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Ali Bey Al-Kabir (Arabic: علي بك الكبي ‎) (1728 — May 8, 1773) was a Mamluk leader of Egypt from 1760 to 1772. He was born in 1728, in Western Georgia (Mingrelia). His father was a Georgian monk. In 1741 he was kidnapped by Turkish soldiers.

Born in Georgia of a Christian family, he was kidnapped and sold out in slavery in Cairo in 1743. He was recruited into the Mamluk force in which he gradually rose in ranks and influence, winning the top office of sheikh al-balad (chief of the country) in 1760. In 1768 Ali Bey deposed the Ottoman governor and assumed the post of acting governor. He stopped the annual tribute to the Sublime Porte and in an unprecedented usurpation of the Ottoman Sultan's privileges had his name struck on local coins in 1769 (alongside the sultan's emblem), effectively declaring Egypt's independence from Ottoman rule. In 1770 he gained control of the Hijaz and a year later temporarily occupied Syria, thereby reconstituting the Mamluk state that had disappeared in 1517. However, in June 1771, the commander of his troops in Syria, Abu al-Dhahab, refused to continue to fight against the Ottomans, and turned against Ali Bey. As a result, Ali Bey lost power in 1772. Next year, he was killed in Cairo.[1][2]


  1. ^ Sicker, Martin (2001), The Islamic world in decline: from the Treaty of Karlowitz to the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, pp. 83-85. Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 027596891X
  2. ^ Sayyid-Marsot, Afaf Lutfi (2007), A history of Egypt: from the Arab conquest to the present, pp. 57-59. Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521700760

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