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Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia and Eastern Iran

Charon

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The Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia from 1219 to 1221[1] marked the beginning of the Mongol conquest of the Islamic states. The Mongol expansion would ultimately culminate in the conquest of virtually all of Eurasia, save for Western Europe, Fennoscandia, the Byzantine Empire, Arabia, most of the Indian subcontinent, Japan and parts of Southeast Asia.
Incidentally, it was not originally the intention of the Mongol Empire to invade the Khwarezmid Empire. According to the Persian historian Juzjani, Genghis Khan had originally sent the ruler of the Khwarezmid Empire, Ala ad-Din Muhammad, a message seeking trade and greeted him as his neighbor: "I am master of the lands of the rising sun while you rule those of the setting sun. Let us conclude a firm treaty of friendship and peace."[2] The Mongols' original unification of all "people in felt tents", unifying the nomadic tribes in Mongolia and then the Turcomens and other nomadic peoples, had come with relatively little bloodshed, and almost no material loss. Even his invasions of China, to that point, had involved no more bloodshed than previous nomadic invasions had caused.[3] Shah Muhammad reluctantly agreed to this peace treaty, but it was not to last. The war started less than a year later, when a Mongol caravan and its envoys were massacred in the Khwarezmian city of Otrar.
In the ensuing war, lasting less than two years, the Khwarezmid Empire was utterly destroyed.

ORIGINS OF THE CONFLICT


After the defeat of the Kara-Khitans, Genghis Khan's Mongol Empire gained a border with the Khwarezmid Empire, governed by Shah Ala ad-Din Muhammad. The shah had only recently taken some of the territory under his control, and he was also busy with a dispute with the caliph in Baghdad. The shah had refused to make the obligatory homage to the Caliph as titular leader of Islam, and demanded recognition as Sultan of his Empire, without any of the usual bribes or pretenses. This alone had created problems for him along his southern border. It was at this junction the rapidly expanding Mongol Empire made contact.[4] Mongol historians are adamant that the Great Khan at that time had no intention of invading the Khwarezmid Empire, and was only interested in trade and even a potential alliance.[5]
The shah was very suspicious of Genghis' desire for a trade agreement, and messages from the shah's ambassador at Zhongdu (Beijing) in China described the exaggerated savagery of the Mongols when they assaulted the city during their war with the Jin Dynasty.[6] Of further interest is that the caliph of Baghdad, An-Nasir, had attempted to instigate a war between the Mongols and the Shah some years before the Mongol invasion actually occurred. This attempt at an alliance with Genghis was done because of a dispute between Nasir and the Shah, but the Khan had no interest in alliance with any ruler who claimed ultimate authority, titular or not, and which marked the Caliphate for an extinction which would come from Genghis' grandson, Hulegu. At the time, this attempt by the Caliph involved the Shah's ongoing claim to be named sultan of Khwarezm, something that Nasir had no wish to grant, as the Shah refused to acknowledge his authority, however illusory such authority was. However, it is known that Genghis rejected the notion of war as he was engaged in war with the Jin Dynasty and was gaining much wealth from trading with the Khwarezmid Empire.[citation needed]
Genghis then sent a 500-man caravan of Muslims to establish official trade ties with Khwarezmia. However Inalchuq, the governor of the Khwarezmian city of Otrar, had the members of the caravan that came from Mongolia arrested, claiming that the caravan was a conspiracy against Khwarezmia. It seems unlikely, however, that any members of the trade delegation were spies. Nor does it seem likely that Genghis was trying to provoke a conflict with the Khwarezmid Empire, considering he was still dealing with the Jin in northeastern China.[5]
Genghis Khan then sent a second group of three ambassadors (one Muslim and two Mongols) to meet the shah himself and demand the caravan at Otrar be set free and the governor be handed over for punishment. The shah had both of the Mongols shaved and had the Muslim beheaded before sending them back to Genghis Khan. Muhammad also ordered the personnel of the caravan to be executed. This was seen as a grave affront to the Khan himself, who considered ambassadors "as sacred and inviolable."[7] This led Genghis Khan to attack the Khwarezmian Dynasty. The Mongols crossed the Tien Shan mountains, coming into the Shah's empire in 1219.[8]

INITIAL INVASION


his army, which was organized differently from Genghis' earlier campaigns.[9] The changes had come in adding supporting units to his dreaded cavalry, both heavy and light. While still relying on the traditional advantages of his mobile nomadic cavalry, Genghis incorporated many aspects of warfare from China, particularly in siege warfare. His baggage train included such siege equipment as battering rams, gunpowder, trebuchets, and enormous siege bows capable of throwing 20-foot arrows into siege works. Also, the Mongol intelligence network was formidable. The Mongols never invaded an opponent whose military and economic will and ability to resist had not been thoroughly and completely scouted. For instance, Subutai and Batu Khan spent a year scouting central Europe, before destroying the armies of Hungary and Poland in two separate battles, two days apart.[10]
The size of Genghis' army is often in dispute, ranging from a small army of 90,000 soldiers to a larger estimate of 250,000 soldiers, and Genghis brought along his most able generals to aid him. Genghis also brought a large body of foreigners with him, primarily of Chinese origin. These foreigners were siege experts, bridge-building experts, doctors and a variety of specialty soldiers.
During the invasion of Transoxania in 1219, along with the main Mongol force, Genghis Khan used a Chinese specialist catapult unit in battle; they were used again in 1220 in Transoxania. The Chinese may have used the catapults to hurl gunpowder bombs, since they already had them by this time [11] While Genghis Khan was conquering Transoxania and Persia, several Chinese who were familiar with gunpowder were serving with Genghis's army.[12] Historians have suggested that the Mongol invasion had brought Chinese gunpowder weapons to Central Asia. One of these was the huochong, a Chinese mortar.[13]

