CKM 2018-19 / Aziz Yardımlı





  Khwarazmian Dynasty 1077-1231

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

📹 What is Khwarazmian dynasty? (VİDEO)

📹 What is Khwarazmian dynasty? (LINK)

What is Khwarazmian dynasty?, Explain Khwarazmian dynasty, Define Khwarazmian dynasty.


📹 Fall of Baghdad (Mongol Invasion) (VİDEO)

📹 Fall of Baghdad (Mongol Invasion) (LINK)

The Mongol conquest of the Abbasid Caliphate culminated in the horrific sack of Baghdad that effectively ended the Abbasid Golden Age. For many historians, the arrival of the Mongols into the heart of Muslim faith and empire is the single most devastating moment in the history of the Muslim Middle East. It’s easy to see why—and hard to argue otherwise—because the Sack of Baghdad would mark the end of the Abbasid Golden Age.

Rather than submit, the Abbasid caliph challenged the Mongols to try and storm his city, if they dared. The nomadic army from Asia—led by Hulagu Khan, one of Genghis Khan’s grandsons—did indeed dare. Doing what they are most famous for, the Mongols thrashed Baghdad. In 10 days of unremitting violence and destruction, Baghdad and its inhabitants were completely, and utterly vanquished. Almost without exception, the population was either put to the sword or sold into slavery. The River Tigris ran red—to cite one of the most over-quoted, and overwrought phrases in history—with the blood of slaughtered men, women and children.


Khwarazmian dynasty (W)

Khwarazmian dynasty (Harezmşahlar) 1077-1231 (W)



Capital Gurganj (1077–1212)
Samarkand (1212–1220)
Ghazna (1220–1221)
Tabriz (1225–1231)
Common languages Persian, Kipchak Turkic
Sunni Islam
Government Oligarchy
Khwarazm-Shah or Sultan  
• 1077–1096/7
Anushtigin Gharchai
• 1220–1231
Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu
Historical era Medieval
• Established
• Disestablished
1210 est. or 2,300,000 km2 (890,000 sq mi)
1218 est. 3,600,000 km2 (1,400,000 sq mi)
Preceded by Succeeded by
Great Seljuq Empire
Ghurid Dynasty
Mongol Empire



The Khwarazmian dynasty was Persianate Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turkic mamluk origin. The dynasty ruled large parts of Central Asia and Iran in the approximate period of 1077 to 1231, first as vassals of the Seljuqs and the Qara-Khitan, and later as independent rulers, up until the Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia in the 13th century. The dynasty spanned 2.3 (or 3.6) million square kilometers.

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



It was also known as the Khwarezmid dynasty, the Anushtegin dynasty, the dynasty of Khwarazm Shahs, and other spelling variants. It is derived from Persianخوارزمشاهیان‎, romanizedKhwārazmshāhiyān "Kings of Khwarazm".


Mongol vs Khwarezmid (many Mongols had armor). (L)

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.



Though the Mongols had destroyed the Khwarezmian Empire in 1220, many Khwarezmians survived by working as mercenaries in northern Iraq. Sultan Jalal ad-Din's followers remained loyal to him even after his death in 1231, and raided the Seljuk lands of Jazira and Syria for the next several years, calling themselves the KhwarezmiyyaAyyubid Sultan as-Salih Ayyub, in Egypt, later hired their services against his uncle as-Salih Ismail. The Khwarezmiyya, heading south from Iraq towards Egypt, invaded Crusader-held Jerusalem along the way, on 11 July 1244. The city's citadel, the Tower of David, surrendered on August 23, and the Christian population of the city was expelled. This triggered a call from Europe for the Seventh Crusade, but the Crusaders would never again be successful in retaking Jerusalem. After being conquered by the Khwarezmian forces, the city stayed under Muslim control until 1917, when it was taken from the Ottomans by the British.

After taking Jerusalem, the Khwarezmian forces continued south, and on October 17 fought on the side of the Ayyubids at the Battle of La Forbie, as the Crusaders used to call Harbiyah, a village northeast of Gaza, destroying the remains of the Crusader army there, with some 1,200 knights killed. It was the largest battle involving the Crusaders since the Battle of the Horns of Hattin in 1187.

The remains of the Muslim Khwarezmians served in Egypt as Mamluk mercenaries until they were finally beaten by al-Mansur Ibrahim some years later.

Khwarizmi war captives assimilated into the Mongols, forming the modern Mongolian clan Sartuul.

Charge of Mongols.


Khwārezm-Shāh Dynasty (B)

Khwārezm-Shāh Dynasty 1077-1231 (B)

Khwārezm-Shāh Dynasty, also spelled Khwārazm-shāh, or Khorezm-shāh, (c. 1077–1231), dynasty that ruled in Central Asia and Iran. first as vassals of the Seljuqs and later as independent rulers.

The founder of the dynasty was  Anūştegin Gharachaʾī, a slave who was appointed governor of Khwārezm (q.v.) about 1077 by the Seljuq ruler Malik-Shāh. Anūştegin’s descendants governed Khwārezm on behalf of the Seljuqs. In 1141, with the defeat of the Seljuq sultan  Sanjar by the Karakitai (Qara Khitay) confederation of northern China, the rulers of Khwārezm were forced to acknowledge the overall sovereignty of the Karakitai.

