Ayyubid Empire (Sultanate)

Ayyubid Empire (Sultanate, 1171-1252) was an Egyptian sultanate founded by  Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub or Saladin. Salah al-Din established the Ayyubid Sultanate after disbanding the Fatimid caliph in 1171. At its height the empire included Egypt, Syria, and Yemen.

Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub (Saladin)


Saladin was a Kurd born in Tikrit, Iraq. Between 1164-1169, he served with the Syrian army allied with the Fatimid Empire against Christian Crusaders. In 1169 he was made commander of the Syrian army and based in Egypt. In 1171, he took power from the Fatimid caliph, under the notion the caliphate had become decadent. By doing so, he made Sunni Islam the state religion, re-aligning Egypt with the Sunni Abassid Caliphate. Saladin also revived the practice of importing slave solders from Turkey, composed of Mongols and Turks. Mamluks formed a disciplined and skilled cavalry. Eventually, Mamuks earned their freedom. Taxed farms called iqta were issued to soldiers in return for payment of service. These farms generated income to Mamluk soldiers. The more powerful Mamluks with huge farms eventually began taking the title of amir.  By 1174, Saladin engaged in expansion by taking Syria and incorporating Yemen, under Ayyubid rule. After combining muslim armies, he reconquered Jerusalem in 1187. Even with strong military opposition to Christian Crusaders, Saladin could not keep the Crusaders at bay. In 1189, he fought Christians in the Third Crusade. This time he signed an agreement with King Richard I of England for the establishment of a Christian settlement along the Palestinian/Syrian coast, leaving Jerusalem in Muslim hands. 

Mamluk Rule

More Info: Mamluk Empire

The sultanate was taken over by the Mamluk soldiers in 1250.

List of Sultans of Ayyubid Sultanate


1171-1193 Saladin
1193-1198 al Aziz Uthman
1198-1200 Nasir ad Din Muhammad
1200-1218 al-Adil Abu Bakr I (Saphadine)
1218-1238 Malik al-Kamil
1238-1240 al-Adil Abu Bakr II
1240-1249 as-Salih Aiyub




tags: egypt