Az-Zahir Rukn od-Din Baibars al-Bunduqdari
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On July 1, 1277 AD, the Mamluk sultan of Egypt and Syria, az-Zahir Rukn od-Din Baibars al-Bunduqdari, died in Damascus at the age of 55. He was one of the commanders of the Muslim army which inflicted a devastating defeat on the Seventh Crusade of King Louis IX of France in 1250.
Ten years later he led the vanguard of the Egyptian army at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, which marked the first crushing defeat of the Mongol army of Buddhist and Christians, and is considered a turning point in history.
A Qipchaq Turk, who as a child was sold into slavery, he rose to become the first of the Bahri Mamluk sultans, and managed to pave the way for the end of the Crusader occupation by uniting Egypt and Syria into one powerful state that was able to fend off threats from both Crusaders and Mongols. He was buried in the az-Zahiriyah Library in Damascus.