Rare Egyptian Silver Coin of Ali Bey Al-Kabir

08 May 2020  Fri

Ali Bey Mamluk was governor of Egypt under Ottoman suzerainty who attempted to throw off the Ottoman Turkish rule. His rule ended following the insubordination of his most trusted general, Abu al-Dahab, which led to Ali Bey's exile then death outside the walls of Cairo.

Ali Bey was born in Abkhazia, Georgia, but was later kidnapped and sold as a slave to Cairo in 1743. He was made a gift to Ibrahim Katkhuda, an emir who was the virtual ruler of Egypt. Ali earned the confidence of his master, who later freed him and advanced him to the rank of bey (district governor).

Ali managed to strengthen his position by obtaining slaves and setting them in high positions. His power thus recognized, he was made shaykh al-Balad (mayor of Cairo). He was involved in much political maneuvering and finally succeeded in becoming the virtually independent ruler of Egypt. He gained control of Mecca and then invaded and seized Syria.

He was defeated and captured in an attempt to recover Egypt, and he died of the wounds he suffered in battle on 8th May. 1773. The above shown silver piaster issued somewhere between 1769 and 1771 under the reign of Ali Bey Al-Kabir. One face of the coin depicts with Tughra of the Ottoman Sultan Mustafa III and the other face reads forged in Egypt 1183 Hijri.

Image Source: Wikipedia.org

Knowledge Base