Khwarizmian Dynasty

CKM 2018-19 / Aziz Yardımlı



Khwarazmian Dynasty

  Khwarazmian Dynasty

Eurasia c. 1200, on the eve of the Mongol invasions

Saminid rule of northern Iran came to an end in 992, to be replaced by short-lived Turkish dynasties. The most famous of these was founded by Mahmud of Ghazna, who established a brilliant court which became a major centre for the dissemination of Islamic religion and Persian culture into India.


From the 1040’s Iran, along with much of the rest of the Middle East, came under the control of the Seljuq Turks. Their rule lasted until the capture of the Seljuq sultan by Turkish tribesmen from central Asia in 1153, after which the different areas of Iran quickly fragmented into rival principalities. One of these, the Kwarezm-Shah, took control of the Oxus region. He accepted vassal status to the Karakitai emperor in central Asia, in order to free himself up for conquests elsewhere; since then, he has subdued the whole of Iran and surrounding areas. His armies, recruited in central Asia and led by particularly brutal commanders, bring fear and loathing wherever they appear. (LINK)

Khwarazmian dynasty

Khwarazmian dynasty (Harezmşahlar) (1077-1231) (W)

Gurganj (1077–1212)
Samarkand (1212–1220)
Ghazna (1220–1221)
Tabriz (1225–1231)

Common languages Persian, Kipchak Turkic
Religion Sunni Islam
Government Oligarchy
Khwarazm-Shah or Sultan
• 1077–1096/7 Anushtigin Gharchai
• 1220–1231 Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu

Historical era Medieval
• Established 1077
• Mongol conquest of Khwarezmia 1218-1221
• Battle of Yassıçemen 1230
• Disestablished 1231

Area 1218 (est.) 3,600,000 km2

The Khwarazmian dynasty (also known as the Khwarezmid dynasty, the Anushtegin dynasty, the dynasty of Khwarazm Shahs, and other spelling variants; from (Turkish: Harzemşahlar Devleti, Persian: خوارزمشاهیان‎, translit.Khwārazmshāhiyān "Kings of Khwarezmia") was a Persianate Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turkic mamluk origin. The dynasty ruled large parts of Central Asia and Iran during the High Middle Ages, in the approximate period of 1077 to 1231, first as vassals of the Seljuqs and Qara-Khitan, and later as independent rulers, up until the Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia in the 13th century.

The dynasty was founded by commander Anush Tigin Gharchai, a former Turkish slave of the Seljuq sultans, who was appointed as governor of Khwarezm. His son, Qutb ad-Din Muhammad I, became the first hereditary Shahof Khwarezm.


The date of the founding of the Khwarazmian dynasty remains debatable. During a revolt in 1017, Khwarezmian rebels murdered Abu'l-Abbas Ma'mun and his wife, Hurra-ji, sister of the Ghaznavid sultan Mahmud. In response, Mahmud invaded and occupied the region of Khwarezm, which included Nasa and the ribat of Farawa. As a result, Khwarezm became a province of the Ghaznavid Empire from 1017 to 1034.

In 1077 the governorship of the province, which since 1042/1043 belonged to the Seljuqs, fell into the hands of Anush Tigin Gharchai, a former Turkic slave of the Seljuq sultan. In 1141, the Seljuq Sultan Ahmed Sanjar was defeated by the Qara Khitai at the battle of Qatwan, and Anush Tigin's grandson Ala ad-Din Atsiz became a vassal to Yelü Dashi of the Qara Khitan.

Sultan Ahmed Sanjar died in 1156. As the Seljuk state fell into chaos, the Khwarezm-Shahs expanded their territories southward. In 1194, the last Sultan of the Great Seljuq Empire, Toghrul III, was defeated and killed by the Khwarezm ruler Ala ad-Din Tekish, who conquered parts of Khorasan and western Iran. In 1200, Tekish died and was succeeded by his son, Ala ad-Din Muhammad, who initiated a conflict with the Ghurids and was defeated by them at Amu Darya (1204). Following the sack of Khwarizm, Muhammad appealed for aid from his suzerain, the Qara Khitai who sent him an army. With this reinforcement, Muhammad won a victory over the Ghorids at Hezarasp (1204) and forced them out of Khwarizm.

Ala ad-Din Muhammad's alliance with his suzerain was short-lived. He again initiated a conflict, this time with the aid of the Kara-Khanids, and defeated a Qara-Khitai army at Talas (1210), but allowed Samarkand (1210) to be occupied by the Qara-Khitai. He overthrew the Karakhanids (1212) and Ghurids (1215). In 1212, he shifted his capital from Gurganj to Samarkand. Thus incorporating nearly the whole of Transoxania and present-day Afghanistan into his empire, which after further conquests in western Persia (by 1217) stretched from the Syr Darya to the Zagros Mountains, and from the northern parts of the Hindu Kush to the Caspian Sea. By 1218, the empire had a population of 5 million people.

Mongol invasion and collapse

In 1218, Genghis Khan sent a trade mission to the state, but at the town of Otrar the governor, suspecting the Khan's ambassadors to be spies, confiscated their goods and executed them. Genghis Khan demanded reparations, which the Shah refused to pay. Genghis retaliated with a force of 200,000 men, launching a multi-pronged invasion. In February 1220 the Mongolian army crossed the Syr Darya. The Mongols stormed Bukhara, Gurganj and the Khwarezmid capital Samarkand. The Shah fled and died some weeks later on an island in the Caspian Sea.

The son of Ala ad-Din Muhammad, Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu became the new Sultan (he rejected the title Shah). He attempted to flee to India, but the Mongols caught up with him before he got there, and he was defeated at the Battle of Indus. He escaped and sought asylum in the Sultanate of Delhi. Iltumish however denied this to him in deference to the relationship with the Abbasid caliphs. Returning to Persia, he gathered an army and re-established a kingdom. He never consolidated his power, however, spending the rest of his days struggling against the Mongols, the Seljuks of Rum, and pretenders to his own throne. He lost his power over Persia in a battle against the Mongols in the Alborz Mountains. Escaping to the Caucasus, he captured Azerbaijan in 1225, setting up his capital at Tabriz. In 1226 he attacked Georgia and sacked Tbilisi. Following on through the Armenian highlands he clashed with the Ayyubids, capturing the town Ahlat along the western shores of the Lake Van, who sought the aid of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm. Sultan Kayqubad I defeated him at Arzinjan on the Upper Euphrates at the Battle of Yassıçemen in 1230. He escaped to Diyarbakir, while the Mongols conquered Azerbaijan in the ensuing confusion. He was murdered in 1231 by Kurdish highwaymen.



📹 Fall of Khwarezm — Battles of Parwan and Indus (VİDEO)

Fall of Khwarezm — Battles of Parwan and Indus (LINK)

After creating their empire, and subjugating Western Xia (Xi Xia) and the northern part of the Jin domain, the Mongols of Genghis Khan started looking towards the west.

The actions of the ruler of the Western Liao (Qara Khitai) Kuchlug and the shah of the Khwarezmian empire Ala ad-Din Muhammad II gave the great khan a reason to attack Central Asia and Eastern Iran. Prosperous cities were turned to rubble and the population was massacred during a three-year campaign led by Genghis, Ogedei, Jochi, Chagatai, Tolui, Jebe, and Subutai. The son of Muhammad II - Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu was able to resist the invaders in the battles of Parwan and Indus river... The Mongol invasions were just starting...


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