The Mamluks In Ancient Egypt

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Egypt was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1517, following the Ottoman-Mamluk War, and Syria was absorbed into the Empire in 1516. Egypt was always a difficult (eyalet) province for the Ottoman Sultans to control, mainly due to the continuing power and influence of the Mamluks, the Egyptian military caste who had ruled the country for centuries; this left Egypt as semi-autonomous under the Mamluks, until 1798. However, Egypt was in disorder due to dissension among the ruing Mamluk elite. After Ali Bey’s death in 1773, Egypt became once more dependent on the Ottomans after his attempts to make it independent, and was governed by Abu’l-Dhahab as Sheikh al-Balad, with the title pasha, who then went on the invade Syria in an attempt to punish …show more content…
Syria was not as burdensome to the Ottomans as the Egyptians, as the Turks respected the language of the Koran and thus the Syrians accepted them. Damascus became the major entrepot for Mecca, and thus it acquired a holy character to Muslims, because of the blessings of the countless pilgrims who passed through it on the way to Mecca. The Ottoman Turks reorganized Syria into one large eyalet that was divided into several sanjaks (districts). In 1549, Syria was then reorganized into two eyalets: the Eyalet of Damascus and the new Eyalet of Aleppo. In 1579, the Eyalet of Tripoli was established that included Latakia, Hama and Homs. Then, in 1586, the Eyalet of Baqqa was established in eastern Syria. The Ottoman administration tried to foster a peaceful coexistence between the different sections of Syrian society, and each religious minorities – Shia Muslims, Greek Orthodox, Maronites, Armenians and Jews – constituted a millet, where the religious heads of each community administered all personal status law and performed civil functions. However, the Syrian economy did not flourish under the Ottomans and Syria remained poor, even with attempts from the Ottoman Empire to rebuild the country, and the population decreased by nearly 30% as hundreds of villages disappeared. Only the area that is now known as Lebanon achieved economic progress, which is largely the result of the relatively independent rule of the Druze amirs. Nonetheless, Syria continued to attract European traders that transported spices, fruits and textiles from the Middle East to the West, and Aleppo was the Middle East’s chief marketplace, eclipsing Damascus in wealth, which created a rivalry between the two cities. With these traders came missionaries, teachers, scientists and tourists, whose governments then began to demand rights for; for example, France demanded the right

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