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Islamic Egypt

 

 

 

Islamic Egypt

Ancient Egypt had been conquered by the Roman empire and was a Roman province for approximately six and-a-half centuries. In the seventh century AD the weakening Eastern Roman empire, which had inherited the province, lost control to the Islamic empire when its forces swept through in 639-640, taking Libya at the same time. For the next century the region was governed directly by the Umayyad caliphate to the east, restoring a situation that had existed periodically between the rise of the Assyrian empire until the division of Alexander the Great's Greek empire. Gradually, most Egyptians converted from Christianity to Islam and learned to speak Arabic (the remaining Christians became known as Copts), and a new capital was established in the north (modern Cairo).

Islamic Governors of Egypt
AD 640 - 750

Amr Ibn Al-Aas was a military commander who led the Islamic conquest of Eastern Roman Egypt. He was also a contemporary of Muhammad himself, and a member of the 'sahaba', the Companions, accepting conversion in the eighth year of the new Islamic calender. Once Egypt was secured, Amr Ibn Al-Aas founded a new capital at Al-Fustat, building the Amr ibn al-As Mosque at its centre. Subsequent governors under the Rashidun caliphate and its successor, the Umayyad caliphate, had a fairly hard time in Egypt, with a variety of reasons seeing them either removed from office, killed, deserting, or dying. The Rashidun-era governors were termed amirs, which translates as general or prince. Their later Umayyad successors, from 659, were walis.

640 - 646

Amr Ibn Al-Aas

Former emir of Syria. Secluded by Rashidun Caliph.

640 - 641

The invasion of Egypt begins in the later months of 640. A victory at the Battle of Heliopolis delivers much of the country to the Arabs, but the Babylon Fortress (in the region of modern-day Coptic Cairo) has to be besieged for several months before it surrenders. The Eastern Roman capital at Alexandria, capital of Egypt for a thousand years, surrenders a few months later and a peace treaty is signed in late 641 in the ruins of a palace in Memphis.

645

Egypt is briefly re-conquered by Eastern Roman forces, but their victory is short-lived. They are defeated at the Battle of Nikiou and Egypt is secured by the Arabs for good.

646 - 656

Abdullah Ibn Sa'ad

Foster brother of Uthman. Deposed by his replacement.

655 - 661

FeatureThe First Islamic Civil War is triggered when Ali ibn Abi Talib becomes the Rashidun caliph. The Sunni/Shia split in Islam is created by his rule, with Sunni Muslims counting Abu Bakr as the first legitimate caliph, while the Shi'a count Ali as the first truly legitimate caliph. For two decades around these years the civil war rages in Arabia, and Ali is assassinated in 661.

Al-Fustat
Al-Fustat was the first capital of Islamic Egypt, built by Amr Ibn Al-Aas, but most of it was deliberately burned down in 1168 and the remains were absorbed into Cairo

656

The first stages of the civil war see Rashidun Caliph Uthman ibm Affan replaced by Ali ibn Abi Talib. Soon afterwards, Uthman's foster brother in Egypt, Abdullah Ibn Sa'ad, is also deposed.

656 - 657

Muhammad Ibn Abi Huzayfa

In office for one year before he was killed.

657

Qays Ibn Sa'ad

In office for six months but secluded.

657

Malik Ibn Al-Harith

Died before he could take office.

658

Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr

Son of Rashidun Caliph Abu Bakr. In office for 5 months. Killed.

658

Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, the adopted son of Rashidun Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib, had been appointed governor of Egypt. However, Muawiyah I, governor of Syria (and soon to be the first Umayyad caliph), sends his general, Amr ibn al-As and six thousand troops to take control. Ibn Abi Bakr is easily defeated, and is captured and killed.

659 - 664

Amr ibn al-Aas

661

Hasan, son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, is regarded as a righteous Rashidun caliph by Sunni Muslims, is recognised by only half the Islamic empire. He is challenged and ultimately defeated by Mu'awiya, the Umayyad governor of Syria. Mu'awiya ensures he has a loyal governor in Egypt, which remains under firm Islamic control.

664 - 665

Utba ibn Abi Suffyan Ibn Harb

Died in office.

665 - 667

Oquba ibn Amir al-Gahny

Removed from office.

667 - 682

Muslima ibn Makhlad al-Ansari

682 - 684

Sa'id ibn Yazid ibn al-Qama al-Azdi

Removed from office.

684

Abd al-Rahman ibn Utba ibn Gahdam

Removed from office.

685 - 705

Abd al-Aziz ibn Marwan ibn al-Hakam

705 - 709

Abdullah ibn Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan

Nephew. Removed from office.

706

The Arabic language is made the official language of the government of Egypt, beginning the formation of Egyptian Arabic that is still the country's national language today.

709 - 714

Qurra Ibn Sharik al-Absi

714 - 717

Abd al-Malik ibn Rifa'a al-Fahmi

Removed from office.

717 - 720

Ayyub ibn Sharhabil

720 - 721

Bishr ibn Safwan al-Kalbi

Became Wali of Ifriqiyya and the Maghreb (720-728).

721 - 724

Handhala ibn Safwan al-Kalbi

Brother.

724

Despite being a successful governor, Handhala ibn Safwan al-Kalbi is replaced when the new Umayyad caliph, Hisham, succeeds in Damascus. The caliph sends his own brother to govern Egypt, but the new governor swiftly proves to be a disappointment, beginning a run of poor governors.

724

Muhammad ibn Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan

Brother of Umayyad Caliph Hisham. Left post during epidemic.

724 - 727

Al-Hurr ibn Yusuf

Died in office.

725 - 727

The resentment of the Copts (the unconverted Christian population of Egypt) against rising taxation triggers a revolt. Two years later, in order to strengthen Arab representation, a colony of 3,000 Arabs is set up near Bilbeis.

727

Abd al-Malik ibn Rifa'a al-Fahmi

727 - 735

Al-Walid ibn Rifa'a ibn Thabit al-Fahmi

Removed from office.

735 - 737

Abd al-Rahman ibn Khalid al-Fahmi

Removed from office.

737

Abd al-Rahman ibn Khalid al-Fahmi is the latest in a string of bad governors. The Umayyad caliph, Hisham, removes him and finally decides to reinstate Handhala ibn Safwan al-Kalbi to the post.

737 - 741

Handhala ibn Safwan al-Kalbi

Second term. Became Wali of Ifriqiyya and the Maghreb (742-745).

741 - 744

Hafs ibn al-Walid ibn Yusuf al-Hadrami

Requested that he be replaced.

744

Hasan ibn Atahiya

Abandoned his post.

744 - 745

Hafs ibn al-Walid ibn Yusuf al-Hadrami

745 - 749

Al-Hawthala ibn Sohayl al-Bahili

Removed from office.

749

Al-Mughira ibn Unayd al-Fazari

Died in office.

749

Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan Musa ibn Nussayr

Removed from office by the Abbasids.

747 - 749

The Abbasids under Abu Muslim begin an open revolt in the Islamic Emirate of Khorasan against Umayyad rule. Khorasan quickly falls and an army is sent westwards. Kufa falls in 749 and in November the same year Abu al-Abbas is recognised as caliph. The Umayyads are overthrown and massacred in the revolution, with the survivors fleeing to Spain where they rule independently. Caliph Marwan flees to Egypt, where he is captured and killed. This signals the end of the Arab empire, but loyal Abbasid governors are installed in Egypt.

Abbasid Governors of Egypt
AD 750 - 868

The Abbasid usurpation of the caliphate saw the Umayyads deposed except in Spain. The general, Saleh ibn Ali, pursued the fleeing Caliph Marwan II to Egypt, where the latter was captured and killed. The general also captured Fustat for the Abbasids in 750 and he handed control of Egypt and Libya to the second governor soon afterwards. A new headquarters was established at the northern edge of the capital, el Askar ('the soldiers'), but this quickly merged with the expanding city itself. Details on the governors other than their names seems to be vary sparse.

750

Saleh ibn Ali ibn Abdullah

Abbasid general who conquered Fustat from the Umayyads.

751

As his reward for the successful conquest of Damascus and Fustat, and for disposing of the last of the Umayyad caliphs, Saleh ibn Ali ibn Abdullah is made wali of Palestine.

751 - 753

Abu Awn Abdul Malik ibn Yazid

Second Abbasid governor of Egypt. Fled an epidemic.

753 - 755

Saleh ibn Ali ibn Abdullah

Returned as governor from Palestine & Syria. Removed.

754 - 755

Saleh ibn Ali ibn Abdullah is the uncle of Abbasid Caliph Abdullah as Saffah, but the caliph dies in 754. Saleh's brother, Abdallah, launches a revolt in Syria against the new caliph, claiming that he himself is the rightful successor. Saleh refuses to join his brother's revolt. Instead he enters Syria to help suppress it, defeating Abdallah's governor of Palestine, al-Hakam ibn Da'ban. Abdallah is also defeated and is forced to submit to the new caliph.

Abbasid silver dirham
This silver dirham was issued during the reign of Caliph Muhammad al Mahdi (775-785)

755 - 758

Abu Awn Abdul Malik ibn Yazid

Second term of office.

758 - 759

Moussa ibn Ka'b ibn Oyayna ibn Aisha

Removed from office.

759

Mohammed ibn al-Aha'th al-Khoza'i

Removed from office.

760 - 762

Hamid ibn Quahtaba

Removed from office.

762 - 768

Yazid ibn Hatim al-Mohalabi

Removed from office.

768 - 772

Abdullah Ibn Abdel Rahman

772

Mohammed ibn Abdul Rahman

Brother. Died in office.

772 - 778

Moussa ibn Ollai ibn Rabah al-lakhmi

778 - 779

Eissa ibn Loquman al-Gomahi

Removed from office.

