Athamina 1997, pp. 101–102.
^ Athamina 1997, pp. 102–103.
^ Kennedy 1998, pp. 65–66.
^ a b Athamina 1997, p. 104.
^ Kennedy 1998, pp. 64–65.
^ Athamina 1997, pp. 104–105.
^ Kennedy 1998, p. 69.
^ Kennedy 1998, p. 70.
^ Kennedy 1998, pp. 65, 70–71.
^ Kennedy 1998, p. 71.
^ Kennedy 1998, pp. 71–72.
^ Kennedy 1998, p. 73.
^ Kennedy 2004, pp. 158–159.
^ Brett 2011, pp. 550–556.
^ Brett 2011, p. 557.
^ Bianquis 1998, pp. 92–93.
^ Brett 2011, p. 558.
^ Bianquis 1998, p. 93.
^ Brett 2001, pp. 146–147.
^ Bianquis 1998, p. 91.
^ Bianquis 1998, pp. 89–92, 96.
^ Kennedy 2004, pp. 312ff..
^ Brett 2011, pp. 565ff..
^ Bianquis 1998, p. 92.
^ Bianquis 1998, pp. 92, 94.
^ Brett 2011, pp. 559–560.
^ Bianquis 1998, pp. 99–100.
^ a b Bianquis 1998, p. 97.
^ Kennedy 2004, pp. 206–208.
^ a b Brett 2011, p. 560.
^ Bianquis 1998, p. 98.
^ Bianquis 1998, pp. 94–95.
^ Bianquis 1998, pp. 95–99.
^ Bianquis 1998, pp. 100–102.
^ Bianquis 1998, pp. 102–103.
^ Bianquis 1998, p. 104.
^ Bianquis 1998, pp. 104–105.
^ Bianquis 1998, pp. 105–106.
^ Kennedy 2004, p. 310.
^ Bianquis 1998, pp. 106–108.
^ Kennedy 2004, pp. 184–185, 310.
^ Amin Maalouf (1984). The
Crusades Through Arab Eyes. Al Saqi Books.
pp. 159–161. ISBN 0-8052-0898-4.
^ Petry, Carl F. (1994). Protectors or Praetorians?: The Last Mamlauk
Sultans and Egypt's Waning As a Great Power. Albany: State University
of New York Press. p. 1. ISBN 9780791421390.
^ See, for example, The
Black Death in Egypt and England by Stuart J.
Borsch, Cairo: The American University in
Cairo Press, 2005; or
Secular Cycles and Millennial Trends in Africa by
Andrey Korotayev and
Daria Khaltourina, Moscow: URSS, 2006. ISBN 5484005604
Athamina, Khalil (1997). "Some Administrative, Military, and
Socio-Political Aspects of Early Muslim Egypt". In Lev, Yaacov. War
and Society in the Eastern Mediterranean: 7th–15th Centuries.
Leiden: BRILL. pp. 101–114. ISBN 90-04-10032-6.
Bianquis, Thierry (1998). "Autonomous Egypt from Ibn Ṭūlūn to
Kāfūr, 868–969". In Petry, Carl F. Cambridge History of Egypt,
Volume One: Islamic Egypt, 640–1517. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press. pp. 86–119. ISBN 0-521-47137-0.
Bonner, Michael (2010). "The waning of empire, 861–945". In
Robinson, Charles F. The New Cambridge History of Islam, Volume I: The
Formation of the Islamic World, Sixth to Eleventh Centuries.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 305–359.
Brett, Michael (2001). The Rise of the Fatimids: The World of the
Mediterranean and the Middle East in the Fourth Century of the Hijra,
Tenth Century CE. The Medieval Mediterranean. 30. Leiden: BRILL.
Brett, Michael (2011). "Egypt". In Robinson, Chase F. The New
Cambridge History of Islam, Vol. 1: The Formation of the Islamic
World, Sixth to Eleventh Centuries. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge
University Press. pp. 506–540.
Halm, Heinz (1996). The Empire of the Mahdi: The Rise of the Fatimids.
Handbook of Oriental Studies. 26. transl. by Michael Bonner. Leiden:
BRILL. ISBN 90-04-10056-3.
Kennedy, Hugh (1998). "Egypt as a province in the Islamic caliphate,
641–868". In Petry, Carl F. Cambridge History of Egypt, Volume One:
Islamic Egypt, 640–1517. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
pp. 62–85. ISBN 0-521-47137-0.
Kennedy, Hugh N. (2004). The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates:
The Islamic Near East from the 6th to the 11th Century (2nd ed.).
Harlow, UK: Pearson Education Ltd. ISBN 0-582-40525-4.
Petry, Carl F. (1994). Protectors or Praetorians? : The Last
Mamlauk Sultans and Egypt's Waning As a Great Power. Albany: State
University of New York Press. p. 1.