One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A member of a regime descended from Turkish, Mongol, and Circassian slaves which ruled Syria (1260–1516) and Egypt (1250–1517), and continued as a ruling military caste in Ottoman Egypt until massacred by the viceroy Muhammad Ali in 1811.
- ‘In the 1770s the Mamelukes came to power in Egypt under the nominal overlordship of the Ottoman Turks.’
- ‘Remarkable for their courage, pride, and cruelty, the Mamelukes waited fearlessly for the French armies.’
- ‘But in a major battle, 1,000 of his cavalry would defeat 1,500 Mamelukes.’
- ‘Up to fourteen thousand Mamelukes and a huge army were defeated by treachery and artillery.’
- ‘For the next 1,300 years, a succession of Arab, Mameluke, and Ottoman caliphs, beys, and sultans ruled the country.’
- ‘France was on friendly terms with Turkey, and Egypt was at least nominally part of the Sultan's empire, though in fact it was ruled by the Mamelukes.’
- ‘I suspect this may be due to Turkish or Mameluke influence.’
- ‘It previously belonged to the Mamelukes, the Crusaders, the Ottoman Turks, and then Britain.’
- ‘Michael Dummett proposes that the Mameluke cards originated from the Indian card game of Ganjifa.’
- ‘The battle was over in less than an hour and the Mamelukes fled, never again a force to be reckoned with.’
- ‘The Mamelukes gradually rose to power through government service before seizing control of Egypt in 1250.’
- ‘Damascus became a provincial capital of the Mameluke Empire around 1260.’
- ‘In 1517 the Ottoman Turks captured Cairo and overthrew the Mamelukes.’
- ‘Giovanni Mansueti's painting, St. Peter Baptizing Anianus, depicts Ottomans and Mamelukes mingling with Venetians.’
- ‘However, the Mamelukes learned of this conspiracy, rose up against the governor and exiled him to Jaffa.’
- ‘He ruled absolutely and brutally and kept the rival Mamelukes under his thumb completely.’
- ‘This time he was permitted to take with him a group of courtiers and a dozen servants - his Mameluke bodyguard, a butler, a cook, three valets, three footmen, an accountant, a pantryman, and a lamp cleaner.’
- ‘In Egypt, the Mamelukes actually seized power.’
- ‘At the end of the day, the Mameluke army had lost 5,000 men, while losses on the French side were barely 300.’
- ‘For his bravery in battle the Pasha's brother presented him with a jeweled sword that was the model for the Mameluke sword that Marine officers carry to this very day.’
From French mameluk, from Arabic mamlūk (passive participle used as a noun meaning ‘slave’), from malaka ‘possess’.
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