The Ottoman–Mamluk War of 1516–1517 was the second major conflict
between the Egypt-based Mamluk Sultanate and the Ottoman Empire, which
led to the fall of the Mamluk Sultanate and the incorporation of the
Levant, Egypt and the
Hejaz as provinces of the Ottoman Empire. The
war transformed the
Ottoman Empire from a realm at the margins of the
Islamic world, mainly located in
Anatolia and the Balkans, to a huge
empire encompassing much of the traditional lands of Islam, including
the cities of Mecca, Cairo,
Damascus and Aleppo. Despite this
expansion, the seat of the empire's political power remained in
2.1 Operations in the
2.2 Operations in Egypt (1517)
4 See also
The relationship between the Ottomans and the Mamluks had been
adversarial since the
Fall of Constantinople
Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453;
both states vied for control of the spice trade, and the Ottomans
aspired to eventually taking control of the Holy Cities of Islam.
An earlier conflict, which lasted from 1485 to 1491, had led to a
By 1516, the Ottomans were free from other concerns—Sultan Selim I
had just vanquished the
Safavid Persians at the
Battle of Chaldiran
Battle of Chaldiran in
1514—and turned their full might against the Mamluks, who ruled
in Syria and Egypt, to complete the Ottoman conquest of the Middle
Mamluk heavy cavalry, c. 1550. Musée de l'Armée
The war consisted of several battles. The Mamluk army was rather
traditional, mainly consisting in cavalry using bows and arrows,
whereas the Ottoman army, and especially the Janissaries, was quite
modern, using arquebus. The Mamluks remained proud in their
tradition and tended to disregard the usage of firearms.
Operations in the
The Ottomans first captured the city of
Diyarbekir in southeastern
Battle of Marj Dabiq
Battle of Marj Dabiq (24 August 1516) was decisive,
and the Mamluk ruler
Kansuh al-Ghuri was killed. The Ottomans
apparently outnumbered the Mamluks by a factor of 3 to 1. Syria
fell under the rule of the Ottomans with this single battle.
Battle of Yaunis Khan occurred near Gaza (October 28, 1516) and
was again a defeat for the Mamluks.
Operations in Egypt (1517)
Ottoman volley gun with 9 barrels, early 16th century
Al-Ghuri's successor as Mamluk sultan, Tuman Bay, frantically
recruited troops from various classes of society and Bedouins, and
attempted to equip his armies with some amount of cannons and
firearms, but all at the last minute and on a limited scale.
Finally, at the doorstep of Cairo, the
Battle of Ridaniya (24 January
1517) took place, in which the Ottoman commander Hadım Sinan Pasha
lost his life. In this battle,
Selim I and Tuman Bay faced each
other. The firearms and guns deployed by Tuman Bay turned out to be
almost useless, as the Ottomans managed an attack from the rear.
The campaign had been supported by a fleet of about 100 ships that
supplied the troops during their campaign to the south.
A few days later, the Ottomans captured and sacked Cairo, capturing
Caliph Al-Mutawakkil III. Tuman Bay regrouped his troops in Giza,
where he was finally captured and hanged at the gate of Cairo.
As a consequence the Sharif of
Mecca also submitted to the Ottomans,
placing the holy cities of
Medina under Ottoman rule.
Ottoman power extended as far as the southern reaches of the Red Sea,
although control of
Yemen remained partial and sporadic.
Ottoman helmet, with markings of Saint-Irene arsenal, Constantinople,
c. 1520, Musée de l'Armée
Mamluk culture and social organization persisted at a regional level,
and the hiring and education of Mamluk "slave" soldiers continued, but
the ruler of Egypt was an Ottoman governor protected by an Ottoman
militia. The fall of the Mamluk Sultanate effectively put an
end to the Portuguese–Mamluk naval war, but the Ottomans then took
over the attempts to stop Portuguese expansion in the Indian Ocean.
The conquest of the Mamluk Empire also opened up the territories of
Africa to the Ottomans. During the 16th century, Ottoman power
expanded further west of Cairo, along the coasts of northern Africa.
Hayreddin Barbarossa established a base in Algeria, and
later accomplished the Conquest of Tunis in 1534.
Following his capture in Cairo,
Al-Mutawakkil III was brought
to Constantinople, where he eventually ceded his office as caliph to
Selim's successor, Suleiman the Magnificent. This established the
Ottoman Caliphate, with the sultan as its head, thus transferring
religious authority from
Cairo to the Ottoman throne.
Cairo remained in Ottoman hands until the 1798 French conquest of
Napoleon I claimed to eliminate the Mamluks.
Military history of the
Ottoman Empire portal
Ottoman–Mamluk War (1485–1491)
Ottoman wars in Africa
Ottoman wars in the Near East
History of Ottoman Egypt
^ Dictionary of Battles and Sieges by Tony Jaques xxxiv
^ a b c d e f g h i j The Ottoman Empire: A Short History by Saraiya
^ Ottoman seapower and Levantine diplomacy in the age of discovery by
Palmira Johnson Brummett p.52ff
^ Daily Life in Ancient and Modern
Cairo by Joan D. Barghusen, Bob
^ a b Firearms: A Global History to 1700 by Kenneth Warren Chase p.104
^ a b c d e f The Cambridge History of Egypt by M. W. Daly,Carl F.
^ E. J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913–1936 by Martijn
Theodoor Houtsma p.432
^ Ottoman Seapower and Levantine Diplomacy in the age of discovery by
Palmira Johnson Brummett p.110
^ a b Drews, Robert (August 2011). "Chapter Thirty – The Ottoman
Empire, Judaism, and Eastern Europe to 1648" (PDF). Coursebook:
Judaism, Christianity and Islam, to the Beginnings of Modern
Civilization. Vanderbilt University.
^ a b Muir, William (1896). The Mameluke; Or, Slave Dynasty of Egypt,
1260–1517, A. D. Smith, Elder. pp. 207–13.
^ Islamic Monuments in Cairo: The Practical Guide by Caroline Williams
Cairo by André R