In this invasion, the Khan first demonstrated the use of indirect attack that would become a hallmark of his later campaigns, and those of his sons and grandsons. The Khan divided his armies, and sent one force solely to find and execute the Shah - so that a ruler of an Empire as large as that of the Khan's, with a larger army, was forced to run for his life in his own country.[4] The divided Mongol forces destroyed the Shah's forces piecemeal, and began the utter devastation of the country which would mark many of their later conquests.


Battle of Vâliyân (1221). Jami' al-tawarikh, Rashid al-Din.
The Shah's army, numbering roughly 400,000, was split among the various major cities. The Shah was fearful that his army, if placed in one large unit under a single command structure, might possibly be turned against him. Further, the Shah's reports from China indicated that the Mongols were not experts in siege warfare, and experienced problems when attempting to take fortified positions. The Shah's decisions on troop deployment would prove disastrous as the campaign unfolded.

Though tired from their journey, the Mongols still won their first victories against the Khwarezmian army. A Mongol army, under Jochi, with 25,000 to 30,000 men, attacked the Shah's army in southern Khwarezmia and prevented the much larger forces of the Shah from forcing them into the mountains.[14] The primary Mongol army, headed personally by Genghis Khan, reached the city of Otrar in the fall of 1219. After besieging Otrar for five months, the Khan's forces managed to storm the main part of the city by entering a sally port gate that was not secured.[14]
A further month went by before the citadel at Otrar was taken. Inalchuq held out until the end, even climbing to the top of the citadel in the last moments of the siege to throw down tiles at the oncoming Mongols. Genghis killed many of the inhabitants, enslaved the rest, and executed Inalchuq, according to one source by having molten silver poured into his eyes and ears, although modern historians consider that story apocryphal.[15]


SIEGES OF BUKHARA, SAMARKAND AND URGENCH


Genghis placed his general Jebe at the head of a small army sent to the south, intending to cut off any retreat by the Shah to that half of his kingdom. Further, Genghis and Tolui, at the head of an army of roughly 50,000 men, skirted Samarkand and went westwards to lay siege to the city of Bukhara first. To do this, they traversed the seemingly impassable Kyzyl Kum desert by hopping through the various oases, guided most of the way by captured nomads. The Mongols arrived at the gates of Bukhara virtually unnoticed. Many military tacticians regard this surprise entrance to Bukhara one of the most successful surprise attacks in warfare.[16]

Bukhara was not heavily fortified, with a moat and a single wall, and the citadel typical of Khwarezmi cities. The Bukharan garrison was made up of Turkish soldiers and led by Turkish generals, who attempted to break out on the third day of the siege. The break-out force, of perhaps 20,000 men, was annihilated in open battle. The city leaders opened the gates to the Mongols, though a unit of Turkish defenders held the city's citadel for another twelve days. Survivors from the citadel were executed, artisans and craftsmen were sent back to Mongolia, young men who had not fought were drafted into the Mongolian army and the rest of the population was sent into slavery. As the Mongol soldiers looted the city, a fire broke out, razing most of the city to the ground.[14] Genghis Khan had the people assemble in the main mosque of the town, where he declared that he was the flail of God, sent to punish them for their sins before ordering their execution.

After the fall of Bukhara, Genghis headed to the Khwarezmi capital of Samarkand and arrived in March 1220. Samarkand possessed significantly better fortifications and as many as 100,000 men defending. As Genghis began his siege, his sons Chaghatai and Ögedei joined him after finishing the reduction of Otrar, and the joint Mongol forces launched an assault on the city. The Mongols attacked using prisoners as body shields. On the third day of fighting, the Samarkand garrison launched a counterattack. Feigning retreat, Genghis drew a garrison force of 50,000 outside the fortifications of Samarkand and slaughtered them in open combat. Shah Muhammad attempted to relieve the city twice, but was driven back. On the fifth day, all but an approximate 2,000 soldiers surrendered. The remaining soldiers, die-hard supporters of the Shah, held out in the citadel. After the fortress fell, Genghis reneged on his surrender terms and executed every soldier that had taken arms against him at Samarkand. The people of Samarkand were ordered to evacuate and assemble in a plain outside the city, where they were killed and pyramids of severed heads raised as the symbol of Mongol victory.[17]

About the time of the fall of Samarkand, Genghis Khan charged Subutai and Jebe, two of the Khan's top generals, with hunting down the Shah. The Shah had fled west with some of his most loyal soldiers and his son, Jalal al-Din, to a small island in the Caspian Sea. It was there, in December of 1220, that the Shah died. Most scholars attribute his death to pneumonia, but others cite the sudden shock of the loss of his empire.

