Ottoman Egypt covers two main periods:
- Egypt Eyalet (1517–1867), a state under direct rule of the Ottoman Empire
- Khedivate of Egypt (1867–1914), an autonomous tributary state of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Egypt was ruled by the Muslims of the Ottoman Empire in 1517. The Ayyubids who were led by Saladin were in power until 1252, prior to the invasion of the Turks. The Turkish army was led by the Ottoman Sultan Selim I who had conquered Egypt and it became part of the Ottoman Empire. The Ayyubid dynasty was put into power by the leadership of the Kurdish general Salah al-Din who was mentioned as Saladin in Europe. Saladin fought off the Crusaders at the gate of Fatimid Cairo, at this point Saladin had announced that the Fatimid dynasty had come to an end. After this, the Ayyubid dynasty was then established in 1171. During this period, there was still a lot of conflict between the Ayyubids and the Crusaders. The Ayyubids relied heavily on the Mamluks (slave soldiers) in order to help them defend the country against the Crusaders.
The Fall of the Ayyubid Dynasty
The fall of the Ayyubid dynasty in 1252 was caused by the mutiny of the Mamluks, who overthrew the Ayyubid dynasty and the last Ayyubid Sultan in Egypt. Following this aftermath, the Mamluk dynasty was established from 1252-1517. The Ayyubids were well known for their craftsmanship in metalwork and ceramics. These techniques that were developed would help to shape the art foundations in the Mamluk period. The Ayyubids also had a significant role in constructing various amount of buildings within Egypt. They constructed the citadel of Cairo in 1187 and also constructed various Madrasas which happened to consists of Salih Najm al-Din Ayyub in Cairo. By the construction of these various religious institutes the Ayyubids were now emphasizing on the Sunni order of Islam over the Shia order which previously was in power during the Fatimid dynasty.
The Mamluks came from the diminishing dynasty of the Ayyubids. The Mamluks were the "slave soldiers" for the Ayyubids. The Mamluks would defend the capital for the Ayyubids. After the Mamluks had overthrown their masters, they had defeated the Mongol armies in 1260 and the Mamluks then inherited the last of the Ayyubid strongholds within the eastern Mediterranean area. Having done this the Mamluks shaped a strong Islamic empire in Cairo. They became the economic, cultural and artistic center of the Arab Islamic world which many other countries envied an immense deal.
Lifestyle within the Empire
The Muslims of the empire never interfered with the Christians' and the Jews' personal lives as long as they paid a form of taxes called Jizya. By the Christians and Jews paying this money to the government, they received protection from them. During this time, the Muslims of Egypt were getting along well with both the Christians and the Jews. However the Christians later on rebelled against the Muslims due to the fact that the Muslim theologians wrote against the religion of Catholicism. This got the Christians to rebel against the Muslims which then led the Muslims to abolish the Christians from the Bureaucracy within Ottoman Empire.