Both in the Baḥrī period and the Burjī period. I've been trying to find an answer for about 30 minutes and I've found nothing, so if you know, a source would be good too.

  • 1
    Just whip out your trusty "book of slaves" and they'll be Chapter 1 I would think. And the answer to your question is "huge." Most famously they defeated the Mongols in the Middle East. Sep 17, 2016 at 0:40

2 Answers 2


The Mamluk Sultanate in 1337 was approx. 1 802 679 sq km.

The Mamluk Sultanate in 1444 was approx. 838 316 sq km in directly ruled territories plus 354 751 sq km governed indirectly without Cyprus, an additional 9 251 sq km, which from 1426 to 1473 was at least under nominal Mamluk suzerainty if not an official dependency.

See maps towards the end of this post with regards to what this territory included for these dates.

Accuracy & Caveats

This answer was reached by referencing Paradox Studios' 'Crusader Kings II' (CKII) and 'Europa Universalis IV' (EUIV) starting maps for 1337 and 1444, georeferencing these, and measuring the georeferencing area.

Some problems should be expected using this methodology:

  • It relies on the accuracy of Paradox's map-making;
  • It relies on the accuracy of Paradox's historical modelling and research;
  • Inhabitable territory in deserts may have been extended outwards compared to the real situation to improve gameplay;
  • Minor territories may have been excluded from these maps;
  • Small enclaves / exclaves are probably not represented due to the scale of the map;
  • Georeferencing can introduce errors.

I was lucky to find an already georeferenced map of all of EUIV's provinces, and I was able to assess some of the accuracy there:

  • Cyprus, which is 9,251 sq km, is a province of 9,202 sq km (99.4% accuracy);
  • My "drawn" Mamluk Sultanate (1444) amounted to 963 583 sq km; the measured provinces on the pre-georeferenced map to 903 663 sq km (an 'overestimation' of 6.3%). => Edit: Both of these numbers were quoted prior to me removing the Eastern Desert as prompted in the comments.

In light of the above, I would give the 1444 area value an accuracy measure of ±2-5%.

Regrettably, the CKII map was a lot more difficult to georeference accurately (because of its bounds). Only in Cyrenaica, I might be overestimating its area by about 10 086 sq km. The rest of the territory (towards Asia) worked a lot better though, so I would give an accuracy measure of ±4-8% for this date marker.


So everyone can see the territory the games cover at these dates, I've included snippets below. I have removed the same "Egyptian Desert" (reflecting the Eastern Desert) area from both sets of maps.

1337 Game Scenario:

The territory under the "Bahri" is depicted here:

enter image description here

1444 Game Scenario:

Territory under the Mamluks is what I've considered as "directly ruled" above while the "indirectly" covers the Fadl, Hejaz, and Medina which are depicted as (at least relatively) independent nations in this timeframe.

enter image description here

1337 Comparison:

To see the "accuracy" of these maps against the GSHHG coastline (and rivers and lakes) and in comparison to each other, I've added two further comparative maps below.

enter image description here

1444 Comparison:

enter image description here

  • 1
    The problem with referencing games as historical sources is that in addition to the factors you have already mentioned - you have no handle on any game balancing adjustments they may have made. In my opinion historical games are best balanced by controlling victory conditions and game mechanics, but some designers also employ adjusted starting conditions for that purpose. You really should check the sources used by the game designers - not the games themselves. May 28, 2020 at 14:23
  • @PieterGeerkens: I agree with your statement in general and I think it is a very valid point to raise. I wouldn't even dare to do something similar from a non-Paradox game. I'll freely admit that many mechanics have been simplified in these games; but this is also not important as this is only the starting map we are looking at. Neither of the two games has victory conditions as such either, being sandbox game types. There are some missing nations -- such as the island sultanate in the Red Sea...
    – gktscrk
    May 28, 2020 at 14:33
  • ... but, overall, on the scale we are talking about, it is a good result. As a converse, I've tried to georeference historical maps in the past and I've found that their quality is generally poor (i.e., pixel density), they are inconsistent in what geographical features are displayed, and that small, but relevant, variances occur from one map to another, even when the same date is supposedly portrayed. This was on an area considerably smaller than that of the Mamluk state. I should also note that I've done my best to assess the error in this wrt the real world.
    – gktscrk
    May 28, 2020 at 14:37
  • 1
    Your maps also include a lot of desert - and I would venture that those desert areas were rarely controlled in any meaningfully modern sense except within close proximity of oases. One would never, for example, seriously take the various claims of sovereignty over Antarctica as meaning control. Likewise, Canadian media every year or two discusses the meaning of Canadian sovereignty in its Arctic Archipelago outside the close proximity of Alert and inuit villages/towns. Population density of Nunavut ~ 0.02/km^2, < 1% that of Montana. May 28, 2020 at 14:41
  • 1
    @PieterGeerkens: Thanks again; I've removed the "Eastern Desert" (more or less) from those maps. That's the part I forgot was "inpassable" i.e. uninhabited in-game as well. It's not a big change though and these maps will still carry lots of desert.
    – gktscrk
    May 28, 2020 at 15:23

According to Wikipedia the Mamluk Sultanate ruled part or all of the territory of the following countries:

> Today part of


State of Palestine Palestine
 Saudi Arabia

Thus the maximum area of the Mamluk sultanate must be smaller than the total area of those countries.

Egypt: 1,010,407.87 square kilos

Syria: 185,180 square kilos

Israel: 20,770 square kilos

Jordon: 89,341 square kilos

Lebanon: 10,452 square kilos

Palestine: 6,220 square kilos

total area: 1,322,370.87.

The Mamluk Sultanate probably ruled most of the area of those countries.

Then there are four large countries that the Mamluk Sultanate probably ruled relatively small parts of:

Libya: 1,759,541 Square kilometers

Turkey: 783,356 Square kilometers

Sudan: 1,861,484 Square kilometers

Saudi Arabia: 2,149,690 Square kilometers

total: 6,554,071 square kilometers. But the Mamluk Sultanate ruled relatively small parts of those countries.

Thus the Mamluk Sultanate probably ruled somewhere between about 1,322,370.87 square Kilometers and about 7,886,441.87 square kilometers.

  • 2
    Repeated use of the phrase "probably ruled" would appear to show a lack of conviction in your sources. Also, in the final sentence, the maximum size is almost 6 times that of the minimum, which doesn't seem particularly authoritative.
    – Steve Bird
    Sep 17, 2016 at 20:35
  • Sad but true comment. Egypt did crush the Ottomans in the 1800's though. Ironically this swung the door wide open to Great Britain to start poking around the entirety of the Middle East thus completely bypassing Africa...an event (with Austrian help) that truly had momentous implications. Sep 17, 2016 at 22:18
  • The main problem here is that many of these modern countries (Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others) consist largely of uninhabited desert. It is very dubious whether the Mamluks ever controlled the empty regions of these countries.
    – fdb
    Sep 18, 2016 at 10:25
  • Thanks for the detailed answer, but it's not precise enough for my purposes. I guess there just isn't a well-accepted answer.
    – RothX
    Sep 19, 2016 at 20:14

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