Bahri dynasty

Bahri dynasty

The Bahri dynasty or Bahriyya Mamluks (al-Mamalik al-Bahariyya المماليك البحرية ) was a Mamluk dynasty of mostly Kipchak Turkic origin that ruled Egypt from 1250 to 1382 when they were succeeded by the Burji dynasty, another group of Mamluks. Their name means 'of the sea', referring to the location of their original residence on Al-Rodah Island in the Nile ("Bahr al-Nil") in Cairo [ There is another theory about the origin of the name which states that they were called 'Bahariyya' because they came by sea or from over sea. (Shayyal, 110/vol.2 ) ] at the castle of Al-Rodah which was built by the Ayyubid Sultan as-Salih Ayyub [ (Al-Maqrizi, p. 441/vol.1 ) - (Abu Al-Fida, pp.66-87/ Year 647H - Death of as-Sailih Ayyub) - (Ibn Taghri/vol.6 - Year 639H ) ] [ After the Castle of al- Rodah was built, As-Salih moved with his Mamluks to it and lived there. (Al-Maqrizi, p.405/vol. 1 ). Later, the Mamluk Sultans lived at the Citadel of the Mountain which was situated on the Muqatam Mountain in Cairo (Al-Maqrizi, al-Mawaiz, p. 327/vol.3 ) where the Mosque of Muhammed Ali and the remains of the Citadel (known now by the name Saladin's Citadel) stand now. ]


The Mamluks formed by chance the most powerful and wealthiest empire of the time that lasted for more than 250 years from 1250 to 1517. In 1250, when the Ayyubid sultan as-Salih Ayyub died, the Mamluks who were owned by him murdered his son and heir Turanshah, and Shajar al-Durr the widow of as-Salih became the Sultana of Egypt then she married the Atabeg (commander in chief) Emir Aybak and abdicated and Aybak became the Sultan (ruled 1250 - 1257) [ (Al-Maqrizi pp. 444-494. vol/1 ) (Abu Al-Fida, pp.66-87/ Years 647H - 655H ) (Ibn Taghri/vol.6 - Year 646H )] [ See also Shajar al-Durr and Aybak . ] . The Mamluks consolidated their power in ten years and eventually established the Bahri dynasty. They were helped by the Mongols' sack of Baghdad in 1258, which effectively destroyed the Abbasid caliphate. Cairo became more prominent as a result and remained a Mamluk capital thereafter.

The Mamluks were power cavalry warriors mixing the practices of the Turkic steppe peoples from which they were drawn and the organizational and technological sophistication of the Egyptians and Arabs. In 1260 the Mamluks defeated a Mongol army at the Battle of Ain Jalut in modern-day Israel and eventually forced the invaders to retreat to the area of modern-day Iraq [ Abu Al-Fida, pp.66-87/ Taking of Aleppo's Castle by the Mongols and new events in the Levant. ] . The defeat of the Mongols at the hands of the Mamluks enhanced the position of the Mamluks in the southern Mediterranean basin [ Shayyal, p. 123/vol.2 ] [ The victory of the Mamluks against the Mongols brought an end to the Ayyubid's claim in Egypt and the Levant . Ayyubid Emirs recognized the Mamluk Sultan as their sovereign. (Shayyal, p.126/vol.2 ) ] . Baibars, one of the leaders at the battle, became the new Sultan after the assassination of Sultan Qutuz on the way home [ (Al-Maqrizi, p.519/vol.1 ) - (Ibn Taghri/ vol.7 ) ] [ Qutuz was assassinated near al-Salihiyah, Egypt. Those murdered him were emir Badr ad-Din Baktut, emir Ons and emir Bahadir al-Mu'izzi. (Al-Maqrizi, p. 519/vol.1 ) ] .

