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QuseirAn Ottoman and Napoleonic Fortress on the Red Sea Coast of
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Charles Le Quesne

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9789774160097

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774160097.001.0001

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Historical Background

Historical Background

(p.25) 2 Historical Background

Charles Le Quesne

American University in Cairo Press

During the Ayyubid and earlier Mamluk periods, Quseir al-Qadim, by some distance the closest port to Qus, was re-occupied after a break of a thousand years. Its key characteristics provide an instructive model for understanding the Ottoman port. Medieval Quseir al-Qadim flourished under the new politics of the Ayyubids and the Mamluks, with their emphasis on regional unity and the role of the state in supporting and promoting Islam. This included the creation of extensive new infrastructure, particularly under the Mamluks, making the Hajj pilgrimage more secure. The consolidation of power around the shores of the Red Sea led, in turn, to safer and more regulated trading conditions. The medieval port operated in conditions that were favorable in many senses: religiously, politically, and economically. The need for the input of the authorities in Cairo, crucially in providing security, to make permanent settlement and regular trade with Quseir viable is a theme that recurs in the Ottoman period.

Keywords:   Ayyubids, Mamluks, Quseir al-Qadim, Ottoman port, Islam, Hajj pilgrimage, Red Sea, Ottoman period

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