779

Wadih, Mawla of Abu Ga'far

Removed from office.

779

Mansour ibn Yazid ibn Mansour al-Re'ini

Removed from office.

779 - 780

Yahya ibn Daoud al-horashi

Removed from office.

780 - 781

Salim ibn Sawada al-Tamimi

Removed from office.

781 - 784

Ibrahim ibn Saleh ibn Abdullah ibn Abbas

Son of Saleh ibn Ali (753-755). Removed from office.

784 - 785

Moussa ibn Mous'ab al-Khath'ami

Killed.

785

Asama ibn Amro al-Ma'fri

Removed from office.

785

Al-Fadl ibn Saleh ibn Ali al-Abbassi is sent to quell a rebellion in Egypt. He is related to the Abbasid caliphs and has previously served as wali of Damascus (766-775), adding Aleppo to that in 769, and then of al-Jazira (775-780). After defeating the rebels at al-Fustat, he is appointed governor by Musa al Hadi, son of the caliph.

785 - 786

Al-Fadl ibn Saleh ibn Ali al-Abbassi

Former wali of Damascus, Aleppo, & al-Jazira. Removed.

786

Musa al Hadi succeeds his father as the Abbasid caliph and relieves Al-Fadl ibn Saleh ibn Ali al-Abbassi of his position as governor.

786 - 787

Ali ibn Salman al-Abbassi

Removed from office by his replacement.

787 - 789

Moussa ibn Eissa ibn Moussa al-Abbassi

Removed from office.

789 - 790

Muslima ibn Yahia al-Bagli

Removed from office.

790

Mohammed ibn Zoheir al-Azdi

Removed from office.

790 - 791

Daoud ibn Yazid al-Mouhallabi

Removed from office.

791 - 792

Moussa ibn Eissa ibn Moussa al-Abbassi

Second term of office. Removed from office.

792

Ibrahim ibn Saleh ibn Abdullah al-Abbassi

Second term of office. Removed from office.

792 - 793

Abdullah ibn al-Mousayyeb ibn Zoheir

Removed from office.

793 - 794

Ishak ibn Soliman

Removed from office.

794 - 795

Harmatha ibn A'youn

Became wali of Ifriqiyya (795-797)

794 - 795

Abd al-Malik ibn Salih had been governor of the strategically critical jund Qinnasrin (c.789-793) and then of the newly-formed jund of al-'Awasim, which comprises the caliphate's border with the Byzantine empire. Following his appointment as governor of Damascus, he also serves briefly in Medina and Egypt, before returning to the Byzantine frontier.

795

Abd al-Malik ibn Salih

Son of Saleh (750). Former wali of Damascus.

795

Abdullah ibn al-Mosayyeb al-Abbassi

In office for 10 months.

795

Abdullah ibn al-Mahdi al-Abbassi

In office for less than a year.

796 - 797

Moussa ibn Eissa ibn Moussa al-Abbassi

Removed from office.

796 - 797

Oubeidullah ibn al-Mahdi al-Abbassi

Removed from office.

797 - 798

Ismail ibn Saleh al-Abbassi

In office for less than a year.

798

Ismail ibn Eaissa al-Abbassi

Removed from office.

798 - 803

Al-Layth ibn al-Fadl

Removed from office.

803 - 805

Ahmed ibn Ismail ibn Ali ibn al-Abbassi

Removed from office.

805 - 806

Abdullah ibn Mohammed al-Abbassi

Removed from office.

806 - 808

Al-Hussein ibn Gamil

Removed from office.

808

Malik ibn Dalhem al-Kalbi

Removed from office.

809 - 827

This period is marked by instability within Egypt, promoted by conflict between various interests within the Islamic empire. That instability continues throughout the century.

Harun al Rashid silver dirham
A silver dirham issued during the reign of Abbasid Caliph Harun al Rashid (786-809)

809

Al-Hassan ibn al-Takhtakh

Removed from office.

810 - 811

Hatim ibn Harthama ibn A'youn

Removed from office.

811 - 812

Gaber ibn Asha'th al-Ta'i

Forced out of Egypt.

812 - 813

Abbad ibn Mohammed ibn Hayyan

Removed from office.

813 - 814

Al-Mottab ibn Abdullal al-Khoza'I

Removed from office.

814

Al-Abbass ibn Moussa ibn al-Abbassi

814 - 815

Al-Mottalib ibn Abdullah al-Khoza'i

Forced out of Egypt.

815 - 816

Al-Serri ibn al-Hakam

In office for 6 months until his troops revolted against him.

816 - 817

Soliman ibn Ghalib ibn Gebril al-Bagli

In office for 5 months until his troops revolted against him.

817 - 820

Al-Serri ibn al-Hakam

Second term of office.

820 - 822

Abu al-Nassr

Son.

822

Obeid Allah ibn al-Serri

Brother. Removed from office by his successor. Rebelled.

822 - 826

Khalid ibn Yazid ibn Mazid al-Shibany

Removed by the rebellion of his predecessor?

826 - 827

Abdullah ibn Tahir ibn al-Hussein is sent to Egypt, where he successfully ends an uprising led by Obeid Allah ibn al-Serri, the fallen former wali. After a brief tenure in office in Egypt, he gains the governorship of Khurasan following the death of his brother. On the way, in 829, he stops the Khurramite Babak, and is then ordered to Khurasan by the Abbasid caliph to put down the Kharijites, finally arriving in 830.

826 - 827

Abdullah ibn Tahir ibn al-Hussein

Former wali of Syria. Removed. Became Tahrid emir of Khorasan.

827 - 829

Some records show the position of governor remaining vacant for two years as the post and its responsibilities becomes unworkable. It seems that Eissan ibn Yazid al-Gloudi is officially governor, but may not be able to take or fully hold onto that office.

827 - 829

Eissan ibn Yazid al-Gloudi

829

Omair ibn al-Walid

Killed.

829

Mohammed Ibn Omair

Son.

829 - 830

Eissan ibn Yazid al-Gloudi

Second term of office.

830 - 831

Abd Waih ibn Gabla / Abdoweya

Removed from office.

831

The Turkic general, Afshin, puts down a joint Arabic-Coptic rebellion, and the Arabic families lose power for good. Suddenly Egypt and its governors are able to experience a semblance of stability.

831 - 832

Essa Ibn Mansour

Removed from office by his successor.

832 - 834

Kider / Quaidar Nassr ibn Abdullah

Son of Abbasid Caliph Abdullah al Ma'mun.

834

Mozzaffar ibn Quaidar

Son.

834 - 839

Moussa ibn Abi al-Abbass

839 - 841

Malik ibn Quaidar

841 - 843

Ali ibn Yahia al-Armani

Armenian. Removed from office.

843

Ali ibn Yahia al-Armani, 'the Armenian', is given command of the caliphate's border in Cilicia, facing the Byzantine empire. He is the first emir of Tarsus known to exercise near-independent authority, as the Abbasid caliphate declines in authority. He briefly returns to office in Egypt in 849.

843 - 847

Eissa ibn al-Mansour

848 - 849

Harthama ibn al-Nadr al-Gabali

849

Hatim ibn Harthama ibn al-Nadr

849 - 850

Ali ibn Yahia al-Armani

Second term of office. Removed from office again.

850

Isshac ibn Yahia ibn Mo'az

851

Khout Abdul Wahid ibn Yahia

852 - 856

Anbassa ibnn Isshac al-Dabbi

Removed from office.

856 - 867

Yazid ibn Abdullah al-Tourki

Non-Abbasid governor. Removed from office.

866 - 867

The first Turkish governor in Egypt, Yazid ibn Abdullah al-Tourki, had been appointed as part of the succession arrangements of Abbasid Caliph Ja'far al Mutawakkil. He survives in office despite there being three successive caliphs during the period, but Egypt is becoming more and more unstable. A rebellion is triggered around Alexandria by Jabir ibn al-Walid, and he enjoys broad local support. The rebellion spreads across the Nile delta region and the Turkish garrison at Fustat is defeated. Yazid is removed from office in 867.

867 - 868

Mozahim ibn Khaqan

Non-Abbasid governor. Died in office.

868

Ahmed ibn Mozahim ibn Khaqan

Non-Abbasid governor. Died in office.

868

Azgour al-Torki

Non-Abbasid governor. Unseated by his Tulunid replacement.

867 - 868

The Saffarid emirs oust the Tahirids in Khorasan in 867, while Venice defeats the empire at Taranto. Suddenly the Islamic empire is looking a little shaky and, to cap its problems, in the following year the Tulunids secure the independent control of Egypt.

Tulunid Governors of Egypt
AD 868 - 905

During a period of uncertainty within the Islamic empire, the newly-assigned Tulunid governor of Egypt assumed independent control of the country. Ahmad ibn-Tuluh, who was the first fully independent ruler of Egypt in over eight hundred years, built one of the oldest monuments in Cairo: the ibn Tulun Mosque. Despite their independence, the Tulunids never openly proclaimed their removal of Egypt from the caliphate. Eventually, the dynasty fell victim to the brief revival of Abbasid power at the beginning of the tenth century.

868 - 884

Ahmed ibn-Tuluh / Ahmad ibn Tulun

Established himself as an independent governor of Egypt.

877 - 878

Abbasid troops are sent against Ahmed because he has failed to send enough tribute to Baghdad. Defeating them, the following year he invades and captures Palestine and Syria.

Tomb of Ahmed ibn-Tuluh in Cairo
The tomb in Cairo of Ahmed ibn-Tuluh, one of only two strong rulers in the Tulunid period

884 - 896

Khumarawayh

Son.

890

Benefiting from a well-trained army, a stable economy, and an efficient bureaucracy, Khumarawayh is able to achieve further military gains, including the capture of areas of northern Iraq. Unfortunately, his military efforts weaken that stable economy for future rulers.

