In the 11th century, the Seljuk Turks’ invasions of Anatolia displaced many Armenians from their heartland, with one refugee group finding sanctuary in the eastern Cilician mountains. This settlement became the nucleus of the future kingdom that, by the beginning of the 13th century, had become a substantial regional power, its internal borders protected by a string of formidable mountain fortresses, its coast ringed by prosperous seaports. Leo the Magnificent, who ruled until 1219, established powerful dynastic alliances and laid claim to the crusader county of Antioch. Hetoum I, who ruled from 1226, seemed to have made a shrewd alliance with the all-conquering Mongols who swept into the Middle East in the 1240s. But the Egyptian Mameluks defeated the Mongols in the 1260s, and after mopping up most of the remaining crusader outposts, they ravaged the kingdom of Cilicia in 1266, sacking the capital Sis.
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