Meanwhile, the wealthy trading city of Urgench was still in the hands of Khwarezmian forces. Previously, the Shah's mother had ruled Urgench, but she fled when she learned her son had absconded to the Caspian Sea. She was captured and sent to Mongolia. Khumar Tegin, one of Muhammad's generals, declared himself Sultan of Urgench. Jochi, who had been on campaign in the north since the invasion, approached the city from that direction, while Genghis, Ögedei, and Chaghatai attacked from the south.

The assault on Urgench proved to be the most difficult battle of the Mongol invasion. The city was built along the river Amu Darya in a marshy delta area. The soft ground did not lend itself to siege warfare, and there was a lack of large stones for the catapults. The Mongols attacked regardless, and the city fell only after the defenders put up a stout defense, fighting block for block. Mongolian casualties were higher than normal, due to the unaccustomed difficulty of adapting Mongolian tactics to city fighting.

The taking of Urgench was further complicated by continuing tensions between the Khan and his eldest son, Jochi, who had been promised the city as his prize. Jochi's mother was the same as his three brothers': Genghis Khan's teen bride, and apparent lifelong love, Borte. Only her sons were counted as Genghis's "official" sons and successors, rather than those conceived by the Khan's 500 or so other "wives and consorts." But Jochi had been conceived in controversy; in the early days of the Khan's rise to power, Borte was captured and raped while she was held prisoner. Jochi was born nine months later. While Genghis Khan chose to acknowledge him as his oldest son (primarily due to his love for Borte, whom he would have had to reject had he rejected her child), questions had always existed over Jochi's true parentage.[3]

Such tensions were present as Jochi engaged in negotiations with the defenders, trying to get them to surrender so that as much of the city as possible was undamaged. This angered Chaghatai, and Genghis headed off this sibling fight by appointing Ögedei the commander of the besieging forces as Urgench fell. But the removal of Jochi from command, and the sack of a city he considered promised to him, enraged him and estranged him from his father and brothers, and is credited with being a decisive impetus for the later actions of a man who saw his younger brothers promoted over him, despite his own considerable military skills.[4]

As usual, the artisans were sent back to Mongolia, young women and children were given to the Mongol soldiers as slaves, and the rest of the population was massacred. The Persian scholar Juvayni states that 50,000 Mongol soldiers were given the task of executing twenty-four Urgench citizens each, which would mean that 1.2 million people were killed. While this is almost certainly an exaggeration, the sacking of Urgench is considered one of the bloodiest massacres in human history.

Then came the complete destruction of the city of Gurjang, south of the Aral Sea. Upon its surrender the Mongols broke the dams and flooded the city, then proceeded to execute the survivors.

THE KHORASAN CAMPAIGN

As the Mongols battered their way into Urgench, Genghis dispatched his youngest son Tolui, at the head of an army, into the western Khwarezmid province of Khorasan. Khorasan had already felt the strength of Mongol arms. Earlier in the war, the generals Jebe and Subutai had travelled through the province while hunting down the fleeing Shah. However, the region was far from subjugated, many major cities remained free of Mongol rule, and the region was rife with rebellion against the few Mongol forces present in the region, following rumors that the Shah's son Jalal al-Din was gathering an army to fight the Mongols. Tolui's army consisted of somewhere around 50,000 men, which was composed of a core of Mongol soldiers (some estimates place it at 7,000[18]), supplemented by a large body of foreign soldiers, such as Turks and previously conquered peoples in China and Mongolia. The army also included "3,000 machines flinging heavy incendiary arrows, 300 catapults, 700 mongonels to discharge pots filled with naphtha, 4,000 storming-ladders, and 2,500 sacks of earth for filling up moats."[7] Among the first cities to fall was Termez then Balkh. The major city to fall to Tolui's army was the city of Merv. Juvayni wrote of Merv: "In extent of territory it excelled among the lands of Khorasan, and the bird of peace and security flew over its confines. The number of its chief men rivaled the drops of April rain, and its earth contended with the heavens."[18]

The garrison at Merv was only about 12,000 men, and the city was inundated with refugees from eastern Khwarezmia. For six days, Tolui besieged the city, and on the seventh day, he assaulted the city. However, the garrison beat back the assault and launched their own counter-attack against the Mongols. The garrison force was similarly forced back into the city. The next day, the city's governor surrendered the city on Tolui's promise that the lives of the citizens would be spared. As soon as the city was handed over, however, Tolui slaughtered almost every person who surrendered, in a massacre possibly on a greater scale than that at Urgench. After finishing off Merv, Tolui headed westwards, attacking the cities of Nishapur and Herat.[19] Nishapur fell after only three days; here, Tokuchar, a son-in-law of Genghis was killed in battle, and Tolui put to the sword every living thing in city, including the cats and dogs, with Tokuchar's widow presiding over the slaughter.[18] After Nishapur's fall, Herat surrendered without a fight and was spared. Bamian in the Hindukush was another scene of carnage during the 1221 siege of Bamiyan, here stiff resistance resulted in the death of a grandson of Ghengis. Next were the cities of Toos and Mashad. By spring 1221, the province of Khurasan was under complete Mongol rule. Leaving garrison forces behind him, Tolui headed back east to rejoin his father.

