MANSUR, ‘ABDALLAH (1772-1831)
A Copt who fought in the Coptic Legion and became an officer in the French army. He was born in the district of Bab al Bahr, Cairo, on 18 July 1772. He received his early education from his father, Mu‘allim Mansur Hunayn, who held an administrative position on the estates of the Mamluk amir Ibrahim Bey the Great. Owing to his interest in military maneuvers, Mansur accompanied the soldiers of Ibrahim on most of their military exploits and learned horsemanship from them while he quietly studied the French language on his own.
Later he joined the Coptic Legion, founded by General YA‘QUB under the auspices of the French army in Egypt. He attained the rank of commander for his valor in fighting insurgents in Cairo, who rose against the French in 1801. When the French troops left Egypt, he, along with General Ya‘qub and other Copts, went too. Mansur fought in the ranks of the Coptic Legion when it was restructured in France. He was granted the rank of commandant in 1807 and then placed on reserve. He lived in Paris until his death on 15 October 1831. His son, Boktor Mansur, visited Cairo in 1877 together with a daughter, who was a member of a French theatrical company that played at the opera house.