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al-Manṣūr Qalāwūn
al-Malik al-Manṣūr
  • kassim amir al-mu'minin''
For a time, Mamluk sultans after him received their coronation here.
Sultan of Egypt
ReignNovember 1279 – 10 November 1290
Successoral-Ashraf Khalil
Bornc. 1222
DiedNovember 10, 1290 (aged 67–68)
Cairo, Egypt
  • Fatima Khatun
  • Qutqutiya Khatun
  • Sitt Ashlun Khatun
Royal nameالملك الْمَنْصُور سيف الدّين قَلَاوُونَ بن عبد الله الألفي العلائي الصَّالِحِي
HouseQalawunid dynasty
DynastyBahri Mamluks
ReligionSunni Islam

Qalāwūn aṣ-Ṣāliḥī (Arabic: قلاوون الصالحي, c. 1222 – November 10, 1290) was the seventh Turkic Bahri Mamluk Sultan of Egypt; he ruled from 1279 to 1290. He was called al-Manṣūr Qalāwūn (المنصور قلاوون, "Qalāwūn the Victorious").[1] After having risen in power in the Mamluk court and elite circles, Qalawun eventually held the title of "the victorious king" and gained de facto authority over the sultanate. He is the founder of the Qalawunid dynasty that ruled Egypt for over a century.

The current sultan, Barakah was exiled and rumored to have been poisoned by Qalawun. He would then wage war against the Crusaders, capturing lands held by the County of Tripoli, and later totally defeating them in 1289. Acre, a major Crusader stronghold was besieged by Qalawun but would only be taken by his son al-Ashraf Khalil as the former died before the siege was won in 1291. His son Khalil succeeded him as sultan.

Biography and rise to power


Qalawun Originally from the bahir Mamluks, they are children who were touched by slavery because they were kidnapped from their parents or sold from poverty[needs copy edit], and they end up in Cairo, where one of the sultans or princes frees the Mamluk, supervises his upbringing and the Mamluk arises in Cairo.[2]

He became a mamluk (slave soldier) in the 1240s after being sold to a member of Sultan al-Kamil's household. Qalawun was known as al-Alfī ("the Thousander"), because as-Salih Ayyub bought him for a thousand dinars of gold.

Qalawun initially barely spoke Arabic, but he rose in power and influence where he then became an emir under Sultan Baibars,[a] whose son, al-Said Barakah, was married to Qalawun's daughter. Baibars died in 1277 and was succeeded by Barakah. In early 1279, as Barakah and Qalawun invaded the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, there was a revolt in Egypt that forced Barakah to abdicate upon his return home. He was succeeded by his brother Solamish, but it was Qalawun, acting as atabeg, who was the true holder of power. Because Solamish was only seven years old, Qalawun argued that Egypt needed an adult ruler, and Solamish was sent into exile in Constantinople in late 1279.[4][5] As a result, Qalawun took the title al-Malik al-Manṣūr ("the victorious king").

The governor of Damascus, Sunqur al-Ashqar, did not agree with Qalawun's ascent to power and declared himself sultan. Sunqur's claim of leadership, however, was repelled in 1280, when Qalawun defeated him in battle.[6] In 1281, Qalawun and Sunqur reconciled as a matter of convenience when Abaqa Khan, head of the Ilkhanate, invaded Syria. Qalawun and Sunqur, working together, successfully repelled Abaqa's attack at the Second Battle of Homs.

Barakah, Solamish, and their brother Khadir were exiled to al-Karak, the former Crusader castle. Barakah died there in 1280 (it was rumored that Qalawun had him poisoned), and Khadir gained control of the castle, until 1286 when Qalawun took it over directly.

In 1282 he founded Ribat al-Mansuri, a ribat (hospice) next to the Ḥaram ash-Sharīf in Jerusalem.[7] The nearby Ribāṭ Kurt al-Manṣūrī was founded by Kurd al-Manṣūrī, a mamluk of Qalawun.[8]

Mamluk diplomacy

The siege of Tripoli by the Mamluks of Qalawun in 1289.