In 1250 Baibars was one of the Mamluk commanders who defended Al Mansurah [ See Battle of Al Mansurah . ] against the Crusade knights of Louis IX of France, who was later definitely defeated, captured in Fariskur and ransomed [ See Battle of Fariskur] . Baibars had also taken part in the Mamluk takeover of Egypt. In 1261 , after he became a Sultan, he established a puppet Abbasid caliphate in Cairo [ Sultan Baibars recognized the Sovereignty of Abu al-Qasim Ahmad as the Abbasid Caliph in Cairo only in religious matters after a few Bedouins witnessed before the supreme judge of Egypt that he was the son of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Zahir Billah. The Caliph took the name al-Mustansir Billah. (Shayyal, p. 132/vol.2 ) - (Ibn Taghri/ vol.7 ) - (Abu Al-Fida, pp.66-87/ Murder of al-Malik al-Nasir Yusuf) . Though the Abbasid Caliphs in Cairo during the Mamluk era legitimated the sovereignty of the Mamluks' Sultans, the Caliphs were actually powerless. However, contrary to the Ayyubids who were to some degree dependent on the Abbasid Chaliph in Baghdad, the fact that the Chaliph lived in Cairo gave the Mamluks independency and full freedom of action. ] , and the Mamluks fought the remnants of the Crusader states in Palestine until they finally captured Acre in 1291 [ See al-Ashraf Khalil ] . Many Tatars settled in Egypt and were employed by Baibars [ In 1262 , during the reign of Sultan Baibars many Tartars from the Golden Horde tribe escaped from Hulagu to Egypt and were followed later by other Tartars. Baibars welcomed the Tartars and employed them in the army. They had their own army unit which was called al-Firqah al-Wafidiyah (the arrivals unite). Through out the Mamluk era, the Wafidiyah (Arriving Tartars) were free men and Mamluk system did not apply on them. Baibars resided the Tartars in Cairo and gave them various official posts. The Largest group of Tartars immigrated to Egypt in 1296 during the reign of Sultan Kitbugha who was himself of Mongol origin. They resided at the district of al-Hisiniyah in Cairo and many of their women married Mamluk Emirs. (Shayyal, p.144/vol.2 ) ] [ Ibn Taghri/ vol.7 ] . He defeated the Mongols at the battle of Elbistan [ (Abu Al-Fida, pp.66-87/Year 675H- Al-Malik Al-Zahir entering land of the Roum) - (Ibn Taghri/ vol.7 ) ] and sent the Abbasid Caliph with only 250 men to attempted to retake Baghdad, but was unsuccessful. In 1266 he devastated Cilician Armenia and in 1268 he recaptured Antioch from the Crusaders [ (Abu Al-Fida, pp.66-87/ Soldiers entering the land of the Armenians) - (Ibn Taghri/ vol.7 ) ] [ Cilician Armenia was devastated by Sultan Baibars's commander Qalawun upon the Battle of Mari in 1266. The Principality of Antioch was destroyed by Sultan Baibars in 1268. ] . In addition, he fought the Seljuks [ Baibars defeated both the Seljuks and the Mongols at the battle of Elbistan . (Shayyal, p.138/vol.2) ] , and Hashshashin; he also extended Muslim power into Nubia [ Ibn Taghri/ vol.7 ] for the first time, before his death in 1277.

Sultan Qalawun defeated a rebellion in Syria that was led by Sunqur al-Ashqar in 1280 [ Abu Al-Fida, pp.66-87/ Year 697H. ] [ Shams ad-Din Sunqur al-Ashqar, was a prominent Emir and one of the most devoted Bahri Emirs since days of Sultan Baibars. He was taken prisoner by the Armenians and was freed in exchange for Leo the son of King Hethum I who was captured during the invasion of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia in 1266. During the reign of Baibars' son Solamish he was the deputy of the Sultan in Damascus. During the reign of Qalawun he proclaimed himself a Sultan while in Damascus, taking the royal name al-Malik al-Kamil. He fought a few battles against Qalawun's Emirs but was pardoned later after he joined Qalawun's army against the Mongols. (Al-Maqrizi, p.51, 121, 127, 131-133, 145/vol.2 ) ] , and also defeated another Mongol invasion in 1281 that was led by Abaqa outside Homs [ (Abu Al-Fida, pp.66-87/ Year 688H ) - (Shayyal, p. 165/vol.2 ) ] . After the Mongol threat passed he recaptured Tripoli from the Crusaders in 1289. [ (Abu Al-Fida, pp.66-87/ 688HYear) - (Shayyal, 168/vol.2 ) ] His son Khalil captured Acre, the last Crusader city, in 1291. [ Abu Al-Fida, pp.66-87/ Year 690H ] [ See Al-Ashraf Khalil . ]

The Mongols renewed their invasion in 1299 [ Abu Al-Fida, pp.66-87/ Year 699H ] , but were again defeated in 1303 [ Abu Al-Fida, pp.66-87/ Year 702H ] [ See Battle of Shaqhab ] . The Egyptian Mamluk Sultans entered into relations with the Golden Horde who converted to Islam [ Sultan Baibars sent his first emissaries to Berke Khan the ruler of the Golden Horde in 1261. (Shayyal, p. 141/vol2) ] and established a peace pact with the Mongols [ Shayyal, p.187/vol.2 ] in 1322.Sultan Al-Nasir Muhammad married a Mongol princess in 1319. His diplomatic relations were more extensive than those of any previous Sultan, and included Bulgarian, Indian, and Abyssinian potentates, as well as the pope, the king of Aragon and the king of France [ Shayyal, pp. 187-188 /vol.2 ] . Al-Nasir Muhammad organized the re-digging of a canal in 1311 which connected Alexandria with the Nile [ Shayyal, p.187/vol.2 ] . He died in 1341, and the constant changes of sultan that followed led to great disorder in the provinces; meanwhile, in 1349 , during Al-Nasir Muhammad first reign, Egypt and the Levant were visited by the Black Death, which is said to have carried off many lives of the inhabitants [ Shayyal, p.194/vol.2 ] [ The Black Death probably began in Central Asia and spread to Europe by the late 1340s. The total number of deaths worldwide from the pandemic is estimated at 75 million people; there were an estimated 25-50 million deaths in Europe. - (Wikipedia / Article Black Death.) ] .

