Mameluk Massacre 1811

Mameluk Massacre 1811

Muhammad Ali Pasha

Overthrow of Khorshid Pasha

Khorshid Pasha

  • Napoleon's armies packed up and left the Mahrousa in 1801 after the failure of their famous campaign in Egypt and left behind a seething country. The Mamluks were divided into rival alliances for power, some with external support from the British and some from the troubled Egyptian interior.
  • Muhammad Ali Pasha al-Masud ibn Ibrahim Agha Quli al-Albanian, Ottoman governor of Egypt, founder of the Alawite dynasty and ruler of Egypt between 1805 and 1848.
  • Mohammed Ali Basha Born in 1769 in Kola For a Muslim family, Macedonia (Greece), At the age of ten, he worked with his father in the tobacco trade and ship charter, and succeeded his father as head of irregular soldiers.
  • He came to Egypt in 1799 as part of an Ottoman military division to work to drive the French out of Egypt, but the Ottoman forces were defeated at the site of "The naval battle of Abu Qir", and then he returned to his country.
  • He came again to Egypt in 1801 as part of the army of Captain Hussein, who came to help the British evacuate the French from Egypt, The deputy commander of the Albanian battalion.
  • After the evacuation of the French campaign, he was promoted to the rank of Major General, and then nominated for the post of Chief of the General Command and Commander of the Palaces Guard to the Governor-General.
  • On July 9, 1805, the Ottoman Sultan agreed to the request of the scholars, appointed Muhammad Ali as governor of Egypt and deposed Khurshid Pasha.

Who are the Mamluks ?

Izz ad-Din Aybek is the reason the Mamluks came to rule Egypt
  • The story of the Mamluks is truly a breakthrough in the history of peoples. They were nothing but slaves who were brought in their early childhood years by the Ayyubids, to protect the Ayyubid throne and their king from demise and to be their big stick against any aggressor, most of them were kidnapped or stolen from their families,  like the enslaved people in every time and place.
  • But they were luckier than others, instead of ending up in a horse stable or farm or lying in the street, they became close to the sultans of the Ayyubid state, so they freed them and enrolled them in the army and began to train and learn various combat arts, war plans and army management, thus forming a strong army whose first and last loyalty is to the Ayyubid Sultan and receives its instructions and tasks from him personally and is desperate to defend him and his throne.
  • Until they were finally able to reach the throne after the marriage of one of their leaders, Izz al-Din Aybek, to Shajar al-Durr, the widow of King Ayyub, And Shajar al-Durr by virtue of this marriage handed him the throne of Egypt, and under the leadership of Saif al-Din Qutz and Rukn al-Din Baybars, they were able to confront and eliminate the threat of the Mongols.
  • Years passed and an era of intrigue, intrigue and rivalry began between the Mamluks, so the Mamluk leaders turned to madness and threw away the  cloak of discipline and wisdom that they had always hiding behind, and abandoned their previous role in protecting the throne and turned against the kings and broke their treaties, until it was said that the Mamluks made a covenant in the morning to break it before noon.
  • And they remained so until Selim I succeeded in eliminating the period of their rule and the victory over the brave commander Tuman Bey in ridaniya.
  • They despised the country and the people, and no one was spared from their oppression, neither near nor far, neither slave nor master. The people of Egypt complained about them to Khurshid Pasha, but he replied, "People who labored for months and days, enduring the heat and cold, until they drove the French away from your land, Don't you  accept them as a neighbors and provide them with housing!".

Ibrahim Bey's troubles

Ibrahim Bey
  • Because of the anger of the Egyptians against Khorshid Pasha, who is loyal to the Mamluks, and after issuing a decree appointing Muhammad Ali as governor of Egypt in 1905, the Egyptians, led by "Omar Makram" He was the leader of the class of the honorable and masters of the Egyptians, rallied around Muhammad Ali until they stood in the face of the Ottoman state when it wanted to replace Muhammad Ali with another governor, Then they stood by him against the English campaign on Rashid, which was sponsored by the Mamluks and Khorshid Pasha, of course, because they wanted to rule Egypt in any way because they see themselves as the original rulers of Egypt, but Muhammad Ali was able to defeat the English and exiled the conspirators to Upper Egypt, but he pardoned them later.
  • When Muhammad Ali wanted to rule Egypt on his own, he faced many issues that he had to get rid of, such as the popular leadership, the Albanian soldiers, and the Mamluks. 
  • and neither attempts at reconciliation nor attempts to appease them with money made them softed to Muhammad Ali as they only wanted to rule Egypt.
  • so he wanted to appease Ibrahim Bey, the leader of the Mamluks and gave him the rule of Upper Egypt in exchange for Ibrahim Bey's commitment to paying taxes and not helping the Mamluks to the English, and Ibrahim Bey agreed
  • after that Ibrahim Bey betrayed Muhammad Ali and did not pay the taxes imposed on him to the state, and Ibrahim Bey took shelter with his supporters, who are many in Upper Egypt, and allied with the English against Muhammad Ali, after the English convinced him that he would be the ruler of all Egypt.
  • Thus, the Mamluks became a big headache for Muhammad Ali and he had to get rid of them.