As Baibars had done previously, Qalawun entered into land control treaties with the remaining Crusader states, military orders and individual lords who wished to remain independent; he recognized Tyre and Beirut as separate from the Kingdom of Jerusalem, now centered on Acre.[9][10] The treaties were always in Qalawun's favor, and his treaty with Tyre mandated that the city would not build new fortifications, would stay neutral in conflicts between the Mamluks and other Crusaders, and Qalawun would be allowed to collect half the city's taxes.

In 1281 Qalawun also negotiated an alliance with Michael VIII Palaiologos of the Byzantine Empire to bolster resistance against Charles I of Naples, who was threatening both the Byzantine Empire and the Kingdom of Jerusalem. In 1290, he concluded trade alliances with the Republic of Genoa and the Kingdom of Sicily.

Wars against the Crusader states

The Qalawun complex (mausoleum-madrasa-maristan) on Muizz Street, Bayn al-Qasrayn

Undeterred by the terms of these newly formed peace treaties, Qalawun sacked the "impregnable" Hospitaller fortress of Margat in 1285, and established a Mamluk garrison there. He also captured and destroyed the castle of Maraclea. He captured Latakia in 1287 and Tripoli on April 27, 1289, thus ending the Crusader County of Tripoli. The Fall of Tripoli in 1289 was spurred by the Venetians and the Pisans, who opposed rising Genoese influence in the area. In 1290, reinforcements of King Henry arrived in Acre and drunkenly slaughtered peaceable merchants and peasants, Christians and Muslims alike.

Qalawun sent an embassy to ask for an explanation and above all to demand that the murderers be handed over for punishment. The Frankish response was divided between those who sought to appease him and those who sought a new war. Having received neither an explanation nor the murderers themselves, Qalawun decided that the ten-year truce he had formed with Acre in 1284 had been broken by the Franks. He subsequently besieged the city that same year. He died in Cairo on 10 November 1290, before taking the city, but Acre was captured the next year by his son al-Ashraf Khalil.

Despite Qalawun's distrust of his son, Khalil succeeded him following his death. Khalil continued his father's policy of replacing Turkish Mamluks with Circassians, which eventually led to conflict within the Mamluk ranks. Khalil was assassinated by the Turks in 1293, but Qalawun's legacy continued when his younger son, an-Nasir Muhammad, claimed power.



Qalawun's first wife was Fatima Khatun, known as Umm Salih.[11] She was the daughter of Sayf ad-Din Karmun (Karamūm), a Mongol commander from the Golden Horde who had integrated the Mamluks.[12] They married in 1265–66. She was the mother of his eldest son, as-Salih Ali[13] (died 2 September 1288[14]) and Ghaziya Khatun.[15] She died in 1283–84, and was buried in her own mausoleum in Southern Cemetery, Cairo.[11]

After her death, he married her sister, the widow of Sayf ad-Din Kunduk.[16] Another wife was Qutqutiya Khatun. She was the mother of his second son, Sultan al-Ashraf Khalil.[17][18]

Another wife was Sitt Ashlun Khatun (Ašlūn), the daughter of an Ilkhanate Mongol notable named Suktay bin Qarajin bin Jighan Nuwan (Šaktāy) who also had joined the Mamluks.[19] They married in 1282. She was the mother of his third son, Sultan an-Nasir Muhammad.[20][19] An-Nasir Muhammad was raised and behaved in Mongol fashion until the age of 29, until he had a change of mood after an illness in 1315, which led him and his followers to "shave their heads [...] and give up their flowing locks".[19]

