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Gold ashrafi of Barsbay (1422-1438). British Museum.

Al-Ashraf Sayf-ad-Din Barsbay was the ninth Burji Mamluk sultan of Egypt from AD 1422 to 1438. He was Circassian by birth and a former slave of the first Burji Sultan, Barquq.

He was responsible for a number of administrative reforms in the Mamluk state, including the consolidation of the sultanate as a military magistrature and securing for Egypt exclusive rights over the Red Sea trade between Yemen and Europe.[1]

His Red Sea activity included the final destruction in 1426 of ‘Aydhab, a once important port which had been in decline in the previous century.

In 1426-1427 he reconquered Cyprus.

In 1430 Egypt was severely struck by famine and plague.

His mausoleum, which included a madrasa and khanqah, was built in Cairo's Northern Cemetery, and has survived to this day.[2]


  1. ^ Garcin, 293-94.
  2. ^ Behrens-Abouseif, 140-42.

External links[edit]


  • D. Behrens-Abouseif, Islamic architecture in Cairo: an introduction (Leiden, 1989).
  • J.-C. Garcin, "The regime of the Circassian Mamluks," in C. Petry, ed., The Cambridge History of Egypt, Volume I: Islamic Egypt, 640-1517 (Cambridge, 1998), 290-317.