The Arabic term Mamlūk literally means owned or slave, and was used for the white Turkish slaves of pagan origins, purchased from Central Asia and the Eurasian steppes by Muslim rulers to serve as soldiers in their armies. During the 630s/1230s and 640s/1240s the Saljuq sultanate of Anatolia, Lesser Armenia in Cilicia, the northern Crusader principality of Antioch, and Georgia accepted Mongol suzerainty, a relationship that endangered Syria. In the wake of the Mongol invasion of Syria, an influx of civilian and military refugees poured into Egypṫ Fugitives from the defeated Ayyūbid armies, and Turcomans and Kurds who had arrived in Syria earlier in flight from the Mongols, all joined the Mamlūk army. Barqūq’s seizure of power in 784/1382 symbolises the restoration of the nondynastic Mamlūk sultanate, and the move from a Turkish to a Circassian sultanate. Mamlūks of Circassian origin formed the majority in the army and the sultans were drawn from their numbers.
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