Ottoman Empire – Mamluk War of 1516-1517

Ottoman Empire – Mamluk War of 1516-1517. General Sultan Selim the first one against the Safavid Shah Ismail at the Battle of CHALDIRAN in 1514 and even occupied the capital of the Safavid Tabriz but soon he was forced to leave the city due to the food situation and to avoid mutiny among his soldiers still the Ottomans were able to annex most of Eastern Anatolia and parts of northern Iran.

Caucasus due to this battle the eastern borders of the Ottoman Empire were relatively secure for decades but new challenges in the region forced Salim to strengthen the frontier the Ramazan deeds and Doe Kadir were two Turkic Bey lakes that were left somewhat independent as buffers between the Ottomans and the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt in the summer of 1515 Selim ended this independence.

Thus completing the conquest of Anatolia battle with the Mamluks was now inevitable but who were the Mamluks in the 9th century the Abbasid Caliphate started the practice of enslaving young boys mostly from the Turkic tribes but also from among the Circassians and the Orthodox Christians these slaves received military training but also learned tactics religion languages and Sciences they were then freed and served.

European Crusaders

As the guards for the Muslim Sultan the Mamluks often gained influence and came to power founding ruling dynasties in Central Asia Mesopotamia and India by 1260 the Turkic man of the Egyptian I ubud Sultanate managed to wrestle power away from them and established their Barre dynasty between 1260 and 1323 the Mamluks stopped attacks from the European Crusaders and Mongol ilk are not most famously.

During the Battle of Angel eart and consolidated their rule over Egypt and Syria even though Armenian Silesia fell to them by 1375 the Turkic Sultan was losing their influence over their Mamluk brethren and in 1382 they were toppled by the Circassian Burgi dynasty over the following decades this new dynasty strengthened its positions in Anatolia by bringing the Ramazan aides and Tokyo into their sphere of influence despite rivalry over the spice trade and religious problems stemming.

From the fact that the Mamluks kept the Abbasid caliphs as hostages the Ottomans and the Mamluks were neutral through the 14th and 15th centuries only fighting in a border conflict between 1485 and 1491 this short war ended in a stalemate and the sides signed a peace treaty however, this peace didn’t last long as the rise of the Safavids and Shiism would change the balance of power in the region the Mamluks.

Mamluk War

Hopes that the Safavids and Ottomans would weaken each other so when Shah Ismail first sent envoys to the European states to ask for an Ottoman alliance in the early 1500s the Mamluks allowed them to let the Ottomans know about it and pressured the Mamluks not to allow the envoys to return to his mail as the Safavids had decisively lost the Battle of Chell Duran in 1514 and the Ramazan aides and doe Kadir were occupied.

It was becoming clear to the Mamluk Sultan Algorri that his realm would be attacked by the Ottomans next so he accepted an offer of Alliance from Ismail the First in 1516 algorri marched to Syria leaving his Vizier Tumen Bey in Cairo the Ottoman Mamluk war had started unfortunately for the mamluk sultan the ottomans were at peace with all their European neighbors and Ismail didn’t have enough of a force to threaten them so Selim was able to assemble all of his troops against them.

In April the Ottoman leader sent his Vizier Sinan Pasha with the Vanguard to capture the crucial pass through the Taurus Mountains but the cavalry-heavy army of Algorri was faster and took control of the passages Sinan Pasha was forced to wait for Selim who arrived in Konya in July the Ottoman Sultan wasn’t eager to fight in a narrow passage at this point the Ottoman sources diverge from the Arab and Persian sources as they claimed.

Ottoman Empire

Ismail managed to send an army to help the ma’am looks but this army was defeated by the Ottomans somewhere in eastern Anatolia in any case Selim the first decided to bypass the Taurus Mountains and moved to Malaysia at the same time Algorri understanding that he might be outflanked retreated from his position to Aleppo Selim was now marching to the south and although the Mamluks attempted to make peace the ottomans ignored it.

Even killed the Mamluk envoys as reported by the Arab sources these sources are also conflicted about the number of troops the Mamluks had anywhere from twenty to fifty thousand soldiers while Salim had between 30 and 60 thousand the Mamluks had a limited amount of gunpowder weapons and no artillery but their heavy horsemen were off the highest quality and were undefeated in the field the sides met at a place called marj debit on the 24th of august there are multiple descriptions of the battle.