Another wife was the daughter of Amir Shams ad-Din Sunqur al-Takriti al-Zahiri. They married in 1288–89. Qalawun, however, dissolved the marriage shortly thereafter.[14] Another son was Amir Ahmad, who died during the reign of his brother al-Ashraf Khalil.[21] Qalawun's daughter Ghaziya Khatun was betrothed to as-Said Barakah (son of Sultan Baibars) on 28 May 1276, with a dowry of five thousand dinars. The wedding took place on 8 June 1277.[22] She died in August 1288,[23] and was buried in the mausoleum of her mother.[15] Another daughter was Dar Mukhatar al-Jawhari (Altumish). She was the wife of Mukhtar al-Jawhari.[21] Another daughter was Dar Anbar al-Kamili. She was the wife of Anbar al-Kamili.[21]

See also



  1. ^ Upon the death of Faris ad-Din Aktai in 1254, Bahri Mamluks (including Baibars and Qalawun) fled to an-Nasir Yusuf in Syria,[3] then returned to Egypt during the reign of Qutuz.


  1. ^ Rabbat, Nasser O. (2021). The Citadel of Cairo. Brill. p. 136. ISBN 978-90-04-49248-6. When Qalāwūn assumed the throne in 1280, he took the regnal title al-manṣūr (the victorious).
  2. ^ Atlas of the History of the Mamluk Period, p. 13.
  3. ^ Humphreys 1977, p. 326.
  4. ^ Dobrowolski, Jarosław (2001). The Living Stones of Cairo. American Univ in Cairo Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-977-424-632-6.
  5. ^ Crawford, Paul (2003). The 'Templar of Tyre': Part III of the 'Deeds of the Cypriots'. Ashgate. p. 77. ISBN 978-1-84014-618-9.
  6. ^ Michael Chamberlain (2002). Knowledge and Social Practice in Medieval Damascus, 1190-1350. Cambridge University Press. p. 99. ISBN 978-0-521-52594-7.
  7. ^ Burgoyne, 1987, p. 131
  8. ^ M. H. Burgoyne (1973). "The Continued Survey of the Ribāt Kurd/Madrasa Jawhariyya Complex in Ṭarīq Bāb Al-Ḥadīd, Jerusalem". Levant. 5: 12–35. doi:10.1179/lev.1973.5.1.12.
  9. ^ Crawford, p. 61.
  10. ^ Holt, Peter M. (1995). Early Mamluk Diplomacy, 1260-1290: Treaties of Baybars and Qalāwūn with Christian Rulers. BRILL. pp. 106–17. ISBN 90-04-10246-9.
  11. ^ a b Williams, C. (2008). Islamic Monuments in Cairo: The Practical Guide. American University in Cairo Press. p. 143. ISBN 978-977-416-205-3.
  12. ^ Vermeulen, Urbain; Smet, Daniel De (1995). Egypt and Syria in the Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk Eras. Peeters Publishers. p. 313. ISBN 978-90-6831-683-4.
  13. ^ Northrup 1998, p. 116.
  14. ^ a b Northrup 1998, p. 143.
  15. ^ a b Bauden, Frédéric. "The Qalawunids: A Pedigree" (PDF). University of Chicago. Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  16. ^ Northrup 1998, pp. 116–17.
  17. ^ Kennedy, H.N. (2001). The Historiography of Islamic Egypt: (c. 950 - 1800). Sinica Leidensia. Brill. p. 37. ISBN 978-90-04-11794-5.
  18. ^ Ben-Bassat, Y. (2017). Developing Perspectives in Mamluk History: Essays in Honor of Amalia Levanoni. Islamic History and Civilization. Brill. p. 29. ISBN 978-90-04-34505-8.
  19. ^ a b c Vermeulen, Urbain; Smet, Daniel De (1995). Egypt and Syria in the Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk Eras. Peeters Publishers. p. 314. ISBN 978-90-6831-683-4.
  20. ^ Northrup 1998, p. 117.
  21. ^ a b c Northrup 1998, p. 158.
  22. ^ Northrup 1998, p. 75.
  23. ^ Northrup 1998, p. 142.


Cadet branch of the Mamluk Sultanate
Born: c. 1222 Died: 10 November 1290
Regnal titles
Preceded by Sultan of Egypt and Syria
November 1279 – 10 November 1290
Succeeded by