Full story: Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia and Eastern Iran - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Informations about the Khwarazmian dynasty:

The Khwarazmian dynasty (also known as the Khwarezmid dynasty, dynasty of Khwarazm Shahs, and other spelling variants; from Persian خوارزمشاهیان Khwārazmshāhiyān, "Kings of Khwarezmia") was a Persianate[3][4][5] Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turkic mamluk origin.[6][7]
The dynasty ruled Greater Iran during the High Middle Ages, in the approximate period of 1077 to 1231 AD, first as vassals of the Seljuqs[8] and Kara-Khitan,[9] and later as independent rulers, up until the Mongol invasions of the 13th century. The dynasty was founded by Anush Tigin Gharchai, a former Turkish slave of the Seljuq sultans, who was appointed the governor of Khwarezm. His son, Qutb ad-Din Muhammad I, became the first hereditary Shah of Khwarezm.[10]

Khwarazmian dynasty - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

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The Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia from 1219 to 1221[1] marked the beginning of the Mongol conquest of the Islamic states. The Mongol expansion would ultimately culminate in the conquest of virtually all of Eurasia, save for Western Europe, Fennoscandia, the Byzantine Empire, Arabia, most of the Indian subcontinent, Japan and parts of Southeast Asia.
Incidentally, it was not originally the intention of the Mongol Empire to invade the Khwarezmid Empire. According to the Persian historian Juzjani, Genghis Khan had originally sent the ruler of the Khwarezmid Empire, Ala ad-Din Muhammad, a message seeking trade and greeted him as his neighbor: "I am master of the lands of the rising sun while you rule those of the setting sun. Let us conclude a firm treaty of friendship and peace."[2] The Mongols' original unification of all "people in felt tents", unifying the nomadic tribes in Mongolia and then the Turcomens and other nomadic peoples, had come with relatively little bloodshed, and almost no material loss. Even his invasions of China, to that point, had involved no more bloodshed than previous nomadic invasions had caused.[3] Shah Muhammad reluctantly agreed to this peace treaty, but it was not to last. The war started less than a year later, when a Mongol caravan and its envoys were massacred in the Khwarezmian city of Otrar.
In the ensuing war, lasting less than two years, the Khwarezmid Empire was utterly destroyed.

ORIGINS OF THE CONFLICT


After the defeat of the Kara-Khitans, Genghis Khan's Mongol Empire gained a border with the Khwarezmid Empire, governed by Shah Ala ad-Din Muhammad. The shah had only recently taken some of the territory under his control, and he was also busy with a dispute with the caliph in Baghdad. The shah had refused to make the obligatory homage to the Caliph as titular leader of Islam, and demanded recognition as Sultan of his Empire, without any of the usual bribes or pretenses. This alone had created problems for him along his southern border. It was at this junction the rapidly expanding Mongol Empire made contact.[4] Mongol historians are adamant that the Great Khan at that time had no intention of invading the Khwarezmid Empire, and was only interested in trade and even a potential alliance.[5]
The shah was very suspicious of Genghis' desire for a trade agreement, and messages from the shah's ambassador at Zhongdu (Beijing) in China described the exaggerated savagery of the Mongols when they assaulted the city during their war with the Jin Dynasty.[6] Of further interest is that the caliph of Baghdad, An-Nasir, had attempted to instigate a war between the Mongols and the Shah some years before the Mongol invasion actually occurred. This attempt at an alliance with Genghis was done because of a dispute between Nasir and the Shah, but the Khan had no interest in alliance with any ruler who claimed ultimate authority, titular or not, and which marked the Caliphate for an extinction which would come from Genghis' grandson, Hulegu. At the time, this attempt by the Caliph involved the Shah's ongoing claim to be named sultan of Khwarezm, something that Nasir had no wish to grant, as the Shah refused to acknowledge his authority, however illusory such authority was. However, it is known that Genghis rejected the notion of war as he was engaged in war with the Jin Dynasty and was gaining much wealth from trading with the Khwarezmid Empire.[citation needed]
Genghis then sent a 500-man caravan of Muslims to establish official trade ties with Khwarezmia. However Inalchuq, the governor of the Khwarezmian city of Otrar, had the members of the caravan that came from Mongolia arrested, claiming that the caravan was a conspiracy against Khwarezmia. It seems unlikely, however, that any members of the trade delegation were spies. Nor does it seem likely that Genghis was trying to provoke a conflict with the Khwarezmid Empire, considering he was still dealing with the Jin in northeastern China.[5]
Genghis Khan then sent a second group of three ambassadors (one Muslim and two Mongols) to meet the shah himself and demand the caravan at Otrar be set free and the governor be handed over for punishment. The shah had both of the Mongols shaved and had the Muslim beheaded before sending them back to Genghis Khan. Muhammad also ordered the personnel of the caravan to be executed. This was seen as a grave affront to the Khan himself, who considered ambassadors "as sacred and inviolable."[7] This led Genghis Khan to attack the Khwarezmian Dynasty. The Mongols crossed the Tien Shan mountains, coming into the Shah's empire in 1219.[8]

