One of a body of mounted soldiers recruited from slaves converted to Mohammedanism, who, during several centuries, had more or less control of the government of Egypt, until exterminated or dispersed by Mehemet Ali in 1811.
Meaning"unfree" (or literally, the property of another as, for example, the slaves of non-Islamic origin). The term is chiefly applied to soldiers. In the Mameluke Sultanate of Egypt and Syria, which lasted from 1250 to 1517, this institution of military slavery led to centuries of rule by a one-family aristocracy. In Spain, no such development took place.
In the Nights this term usually just means slave, but it can also refer to a member of a military body (orig. Caucasian slaves) that seized the throne of Egypt in 1254.