COPTIC CENSUS: THE COPTS FORMED THE MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION OF UPPER EGYPT IN THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY
Kitab zubdat kashf al-mamalik wa-bayan al-turuq wa-al-masalik (زبدة كشف الممالك في بيان الطرق والمسالك) is an important book from the 15th century that was written by Ghars al-Din Khalil ibn Shahin al-Zahiri (خليل بن شاهين الظاهري غرس الدين المصري), who was born in 1410 and died in 1468 AD. He was a historian and writer in the Burji, Circassian Mamluk Sultanate (1382 – 1517) that had its base in Cairo; and he, himself a Mamluk, was governor of Alexandria and then, in 1435/1436, he was appointed vizier by Sultan Al-Ashraf Barsbay (1422 – 1438). He must have been, therefore, very knowledgeable of Egypt and other countries, like Syria, which were under Mamluk control. A few books he had written attest to this fact, and one of these is Kitab zubdat kashf al-mamalik wa-bayan al-turuq wa-al-masalik (The Cream of Exposition of Kingdoms and Explanation of Routes and Roads).
Part of the book is devoted to the different regions of Egypt (Part 1, Chapter: Fi zikr al-diyar al-masriya في ذكر الديار المصرية). Ibn Shahin al-Zahiri lists fourteen provinces (أقاليم) in Egypt: seven in Upper Egypt and seven in Lower Egypt. He says Upper Egypt extends from Masr (Old Cairo) and Giza in the north to the Nile cataracts (الجنادل) of the Nile in the south – a distance that took two months to travel. The seven provinces of Upper Egypt were: Giza, Atfih, Fayum, Bahnasa, Ashmunein, Asyut, and Qus. Then he tells us the following, which is the purpose for me writing this article, “The majority of its population (Upper Egypt الصعيد) are Christians (nasara نصارى) [وغالب أهله نصارى]”. Interesting, too, is his mentioning that in Upper Egypt there were around one thousand churches and monasteries.
This is evidence that until the first half of the 15th century, most Upper Egypt was Christian. The Copts still formed the majority of the population in Upper Egypt despite the severe persecutions and natural disasters.
 My translation! It’s awkward to translate Arab books’ titles.
 كتاب زبدة كشف الممالك في بيان الطرق والمسالك تأليف غرس الدين خليل بن شاهين الظاهري٠ قد إعتنى بتصحيحه بولس راويس٠ باريس، ٠١٨٩٣ص ٣٣