896

After Khumarawayh's death, the emirs who succeed him are weak and ineffective, allowing their slave-soldiers to take control of the day-to-day running of the emirate.

896

Jaysh / Abu l-Ashir

Son. Deposed by the military commanders.

896 - 904

Harun

Brother. Killed trying to invade the Abbasid caliphate.

904 - 905

Shayban / Shaiban

Surrendered to the Abbasids.

905

The Tulunids are weakened by this stage following years of mismanagement of the country. Harun's botched invasion of the Abbasid caliphate has triggered a response. Egypt is invaded and Shayban retreats to Fustat where he surrenders on 10 January 905. The Tulunid dynasty of governors and semi-independent rulers is ended and loyal and obedient Abbasid governors are installed.

Abbasid Governors of Egypt
AD 905 - 935

The Abbasid caliph regained direct control of Egypt with a successful invasion of the weakened Tulunid emirate and the surrender of the last Tulunid emir on 10 January 905. The Abbasids placed loyal governors in the capital to maintain day-to-day control of the country. Again, as with the previous period of Abbasid Governors, details on them seems to be vary sparse.

905 - 910

Eissa al-Noushari

First restored Abbasid governor (wali).

910 - 915

Abu Mansour Tekin

914 - 921

Egypt is invaded for the first time by a Fatamid force sent by Caliph al-Mahdi Obaidallah, who has established himself at Kairawan. His son successfully captures Alexandria in 919, and it takes repeated influxes of reinforcements from Baghdad to finally free the country in 921.

915 - 919

Zaka Al-A'war

920 - 921

Abu Mansour Tekin

Second term of office.

921 - 923

Hilal ibn Badr

923 - 924

Ahmed ibn Keghlegh

924 - 933

Abu al-Mansour Tekin

Third term of office.

933 - 935

Abbasid control of Egypt proves to be short-lived when the country falls under the control of the Mameluke dynasty of Turkic governors who are allowed to rule in a semi-independent manner.

Mameluke Dynasty of Ikhshidite Amirs in Egypt
AD 935 - 969

Mamelukes (or Mamluks) were originally Turkic soldiers who had been captured in war and recruited into the armies of Islam. They became more important over time simply because they became indispensable in maintaining control. The Mameluke Ikhshidite (or Ikhshidid - Persian for 'prince') emirs began the process of drifting out of Abbasid control again under the Turkic slave soldier, Muhammad ibn Tughj al-Ikhshid, former wali of Syria (896-933). At its greatest extent, the emirate included Palestine and Syria, but then it found itself trying to stop the triumphant Fatimids, ultimately unsuccessfully.

935 - 946

Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Tughj al-Ikhshid

Turkic Mameluke slave soldier and governor.

944

Egypt loses control of Syria to the Hamdanids of Aleppo.

Buto (Tell El Farain)
Egypt's waning power and the continual fighting for its control was carried out amongst the ruins of four thousand years of civilisation and previous empires

946 - 961

Unujur

961 - 966

Ali

966 - 968

Kafur al Labi / Abu al-Misk Kafur

Vizier and effective ruler following the death of his master.

968 - 969

Ahmad

969

A weakened Egypt is removed from Abbasid control and is ruled by the North African Fatamids following their capture of Cairo. They also gain Damascus.

Fatamid Caliphate of Egypt (& Viziers)
AD 969 - 1174

The Fatamids of Tunisia were considered to be descendants of Ali ibn Abi Talib (Rashidun caliph in 656-661) and his wife, Fatima, daughter of the Prophet Muhammed. They began their rise to power amongst the Kutama Berbers of eastern Algeria during the Rustamid imam period and soon founded a capital at Mahdia. From there their rise was swift, taking Morocco in 926 and Mameluke Egypt in 969. They retained control of much of North Africa because they were seen as the last unifying force in the Islamic world, but their brutal rule of Egypt soon created conflict. The first of the Fatamid rulers, Al Mahdi Obaidallah, also claimed the title of caliph in direct opposition to the Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad, and Egypt would emerge as their battleground.

(Additional information from the Historical Dictionary of the Ismailis, Farhad Daftary, and The Ismailis: Their History and Doctrines, Farhad Daftary, and The Coptic Encyclopaedia, Vol 4, André Ferré (Ed).)

969 - 976

Jawhar al-Siqilli

Fatamid general in Egypt. Viceroy (969-972). Regent (979).

969

In the same year as they capture Egypt, the Fatamids build the beginnings of al Kahira (modern Cairo) to serve as a royal residence. The following year they build the great mosque of Al-Azhar, named after the Prophet Muhammad's daughter, Fatima Al-Zahra'. The Fatamids control Egypt directly, as governors, and also exercise power through their viziers, who are listed in this section.

Fatamid dinar
A Fatamid dinar, minted in Egypt in 970, which expresses the dynasty's Shi-ite beliefs in opposition to the Sunni Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad

976 - 991

Ya'cub ibn Killis / Yaqub

First Fatamid vizier. A Jew who embraced Islam.

991

Ibn Killis is followed by six viziers in as many years during the reign of Caliph Al Aziz.

991/992

?

Unknown Fatamid vizier.

992/993

?

Unknown Fatamid vizier.

993/994

?

Unknown Fatamid vizier.

994/995

?

Unknown Fatamid vizier.

994/995

?

Unknown Fatamid vizier.

995 - 996

Isa bin Nasturus / Nestorius

Fatamid vizier. Coptic Christian. Dismissed and later executed.

996

The period of relative stability enjoyed by Damascus since the city's recapture in 977 now comes to an end with the death of Fatamid Caliph al Aziz and the succession of al Hakim. The governor of Damascus, Magu Tegin, is abandoned by his own ally while attempting to enter Egypt in support of Barjawan and his seizure of the post of vizier.

996 - 997

Abu Al-'Ala' Fahd ibn Ibrahim

Fatamid vizier. Coptic Christian. Assassinated.

997- 1000

Barjawan

Fatamid vizier. Seized power and executed by Caliph Al Hakim.

1000

During the next short period, and especially during the reign of Caliph Al Hakim, there are more than fifteen viziers or wasitas (another term for the same position). Their powers are limited following the misuse of office by Barjawan, and most apart from Al-Hussain and Ali bin Falah are from the lower classes, not military people. Records detailing them are few in number, but most of them appear to be raised by the changeable caliph only to be executed some days, weeks or months later.

1000 - ?

Al-Hussain bin Jawhar

Fatamid vizier. Given more limited powers.

1010 - 1012

Abu al-Khayr Zur'ah

Son of Isa bin Nasturus. Fatamid vizier. Died naturally.

fl 1013

Ali bin Falah

Fatamid vizier.

fl 1017

Al-Darazi

Fatamid vizier.

1017 - 1020

One of Caliph Al Hakim's viziers, a certain Darazi, claims that the caliph is an incarnation of God. To the caliph's Egyptian subjects, this is the last straw. They are shocked by the vizier's announcement and begin to make fun of their slightly mad caliph. The growing dispute between al Hakim and the populace results in the breakout of a rebellion in 1020. The Fatamid caliph sends troops to put down the unrest and even burns the city of al Fustat.

Al-Azhar Mosque
Construction of the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo was started by the Fatamids in 970 and the completed building was dedicated in 972, as depicted in this print

1018

Sa'id

Son of Isa bin Nasturus. Fatamid vizier. Executed after 4 months.

1028 - 1045

Ali bin Ahmad Jarjarai / al-Jarjara'i

Fatamid vizier. Hands cut off in 1013 for disloyalty.

1045 - ?

Ibn al-Anbari

Fatamid vizier.

? - ?

Abu Mansur Sadaqa

Fatamid vizier.

1049 - 1058

Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Yazuri

Fatamid vizier. Died.

1058 - 1072

With the execution of al-Yazuri, factional fighting and disorder follows, with a rapid succession of ineffective viziers, about forty of them, while the Fatamid state undergoes a period of decline, accompanied by the breakdown of civil administration, chaos in the army, and the exhaustion of the public treasury.

1060 - 1072

Tension in Fatamid Cairo has been slowly growing over the course of the century due to the caliphate's policy of organising military units based on ethnic background. While this policy has generally been effective in military terms, its effect on the political sphere has been more disruptive, pitching Berber factions against Turkic factions. In the 1060s, Egypt suffers a series of droughts and famines, and the delicate political balance breaks down completely. Turkic and Nubian troops fight openly while the Berbers chop-and-change according to circumstance. Eventually, the Turks seize most of Cairo and hold the caliph to ransom while the Berbers and Nubians are loose in the countryside.

1072

Desperate to resolve the ongoing situation in Cairo, Fatamid Caliph al Mustansir recalls General Badr al-Jamali, governor of Acre and Palestine (and former of governor of Damascus in 1063). He successfully puts down the various rebel factions, clearing out much of the Turkic presence at the same time. However, the caliphate has been seriously weakened by the revolt. Badr al-Jamali becomes the first military vizier of the caliphate (the 'viziers of the sword', with powers much the same as the magistri militum of the late Western Roman empire, and they dominate the caliphate in much the same way as the late Roman emperors had been dominated). The military viziers become the heads of state in all but name, with the the caliph reduced to the role of figurehead.

1072 - 1094

Badr al-Jamali

First Fatamid military vizier. Former governor of Syria & Palestine.

1094

Following the death in the same year of Fatamid Caliph al Mustansir and his strong general, Badr al-Jamali, a series of weak caliphs sit on the throne and struggle against their viziers to see who will dominate. The Fatamids are crucially compromised by this internal power struggle.

1094 - 1121

Al-Afdal bin Badr al-Jamali Shahanshah

Son. Fatamid military vizier. Murdered.

