Post-classical history

Tūrān Shāh (d. 1250)

Trnān Shāh ibn al-Sālih Najm al-Dīn Ayyûb (royal title al- Mu‘azzam) was the last Ayyûbid sultan of Egypt (March- May 1250).

He was one of four sons of Sultan al-Sālih, and he acted as his father’s deputy at Hisn Kayfa and other dominions of Diyar Bakr until al-Sālih‘s death. Al-Sālih constantly turned down his commanders’ advice to recall Tūrān Shāh to his father’s court in Egypt; neither did he nominate him (or anyone else) as successor to the Ayyūbid sultanate during his final illness, even though the army of the first Crusade of Louis IX of France (1248-1254) had occupied the eastern part of the Nile Delta.

When al-Sālih died (November 1249), his widow Shajar al-Durr, with the help of two commanders, concealed his death from the army and the locals, fearing a collapse in morale in the struggle against the crusaders. Shajar al-Durr dispatched an embassy to Hisn Kayfa to summon Tūrān Shāh to Cairo to assume the sultanate. Tūrān Shāh came with a small force via Damascus to Egypt, where he took power in early March, with the full support of his father’s widow and the commanders of the mamluk troops (military slaves). In April 1250 King Louix IX was defeated in the Delta, althoughTūrān Shāh made little personal contribution to the Ayyūbid victory. He showed ingratitude to his fathers’ commanders, replacing some of them with his Iraqi companions, and further isolated himself by threatening and even killing them while drunk. Encouraged by Shajar al-Durr, the mamluk commanders, led by Baybars and Aqtay, murdered Tūrān Shāh in a brutal fashion (May 1250). This coup marked the inception of the Mamlūk sultanate in Egypt, and King Louis was allowed to leave Egypt for Palestine in the same month.

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