Friday, 4 November 2011

Timur the Lame (1369-1405)

Timur (Tamerlance was a descendant of Chinghez Khan, but at the time of his birth, the great Mongol empire in central Asia had already broken up into independent states. Although Timur was a nobleman of one of these states, he was determines to beocme king of Samarkand, which he claimed as his right because of his ancestor Chinghez. He gathered together an army, captured Samarkand and reigned there from 1369. Much more importantly, however, he went on to reconquer an empire from the Mediterrancean to the Yellow Sea. Baghdad, Damascus and Moscow were all destroyed.

Taking advantage of the weakness of the Sultanate of Delhi, he also invaded Indian. His relentless armies raced towards Delhi itself, leaving behind a broad track of destruction and death. He quickly7 captured the city (1398) and then began three days of the most terrible slaughter and plundering. 100 000 people were killed, some driven off as slaves and the city demolished. The few people still alive soon died of starvation. It was said that not a bird lifted its wing for two months afterwards.

Timur confessed in his dairy that he did not really want such a terrible massacre to take place but that his soldiers were out of control. However, once the plundering was over, the Mongols marched back to their central Asian home by a route to the north of the one they had used earlier, still destroying everyone and everything in their path. In his diary, Timur wrote that he although he would gain rewards in paradise
for killing infidels, he also wanted riches and plunder.The destruction of Delhi really marked the end of the Sultanate as a great power, though for another century different dynasties struggled to preserve it. Then, once again, northern Indian was taken over by the Mongols, though these were very different people from the earlier invaders and were called the Mughals. Mughal is the Persian word for 'Mongol'. They began one of the most wonderful periods in the history of the subcontinent.

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