But we will present just one of them the Mamluk sultan placed his cavalry in a reversed Crescent with infantry in the second line he was in the center with the governor of Damascus to his right and the governor of Aleppo to his left meanwhile the Ottomans placed their cavalry on the flanks with the light cannons on the right side of the second line the Sultan and his guard in the center and the Janissaries armed with gunpowder weapons on the left, their cannons were placed.

Battle of Mamluks

On wagons in the rear, the Alcaraz army was in a more mobile formation and they used that early in the battle starting their attack in a crescent and shifting their left flank forward this worked as the Ottoman cavalry on the right side was forced to flee after the charge of the heavy Mamluk cavalry while we left slowly retreated under the combined pressure of the Mamluk right and center the Mamluk left continued its assault but was greeted by a volley from the light ottoman cannons on the right.

They moved back the Mamluks shifted their line again and pushed the Ottoman center the details are unclear but it seems that Selim took direct command and achieved an orderly retreat behind the wagons the Ottoman heavy cannons opened fire upon the enemy and the Mamluk center was shocked and had to retreat while this was happening the Mamluk right finally forced the Ottoman cavalry Bank that was met by the Janissary guns algorri then ordered his left to swing back.

And charged the Ottomans from the right and rear but this order was ignored these sources are inconsistent but it seems that the governor of Aleppo either betrayed his Sultan or was sure that the battle was lost he left the battlefield taking the infantry with him the Ottoman cavalry used the disarray of the Mamluk army most of it was surrounded and killed along with algerie the number of losses is unclear but the Ottoman casualties were at least 10,000.

History of Sultan Salim

While the Mamluk heavy cavalry elite was gone Salim’s conquest of Syria was easy as the majority of the Mamluk Garrison was defeated at Marj Dabiq still he needed time to secure his position procure supplies and allow his Navy to join the army in Syria so he sent his Vizier Sinan Pasha in command of the vanguard to occupy the crucial coastal castles meanwhile in Cairo Tumen Bey became the Sultan and started recruiting a new army he rejected the offer to become an ottoman vassal and the envoys were killed.

Tumen Bey knew that the fortresses were of utmost importance if he wanted to keep the Ottomans at bay so he sent his vanguard to the region once again the numbers were debated but the two Vanguard encountered each other at a place called Khan Younis in late October the battle started with volleys from the ottoman artillery Mamluk general al-Ghazali knew that his cavalry would not be able to withstand the Ottoman gunpowder weapons for long so he ordered a charge.

The Mamluk Army

However, this was just a feint and after the initial clash the Mamluk started retreating towards the valley to the south the ottoman horsemen followed them and the two cavalry units fought each other in the valley for some time as the elite Mamluk knights died in merged a big and the recruits were still inexperienced the battle was in the balance when the ottoman gunpowder units finally arrived they shot at the flanks of the Mamluk army.

The fight was soon over the Mamluks lost up to 5,000 while the Ottoman casualties were light after this defeat the remaining Mamluk forces were concentrated near Cairo at the same time the Ottoman Navy finally arrived and Selim started his march towards Egypt the journey through the Sinai desert was difficult but the navy supplied the Ottoman army and in January of 1517 it entered Egypt on the 22nd of January Tumen Bay clashed with Salim at a place called rad Aniyah.

Battle of the Ottoman

On the outskirts of Cairo, the Mamluks recently bought 300 cannons from the Venetians and they were placed in the moats meanwhile the Ottomans had placed their artillery on the hills behind their positions the artillery duel was short and ended with an Ottoman victory as the Mamluks didn’t have enough experience to operate their new weapons the ottomans then sent volleys against the Mamluk cavalry which charged to take the hill and the artillery, however, this charge was stopped by volleys from the Janissaries.

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At this point, Selim implemented a flanking maneuver which surprised the Mamluks their army was dispersed and left the field the ottoman vanguard took Cairo without any resistance but it was a trap and on the 26th Tumen Bey’s forces entered the city and destroyed the vanguard in a quick battle the Ottoman Sultan learned about this on the 27th and sent his Janissaries to retake the city the local population joined.

Tumen Bey’s fighting in the city continued until the 3rd of February when the Ottomans finally regained control it is said that tens of thousands of Cairo citizens were killed among them most of the Mamluk nobility Shuman Bay continued his resistance for a few more months but was captured and executed in march the conquest of Syria and Egypt was finalized in three years selling the first doubled the territory of the ottoman empire the East was pacified.

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