1121 - 1125

Al-Ma'mum / Al Mamn

Fatamid military vizier. Crucified in 1128.

1123

King Baldwin II of Jerusalem is captured by the Ortoqids in northern Syria. In his absence the kingdom is governed by the constable of Jerusalem, Eustace Grenier, and the Fatamid military vizier, Al-Ma'mum, spies an opportunity to capture the coastal stronghold of Jaffa. Launching his attack from Egypt, Al-Ma'mum's force is intercepted by Crusader troops, at the Battle of Yibneh (or Yibna), close to the Fatamid coastal fortress of Ashkelon (Ascalon). The battle is short and decisive, with the Fatamid fleet also being destroyed by the Venetians, and the Fatamid threat is virtually ended for the next thirty years.

1125 - 1130?

After the imprisonment and crucifixion of Al-Ma'mum, Caliph Al Amir does not appoint any further viziers, preferring to run things directly. His death in 1130 allows a new vizier to be appointed, probably that same year by the new caliph, Al Hafiz.

1130? - 1132

Yanis

Fatamid military vizier. Killed by Caliph Al Hafiz. Armenian.

1133

Sulayman

Eldest son of Fatamid Caliph Al Hafiz. Died after 2 months.

1134

Haydara

Brother. Revolted and was put to death by Al Hafiz.

1135 - 1137

Bahram

Fatamid military vizier under Al Hafiz. Christian Armenian.

1137

Bahram's pro-Armenian policies provoke a military revolt led by Ridwan, the new governor of Gharbiyya. Bahram is forced out of office, and after the failure of his own revolt in Qus, he is granted permission by Caliph al Hafiz to retire to a monastery where he remains until 1139. Then al Hafiz recalls him to al Kahira (Cairo) and entrusts him with the responsibilities of the vizierate, without officially appointing him to the post, until his death in 1140.

1137 - 1139

Ridwan

Fatamid military vizier under Al Hafiz. Removed from office. Killed.

1139 - 1140

Bahram

Restored Fatamid military vizier under Al Hafiz. Died.

1140 - 1149

Ibn Masal Najm Al-Din Salim

Fatamid military vizier. Killed by Al-Adir after about 50 days.

1149

The son of an Ortoqid officer in the service of the Fatamids, as governor of Alexandria, Al-Adir assembles his troops and marches on al Kahira (Cairo). He kills the serving military vizier and imposes himself on Caliph Al Zafir as his new vizier.

1149 - 1153

Al-Adir bin al-Salar Abu L-Hasan 'Ali

Fatamid military vizier. Murdered by Abbas.

1153 - 1154

Abbas bin Abi'l-Futuh

Fatamid military vizier. Murdered Caliph Al Zafir. Killed.

1154 - 1161

Tali ibn Ruzzik / Russik

Fatamid military vizier. Regent to Caliph Al Faiz. Assassinated.

1161 - 1163

Russik ibn Tali

Son. Fatamid military vizier. Killed by Shawar.

1163 - 1164

Russik is killed when Shawar revolts and enters al Kahira (Cairo). Shawar assumes the office of vizier, and his new ally, Dirgham, is appointed sahib al-bab (grand chamberlain). Dirgham revolts later in the same year, driving Shawar out of al Kahira. Shawar re-invades Egypt with a force supplied by the Zangid ruler, Mahmud Nur ad-Din, and after several battles Dirgham is defeated and killed. Shawar is restored to his post.

Old Cairo
Cairo of the Fatamid period was a much smaller city than today, still growing outwards from its kilometre-long 'Grand Street', or Al-Mu'izz, with the pyramids visible in the distance

1163

Shawar

Fatamid military vizier. Overthrown by Dirgham.

1163 - 1164

Al Dirgham bin Amir bin Sawwar

Fatamid military vizier. Killed by Shawar after 9 months.

1164 - 1169

Shawar

Restored Fatamid military vizier.

1168

Shortly before this year, the Fatamids agree a deal with King Amalric I of Jerusalem for the price of two hundred thousand gold pieces to protect them from the Sunni Muslims. But this first attempt to capture Egypt ends in a stalemate between Crusaders and Sunnis and both agree to withdraw. Amalric returns and massacres the population of the Nile Delta city of Bilbeis on 3 November 1168. This act unites the Egyptians and their capital undergoes dramatic change as a result. The original Islamic capital of al Fustat is deliberately burned down by its own vizier to prevent it from falling into Crusader hands. The newer city of al Kahira is protected by walls, and takes over fully as the country's capital. Later known as Cairo it gradually absorbs the remains of Fustat (which now exist as part of Old Cairo). The Crusaders advance to the new city and place it under siege.

1169

The formal career of Salah al-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub (or Saladin), begins when he serves on the staff of his uncle, Asad ad-Din Shirkuh, the military vizier under Nur ad-Din of Aleppo and Damascus. They are involved in a race with the Crusader kingdom of Jerusalem to conquer Fatamid Egypt. On 2 January 1169, the Crusaders retreat from their siege of the walls of Cairo and evacuate the region, allowing Shirkuh to take control as vizier under the Fatamids. Shirkuh and his nephew found the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt (although not, at this stage, an independent one).

1169

Asad ad-Din Shirkuh

Fatamid military vizier. Died.

1169 - 1171

Salah al-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub (Saladin)

Fatamid military vizier. Founded the Ayyubids.

1171 - 1174

The caliph dies, ending Fatamid rule of Egypt and leaving the country in the control of Saladin, under the suzerainty of Mahmud Nur ad-Din of Damascus. The latter's death in 1174 allows Saladin to assert his full control over Egypt, becoming the first Ayyubid sultan.

Ayyubid Sultans of Egypt
AD 1174 - 1252

After becoming the first Ayyubid sultan of Egypt, Saladin was able to use it as his base of operations. From there he was able to occupy Damascus and other Syrian towns, although Egypt remained his headquarters. Then he defeated and drove the Crusaders from Jerusalem, and set up his sons and relatives in several subsidiary lines within Ayyubid territory, in Aleppo, Damascus, Diyar Bakr, Hamat, Hims, and Yemen. Most of these were ended by 1260 by the Mamelukes, or they fell to the Mamelukes following the Mongol invasion of Mesopotamia. The line in Hamat was a little more durable, only falling to the Mamelukes in 1332, and the line in Diyar Bakr, with some interruptions, survived until conquest by the White Sheep Turks in the later fifteenth century.

Although originally ruling from Egypt, Saladdin spent the last years of his life fighting in Syria and Palestine and was buried in Damascus, next to the Umayyad mosque. The Ayyubid family still survives in modern Lebanon and retains Saladin's sword.

1174 - 1193

Salah al-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub (Saladin)

Former vizier and now sultan. Also ruled Damascus (1183-1186).

1171

The kingdom of Dongola enters a sharp decline, due in part to increased Bedouin attacks after these tribes people have been pushed south by the Ayyubids.

The Citadel in Cairo
Saladin set about building the famous citadel in Cairo soon after taking power, though it would not be finished until fourteen years after his death, in 1207

1182 - 1183

Saladin leaves Egypt to fight the Crusaders of Outremer in Syria, never to return to the seat of his authority. The following year he conquers Damascus and Aleppo from Sinjar, although it appears that Sinjar itself retains some level of independent local rule.

1186

Damascus is ruled by an Ayyubid relative as a subsidiary state. Saladin attempts to take Mosul in the same year but is unsuccessful.

1187

The Crusader kingdom of Jerusalem is defeated by Saladin at the Battle of Hattin. Although the other captured nobles are ransomed, all of the captured Knights Templars and Knights Hospitallers are executed. Thousands of Christian prisoners are marched the four hundred miles back to Cairo, where they are forced to work on extending the city's fortifications and building the Citadel. Saladin then besieges Jerusalem itself, before coming to peace terms with its defenders, and the city is evacuated by the crusader knights.

1193 - 1198

al Aziz Uthman (Imad ad Din)

Son. Inherited Egypt.

1196

After several raids against the inept al Afdal at Damascus, his brother, al Aziz Uthman, loses patience and allies himself with another brother, az Zahir. Together they attack Damascus and end al Afdal's reign. Their popular uncle, al Adil, gains Damascus in his place.

1198 - 1200

al Mansur (Nasir ad Din)

1200

Al-Malik al-Adil I manages to acquire territory between his sultanate in Damascus and in Mesopotamia, before he also overthrows al-Mansur and rules in Egypt too.

1200 - 1218

al Adil I (Sayf ad Din / Safadin) / Abu Bakr

Brother of Saladin. Ruler of Ayyubid Damascus (1196-1201).

1202 - 1204

The Fourth Crusade witnesses the capture of Constantinople by Crusaders in the employ of Venice, causing the first break in the line of Eastern Roman (Byzantine) emperors.

1218 - 1238

al Kamil I (Nasir ad Din)

Son. Ruler of Ayyubid Damascus (1238).

1220

Sinjar is fully conquered by the Ayyubids, ending whatever independence it might have enjoyed up to this date.

1228 - 1229

The Fifth Crusade hits the region and Jerusalem is ceded to the Christians at Acre while the Ayyubids squabble amongst themselves. For allowing Jerusalem to fall into Christian hands, al-Kamil is vilified by many Muslims, but it brings peace with the Crusaders.

From the moment of his accession in 1227, al Nasir II of Damascus has faced opposition from his uncle, al Kamil I. The latter attacks him, taking Jerusalem (before handing it over to the Christians) and Nablus. Appealing to another uncle, al Ashraf, the ruler of Harran, al Nasir is betrayed when both uncles team up. Damascus is besieged between late 1228 and June 1229, when it falls. As agreed, al Kamil takes Palestine and al Ashraf gains Damascus and the north, acknowledging his brother as overlord. Al Nasir is compensated with the emirate of Kerak in the Transjordan.

