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Post by CptCrape on Sun Jul 16, 2017 2:09 am

In 1511, the long-oppressed Coptic Christians revolted against the decadent Mamlukean Sultanate. Ezra Nasrallah, a local Coptic reformer and former mercenary from Luxor, proclaimed a holy war against the authority of Sultan Qansuh al-Ghawri. The revolt was small at first, but gained speed as Coptic men from the upper nile joined the ranks of Nasrallahs army. The revolt also saw the support of Christian Monarchs in Europe, namely Sigismund I of Poland and Louis XII of France. Ironically, the revolt also saw support from the Ottoman Sultan, Selim I.

The revolt continued gaining speed in 1512, especially as Nubian Coptic Warriors emerged from the south to help in the revolt. By 1513, Nasrallah's armies had conquered from Dongola in Nubia all the way up to Qena in Egypt. However, Nasrallah's armies were halted at Qena, as by mid 1513 al-Ghawri had successfully raised levies in the Nile River Valley and was mounting a counter offensive. Both Armies saw significant losses, but as 1513 drew to a close, Nasrallah was defeated at Qena and lost the city. By 1514, Nasrallah was pushed back to his home town and unofficial capital, Luxor. As the city was about to be lost, Nasrallah's top general was killed by a Mamluk spy. Without the military leadership, the revolt was going to fail, but as Nasrallah began to prepare for the inevitable defeat, an advisor gave him news that a young captain had taken matters into his own hands and successfully fended off a numerically superior Mamluk army. The Captain was Youssef Zaia, he would be promoted to general the next day.

As the city was now safe, the armies began to assemble under the leadership of youssef Zaia. New conscripts included Balkan Christians, Nubians, Italian and Portugese mercenaries, and an Ethiopian expeditionary force sent by Dawit II. Zaia led a force out of city to Qus (to the north) where the Mamluk army was camped. He struck at night, ambushing the army and ransacking the city. He followed the routed force until reaching Qena, where the Mamlukian Army was. He struck first directly at the mamlukian lines, scoring some crucial victories early in the battle. After days of fighting, the Mamlukean forces were defeated, and Zaia was free to push up the Nile.

The Mamlukean Army quickly recuperated their losses and by 1515 they were ready to fight. But, one thing stood in their way, a letter. The letter was from the Ottoman Sultan, it was a declaration of war. The armies morale was promptly ruined, there was simply no way they could fight Nasrallah and Selim. In a frantic turn of events, the army was split up and turned around to go fight the Turks. What was left of the army was garrisoned in Thata, prepared to fight, but not large enough to do so. When Zaia arrived in the city he quickly destroyed them. Now with the upper Nile firmly in Nasrallah's grasp, the lower Nile was next.

By 1517, the Mamluks were falling apart, what was left of the Sultans court had been evacuated to Alexandria, should Cairo fall. The Turks had already made it to Gaza, now it was only a matter of crossing the Sinai desert, no easy task. The Mamluks had now arranged their armies, ready to defend Alexandria. Zaia was halted at Cairo, his army was struggling to capture the City. However, this would change, spies reported that a breech had been made in the walls. Upon hearing the news, Zaia immediately shifted his force and attacked that spot, crumbling the wall, once inside, he pillaged and raped. After hearing about the fall of Cairo, al-Ghawri sent his final command, the army is to defend Alexandria until they either die or win. The army was suffering from low supply and desertion, so it couldn't mount reasonable defense against the city, so in early 1518, the city fell. al-Ghawri was killed and the Mamlukean sultanate was officially ended. And out of the ashes, the Coptic Empire was declared. However its future was uncertain as the Copts made up no more than a quarter of it's population, Zaia had gained more political power than he could be trusted with, and the Turks had pushed down to Sinai.

Map of the Coptic Empire under Ezra Nasrallah, 1518.

(P.S. if there is any problems with consistancy, writing, grammer, spelling, etc. OR if I posted this on the wrong forum, tell me.)

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Post by Thorfinn Karlsefni on Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:54 pm

Excellent. Except of course, the Copts were always peacefull. An mass uprising in support of the 5th Crusade two centuries earlier might have ousted the Mamluks while Copts were still the majority in Egypt. But that was not to be, as Coptic Christians have maintained a more or less pacifist political stance since before Christianity was legalized in the Roman Empire.

But that's not to say they could not have been pushed to the point of rising up! I'm looking forward to part 2...
Thorfinn Karlsefni

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