Burji dynasty

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Map of the Mamluk Sultanate (orange), under Burji dynasty rule in 1389.

The Burji dynasty (Arabic: المماليك البرجية‎) was a Circassian[1] Mamluk dynasty which ruled Egypt from 1382 until 1517, during the Mamluk Sultanate. It proved especially turbulent, with short-lived sultans. Political power-plays often became important in designating a new sultan. During this time Mamluks fought Timur Lenk and conquered Cyprus. Constant bickering may have contributed to the ability of the Ottomans to challenge them. Their name means 'of the tower', referring to them ruling from the Citadel east of Cairo.

Tomb of al-Zahir Qansuh, a Burji Mamluk Sultan.

History[edit]

From 1250 Egypt had been ruled by the Kipchak Mamluk Bahri dynasty.[1] In 1377 a revolt broke out in Syria which spread to Egypt, and the government was taken over by the Circassians Barakah and Barkuk; Barkuk was proclaimed sultan in 1382, ending the Bahri dynasty. He was expelled in 1389 but recaptured Cairo in 1390. Early on, the Zahiri Revolt threatened to overthrow Barquq though the conspiracy was discovered before agitators could mobilize. Permanently in power, he founded the Burji dynasty.

Faced with a common enemy Timur, Barkuk joined with Bayezid I and Toktamish in a combined resistance and executed Timur's peace envoys.[2] Within months however, Timur was engaged in Georgia and unable to respond to Barkuk's actions, while Barkuk had died by 1399.[2] In 1401, Timur invaded Syria and sacked Aleppo[3] and Damascus. Syria was regained by sultan Nasir-ad-Din Faraj after Timur died in 1405, but Faraj continually faced rebellions from the emirs there and he was forced to abdicate in 1412.

In 1421 Egypt was attacked by the Kingdom of Cyprus, and although the Egyptians were unable to capture the island they forced the Cypriotes to acknowledge the suzerainty of the Egyptian sultan Barsbay. During Barsbay's reign Egypt's population was greatly reduced from what it had been a few centuries before, with only 1/5 the number of towns. He frequently raided Asia Minor, but died in 1438.

During the reign of Sayf-ad-Din Jaqmaq an attempt to conquer Rhodes in 1444 from the Knights of St. John was repelled.

Sayf ad-Din Inal came to power in 1453 and had friendly relations with the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II, who captured Constantinople later that year, causing great rejoicings in Egypt. However, under the reign of Khoshkadam, who took power in 1463, Egypt began the struggle between the Egyptian and the Ottoman sultanates which finally led to the incorporation of Egypt in the Ottoman empire. Both Koshkadam and Mehmed II supported different candidates to the principality of Karaman; then in 1467 sultan Kait Bey offended the Ottoman sultan Bayezid II, whose brother was poisoned while being entertained by Kait. Bayezid II seized Adana, Tarsus and other places within Egyptian territory, but was eventually defeated by Kait. Kait also tried to help the Muslims in Spain by threatening the Christians in Syria, but without effect. He died in 1496, leaving several hundred thousand ducats debts to the great Venetian trading families.

List of Burji Sultans[edit]