INITIAL INVASION


his army, which was organized differently from Genghis' earlier campaigns.[9] The changes had come in adding supporting units to his dreaded cavalry, both heavy and light. While still relying on the traditional advantages of his mobile nomadic cavalry, Genghis incorporated many aspects of warfare from China, particularly in siege warfare. His baggage train included such siege equipment as battering rams, gunpowder, trebuchets, and enormous siege bows capable of throwing 20-foot arrows into siege works. Also, the Mongol intelligence network was formidable. The Mongols never invaded an opponent whose military and economic will and ability to resist had not been thoroughly and completely scouted. For instance, Subutai and Batu Khan spent a year scouting central Europe, before destroying the armies of Hungary and Poland in two separate battles, two days apart.[10]
The size of Genghis' army is often in dispute, ranging from a small army of 90,000 soldiers to a larger estimate of 250,000 soldiers, and Genghis brought along his most able generals to aid him. Genghis also brought a large body of foreigners with him, primarily of Chinese origin. These foreigners were siege experts, bridge-building experts, doctors and a variety of specialty soldiers.
During the invasion of Transoxania in 1219, along with the main Mongol force, Genghis Khan used a Chinese specialist catapult unit in battle; they were used again in 1220 in Transoxania. The Chinese may have used the catapults to hurl gunpowder bombs, since they already had them by this time [11] While Genghis Khan was conquering Transoxania and Persia, several Chinese who were familiar with gunpowder were serving with Genghis's army.[12] Historians have suggested that the Mongol invasion had brought Chinese gunpowder weapons to Central Asia. One of these was the huochong, a Chinese mortar.[13]

In this invasion, the Khan first demonstrated the use of indirect attack that would become a hallmark of his later campaigns, and those of his sons and grandsons. The Khan divided his armies, and sent one force solely to find and execute the Shah - so that a ruler of an Empire as large as that of the Khan's, with a larger army, was forced to run for his life in his own country.[4] The divided Mongol forces destroyed the Shah's forces piecemeal, and began the utter devastation of the country which would mark many of their later conquests.


Battle of Vâliyân (1221). Jami' al-tawarikh, Rashid al-Din.
The Shah's army, numbering roughly 400,000, was split among the various major cities. The Shah was fearful that his army, if placed in one large unit under a single command structure, might possibly be turned against him. Further, the Shah's reports from China indicated that the Mongols were not experts in siege warfare, and experienced problems when attempting to take fortified positions. The Shah's decisions on troop deployment would prove disastrous as the campaign unfolded.

Though tired from their journey, the Mongols still won their first victories against the Khwarezmian army. A Mongol army, under Jochi, with 25,000 to 30,000 men, attacked the Shah's army in southern Khwarezmia and prevented the much larger forces of the Shah from forcing them into the mountains.[14] The primary Mongol army, headed personally by Genghis Khan, reached the city of Otrar in the fall of 1219. After besieging Otrar for five months, the Khan's forces managed to storm the main part of the city by entering a sally port gate that was not secured.[14]
A further month went by before the citadel at Otrar was taken. Inalchuq held out until the end, even climbing to the top of the citadel in the last moments of the siege to throw down tiles at the oncoming Mongols. Genghis killed many of the inhabitants, enslaved the rest, and executed Inalchuq, according to one source by having molten silver poured into his eyes and ears, although modern historians consider that story apocryphal.[15]


SIEGES OF BUKHARA, SAMARKAND AND URGENCH


Genghis placed his general Jebe at the head of a small army sent to the south, intending to cut off any retreat by the Shah to that half of his kingdom. Further, Genghis and Tolui, at the head of an army of roughly 50,000 men, skirted Samarkand and went westwards to lay siege to the city of Bukhara first. To do this, they traversed the seemingly impassable Kyzyl Kum desert by hopping through the various oases, guided most of the way by captured nomads. The Mongols arrived at the gates of Bukhara virtually unnoticed. Many military tacticians regard this surprise entrance to Bukhara one of the most successful surprise attacks in warfare.[16]

Bukhara was not heavily fortified, with a moat and a single wall, and the citadel typical of Khwarezmi cities. The Bukharan garrison was made up of Turkish soldiers and led by Turkish generals, who attempted to break out on the third day of the siege. The break-out force, of perhaps 20,000 men, was annihilated in open battle. The city leaders opened the gates to the Mongols, though a unit of Turkish defenders held the city's citadel for another twelve days. Survivors from the citadel were executed, artisans and craftsmen were sent back to Mongolia, young men who had not fought were drafted into the Mongolian army and the rest of the population was sent into slavery. As the Mongol soldiers looted the city, a fire broke out, razing most of the city to the ground.[14] Genghis Khan had the people assemble in the main mosque of the town, where he declared that he was the flail of God, sent to punish them for their sins before ordering their execution.

