Timeline Description: The Mamluk Sultanate (1250-1517) ruled over the region that is now modern-day Egypt and Syria, with their capital in Cairo. The word Mamluk means "owned," referring to the caste of purchased soldier-slaves who eventually rose to power. Though members of the caste were often illiterate, under their rule architecture, craftsmanship, and scholarship flourished. They published artfully decorated military strategy manuals, called the Furusiyya, and were passionate about polo, due to its similarity to military battle.
|1249||The Seventh Crusade begins.
King Louis IX of France invades Egypt, capturing the city Damietta and proceeding southwards. The current sultan, as-Salih Ayyub, of the Ayyubid dynasty, dies during their invasion.
|February 11, 1250||The Battle of Al Mansurah ends the crusade.
Sultan Ayyub sends his Bahri Mamluk forces (enslaved Turkish horsemen) to defeat the crusaders. They capture Louis IX in the Battle of Al Mansurah, which puts an end to the crusade. Ayyub's son, al-Muazzam Turanshah, arrives after the battle and places his followers in positions of power, including his own faction of Mamluks called the Mu'azzamis.
|May 2, 1250||Death of Turan'shah begins the Mamluk Sultanate.
A group of Bahri Mamluks kill Turan'shah and seize power from the Mu'azzamis Mamluks, starting their reign. This leads to a decade of political instability in Egypt and Syria.
|1254||Bahri Mamluks flee.
A rival faction of Mamluks, under the leadership of Saif ad-Din Qutuz, gain power and the Bahri Mamluks are forced to flee Cairo. They ally themselves with Ayyubids in Syria.
|January 29, 1258||The Mongols besiege Baghdad.(January 29 - February 10, 1258)
Under the command of Hulagu Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan, the Mongols invade the Middle East. They do not intend to directly overthrow the Caliphate, but instead extend their area of control. The Mongols are incredibly brutal during the sack of the city, destroying the famed Grand Library of Baghdad.
|September 3, 1260||Mongols are defeated at the Battle of Ain Jalut.
Qutuz and the Bahri Mamluks agree to ally against the common threat of the Mongols, and defeat them at the battle of Ain Jalut. This is the earliest known battle in which hand cannons are used. The Mamluks use the cannons' loud explosions to frighten the enemy's horses and cause disorder.
|October 24, 1260||Qutuz is assassinated.
Baibars, leading the Bahri Mamluks, assassinates rival leader Qutuz as he returns from the battle and claims the sultanate for himself, thus starting the Bahri dynasty.
|1277||Baibars attempts to expand into Mongol territory.
Attempting to gain a foothold in Mongol territory, Baibars tries to create a local revolt of the Turcomans in Anatolia, but quickly realizes he does not have enough resources to do so.
|1291||The Crusader settlement of Acre falls to Baibars.
Baibars conquers the Crusader settlement of Acre, which represents the last victory against the Crusaders. Baibars fears an alliance between the Mongols and the Christians, which leads him to turn back the Eighth Crusade and eventually stabilize his holdings. This victory removes the threat of the Christians to Syria.
|1377||Circassians revolt against the Bahri dynasty.
By this point, the Mamluk ranks have shifted in majority towards the Circassians, from the North Caucasus region. A revolt breaks out against the Bahri dynasty and the Circassians Barakh and Barquq take over the government.
|1382||The Burji Mamluk dynasty begins.
The last Bahri Sultan, Al-Salih Hajji, is dethroned and Barquq is proclaimed sultan, thus launching the Burji Mamluk dynasty.
|1501||Tension grows between Persia and the Ottoman Empire.
When Shah Ismail I of Persia tries to ally with the Venetian empire against the Ottomans, the Ottomans, under the leadership of Selim I, accuse the Mamluk sultan al-Ghawri of conspiring with them. To placate Selim I and the Ottomans, al-Ghawri arrests all Venetian merchants in Egypt and Syria, releasing them a year later.
|August 23, 1514||The Battle of Chaldiran increases Ottoman strength.
In the Battle of Chaldiran, Selim I wins a decisive victory against Ismail I, which frees his forces to commit to attacking the Mamluks.
|August 24, 1516||The Ottomans win a decisive victory over the Mamluks.
The Ottomans win a decisive victory over the Mamluks, due to their large numbers and use of modern military technology such as firearms. Sultan al-Ghawri is killed, and the Ottomans gain control over Syria. Power transfers to a new sultan, Tuman Bay, who tries to recruit new troops and gather firearms.
|January 24, 1517||The Battle of Ridaniya ends the Mamluk dynasty.
Selim I faces Tuman Bay, but outmaneuvers him, thereby making the firearms he has gathered all but useless. Tuman Bay is captured and hung at Cairo. The Mamluk sultanate comes to an end and the center of power transfers to Constantinople, but the Ottomans allow the Mamluks to remain as the ruling class in Egypt under their power.