1234 - 1240

Al Kamil sends his son, the future as Salih II, to Damascus, removing him from the succession in Egypt after suspecting him of conspiracy in alliance with the Mamelukes. His uncle, as Salih Ismail, soon expels him from Damascus, and he flees to the Jazira, where he becomes allied to forces from the former emirate of Khwarazm.

1237 - 1238

Just months after the accession of as Salih of Damascus, al Kamil sends a force to besiege the city. It falls in 1238 and as Salih I is removed from power. Al Kamil governs the district personally before his sudden death.

1238 - 1240

al Adil II (Sayf ad Din)

Son. Ruler of Ayyubid Damascus (1238-1239). Overthrown.

1239

Ismail, the former as Salih I of Damascus, initially supports as Salih II Ayyub. The latter begins to strongly encourage Ismail to join him at Nablus so that they can embark on a campaign to snatch Egypt from al Adil II. Instead, Ismail gains support from the Ayyubid princes of Hama, Homs, and Kerak, and captures Damascus in September. Ayyub is abandoned by his troops, captured, and handed over to an Nasir Dawud. The pair quickly decide to attack Egypt themselves, gaining it in 1240, so that Ayyub becomes sultan.

1240 - 1249

as Salih II Ayyub (Najm ad Din)

Brother. Ruler of Ayyubid Damascus (1239, 1245-1249). Murdered.

1240

As Salih II Ismail of Damascus is quickly reconciled with an Nasir Dawud after the latter has fallen out with Ayyub. Together they decide to curtail Ayyub's ambition to conquer further Ayyubid territories. In July, Ismail reaches an agreement with Jerusalem so that the Crusaders will protect southern Palestine from Ayyub's possible attacks. The price is high, though, as he is forced to cede all of the land west of the Jordan (won by Saladin in 1187), including Gaza, Jerusalem, and Nablus, along with his own fortresses at Hunin, Safad, and Tiberias. He is denounced throughout the Arab world for his actions.

1244 - 1245

Ayyub allies himself with the former emirate of Khwarazm against Ismail of Damascus. At the Battle of La Forbie, they defeat Ismail and Ayyub is able to reclaim the sultanate for himself. The following year, Ayyub defeats Khwarazm itself for failing to recognise him as its overlord.

1249 - 1250

al Muazzam (Turan-Shah Ghiyat ad Din)

Son. Ruler of Ayyubid Damascus (1249-1250). Overthrown.

1249

The Ayyubid emirate of Kerak is annexed by Egypt, but by this time the Ayyubids have already lost the Hejaz and Yemen, and parts of Mesopotamia.

1250

Following a siege, Aleppo is captured and destroyed by the Mongols while al-Muazzam is commanding there. Although the defenders are allowed to live, the sultan does not rule again. Instead, Muazzam is overthrown in Egypt by the generals of Salih II following the occupation of Damietta by St Louis IX of France. The act effectively destroys Ayyubid control of Egypt, despite several attempts by an Nasir II to recover it from Damascus.

1250

Shajar ad Durr

Widow of Najm ad Din. Seized the throne.

1250 - 1252

al Ashraf II (Muzaffar ad Din)

Nominally until 1254 but no effective power in Egypt.

1250 - 1252

In 1250, Shajar ad Durr seizes the sultanate with the support of her Mameluke slave-soldiers, led by Aybak. Eighty days later, she marries Aybak in order to secure the full support of her subjects, before abdicating in her husband's favour, passing all control of the sultanate over to him. Al-Ashraf II serves as a figurehead for a short time. The Ayyubids survive in Damascus, but only briefly. Following that loss, only the principality of Hamat remains in Ayyubid hands (until 1341).

Mameluke Sultans of Egypt (Bahri Dynasty)
AD 1252 - 1390

The sultanate of Egypt was effectively seized from the Ayyubids by the Mameluke slave-soldier Aybak. His marriage to Shajar ad Durr and her subsequent abdication gave him sole control over Egypt. With the destruction of the Abbasid caliphate at Baghdad in 1258, a puppet caliphate was set up at Cairo, controlled by the Mameluke Bahris (or Bahriyya), who were descended from Kipchak Turkish tribes which invaded the Middle East in two major waves in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

1250 - 1257

Aybak al Turkumani

First of the (usually) Turkish Bahris. Assassinated.

1250

Sultan an Nasir II Yusuf of Damascus attacks Egypt with a superior army, made up of units from Aleppo, Hama, and Homs, and elements of the personal forces of Saladin's two surviving sons. Despite numerical superiority, the Syrian force suffers a shock defeat at the hands of the Mameluke Bahris, and Yusuf is forced to return to Damascus to retain control of Syria. So begins a decade of warfare and political manoeuvring which achieves no advantage for either side.

Mameluke troops
These Mamelukes aided Shajar ad Durr in seizing the Ayyubid sultanate of Egypt and establishing a Mameluke sultanate with Aybak al Turkumani

1252

Al Ashraf II, the last of the Ayyubid sultans, is removed from his position as figurehead, and Aybak takes full control.

1253 - 1259

Qutuz al Muizzi

Vice-sultan. Seized the throne in 1259.

1257 - 1259

Al Mansur Ali I

Son of Aybak. Overthrown.

1259 - 1260

Al Mansur, himself a figurehead, is deposed in a coup which is led by the Mameluke strongman, Qutuz. The latter does not last long before he too is overthrown by the former Syrian Mameluke who himself left there following a disagreement with the sultan of Damascus, after the latter had refused to countenance his planned invasion of Egypt.

1259 - 1260

Qutuz al Muizzi

Former vice-sultan (1253-1259). Assassinated.

1260 - 1277

Baybars I al Bunduqdari

A Kipchak Turk.

1260

A Mongol army marches on Aleppo and it quickly falls (within a week). This time, most of the inhabitants are killed or sold into slavery and the Great Mosque and the defensive Citadel are razed. When the army arrives at Damascus the city surrenders immediately as Yusuf has already fled to Gaza. Samaria is captured, with the garrison of Nablus being put to the sword, and Gaza is taken. Yusuf is captured and killed while a prisoner, but Baybars sends a Mameluke army which inflicts a defeat on the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut. Damascus is freed five days later and within a month most of Syria is in Baybars' hands.

1261

Baybars sets up the Abbasid caliphate at Cairo, following its destruction in Baghdad. The caliphs are little more than his puppets, although they do still hold some semblance of spiritual authority.

1265

Sultan Baybars mobilises a large army of his highly professional troops to counter an expected thrust by the Mongols. That attack never comes so, never one to waste a good war, Baybars turns his attention to the kingdom of Jerusalem. However, weak as they are, the Crusaders still have their powerful line of forts and their holy military orders. Baybars deploys the full force of his Mameluke military machine in front of the fearsome castle of Arsuf, a little way to the south of Caesarea, and it takes three days of hard fighting for the castle to fall. The surviving defenders are paraded through the streets of Cairo with a cross around their necks, and the castle is demolished so that it can never again be used by the Crusaders.

1268

Baybars continues his campaigns against the Christian kingdoms, three years after destroying Jerusalem's castle at Arsuf. Antioch, the first major conquest made by the First Crusade in 1099, now falls to Baybars in just a day. Once his troops have access, the city's gates are barred from within so that no one may escape, and the Christian population is massacred. The message is clear. The Crusaders will not be returning to Antioch.

1271

Unable to take the greatest of the Crusader fortresses by force, Baybars uses negotiation with the Knights Hospitallers to recover the Krak de Chevaliers after 162 years of Christian occupation.

1277 - 1279

Al-Said Baraka / Berke Khan

Son

1279

Salamish / Suleymish / Solamish

Brother. Sent into exile at Constantinople for being a child ruler.

1279 - 1290

Qalawun al Alfi

Kipchak Turk and father-in-law to Baraka.

1280 - 1281

Sunkur al-Ashkar leads a rebellion from Damascus against Sultan Qalawun al Alfi. The sultan defeats it but the following year is faced with a Mongol invasion of the region through Homs under the leadership of Abaqa Khan of the Il-Khan dynasty in Persia. Fortunately the threat is overcome after the bloody Second Battle of Homs produces no clear outcome.

1289

Following a siege by Qalawun al Alfi, the Crusader county of Tripoli falls.

1290 - 1293

Al-Ashraf Khalîl

Son. Assassinated by Turks.

1291

Al-Ashraf Khalîl completes his father's work in taking the Crusader stronghold of Acre. Its fall signals the end of Outremer.

1293

Baydara al-Mansuri

Became new vice-sultan to Muhammad I.

1293 - 1294

Al-Nasir Muhammad I

Son of Qalawun al Alfi. Aged 9 at accession. Deposed.

1293 - 1294

Zayn-ad-Din Kitbugha

Regent and the true power in Egypt.

1294

Not content with being regent to the nine year-old sultan, Zayn-ad-Din Kitbugha counters an attempt to remove him from office by deposing the sultan and seizing the throne for himself.

1294 - 1296

Zayn-ad-Din Kitbugha

Former regent. Deposed by his vice-sultan.

1296 - 1299

Lachin / Lajin al Ashqar / Lajin al-Askhar

Former vice-sultan in Damascus.

1299 - 1309

Al-Nasir Muhammad I

Seized back the throne.

