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The Mamluk Sultanate for Unit 1 of AP World History

Cate O'Donnell

2 min read

Dec 15, 2023

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Ruling Egypt, the Mamluk Sultanate was comprised of slave soldiers, and its impact still reverberates today. If you’re enrolled in Unit 1 of AP World History and want to learn more about the Mamluk Sultanate, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explore the history, structure, and legacy of the Mamluk Sultanate. We’ll investigate the origins and development of the dynasty, uncover the distinctive features of mamluk politics, and discuss the lasting effects of the sultanate. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the Mamluk Sultanate and provide the knowledge you need to ace your AP World History exam.






The Mamluk Sultanate

The Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt was a medieval Islamic state that emerged in the 13th century and lasted until the early 16th century. The Mamluks were a slave-soldier caste that played a significant role in the governance and military of the Islamic world.



map of Mamluk Sultanate
2147856105/Shutterstock


Origins of the Mamluks: The term “Mamluk” means “slave” in Arabic. Mamluks were typically individuals who were enslaved as children, often from non-Muslim regions, and were trained as warriors and administrators. Over time, they gained power in various Islamic empires.


Ayyubid Period: The Mamluks initially served as slave soldiers under the Ayyubid Dynasty, which ruled Egypt.


Rise to Power: In 1250 AD, the Mamluks overthrew the Ayyubid rulers in Egypt and established their own dynasty. This marked the beginning of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt.


Political Structure: The Mamluk Sultanate was characterized by a complex political structure. It was nominally ruled by a sultan, but real power often rested with military commanders, known as amirs or emirs.


Conflict with the Mongols: The Mamluks are renowned for their victories over the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260 and later conflicts. These victories halted the westward expansion of the Mongol Empire into the Islamic world.


Cultural and Architectural Achievements: The Mamluks made significant contributions to Islamic art and culture, including the construction of stunning mosques and madrasas (educational institutions). The Mamluk period is known for its distinctive architectural style, characterized by intricate designs and the use of colored stones.


Relations with Europe: The Mamluks maintained diplomatic and trade relations with European powers, particularly the Crusader states in the Levant.


Decline and Ottoman Conquest: In 1517, the Ottoman Empire, under the leadership of Selim I, conquered Egypt, marking the end of the Mamluk Sultanate. The Mamluks continued to play a role in Egyptian society, even under Ottoman rule, but as a subordinate class.



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Mamluk Sultanate

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Cate O'Donnell

2 min read

Dec 15, 2023

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