Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The date of the founding of the empire is uncertain. Khwarezm was a province of the Ghaznavid Empire from 992 to 1041. In 1077 the governorship of the province, which now belonged to the Seljuk Turks, fell into the hands of Anuş Tigin Ğarçai . In 1141, the Seljuk sultan Ahmed Sanjar was defeated by the Kara Khitay (Kara-Khitan Khanate) and Anuş Tigin's grandson Ala ad-Din Aziz was forced to submit as a vassal of the Kara Khitay.
Sultan Ahmed Sanjar was killed in 1156 and when the Seljuk state fell into chaos, the Khwarezms expanded their territories south. In 1194, the last sultan of Great Seljuk, Toğrül III , was defeated and killed by the Khwarezm ruler Ala ad-Din Tekish who also freed himself of the Kara Khitay. In 1200, Tekish died and was succeeded by his son, Ala ad-Din Muhammad, who by 1205 had conquered all of Great Seljuk and declared himself shah. In 1212 he defeated the Gur-Khan Kutluk and conquered the lands of the Kara Khitay, now ruling a territory from the Jaxartes almost all the way to Baghdad, and from the Indus River to the Caspian Sea.
In 1218 Chinggis Khan sent some emissaries to the shah who executed the Mongol diplomats in defiance of the emerging great power, and Genghis retaliated with a force of 200 000 men. In February 1220 the Mongolian army crossed the Jaxartes. The Mongols stormed Bukhara and Samarkand, the latter the Khwarezmian capital. The shah fled and died some weeks later on an island in the Caspian Sea.
In Great Captains Unveiled of 1927, B.H. Liddell Hart gave details of the Mongol campaign against Khwarezm which underscored his own philosophy of "the indirect approach," and highlighted many of the tactics used by Genghis which were to be subsequently included in the German blitzkrieg form of war, inspired in part by Liddell Hart's writings.
The son of Ala ad-Din Muhammad, Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu, became the new sultan (he rejected the title shah) but he had to flee to India. The Mongols run up with him before he got there, however, and he was defeated at the Battle of Indus. He and his closest followers then fled to Armenia where they attacked the Seljuk Sultanate of Rüm. He had a brief victory and captured the town Ahlat, but was later defeated by sultan Kay Qubadh I at the Battle of Yassi Chemen in 1230. He was murdered in 1231 by an assassin.
Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu's followers remained loyal to him even after his death and raided the Seljuk lands of Jazira and Syria for the next several years, calling themselves the Khwarezmiyyas. Ayyubid sultan Salih Ayyub later hired them as mercenaries against his uncle Salih Ismail and they actually captured Jerusalem in 1244, triggering the Seventh Crusade.
The Khwarezmiyyas served in Egypt as Mameluks before they were finally beaten by Mansur Ibrahim some years later.
Ghaznavid Governors of Khwarezm
- Abu Ali Mamun I 992-997
- Abu al-Hasan Ali 997-1009
- Abu al-Abbas Mamun II 1009-1017
- Muhammad 1017
- Altun Yash 1017-1032
- Harun 1032-1034
- Ismail Khandan 1034-1041
- Anuş Tigin Ğarçai 1077-1097
- Qutb ad-Din Muhammad I 1097-1127
- Ala ad-Din Aziz 1127-1156
- Il-Arslan 1156-1172
- Sultan Shah 1172-1193
- Ala ad-Din Tekish 1172-1200
- Ala ad-Din Muhammad II 1200-1220
- Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu 1220-1231
- All Empires: The Khwarezm-shah - Site in English, with a map in Turkish.
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