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Personalities that shaped the world
Taimur the Lang

Timur, Tarmashirin Khan, Emir Timur (9 April 1336 - 18 February 1405), historically known as Tamerlane was a Turkic ruler. He conquered West, South and Central Asia and founded the Timurid dynasty. He was the grandfather of Ulugh Beg, who ruled Central Asia from 1411 to 1449, and the great-great-great-grandfather of Babur Beg, founder of the Mughal Empire, which ruled South Asia for centuries. Timur envisioned the restoration of the Mongol Empire of Genghis Khan. Unlike his predecessors Timur was also a devout Muslim who referred to himself as the Sword of Islam, converting nearly all the Borjigin leaders to Islam during his lifetime. His armies were inclusively multi-ethnic. During his lifetime Timur would emerge as the most powerful ruler in the Muslim world after defeating the Mamluks of Egypt and Syria, the emerging Ottoman Empire and the declining Sultanate of Delhi. Timur had also decisively defeated the Christian Knights Hospitaller at Smyrna; styling himself a Ghazi. By the end of his reign Timur had also gained complete suzerainty over all the remnants of the Chagatai Khanate, Ilkhanate, Golden Horde and even attempted to restore the Yuan dynasty. Timur's armies were feared throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe. sizable parts of which were laid to ruin by his campaigns. Scholars estimate that his military campaigns caused the deaths of 17 million people, amounting to about 5% of the world population. On the other hand, Timur is also recognized as a great patron of art and architecture, as he interacted with Muslim intellectuals such as Ibn Khaldun and Hafiz-i Abru. Timur was born in Transoxiana , near the City of Kesh (an area now better known as Shahrisabz, "the green city"), some fifty miles south of Samarkand in modern day Uzbekistan, part of the Chagatai Khanate. His father, Taraqai, was a minor noble belonging to the Barlas tribe. The Barlas, a Turko-Mongol tribe originally were Mongolian tribes that became Turkified and/or became Turkic-speaking or intermingling with the Turkic peoples. According to Gérard Chaliand, Timur was a Muslim Turk but he saw himself as Genghis Khan's heir. Though not a Chinggisid, he clearly sought to evoke the legacy of Genghis Khan's conquests during his lifetime. At the age of eight or nine, Timur with his mother and brothers, were carried as prisoners to Samarkand by an invading Mongol army. In his childhood, Timur with a small band of followers raided travelers for goods with most being animals such as sheep, horses, and cattle. At around 1363, it is believed that Timur tried to steal a sheep from a shepherd but was shot by two arrows; one in his right leg and another in his right hand, where he lost two fingers. Both injuries caused him to be crippled for life. Some believe that Timur suffered his crippling injuries while serving as a mercenary to the khan of Sistan in Khorasan in what is known today as Dasht-i Margo (Desert of Death) in south-west Afghanistan. Timur's injuries have given him the surname of Timur the Lame or Tamerlane by Europeans. Timur was a Muslim, but while his chief official religious counsellor and advisor was the Hanafi scholar 'Abdu 'l-Jabbar Khwarazmi, his particular persuasion is not known. In Tirmidh, he had come under the influence of his spiritual mentor Sayyid Barakah, a leader from Balkh who is buried alongside Timur in Gur-e Amir. Timur was known to hold Ali and the Ahlul Bayt in high regard and has been noted by various scholars for his "pro-Alid" stance.[citation needed] Despite this, Timur was noted for attacking Shi'is on Sunni grounds and therefore his own religious inclinations remain unclear. Timur is regarded as a military genius and a tactician, with an uncanny ability to work within a highly fluid political structure to win and maintain a loyal following of nomads during his rule in Central Asia. He was also considered extraordinarily intelligent- not only intuitively but also intellectually. In Samarkand and his many travels, Timur, under the guidance of distinguished scholars was able to learn Persian, Mongolian, and Turkic languages.[36] More importantly, Timur was characterized as an opportunist. Taking advantage of his Turco-Mongolia heritage, Timur frequently used either the Islamic religion or the law and traditions of the Mongol Empire to achieve his military goals or domestic political aims. In about 1360 Timur gained prominence as a military leader whose troops were mostly Turkic tribesmen of the region.[26][39] He took part in campaigns in Transoxiana with the Khan of Chagatai. His career for the next ten or eleven years may be thus briefly summarized from the Memoirs. Allying himself both in cause and by family connection with Kurgan, the dethroner and destroyer of Volga Bulgaria, he was to invade Khorasan at the head of a thousand horsemen. This was the second military expedition that he led, and its success led to further operations, among them the subjugation of Khorezm and Urganj. Following Kurgan's murder, disputes arose among the many claimants to sovereign power; this infighting was halted by the invasion of the energetic Chagtaid Tughlugh Timur of Kashgar, another descendant of Genghis Khan. Timur was dispatched on a mission to the invader's camp, which resulted in his own appointment to the head of his own tribe, the Barlas, in place of its former leader, Hajji Beg. The exigencies of Timur's quasi-sovereign position compelled him to have recourse to his formidable patron, whose reappearance on the banks of the Syr Darya created a consternation not easily allayed. One of Tughlugh's sons was entrusted with the Barlas's territory, along with the rest of Mawarannahr (Transoxiana); but he was defeated in battle by the bold warrior he had replaced at the head of a numerically far inferior force. It was in this period that Timur reduced the Chagatai khans to the position of figureheads while Timur ruled in their name. During this period Timur and his brother-in-law Husayn, who were at first fellow fugitives and wanderers in joint adventures, became rivals and antagonists. The relationship between Timur and Husayn began to become strained after Husayn abandoned Timur's orders to finish off Ilya Khoja (former governor of Mawarannah) close to Tishnet. Timur began to gain a following of people in Balkh that consisted of merchants, fellow tribesmen, Muslim clergy, aristocracy and agricultural workers because of his kindness to share his belongings with them; as opposed to Husayn who alienated these people, took many possessions from them because of his heavy tax laws and selfishly spend the tax money building elaborate structures. At around 1370 Husayn surrendered to Timur; later being assassinated by a chief of a tribe, allowed Timur to formally proclaimed sovereign at Balkh. Timur married Husayn's wife Saray Mulk-khanum; a descendant of Genghis Khan, allowing him to become imperial ruler of Chaghatay tribe. "Khan Züdei (in China) rules over the city. We now number fifty to sixty men, so let us elect a leader." So they drove a stake into the ground and said: "We shall run thither and he who among us is the first to reach the stake, may he become our leader". So they ran and Aksak Timur (since he was lame) lagged behind, but before the others reached the stake he threw his cap onto it. Those who arrived first said: "We are the leaders". (But) Aksak Timur said: "My head came in first, I am the leader". In the meanwhile an old man arrived and said: "Read More
 
 
 
 
 
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