The Death Procession

Mameluk Massacre 1811
  • The opportunity came to Muhammad Ali on a golden platter when the Ottoman Sultan sent to Muhammad Ali asking him to prepare armies and go out to fight the Wahhabi movement in the Arabian Peninsula, which is attributed to Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, which was initially calling for a religious direction and then deviated to the political direction.
  • At that time, Muhammad Ali received news that the Mamluks were planning to assassinate him to reach power.
  • Muhammad Ali worried that if the army went out at this time and left Muhammad Ali alone and unprotected, the Mamluks would think of seizing this opportunity and eliminating him.
  • Muhammad Ali thought with the shrewd Lazogli Pasha to seize this opportunity and eliminate them, and Lazogli Pasha and Muhammad Ali Pasha agreed on a diabolical idea, which was to invite the Mamluk leaders to come to the castle under the pretext that he would hold a party to bid farewell to the army that is going to fight the Wahhabis, and he invited the Mamluks in all parts of Egypt and the Mamluk leaders did not doubt the integrity of Muhammad Ali's intention at all, They saw themselves as more powerful and shrewd than him.
  • All the invitees responded and arrived on the appointed date of March 1, 1811, as requested by the governor of Egypt, fully decked out and riding their thoroughbred horses.
  • Muhammad Ali wove the threads of his deadly deception from the moment he received the Mamluk princes in the grand reception hall, where he greeted them with great warmth, offered them coffee and thanked them for their presence, brought them close to him, and entertained them with food and conversation, and they were deceived by his kindness.
  • As soon as the ceremony was over, he invited them to march in the army's farewell procession. He made sure to place them between the front of the army leaving for the war and the rear of the procession made up of Albanian mercenaries he had specially deputed for this task,
  • The Mamluk Princes without any knowledge and with stupid smiles on their lips are now trapped between the jaws of Muhammad Ali.

The streets of cairo are drenched in blood

Salah al-Din Citadel and Bab al-Azab, between which the Mamluk massacre was erected
  • Saladin's citadel in Cairo was still the seat of power for the successive kings of Egypt at the time, and the procession marched down the steep, rugged road towards Bab al-Azab, which is the citadel's door from the western side, and all these features are still present in Egypt today.
  • The army in the front and the steep road played an important role in blocking the view of the Mamluks, who did not realize what was happening behind them, while the rugged terrain contributed to minimizing the chances of escape and survival.
  • As soon as Muhammad Ali's army, led by his son Tosun Pasha, passed the door of the Azab, it was closed from the outside, and the soldiers ahead of them turned to face them with their guns, while the men of the battalion behind the Mamluks climbed the high rocks and walls from different sides.
  • A shot rang out; it was only the signal for the beginning of the massacre. Only then did the Mamluks realize that they had fallen into a trap, but the bullets of the governor's soldiers did not give them time to even think, as they rained down on their heads from every direction.
  • Muhammad Ali's plan was so well thought out that the Mamluks unarmed except for the swords they wore for decoration, had no means of survival. What would a sword do in the face of this hail of bullets?
  • Some of the men fell to the ground, with little resistance on their horses wading in pools of their own blood, while others succeeded in dismounting from their horses, shedding their heavy, gaudy clothes, and scaling the walls, hoping to escape the mass grave dug for them by Muhammad Ali.
  • However, those who succeeded in climbing the rocks or walls were killed by the bullets of the soldiers stationed on the walls, and their bodies fell to the steep road and piled up next to other bodies trampled by horses terrified by the sound of bullets.
  • All the Mamluks who attended the celebration died. Historians say that only one Mamluk managed to escape the massacre, called Amin Bey, who jumped with his horse from the castle wall, fell unconscious, and the horse died from the severity of the fall.
  • They stole his weapons and money and beat him with swords severely in his neck, but he did not die, but a group of people found him, so he hid with them and treated him until he recovered, but no one knows where he is, so rumors abound that he went to Syria and went to Sudan, and that massacre resulted in the death of more than 1000 Mamluks.
  • Muhammad Ali was not satisfied with killing the Mamluks in the castle, but his soldiers went to the Mamluk homes and killed everyone in them in the streets.
  • There is a neighborhood in Egypt called Al-Darb Al-Ahmar  ( Red Trail ) and it was named like this because of the large amount of blood that was flowing in the streets of this neighborhood from the bodies of the murdered Mamluks.
  • After that, Muhammad Ali ruled Egypt alone, and he came to rule Egypt with iron and fire, but to be fair, Muhammad Ali's rule of Egypt was one of the most prosperous periods of Egypt's rule in education, culture, military power, agriculture, and industry.

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