1299 - 1303

The Il-Khan ruler, Mahmud Ghazan, marches on Syria, taking Aleppo. He is joined there by his vassal, King Hethoum II of the kingdom of Lesser Armenia. Together they defeat the Mameluke Bahrids of Egypt and Damascus at the Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar on 23 or 24 December. The Bahrids are pushed back into Egypt and Damascus quickly falls to the invaders. The Il-Khans then withdraw, perhaps due to a lack of supplies. The attack is renewed in 1301, but it degenerates into a scattering of inconclusive battles and politicking. In the end, Ghazan's forces are defeated by the Mamelukes of Egypt at the Battle of Marj al-Saffar in April 1303 and withdraw, never to return.

1309 - 1310

Baybars II al Jashnakir (Burji)

Sultanate imposed on him. Stepped down in favour of Muhammad.

1310 - 1341

Al-Nasir Muhammad I

Restored again.

1314

Now fully secure on his throne, Muhammad institutes sweeping changes and reforms in order to expel those who had conspired or sided against him and to wipe out corruption. In 1314 he abolishes the post of vice-sultan and increases aggression against the Dongola kingdom, forcing its collapse. Egypt's interference also sees Arabic speech and religion gradually seep into Nubia over the course of the century, and Alodia also fades and collapses around the same time. This decline is largely undocumented, but the former state appears to split into as many as nine separate regions or petty kingdoms (according to reports by Mameluke emissaries).

1341

The death of Al-Nasir Muhammad leads to instability within the sultanate. There is a constant stream of successors over the following fifty years, with fifteen holders of the sultanate and none of them lasting more than fourteen years (and that one, Al-Ashraf Shaban II, being something of a long-lasting exception). Disorder descends on the provinces.

1341

Al-Mansur Abu Bakr

Son.

1341 - 1342

Al-Ashraf Kujuk / Kuchuk

Brother.

1342

Al-Nasir Ahmad I

Brother.

1342 - 1345

Al-Salih Ismail

Brother.

1345 - 1346

Al-Kamil Shaban I

Brother.

1346 - 1347

Al-Muzzafar Hajji I

Brother.

1347 - 1351

Al-Nasir Hasan

Brother.

1349

The Black Death comes to Egypt and the Levant causing great loss of life and further weakening Egypt's empire. The position of the sultans becomes increasingly fragile, and it is competing Mameluke factions who begin to wield increasing power from behind the throne.

1351 - 1354

Al-Salih Salih

Brother.

1354 - 1361

Al-Nasir al Hasan

1361 - 1363

Al-Salih Muhammad II

1363 - 1377

Al-Ashraf Shaban II

Grandson of Al-Nasir Muhammad I.

1377

Al-Ashraf Shaban II, who has ruled independently as an adult since 1366, is overthrown and killed. The rebellious Mamelukes who are responsible for the deed replace him with his seven year-old son. When the boy dies at the  age of twelve, he is replaced by his younger brother.

1377 - 1382

Al-Mansur Ali II

Son. Mameluke puppet.

1382

Al-Salih Hajji II

Brother. A minor, and another puppet. Dehtroned.

1382

Al-Salih Hajji II is dethroned. Control of the sultanate is secured by Barquq, a Circassian general, or emir, who has been consolidating his growing power since the coup of 1377. He attempts to secure his position as sultan by placing many of his own family in positions of authority.

1382 - 1389

Barquq al Yalburghawi

First of the (usually) Circassian Burjis.

1389

Two Mameluke governors rebel in Egypt's empire: Mintash, governor of Malatya, and Yalbogha al-Nasiri, governor of Aleppo. They secure Syria and march on Cairo. Barquq attempts to escape, but he is captured and sent to al-Karak. The successful governors restore Hajji to the throne, who now assumes the reignal name of al-Mansur.

1389 - 1390

Al-Salih Hajji II al-Mansur

Restored. Deposed by Barquq.

1390

Hajji's position is far from stable, and when fighting develops amongst the Mameluke factions in Cairo, Barquq's supporters overcome the others and Barquq is able to return to Cairo in February 1390. The Burji dynasty is born.

Mameluke Sultans of Egypt (Burji Dynasty)
AD 1390 - 1517

The Burjis were of Circassian descent, but once they had dethroned the ruling Bahri sultans and secured their own position, they endured a stormy relationship with power. The reignal lengths of each sultan were often short, plagued by behind-the-scenes politicking and power-plays. Barquq also made an enemy of the powerful ruler of Persia, Timur, which cost him a great deal of time an effort in needless warfare in Syria. In the end, their lack of unity cost them, because they were unable to match the increasingly powerful Ottomans in securing territory.

1390 - 1399

Barquq al Yalburghawi

Restored. Secured throne as founder of the dynasty. Died.

1399 - 1405

Faraj

Son.

1405

Abd al Aziz

Died in custody.

1405 - 1412

Faraj

Restored. Dethroned and killed.

1412

al Mustain

Became Abbasid Caliph Abbas of Egypt (1406-1414).

1412 - 1421

Tatar I

Died.

1421

al-Muzafar Abu al-Saadat Ahmad II

Dethroned.

1421

Tatar II

Died.

1421 - 1422

Muhammad III

Dethroned.

1421

Egypt is attacked by the kingdom of Cyprus. Unable to capture the island, Egypt nevertheless forces the Cypriots to acknowledge the overlordship of Sultan Barsbay.

Burji coins
Typical coins issued by the Mameluke Burjis in Egypt

1422 - 1438

Barsbay

Died.

1438

Jamal ad-Din Yusuf

Dethroned.

1438 - 1453

Chaqmaq / Jaqmaq

Dethroned.

1453

Fakhr-ad-Din Uthman

Dethroned.

1453 - 1460

Inal al Alai al Zahiri

Resigned due to illness, which killed him.

1460 - 1461

al-Mu'aid Shihab ud-Din Ahmad III

Dethroned.

1461 - 1467

Khushqadam

Died.

1467

Yalbay / Bilbay

Dethroned, imprisoned, and died.

1467 - 1468

Timurbugha

Dethroned.

1468 - 1496

Qayit Bay al Zahiri

Abdicated in favour of his son.

1480 - 1504

During this period, following the capture of the Nubian kingdom of Alodia by Abdullah Jamma and the founding of his Abdallab empire, Nubia is entirely Islamicised. By 1504, no Christian kingdoms exist in the region.

1496 - 1497

Muhammad IV

Son. Deposed.

1497 - 1498

Qansawh I

Fled the country.

1498

Muhammad IV

Restored. Assassinated.

1498 - 1500

az-Zahir Qansuh al-Ashrafi

Abdicated.

1500 - 1501

al-Ashraf Janbulat

Dethroned.

1501

Tuman Bay I

Deposed and executed.

1501 - 1516

Qansawh II al Ghawri

Killed in battle.

1515 - 1517

The Ottoman sultan begins a war against Egypt which ultimately sees the latter conquered. Sultan Qansawh II al Ghawri is killed on 24 August 1516 at the Battle of Merj Dabik. Syria is immediately captured.

1516 - 1517

Tuman Bay II

Captured by the Ottomans and executed.

1517

Cairo, along with the rest of Egypt and Libya, is conquered by the Ottoman empire under Selim I Yavuz. The line of Mamelukes continues to hold some level of power as vassals.

Ottoman Governors of Egypt
AD 1517 - 1768

Following their defeat by Sultan Selim I, the Burji Mamelukes still retained some control of Egypt as its ruling class, although they were now vassals of the Ottomans. The real day-to-day power was wielded by the Ottoman-appointed governors, or walis. Khair Bey was the first, created sultan of Egypt by Selim I for his help in conquering the country, and all subsequent governors also held this title, despite being subservient to the Ottoman sultan (at least in name). To the south of Egypt, the Funj sultanate of Sinnar skilfully negotiated its way out of further Ottoman conquest, securing its own borders in the process.

1517 - 1522

Khair Bey / Khair Bek

Governor of Egypt. Died 1552.

1520 - 1521

Following the death of Ottoman Sultan Selim I and the accession of his successor, Suleyman I the Magnificent, Governor Djanbirdi al-Ghazali of Damascus rebels. He seeks to restore Mameluke suzerainty over Syria and goes so far as to declare himself sultan. Hama, Hims, and Tripoli join his rebellion, but both Khair Bey and Shah Esmail of Iran refuse to support him. Eventually, the Ottomans destroy both him and his army.

Ottoman coin
The Ottoman conquest of Egypt saw an influx of Ottoman coins, with this example being issued during the reign of Suleyman I the Magnificent (1520-1566)

1522 - 1523

Moustafa Pasha

1523

Kouzlagah Pasha

Removed from his post.

1523

Ahmed Pasha

Killed.

1524

Ibrahim Pasha

1524 - 1536

Suliman Pasha

1536

Khissru Pasha

1536 - 1538

Suliman Pasha

1538 - 1549

Daoud Pasha

1549

Moustafa Pasha

1549 - 1554

Ali Pasha Smiz

Promoted to a position in Ottoman Constantinople.

1554 - 1556

Mohamed Pasha

1556 - 1559

Iskander Pasha

1559 - 1560

Ali Pasha

1560 - 1563

Mustafa Pasha

1563 - 1566

Ali Pasha

Second term of office.

1566 - 1567

Mohamed Pasha

Second term of office.

1567 - 1568

Sanan Pasha

1568 - 1571

Garkas Pasha

1571 - 1573

Sanan Pasha

Second term of office.

1573 - 1575

Hussein Pasha

1575 - 1580

Massih Pasha

1580 - 1583

Hassan Pasha

1583 - 1585

Ibrahim Pasha

1585 - 1587

Sanan Pasha

Third term of office.

1587 - 1591

Ouis Pasha

1591 - 1595

Hafiz Pasha

1595 - 1596

Mohamed Pasha

1596 - 1598

Mohamed Pasha El-Sharif

1598 - 1601

Khedr Pasha

1601 - 1603

Ali Pasha

1603 - 1604

Ibrahim Pasha

1604 - 1605

Mohamed Pasha

Second term of office.

