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History

The Mongols and the Mamluks

The last nomadic group to migrate west from inner Asia, the Mongols, arrived in the 13th century. By 1231 they had overrun Iran and Mesopotamia, and in 1258 they destroyed Baghdad, ending the caliphate of the Abbasids. Originally pagans, the Mongols soon embraced Sunni Islam and became its zealous defenders. The Mamluks, slaves who had advanced to high military and political posts in Egypt, halted the Mongol invasion of Egypt and Syria in 1260. Mamluk general Baybars I became sultan of Egypt, uniting Egypt and Syria into a single state for the next 250 years.

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