After the fall of Bukhara, Genghis headed to the Khwarezmi capital of Samarkand and arrived in March 1220. Samarkand possessed significantly better fortifications and as many as 100,000 men defending. As Genghis began his siege, his sons Chaghatai and Ögedei joined him after finishing the reduction of Otrar, and the joint Mongol forces launched an assault on the city. The Mongols attacked using prisoners as body shields. On the third day of fighting, the Samarkand garrison launched a counterattack. Feigning retreat, Genghis drew a garrison force of 50,000 outside the fortifications of Samarkand and slaughtered them in open combat. Shah Muhammad attempted to relieve the city twice, but was driven back. On the fifth day, all but an approximate 2,000 soldiers surrendered. The remaining soldiers, die-hard supporters of the Shah, held out in the citadel. After the fortress fell, Genghis reneged on his surrender terms and executed every soldier that had taken arms against him at Samarkand. The people of Samarkand were ordered to evacuate and assemble in a plain outside the city, where they were killed and pyramids of severed heads raised as the symbol of Mongol victory.[17]

About the time of the fall of Samarkand, Genghis Khan charged Subutai and Jebe, two of the Khan's top generals, with hunting down the Shah. The Shah had fled west with some of his most loyal soldiers and his son, Jalal al-Din, to a small island in the Caspian Sea. It was there, in December of 1220, that the Shah died. Most scholars attribute his death to pneumonia, but others cite the sudden shock of the loss of his empire.

Meanwhile, the wealthy trading city of Urgench was still in the hands of Khwarezmian forces. Previously, the Shah's mother had ruled Urgench, but she fled when she learned her son had absconded to the Caspian Sea. She was captured and sent to Mongolia. Khumar Tegin, one of Muhammad's generals, declared himself Sultan of Urgench. Jochi, who had been on campaign in the north since the invasion, approached the city from that direction, while Genghis, Ögedei, and Chaghatai attacked from the south.

The assault on Urgench proved to be the most difficult battle of the Mongol invasion. The city was built along the river Amu Darya in a marshy delta area. The soft ground did not lend itself to siege warfare, and there was a lack of large stones for the catapults. The Mongols attacked regardless, and the city fell only after the defenders put up a stout defense, fighting block for block. Mongolian casualties were higher than normal, due to the unaccustomed difficulty of adapting Mongolian tactics to city fighting.

The taking of Urgench was further complicated by continuing tensions between the Khan and his eldest son, Jochi, who had been promised the city as his prize. Jochi's mother was the same as his three brothers': Genghis Khan's teen bride, and apparent lifelong love, Borte. Only her sons were counted as Genghis's "official" sons and successors, rather than those conceived by the Khan's 500 or so other "wives and consorts." But Jochi had been conceived in controversy; in the early days of the Khan's rise to power, Borte was captured and raped while she was held prisoner. Jochi was born nine months later. While Genghis Khan chose to acknowledge him as his oldest son (primarily due to his love for Borte, whom he would have had to reject had he rejected her child), questions had always existed over Jochi's true parentage.[3]

Such tensions were present as Jochi engaged in negotiations with the defenders, trying to get them to surrender so that as much of the city as possible was undamaged. This angered Chaghatai, and Genghis headed off this sibling fight by appointing Ögedei the commander of the besieging forces as Urgench fell. But the removal of Jochi from command, and the sack of a city he considered promised to him, enraged him and estranged him from his father and brothers, and is credited with being a decisive impetus for the later actions of a man who saw his younger brothers promoted over him, despite his own considerable military skills.[4]

As usual, the artisans were sent back to Mongolia, young women and children were given to the Mongol soldiers as slaves, and the rest of the population was massacred. The Persian scholar Juvayni states that 50,000 Mongol soldiers were given the task of executing twenty-four Urgench citizens each, which would mean that 1.2 million people were killed. While this is almost certainly an exaggeration, the sacking of Urgench is considered one of the bloodiest massacres in human history.

Then came the complete destruction of the city of Gurjang, south of the Aral Sea. Upon its surrender the Mongols broke the dams and flooded the city, then proceeded to execute the survivors.

THE KHORASAN CAMPAIGN

As the Mongols battered their way into Urgench, Genghis dispatched his youngest son Tolui, at the head of an army, into the western Khwarezmid province of Khorasan. Khorasan had already felt the strength of Mongol arms. Earlier in the war, the generals Jebe and Subutai had travelled through the province while hunting down the fleeing Shah. However, the region was far from subjugated, many major cities remained free of Mongol rule, and the region was rife with rebellion against the few Mongol forces present in the region, following rumors that the Shah's son Jalal al-Din was gathering an army to fight the Mongols. Tolui's army consisted of somewhere around 50,000 men, which was composed of a core of Mongol soldiers (some estimates place it at 7,000[18]), supplemented by a large body of foreign soldiers, such as Turks and previously conquered peoples in China and Mongolia. The army also included "3,000 machines flinging heavy incendiary arrows, 300 catapults, 700 mongonels to discharge pots filled with naphtha, 4,000 storming-ladders, and 2,500 sacks of earth for filling up moats."[7] Among the first cities to fall was Termez then Balkh. The major city to fall to Tolui's army was the city of Merv. Juvayni wrote of Merv: "In extent of territory it excelled among the lands of Khorasan, and the bird of peace and security flew over its confines. The number of its chief men rivaled the drops of April rain, and its earth contended with the heavens."[18]

