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date: 08 April 2020


(fl. thirteenth century)
  • Allen J. Fromherz


, sultan of Egypt (r. 1279–1290), was the fifth of the Mamluk sultans of Egypt and Syria. His full name was Al-Malik Al-Mansur Sayf al Din Qalawun al Alfi. Known for his military campaigns, he inherited many of the policies of his predecessor Baybars I.

Like most Mamluk Sultans, Qalawun was purchased as a slave in a region north of the Black Sea. He was sold to the Mamluk, or slave soldier, named al-Saki, for one thousand dinars, hence his sobriquet “al-Alfi,” or “one (purchased for) a thousand” in Arabic. After passing through several owners and completing his military training, Qalawun was manumitted and given the title of amir, or prince. He witnessed the overthrow of the Ayyubid dynasty after the death of Turan Shah in 1249 Once the servants of the Ayyubids the Mamluks took control in the name of order and stability Aybak the first Mamluk ...

A version of this article originally appeared in The Dictionary of African Biography.

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