Egypt: History - Mameluke Period

Mameluke Period

When Shaggar ruled alone, the Mamelukes essentially ruled the city anyway. The white slaves imported by the Egyptian governors now ruled Egypt. As children, they were converted to Islam, educated and given military training. Many worked their way up through the army ranks, and when they reached a high enough rank, were freed by their masters, to whom they pledged their loyalty.

Many were appointed to high governmental posts. Advancement was by individual ability and open only to those who had been indentured. To supply their private armies, the Mamelukes continued to import slaves, creating multiple power groups that dragged the native Egyptians into their fierce and frequent power struggles.

In general, since Mameluke culture was based on slavery, neither wives nor sons had any claim on a Mameluke's political or military power. Mameluke sons, denied both hereditary claims and the slavery that would grant them entry into politics, filtered into the Egyptian population. Although Mamelukes controlled the court and the army, Egyptians continued to staff civil offices, financial agencies, the judiciary and the professions.

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Last Updated: June 20th, 2011