1605 - 1607

Hassan Pasha

1607 - 1611

Mohamed Pasha Moamar

1611 - 1615

Mohamed Pasha Sadafi

1615 - 1618

Ahmed Pasha

1618 - 1619

Moustafa Pasha

1619

Gaafar Pasha

1619 - 1620

Moustafa Pasha Hamidi

1620 - 1622

Hussein Pasha

1622

Mohamed Pasha

1622 - 1623

Ibrahim Pasha

1623

Moustafa Pasha Qurah

1623

Ali Pasha

1624 - 1625

Moustafa Pasha Qurah

Second term of office.

1626 - 1628

Bayram Pasha

1628 - 1630

Tabanıyassi Mehmed Pasha

Became Ottoman Grand Vizier in 1632.

1630

Moussa Pasha

A rapacious administrator.

1631 - 1632

Khalil Pasha

Led an impartial and prosperous administration.

1632

Khalil Pasha sends out an expeditionary force to the Hejaz to retake Mecca from Yemani tribesmen. Under Al-Mu'ayyad Muhammad, the Yemenis are fighting the Ottomans to create an independent Zaidi state in Yemen.

The Ka'ba
As one of the most important locations to all of Islam, whomever controlled Mecca had power and influence, and gaining it would aid the Yemeni cause

1632 - 1635

Bekeirgi Pasha

1635 - 1637

Hussein Pasha

1637 - 1640

Mohamed Pasha Gawan

1640 - 1642

Moustafa Pasha

1642 - 1644

Mansour Pasha

1644 - 1646

Ayub Pasha

1646 - 1647

Haydar Pasha

1647

Moustafa Pasha Sanari

1647 - 1649

Mohamed Pasha

1649 - 1650

Ahmed Pasha

1650 - 1652

Abd El-Rahman Pasha

1652 - 1656

Khasky Pasha

1656 - 1657

Moustafa Pasha

1657 - 1660

Mohamed Pasha Zada

1660 - 1661

Moustafa Pasha

Second term of office.

1661 - 1664

Ibrahim Pasha

1664 - 1667

Omar Pasha

1667 - 1668

Ibrahim Pasha Sufi

1668 - 1669

Qurah Qash Pasha

1669 - 1673

Katkhuda Pasha

1673 - 1675

Hussein Pasha

1675 - 1676

Ahmed Pasha

1676 - 1680

Abd El-Rahman Pasha

1680 - 1683

Osman Pasha

1683 - 1687

Hamza Pasha

1687

Katkhuda Hassan Pasha

1687 - 1689

Hassan Pasha

1689 - 1691

Ahmed Pasha

1691 - 1695

Ali Pasha

1695 - 1697

Ismail Pasha

1697 - 1699

Hussein Pasha

1699 - 1704

Muhmmad (Qara) Pasha

1704

Suleiman Pasha

1704 - 1706

Muhammad (Rami) Pasha

Died 1706.

1706 - 1707

'Ali Pasha

1707 - 1709

Hassan (Damada) Pasha

1709 - 1710

Ibrahim Pasha

1710 - 1711

Khalil (Khosej) Pasha

1711 - 1714

Wali Pasha

1714 - 1717

Abdi Pasha

1717 - 1720

'Ali (Kiaya) Pasha

1720 - 1721

Rajab Pasha

1721 - 1725

Muhammad (Nishanji) Pasha

1725 - 1726

'Ali Muraly Pasha

1726 - 1727

Muhammad (Nishanji) Pasha

Second term of office.

1727

Abdi Pasha

Second term of office.

1727 - 1729

Abu Bakr Pasha

Son-in-law of Ottoman Sultan Mustafa II.

1729 - 1733

Abdallah (Heupruluzade) Pasha

1733 - 1734

Muahmmad (Silahdar) Pasha

1734

Abu Bakr Pasha

Second term of office. Became Ottoman Grand Vizier.

1734 - 1741

'Ali (Hakimzade) Pasha

1741 - 1743

Yahya Pasha

1743 - 1744

Muhammad Sa'id Pasha

1744 - 1748

Muhammad (Ragib) Pasha

1748 - 1752

Ahmad Pasha

1752

Muahmmad Melek Pasha

1752 - 1755

Hassan ash-Sharawi

1755 - 1756

'Ali (Hakimzade) Pasha

Second term of office.

1756 - 1757

Sa'id ad-Din Pasha

1757 - 1760

Muhammad Sa'id Pasha

Second term of office.

1760 - 1762

Mustafa (Bahir Keuse) Pasha

1762 - 1765

Ahmad Pasha

1765 - 1766

Bakr Pasha

1766 - 1767

Hamza (Silahdar Mahir) Pasha

1767

Muhammad Melek Pasha

1767 - 1768

Muhammad (Raquim) Pasha

1768

Muhammad (Diwitdar) Pasha

1768

The Mameluke Beys seize power in Egypt and thereafter their successors remain de facto rulers of the country.

Mameluke Beys of Egypt
AD 1768 - 1811

Although the Mamelukes retained some control of Egypt as its ruling class, they had long been vassals of the Ottomans, and the real day-to-day power had been wielded by Ottoman-appointed Governors, or walis. In 1768, the tables were turned and the Mameluke Beys seized back power in Egypt, and thereafter their successors remained de facto rulers of the country.

1768 - 1772

Ali Bey al-Kabir

Son of a Georgian monk. Killed in 1773.

1768 - 1771

Ali Bey deposes the Ottoman governor and assumes full control of Egypt. The payment of annual tribute is stopped and in 1769, Ali Bey has his name struck on coins. The following year he gains control of the Hijaz and in 1771 briefly occupies Syria, effectively recreating the Mameluke state.

1771 - 1772

In June 1771, Abu al-Dhahab, the commander of Ali Bey's troops in Syria, refuses to fight against the Ottomans. When he turns on Ali Bey in 1772, the latter loses power. He is killed in Cairo in 1773.

1769

Human Abu Yusuf

Leader of Hawwara Arabs and de facto ruler in Upper Egypt.

1773 - 1775

Muhammad Bey Abu`dh Dhahab

Died 1775.

1775 - 1777

A triumvirate is formed between the military governor, Murad Bey, Ibrahim Bey, the civil governor, and Yusuf Bey, the head of the Mecca pilgrims.

1777 - 1778

Isma'il Bey

1778 - 1786

Murad Bey

1778 - 1786

Isma'il Bey

Joint ruler and formerly in sole control (1777-1778).

1786 - 1790

A new triumvirate is formed, consisting of Isma'il Bey, 'Ali Bey Defterdar, and Hasan Bey.

1790 - 1798

Murad Bey

Restored.

1790 - 1798

Ibrahim Bey

Joint ruler and former member of first triumvirate in 1775.

1798 - 1799

Republican France invades Egypt under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte, in the hopes of creating a corridor to Britain's possessions in India. His battles against the Mamelukes fatally weakens them, and temporarily drives them into Upper Egypt. Napoleon immediately sets off for Syria, which he attacks between February and June 1799.

Napoleon's invasion of Egypt
Napoleon's invasion of Egypt spelled the end of power for the Mameluke Bays

1800 - 1801

Murad Bey

Restored.

1800 - 1801

Ibrahim Bey

Restored.

1801 - 1803

The French are driven out of Egypt by the British. The Mamelukes and the Ottoman walis continue their fight for independence, now against Britain and the Ottoman sultans. The British pull out in 1803, focussed on holding India and opposing Napoleon's power in Europe.

1801

Nasih Pasha

Ottoman wali.

1801 - 1802

Kucuk Hussein Pasha

Ottoman wali.

1802 - 1803

Elfi Bey

Joint ruler.

1803 - 1804

Ibrahim Bey

Restored as joint ruler.

1802 - 1803

Khusrau Pasha

Ottoman wali.

1803

Taher Pasha

Ottoman wali. Died 1803.

1803

Khurshid Pasha

Ottoman wali.

1803

Khurshid Pasha had been appointed mayor of Alexandria after the French evacuation in 1801, and now he is named governor. With the help of Britain's diplomatic representative, he begins attempts to remove Muhammad Ali and his Albanians.

1803 - 1804

'Ali Pasha Jazairli

Ottoman wali.

1804

Othman al Bardeisy / Osman Bardisi

Acting Ottoman wali.

1804 - 1805

Khurshid Pasha

Ottoman wali for the second time. Forced out of office.

1805 - 1806

Khurshid Pasha introduces Delhi (madmen) troops from Syria in an attempt to reduce the influence of Muhammad Ali. Ali wins them over to his side and has himself named governor of Egypt in May 1805. Khurshid is forced to abandon his post and Ottoman Egypt is effectively under the control of Ali, with the weakened Mamelukes unable to exploit the situation. Instead, a treaty is negotiated in 1806 after several Mameluke defeats of Ottoman troops. Muhammad Ali is supposed to be removed and Egypt commanded entirely by the Mamelukes, but again, Mameluke weaknesses prevent this from happening.

1805 - 1811

Muhammad Ali Pasha

Ottoman wali.

1811

After arranging a coup on 1 March in which most of the leading Mamelukes are murdered, Pasha Muhammad Ali takes full control of Egypt. Surviving Mamelukes flee southwards, entering Nubia, where they set up a slaving centre at Dongola within the Funj sultanate of Sinnar.

House of Muhammad Ali in Egypt
AD 1811 - 1953

Muhammad Ali seized a weakened Egypt from the Mameluke sultans by tricking them into attending a celebration of the declaration of war against the Wahhabis of Arabia. Once there, most of them were murdered. A general massacre of Mamelukes throughout the country followed. Muhammad Ali's position as wali, or Governor, became hereditary, and his descendants ruled Egypt thereafter, albeit under the nominal authority of the Ottoman empire at first, although they continued to increase their power, becoming viceroys in 1867, sultans in 1914, and kings in 1922. In fact, so weak was Ottoman authority that Muhammad Ali himself ruled in almost complete independence, styling himself khedive (viceroy) of Egypt.

