Baybars I

(c. 1223—1277)

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Third Mamluk sultan of Egypt (r. 1260–77). Turkish military slave of the last Ayyubid ruler. Won early victories over Louis IX's Crusaders (Mansura, Egypt, 1250) and Mongols (Ayn Jalut, Syria, 1260), taking Egypt's throne by violence. Defeated the Mongols several times, suppressed the Assassins, reconquered much Crusader territory, and extended Egyptian control into Anatolia and Nubia. Founded the Abbasid “shadow” caliphate (not universally accepted) to support the Mamluks' Islamic legitimacy. Created an effective military machine, training program, and intelligence service; centralized land administration and the judiciary; promoted anti-Mongol diplomacy and Indian trade. Inspired the popular epic romance SiratBaybars.

Subjects: Military History — Islam.

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