The garrison at Merv was only about 12,000 men, and the city was inundated with refugees from eastern Khwarezmia. For six days, Tolui besieged the city, and on the seventh day, he assaulted the city. However, the garrison beat back the assault and launched their own counter-attack against the Mongols. The garrison force was similarly forced back into the city. The next day, the city's governor surrendered the city on Tolui's promise that the lives of the citizens would be spared. As soon as the city was handed over, however, Tolui slaughtered almost every person who surrendered, in a massacre possibly on a greater scale than that at Urgench. After finishing off Merv, Tolui headed westwards, attacking the cities of Nishapur and Herat.[19] Nishapur fell after only three days; here, Tokuchar, a son-in-law of Genghis was killed in battle, and Tolui put to the sword every living thing in city, including the cats and dogs, with Tokuchar's widow presiding over the slaughter.[18] After Nishapur's fall, Herat surrendered without a fight and was spared. Bamian in the Hindukush was another scene of carnage during the 1221 siege of Bamiyan, here stiff resistance resulted in the death of a grandson of Ghengis. Next were the cities of Toos and Mashad. By spring 1221, the province of Khurasan was under complete Mongol rule. Leaving garrison forces behind him, Tolui headed back east to rejoin his father.

Full story: Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia and Eastern Iran - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Informations about the Khwarazmian dynasty:

The Khwarazmian dynasty (also known as the Khwarezmid dynasty, dynasty of Khwarazm Shahs, and other spelling variants; from Persian خوارزمشاهیان Khwārazmshāhiyān, "Kings of Khwarezmia") was a Persianate[3][4][5] Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turkic mamluk origin.[6][7]
The dynasty ruled Greater Iran during the High Middle Ages, in the approximate period of 1077 to 1231 AD, first as vassals of the Seljuqs[8] and Kara-Khitan,[9] and later as independent rulers, up until the Mongol invasions of the 13th century. The dynasty was founded by Anush Tigin Gharchai, a former Turkish slave of the Seljuq sultans, who was appointed the governor of Khwarezm. His son, Qutb ad-Din Muhammad I, became the first hereditary Shah of Khwarezm.[10]

Khwarazmian dynasty - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

OP is a liar. Mongols never conquered most of the Indian sub-continent. They only managed to captured some parts of modern day Pakistan but before they could reach Delhi they were kicked out by the Indians.
 

Charon

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OP is a liar. Mongols never conquered most of the Indian sub-continent. They only managed to captured some parts of modern day Pakistan but before they could reach Delhi they were kicked out by the Indians.
Yes that's true. The Mongols tried to conquer India but failed because of the Delhi Sultanates and the Khilji dynasty. The commanders and rulers in that time who defend the Indians and India against a Mongol invasion were ironically Muslim Turkics
 

Gandhi G in da house

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Yes that's true. The Mongols tried to conquer India but failed because of the Delhi Sultanates and the Khilji dynasty. The commanders and rulers in that time who defend the Indians and India against a Mongol invasion were ironically Muslim Turkics
Yes, and with the help of the locals. Anyway, thanks for admitting that your OP is BS.
 

Charon

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Yes, and with the help of the locals. Anyway, thanks for admitting that your OP is BS.
I don't know what you're talking about but I didn't write this text as I qouted it from Wikipedia. India was invaded enough by Turkics and Afghans anyway. Mongols would be too much IMO.
 

Gandhi G in da house

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I don't know what you're talking about but I didn't write this text as I qouted it from Wikipedia. India was invaded enough by Turkics and Afghans anyway. Mongols would be too much IMO.
The Afghans who invaded India were Turkics themselves except for Abdali perhaps. Why are you separating the two ?


Also, irrespective of who wrote the OP. It is BS and a lie.
 

Charon

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The Afghans who invaded India were Turkics themselves except for Abdali perhaps. Why are you separating the two ?
Why shouldn't I seperate them? Afghans and Turks aren't the same. The only thing that connects Afghans with other Turkics is Islam and even with that many Turks take it mainly casual and not radical unlike Afghans
 

Gandhi G in da house

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Why shouldn't I seperate them? Afghans and Turks aren't the same. The only thing that connects Afghans with other Turkics is Islam and even with that many Turks take it mainly casual and not radical unlike Afghans
Ghazni and Ghori , both invaders of India (Ghori established the Delhi Sultunate) were Turkics but from Afghanistan. Afghanistan does have a lot of ethnic Turks and did also have in history.

Afghan is a nationality, Turk is an ethnicity.

Read about Ghazni and Ghor in Afghanistan.
 

Charon

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Ghazni and Ghori , both invaders of India (Ghori established the Delhi Sultunate) were Turkics but from Afghanistan. Afghanistan does have a lot of ethnic Turks and did also have in history.

Afghan is a nationality, Turk is an ethnicity.