In 1382 the last Bahri Sultan al-Salih Salah Zein al-Din Hajji was dethroned and the Sultanate was taken over by the Circassian Emir Barquq; Barquq was proclaimed a sultan, ending the Bahri dynasty. He was expelled in 1389 but returned to power in 1390, setting up the Burji dynasty. [ Al-Maqrizi, pp.140-142/vol.5 ]

List of Bahri Sultans

*1250-1250 Shajar al-Durr شجر الدر
*1250-1257 al-Muizz Izz-ad-Din Aybak المعز عز الدين أيبك
*1250-1252 al-Ashraf Muzafar ad-Din Musa الأشرف مظفر الدين موسى (Ayyubid )
*1257-1259 al-Mansur Nur ad-Din Ali المنصور نور الدين على
*1259-1260 al-Muzaffar Sayf ad-Din Qutuz المظفر سيف الدين قطز
*1260-1277 al-Zahir Rukn-ad-Din Baibars al-Bunduqdari الظاهر ركن الدين بيبرس البندقدارى
*1277-1279 al-Said Nasir-ad-Din Barakah Khan السعيد ناصر الدين بركه خان
*1279 al-Adil Badr al-Din Solamish العادل بدر الدين سُلامش
*1279-1290 al-Mansur Sayf-ad-Din Qalawun al-Alfi المنصور سيف الدين قلاوون الالفى
*1290-1293 al-Ashraf Salah-ad-Din Khalil الأشرف صلاح الدين خليل
*1293-1294 an-Nasir Nasir-ad-Din Muhammad الناصر ناصر الدين محمد"first reign"
*1294-1297 al-Adil Zayn-ad-Din Kitbugha العادل زين الدين كتبغا
*1297-1299 al-Mansur Husam ad-Din Lajin المنصور حسام الدين لاجين
*1299-1309 an-Nasir Nasir-ad-Din Muhammad الناصر ناصر الدين محمد"second reign"
*1309 al-Muzaffar Rukn-ad-Din Baibars al-Jashankir المظفر ركن الدين بيبرس الجاشنكير
*1309-1340 an-Nasir Nasir-ad-Din Muhammadالناصر ناصر الدين محمد "third reign"
*1340-1341 al-Mansur Sayf-ad-Din Abu-Bakr المنصور سيف الدين أبو بكر
*1341-1342 al-Ashraf Ala'a-ad-Din Kujukالأشرف علاء الدين كجك
*1342 an-Nasir Shihab-ad-Din Ahmad الناصر شهاب الدين أحمد
*1342-1345 as-Salih Imad-ad-Din Ismail الصالح عماد الدين إسماعيل
*1345-1346 al-Kamil Saif ad-Din Shaban I الكامل سيف الدين شعبان
*1346-1347 al-Muzaffar Sayf-ad-Din Hajji I المظفر سيف الدين حاجى
*1347-1351 an-Nasir Badr-ad-Din abu al-Mali al-Hasan الناصر بدر الدين أبو المعالى الحسن "first reign"
*1351-1354 as-Salih Salah-ad-Din ben Muhamed الصالح صلاح الدين بن محمد
*1354-1361 an-Nasir Nasir-ad-Din al-Hasan الناصر ناصر الدين الحسن"second reign"
*1361-1363 al-Mansur Salah-ad-Din Muhammad المنصور صلاح الدين محمد
*1363-1376 al-Ashraf Zayn-ad-Din Abu al-Mali Shaban الأشرف زين الدين أبو المعالى شعبان
*1376-1382 al-Mansur Ala'a-ad-Din Ali المنصور علاء الدين على
*1382 as-Salih Salah-ad-Din Hajji I الصالح صلاح الدين حاجى"first reign"
*1382-1389 az-Zahir Sayf ad-Din Barquq الظاهر سيف الدين برقوق (Burji dynasty)
*1389 Hajji II حاجى"second reign" (with honorific title al-Muzaffar or al-Mansur)


ee also

*History of Arab Egypt
* Mamluk
*Qala'un Mosque
*Shajar al-Durr


*Abu al-Fida, The Concise History of Humanity.
* Al-Maqrizi, Al Selouk Leme'refatt Dewall al-Melouk, Dar al-kotob, 1997.
* Idem in English: Bohn, Henry G., The Road to Knowledge of the Return of Kings, Chronicles of the Crusades, AMS Press, 1969.
* Al-Maqrizi, al-Mawaiz wa al-'i'tibar bi dhikr al-khitat wa al-'athar,Matabat aladab,Cairo 1996, ISBN 977-241-175X
* Idem in French: Bouriant, Urbain, Description topographique et historique de l'Egypte,Paris 1895.
* Ayalon, D.: "The Mamluk Military Society". London, 1979.
*Ibn Taghri, al-Nujum al-Zahirah Fi Milook Misr wa al-Qahirah, al-Hay'ah al-Misreyah 1968
* Idem in English: History of Egypt, by Yusef. William Popper, translator Abu L-Mahasin ibn Taghri Birdi, University of California Press 1954.
* Shayyal, Jamal, Prof. of Islamic history, [ Tarikh Misr al-Islamiyah] (History of Islamic Egypt), dar al-Maref, Cairo 1266, ISBN 977-02-5975-6

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