Bey (originally Beg; Arab بك / Bek, Persian and Ottoman بگ / Beg or Beyg ) is a Turkish ruler title, synonymous with the Arabic title Amīr. The female equivalent is Begum.


The title is mentioned in the form BAEG already in the Old Turkic Orkhon inscriptions and is called " tribal leaders " (compared to the Khagan, the leader of a tribal federation ). The dialectal variations Baek bek, bey, biy, bi, pig come from all of the old Turkish BAEG. The origin of the word is not entirely clear. While Gerhard villages also holds a Turkish etymology possible, it is assumed in the literature mostly assume that it is a loan word. Two options will be discussed:

What is certain is that the word has no known relationship with the Turkish berk, "strong" (Mongolian berke ), or the Turkish bögü, " Shaman " (Mongolian Böge ).


Bey was in the early Middle Ages the sovereign title of organized within the Sultanate of Rum - Seljuks small Anatolian principalities. With the fall of the Anatolian Seljuks these princes were self-employed, including the early Ottoman rulers ( the first in 1383 the sultan title assumptions ).

With the establishment of the Ottoman Empire Bey titled the governor of a sub-province ( Beylik, Sanjak ), which in turn were under a Pasha as governor of a large province. In particular, the Beys (or Dey ), however, obtained in the North African Barbary States a considerable degree of political autonomy, such as the rulers of Tunis from 1628 until 1956.

Were also dubbed Bey military ( about the rank of major or colonel ) and civilian officials of the upper rank.

As a badge of rank the Beys a horse tail ( tugh ) were carried in front; this custom was abolished by Sultan Mahmud II ( 1785/1808-1839 ). The title was put on hold the name; In 1934, he was abolished in Turkey in 1953 in Egypt. The next highest titles were Pasha and Vizier, subordinate titles were lower-ranking Agha (but not the Agas of the Janissaries ) and Efendi.

The importance Beg in Central Asia

In Central Asia is for Kipchak nomadic tribes the term beg or bij as a tribal leader. The tribal leader who could unite among themselves confederations of several tribal leaders, were called in reference to the title of Genghis Khan khon.

The importance of the Beis in North Africa

In North Africa, held the early Ottoman tradition, governor of the Sultan as to entitle When, in the ( in fact largely independent ) Ottoman provinces in Libya, Algiers and Tunis. The Beis (or Deis ) of Algiers were sold in 1830 in the wake of the French conquest of Algeria, the last Ottoman In Libya had in 1912 give way to the new Italian colonialists.

The longest survived the regional office of the Beis ruler of Tunis, which had been made ​​quasi- hereditary since 1705 I of the Husainiden, a native of Anatolia descendants of the Beis Husain ( 1705-1735 ). Until 1837 Husainiden -beis led the Ottoman title of beylerbey ( " Lord of Lords " ), since the title " When and owner of the kingdom of Tunis ", which she combined with the style " Highness " and was confirmed in 1871 by the Ottoman Sultan. 1881 saw Muhammad III. Sadiq Pasha In (1859-1882) forced to recognize the French " protectorate " (Protectorate ). Reserve left France, unlike in Algeria, the local ruling dynasty officially in office, but controlled the Husainiden -beis a General Resident (Protectorate administrators ).

Of 1943 - a unique case - the " Free French " de Gaulle the case of Muhammad VII al - Munsef aka Moncef Bey ( 1942-1943; † 1948) on charges from being a supporter of the Vichy regime. His cousin and successor Muhammad VIII al-Amin (1943-1957) was not only the last case of Tunis under the French protectorate, but - according to the proclamation of the independence of Tunisia - also the first and only king of Tunisia ( March 1956-July 1957 ) before the actual new rulers Prime Minister Habib Bourguiba proclaimed the Republic. The ex- In and Ex - king died under house arrest in 1962.