bey

bey (bā) [key], general title of respect used by Turkish peoples since ancient times. Originally given to tribal leaders, it was later used by the Ottomans to denote a provincial ruler. At first the Ottoman beys were appointed, but by the 18th cent. the title had become hereditary. In Ottoman Egypt, the beys were descendants of the former Mamluk rulers.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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