1811 - 1848

Muhammad Ali Pasha

Ottoman governor of Egypt from 1805. Khedive.

1818 - 1822

Muhammad Ali occupies Arabia to crush the growing Saudi power there and retake Makkah and Madinah in the Hijaz.

Muhammad Ali Pasha
Muhammad Ali Pasha founded his own royal dynasty which ruled Egypt until 1953

1820 - 1822

Ismail, son of Muhammad Ali, is sent to conquer Sudan, which he does in relatively short order, destroying the Funj sultanate of Sinnar in the process. He retains initial supreme command of the conquered Sudan before making way for subsequent military commanders. A governor-generalship is eventually established in order to control the country in Egypt's name.

1825 - 1827

Ordered by the Ottoman empire to send a fleet to Greece to put a stop to the efforts being made for independence there, Muhammad Ali's troops secure most of the country in 1825. A fleet of ships made up of Russians, French and British arrives and sinks the Egyptian fleet at the Battle of Navarino in 1827, ending Egyptian participation in the war.

1832

Damascus is annexed by Ibrahim Pasha between May and June on behalf of Muhammad Ali Pasha, and subsequently operates on an autonomous basis. The Ottomans retain only nominal suzerainty.

1838 - 1843

Muhammad Ali re-occupies Arabia, transporting the head of the Al-Saud family to Cairo and installing a vassal ruler.

1848

Ibrahim Pasha

1848 - 1849

Muhammad Ali Pasha

Restored to office. Died 1849.

1849 - 1854

'Abbas Hilmi Pasha I

1854 - 1863

Muhammad Said Pasha

1859

Construction on the Suez Canal is started by the British.

1863 - 1879

Ismail Pasha

Khedive (viceroy) 1867-1879. Died 1895.

1869

The Suez Canal is opened, greatly increasing the economic and strategic importance of both Egypt and Sudan. Britain buys the khedive's share in the canal in 1875.

1872 - 1874

Ismail conquers South Sudan. The eventual intent is to fully unite Egypt and Sudan as one single state under Egyptian rule.

1879 - 1892

Muhammad Tawfiq Pasha

Son. Khedive.

1881 - 1882

The Sudanese revolt under the Mahdi against the Turco-Egyptian administration of Tawfiq. The following year Tawfiq appeals for help to the British, and they occupy Egypt in 1882.

1889 - 1893

The Sudanese Khalifa's general, Abd ar Rahman an Nujumi, attempts an invasion of Egypt, but Egyptian troops under British command defeat him in battle at Tushkah in 1889. The failure of the invasion destroys the myth of the general's invincibility and several subsequent defeats are inflicted on Sudanese forces.

1892 - 1914

Abbas Hilmi Pasha II

Died 1944.

1896 - 1898

The British appoint Major-General Sir Horatio Herbert Kitchener to lead an expedition from Egypt into Sudan in order to quell the Mahdi's uprising once and for all, secure the Nile, and prevent other European forces from making their own claims on the war-torn country. His campaign culminates in the Battle of Omdurman on 2 September 1898 in which the Mahdists are defeated by European firepower and organisation.

1899

Following the 1898 defeat of Sudan, an agreement is reached which establishes Anglo-Egyptian rule there. Sudan is run by a governor-general who is appointed by Egypt with British consent.

1914 - 1922

Egypt becomes a British protectorate and the khedive is promoted to sultan. The sultans continue to press for a united Egypt and Sudan, which had long been one of their major aims, but their attempts to increase their power are continually blocked by Britain.

1914 - 1917

Husayn Kamil

Sultan.

1917 - 1936

Ahmad Fuad I

Sultan 1917-1922. King in 1922.

1936 - 1952

Faruq / Farouk

Deposed by military coup. Died 1965.

1948 - 1949

On the day following the proclamation of the creation of the state of Israel, the neighbouring Arab states of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria attack, prompting the start of the Arab-Israeli War. Saudi Arabia sends its own military contingent to support the Egyptians. The war lasts for a year before a ceasefire is agreed. The Green Line is established - temporary borders which can be generally agreed by all sides. Egypt gains the Gaza Strip while Jordan controls East Jerusalem and the West Bank region, but an estimated 700,000 Palestinians have been expelled or have fled their homeland, mostly to enter southern Lebanon or Jordan.

1952 - 1953

A group of army officers known as the 'Free Officers' overthrow King Farouk. They declare Egypt a republic during the Egyptian Revolution, led by Muhammad Naguib and Gamal Nasser, the first presidents of the republic. The king is forced to officially abdicate in favour of his infant son and then accept exile.

1952 - 1953

Ahmad Fuad II

Son.

1954

The pretence of retaining the young King Fuad II on the throne in order to remove a pretext of intervention by Britain is no longer needed. Parliamentary rule is instigated, and the country is headed by a president who remains a senior member of the military.

Modern Egypt
AD 1954 - Present Day

The Arab Republic of Egypt retains its ancient borders for the most part, and is bordered to the west by Libya, to the south by Sudan, and on the east by Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel (along with the occupied Palestinian territory of Gaza). The capital is at Cairo.

The Egyptian Revolution of 1952 overthrew the king (its initial aim) and eventually abolished the monarchy, replacing it with a republic. The monarchy had been seen to be corrupt (a common complaint in the region at this time) and pro-British, but the replacement was a series of military generals ruling the country. They assumed power without free and fair elections and made sure opinion polls and future elections were always heavily balanced in their favour.

With the formation of the republic of Egypt in 1954, The last ruler of the house of Muhammad Ali, Fuad II, was no longer required and was brought to Switzerland to live with his already-exiled father. He retained his claim to the joint throne of Egypt and Sudan. Successive claimants to the throne are shown with a shaded background.

1952 - 1954

Muhammad Naguib

Military president and leader of the Egyptian Revolution.

1954

The pretence of retaining the young King Faud II of the house of Muhammad Ali on the throne in order to remove a pretext of intervention by Britain is no longer needed. Parliamentary rule is instigated, and the republic of Egypt is headed by a president who remains a senior member of the military. The first president, Naguib, is quickly sidelined, and Gamal Nasser takes over in 1954 as chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council. In 1956 he becomes president.

1954 - Present

Ahmad Fuad II

Last king of the house of Muhammad Ali in Egypt. Exiled.

1954 - 1970

Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein

Born 1918. A military president. 'Leader of the Arabs'.

1956

Sudan gains independence from Egypt, but just two years later General Abbud leads a military coup against the civilian government that is elected that year. In the same year, Israel occupies the Sinai peninsula as part of its efforts against Egypt in the Suez Crisis. While its objectives are achieved as part of an agreement with France and Britain, Israel is pressured into withdrawing by the United Nations and even more especially by the USA, which fails to support any of its allies in this affair.

Egyptian Prime Minister Gamal Nasser
Egyptian Prime Minister Gamal Nasser after announcing the nationalisation of the British Suez Canal Company in 1956, sparking a major international crisis

1958 - 1961

Syria and Egypt agree upon the creation of the United Arab Republic, whereby the two countries merge. The agreement lasts until a coup in Syria causes it to secede.

1967

Amid ever-increasing tensions and acrimonious relations with Israel, Egypt expels the UN peacekeepers from the Sinai and announces a partial blockade of Israel's access to the Red Sea. Expecting further military action, several Arab states begin to mobilise their troops. Israel sees this as reason enough to launch a pre-emptive attack against Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Syria, triggering the Yom Kippur War. Jordan loses the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a third of the kingdom, while Israel also gains the Golan Heights and the ancient region of Bashan from Syria, and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, and also temporarily occupies the Sinai peninsula for a second time.

1970 - 1981

Muhammad Anwar El Sadat

Born 1918. Military officer and dictator. Assassinated.

1971

The United Arab Republic of Egypt is re-titled the Arab Republic of Egypt, which name it retains today.

1981

Following a round-up of Islamists who are opposed to his signing of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, Anwar Sadat is assassinated by an undiscovered unit of Jihadists within the military. The wounded Vice-President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak (since 1975) is hustled away from the scene of the shooting by security guards and becomes president while still a member of the military. He remains in the post indefinitely, unelected.

1981 - 2011

Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak

Born 1928. Air Force officer and dictator in all but name.

1990

The First Gulf War is triggered when Kuwait is occupied by Iraq. A United Nations coalition army is assembled in Saudi Arabia under the control of the USA to force them out, and Egyptian soldiers are some of the first to land in Saudi Arabia to show Arab support for Kuwait.

2011

During a wave of popular protests against his dictatorial rule which start in January, Mubarak announces he will not seek 're-election' in September. The protests are triggered by a similar wave of action in Tunisia which ousts a deeply unpopular government there. Protests are also subsequently triggered in Bahrain, Libya, Morocco, Syria and Yemen. By 11 February, the pressure for Mubarak to resign is too strong to resist, and he steps down, handing power to the higher military council of the armed forces which is headed by the defence minister, Hussein Tantawi.

 

During the uprising, little thought is given to a restoration of the Egyptian monarchy. Muhammad Ali himself lives in Paris and works in the property market while his father lives in Switzerland following the birth of his three children and divorce in Paris.

Pyramids
The pyramids have survived almost 5,000 years of dynasties, empires and sultanates, and today stand as the most recognisable symbol of Egypt

2011

Mohamed Hussein Tantawi

Military chief of the higher military council.

Muhammad Ali, Prince of the Sa'id

Son of Ahmad Fuad II and heir. Born 1979.