Read about Ghazni and Ghor in Afghanistan.
It's true that Ghaznavids were Turkic but not the Ghorids. It is already accepted by most historians, scholars and linguists that the Ghurids were an Eastern Iranian dynasty

The Ghurids or Ghorids (Persian: سلسله غوریان‎; self-designation: Shansabānī and Sūrī) were a native Sunni Muslim dynasty of Eastern Iranian, possibly Tajik origin, which established rule over parts of modern day Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan from 1148 to 1215.[5] The dynasty succeeded the Ghaznavid Empire.[6] Their empire was centered in Ghor Province or Mandesh, in the center of what is now Afghanistan. It encompassed Khorasan in the West and reached in the East to northern India, as far as Bengal.[7] Their first capital was Fīrūzkūh in Ghor, which was later replaced by Herat[2] while Ghazni[3] and Lahore were used as additional capitals, especially during the winter seasons. They are known as patrons of Persian culture and heritage.[8]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghurid_dynasty
 

Gandhi G in da house

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It's true that Ghaznavids were Turkic but not the Ghorids. It is already accepted by most historians, scholars and linguists that the Ghurids were an Eastern Iranian dynasty

The Ghurids or Ghorids (Persian: سلسله غوریان‎; self-designation: Shansabānī and Sūrī) were a native Sunni Muslim dynasty of Eastern Iranian, possibly Tajik origin, which established rule over parts of modern day Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan from 1148 to 1215.[5] The dynasty succeeded the Ghaznavid Empire.[6] Their empire was centered in Ghor Province or Mandesh, in the center of what is now Afghanistan. It encompassed Khorasan in the West and reached in the East to northern India, as far as Bengal.[7] Their first capital was Fīrūzkūh in Ghor, which was later replaced by Herat[2] while Ghazni[3] and Lahore were used as additional capitals, especially during the winter seasons. They are known as patrons of Persian culture and heritage.[8]

Ghurid dynasty - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Whatever Ghori's ethnicity is besides the point. He was born in Afghanistan and the capital of his empire was in Afghanistan. He was an Afghan . Even today there are many Tajik Afghans , Turk Afghans etc.

As I said, differentiate between ethnictiy and nationality.

The Delhi Sultunates were mostly Turko-Afghan dynasties from Afghanistan. The Mughals was Turko-Mongols from Uzbekistan.
 

Charon

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Whatever Ghori's ethnicity is besides the point. He was born in Afghanistan and the capital of his empire was in Afghanistan. He was an Afghan . Even today there are many Tajik Afghans , Turk Afghans etc.

As I said, differentiate between ethnictiy and nationality.

The Delhi Sultunates were mostly Turko-Afghan dynasties from Afghanistan. The Mughals was Turko-Mongols from Uzbekistan.
I know that the Mughals were Chagatai Turko-Mongols from Uzbekistan. I use the name "Afghan" only for Pashtuns. I don't believe in something like an "Afghan" nationality and I don't consider Uzbeks, Hazaras, Turkmens or Tajiks who live in Afghanistan as "Afghans".
 

Gandhi G in da house

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I know that the Mughals were Chagatai Turko-Mongols from Uzbekistan. I use the name "Afghan" only for Pashtuns. I don't believe in something like an "Afghan" nationality and I don't consider Uzbeks, Hazaras, Turkmens or Tajiks who live in Afghanistan as "Afghans".
Well most "Afghans" would disagree with this. All these ethnicities - Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks etc. who live in Afghanistan are called Afghans. They call themselves Afghans as well.
 

Charon

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Well most "Afghans" would disagree with this. All these ethnicities - Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks etc. who live in Afghanistan are called Afghans. They call themselves Afghans as well.
Nationalism is very strong among the "Afghan" people. Tajiks are very proud of their high culture and Persian heritage. Many Pashtuns call Afghanistan "Pashtunistan" and they are very proud of their Pahtunwali culture and Afghan heroes like Ahmad Shah Durrani. Uzbeks alone a very proud of the country Uzbekistan and their Turkic culture. They consider also Timur and Babur as their national heroes. Hazaras see themselves as Mongols and as descendants of Ghengis Khan. They are also very proud about that of course. I dont believe that many Hazaras, Uzbeks, Tajiks or Hazaras see themselves as "Afghan".
 
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Nationalism is very strong among the "Afghan" people. Tajiks are very proud of their high culture and Persian heritage. Many Pashtuns call Afghanistan "Pashtunistan" and they are very proud of their Pahtunwali culture and Afghan heroes like Ahmad Shah Durrani. Uzbeks alone a very proud of the country Uzbekistan and their Turkic culture. They consider also Timur and Babur as their national heroes. Hazaras see themselves as Mongols and as descendants of Ghengis Khan. They are also very proud about that of course. I dont believe that many Hazaras, Uzbeks, Tajiks or Hazaras see themselves as "Afghan".
Tajiks, pashtuns and hazaras strongly identify themselves as Afghan by nationality while at the same time they are proud of their respective ethnicities.
You can confirm it by asking Afghan members @sher malang @A-Team @Ahmad
 
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Charon

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Tajiks, pashtuns and hazaras strongly identify themselves as Afghan by nationality while at the same time they are proud of their respective ethnicities.
You can confirm it by asking Afghan members @sher malang @A-Team @Ahmad
I often read in Tajik or Pashtun forums and it seems to me that they don't like each other. Many Tajiks hate it when you name them "Afghan" because this ethnonym is actually used only for Pashtuns as Afghan=Pashtun. Many Tajiks also consider Pashtuns as barbarian Taliban savages. Many Pashtuns see Afghanistan as "Pashtunistan" and they also want to pashtunize Hazaras, Uzbeks and Tajiks. Tajiks and Uzbeks have both their own country to be proud of. I have noticed that "Pakistanis" have a common identity but I can't see this on "Afghans" sorry
 
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