Titular Name(s) Personal Name Reign
Al-Zahir
الظاہر
Sayf-ad-Din Barquq
سیف الدین برقوق
1382–1389
first reign
Sultan As-Saleh Al-Muzaffar Al-Mansur
سلطان الصالح المظفر المنصور
Salah-ad-Din Hajji II
صلاح الدین حاجی ثانی
1389
Al-Zahir
الظاہر
Sayf-ad-Din Barquq
سیف الدین برقوق
1390–1399
second reign
Al-Nasir
الناصر
Nasir-ad-Din Faraj
ناصر الدین فرج
1399–1405
first reign
Al-Mansur
المنصور
Izz-ad-Din Abdal-Aziz
عز الدین عبدالعزیز
1405
Al-Nasir
الناصر
Nasir-ad-Din Faraj
ناصر الدین فرج
1405–1412
second reign
Al-Adil
العادل
Al-Musta'in Billah
المستعین باللہ
1412
Al-Mu'ayyad
المؤید
Sayf-ad-Din Tatar I
سیف الدین تتار
1412–1421
Al-Muzaffar
المظفر
Ahmad
أحمد
1421
Al-Zahir
الظاہر
Sayf-ad-Din Tatar II
سیف الدین تتار
1421
As-Saleh
الصالح
Nasir-ud-din Muhammad
ناصر الدین محمد
1421–1422
Al-Ashraf
الأشرف
Sayf-ad-Din Barsbay
سیف الدین برسبای
1422–1437
Al-Aziz
العزیز
Jamal-ad-Din Yusuf
جمال الدین یوسف
1437–1438
Al-Zahir
الظاہر
Sayf-ad-Din Jaqmaq
سیف الدین جقمق
1438–1453
Al-Mansur
المنصور
Fakhr-ad-Din Uthman
فخرالدین عثمان
1453
Al-Ashraf
الأشرف
Sayf ad-Din Inal
سیف الدین إینال
1453–1461
Al-Mu'ayyad
المؤید
Shihab-ad-Din Ahmad
شھاب الدین أحمد
1461
Al-Zahir
الظاہر
Sayf-ad-Din Khushqadam
سیف الدین خوش قدم
1461–1467
Al-Zahir
الظاہر
Sayf-ad-Din Bilbay
سیف الدین بلبأی
1467
Al-Zahir
الظاہر
Taimur Bugha
تیمور بغا
1467–1468
Al-Ashraf
الأشرف
Sayf-ad-Din Qait Bay
سیف الدین قایتبای
1468–1496
Al-Nasir
الناصر
Muhammad bin Qait Bay
قایتبای الناصرمحمدبن
1496–1497
first reign
Al-Zahir
الظاہر
Qansuh Al-Burji
قانصوہ البرجی
1497
Al-Nasir
الناصر
Muhammad bin Qait Bay
قایتبای الناصرمحمدبن
1497–1498
second reign
Al-Zahir
الظاہر
Qansuh Al-Ashrafi
قانصوہ الأشرفی
1498–1500
Al-Ashraf
الأشرف
Janbalat
جنبلاط
1500–1501
Al-Adil
العادل
Sayf-ad-Din Tuman Bay I
سیف الدین طومان بای
1501
Al-Ashraf
الأشرف
Qansuh Al-Ghawri
قانصوہ الغوری
1501–1516
Al-Ashraf
الأشرف
Tuman Bay II
طومان بای
1516–1517
Burji dynasty of the Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo) falls to Ottoman Empire under Sultan Selim I in 1517C.E.
  • Orange shaded row signifies brief interruption in the rule of Burji dynasty by Bahri dynasty.
    • Silver shaded row signifies interruption in the rule of Burji dynasty by Abbasid dynasty.

Conquest by Ottomans[edit]

In 1515 there began the war with the Ottoman sultan Selim I which led to the incorporation of Egypt and its dependencies into the Ottoman Empire. A result of the Mamluk cavalry charges proving to be no match for the Ottoman artillery and the janissaries. Egyptian sultan Kansuh was charged by Selim with giving the envoys of the Safavid Ismail passage through Syria on their way to Venice to form a confederacy against the Turks, and with harbouring various refugees. At the Battle of Merj Dabik, on August 24, 1515, Kansuh was killed in the fighting. Syria passed into Turkish possession, who were welcomed in many places as deliverance from the Mamelukes.

In 1517 the Ottoman Turks and their sultan Selim I defeated the Mamluks with the capture of Cairo on January 20. The centre of power transferred from Cairo to Constantinople. However, the Ottoman Empire retained the Mamluks as an Egyptian ruling class and the Mamluks and the Burji family succeeded in regaining much of their influence, but remained technical vassals of the Ottomans.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b McGregor, Andrew James (2006). A Military History of Modern Egypt: From the Ottoman Conquest to the Ramadan War. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 15. ISBN 9780275986018. "By the late fourteenth century Circassians from the north Caucasus region had become the majority in the Mamluk ranks." 
  2. ^ a b The Mamluk Sultans: 1291–1517, Mustafa M. Ziada, A History of the Crusades: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Vol. III, ed. Kenneth Setton, (University of Wisconsin Press, 1975), 490.
  3. ^ Aleppo:the Ottoman Empire's caravan city, Bruce Masters, The Ottoman City Between East and West: Aleppo, Izmir, and Istanbul, ed. Edhem Eldem, Daniel Goffman, Bruce Master, (Cambridge University Press, 1999), 20.