Following Sanjar’s death in 1157, the Khwārezm-Shāh  ʿAlāʾ ad-Dīn Tekish was one of many contenders in a struggle for supremacy in Iran. By 1200 the Khwārezm-Shāh had emerged victorious.  ʿAlāʾ ad-Dīn Muḥammad (reigned 1200-20), the penultimate Khwārezm-Shāh, created a short-lived empire that stretched from the borders of India to those of Anatolia. The empire did not endure, however; the Mongol army of Genghis Khan conquered Transoxania in 1220. The last Khwārezm-Shāh,  Jalāl ad-Dīn Mingburnu (reigned 1220–31), was defeated by the Mongols in 1231 and his territories were taken over by them.

The Khwārezm-Shahs (B)


Atsiz was the military leader who, after Sultan Sanjar’s capture in 1153, succeeded in supplanting Seljuq power in northeastern Iran. His ancestor,  Anūṣtegin, had been keeper of Malik-Shah’s kitchen utensils and had been rewarded with the governorship of  Khwārezm on the Oxus, where he founded the Khwārezm-Shah dynasty (c. 1077-1231). Regions elsewhere in Iran, on the passing of Seljuq supremacy, became independent under  atabegs, who were originally proxy fathers and tutors sent with young Seljuq princes when these were deputed to govern provinces. At first the atabegs took power in the names of Seljuq puppets. When this fiction lapsed, atabeg dynasties such as the  Eldegüzids of Azerbaijan (c. 1137-1225) and Salghurids of Fārs (c. 1148–1270) split Iran into independent rival principalities.

The  Salghurid court in Shīrāz especially fostered the arts, as parvenu, competitive courts are wont to do. The poet  Saʿdī (died 1292) was a contemporary in Shīrāz of the Salghurid atabeg  Abū Bakr ibn Saʿd ibn Zangī (reigned 1231–60), whom he mentions by name in his Būstān (“The Orchard”), a book of ethics in verse. Abū Bakr’s father,  Saʿd, for whom Saʿdī took his pen name, conferred great prosperity on Shīrāz.

Saʿd ibn Zangī came to terms with the Khwārezm-Shahs. Their power in Transoxania was secured by acceptance of tributary status to the non-Muslim  Karakitai empire of Central Asia. They endeavoured to emulate the Seljuqs by following an expansionist policy in Iran south of the Oxus. Saʿd ibn Zangī, in his relations with the Khwārezm-Shah, set the pattern his successor Abū Bakr followed later. These atabegs saved Fārs from outright invasion by northern military powers by paying heavy tribute. This tribute was the price of Shīrāz’s remaining the peaceful haven of the arts in which Saʿdī and after him  Ḥāfeẓ (died 1390) flourished, to continue the Persian literary tradition begun under the Sāmānids and continued under both the Ghaznavids and the Seljuqs.

The collapse of the Karakitai empire northeast of the Oxus was partly accelerated by the unsuccessful bid of  Khwārezm-Shah ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Muḥammad (reigned 1200–20) to win Muslim approval while releasing himself from the Khwārezm-Shahs’ humiliating tributary status to an infidel power. But the coup de grâce to the Karakitai empire was delivered by its own vassal from the east, the Mongol leader  Küchlüg Khan, who from 1211 onward was to be a direct opponent of the Khwārezm-Shahs in Central Asia. The Karakitai had been defeated, but the situation on the Khwārezm-Shah’s eastern border had worsened.

Meanwhile, Sultan ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Muḥammad quarreled with the caliph; he set up an anticaliph of his own and further antagonized his Muslim subjects, who were unremittingly suspicious of a regime once subject to the Karakitai infidels and whose Kipchak mercenary militia and brutal commanders brought cruelty and desolation wherever they marched. ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Muḥammad was unable to control his army leaders, who had tribal connections with such influential people at court as his own mother. The post-Karakitai wars between him and Küchlüg Khan damaged the safety of the Central Asian trade arteries from China to the West. The great Mongol leader  Genghis Khan took Beijing in 1215 and, as lord of China, was concerned with Chinese trade outlets. The situation between Küchlüg and the Khwārezm-Shah sultan afforded scope as well as a pretext for the Mongols’ westward advance, if only to restore the flow of trade.

The  Mongol invasion

Misunderstanding of how essentially fragile Sultan ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Muḥammad Khwārezm-Shah’s apparently imposing empire was, its distance away from the Mongols’ eastern homelands, and the strangeness of new terrain all doubtless induced fear in the Mongols, and this might partly account for the terrible events with which Genghis Khan’s name has ever since been associated. The terror his invasion brought must also be ascribed to his quest for vengeance. Genghis Khan’s first two missions to Khwārezm had been massacred; but the place of commercial motives in the Mongol’s decision to march to the west is indicated by the fact that the first was a trade mission. The massacre and robbery of this mission at Utrār by one of ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Muḥammad’s governors before it reached the capital made Genghis single out Utrār for especially savage treatment when the murder of his second, purely diplomatic, mission left him no alternative but war.

The Ark Fortress of Bukhara (Uzbekistan), here is where the inhabitants sought refuge after the Mongols made it into the city.

His guides were Muslim merchants from Transoxania. They had to witness one of the worst catastrophes of history. During 1220–21  Bukhara Samarkand, Herāt, Ṭūs, and  Neyshābūr were razed, and the whole populations were slaughtered. The Khwārezm-Shah fled, to die on an island off the Caspian coast. His son  Jalāl al-Dīn survived until murdered in Kurdistan in 1231. He had eluded Genghis Khan on the Indus River, across which his horse swam, enabling him to escape to India. He returned to attempt restoring the Khwārezmian empire over Iran. However, he failed to unite the Iranian regions, even though Genghis Khan had withdrawn to Mongolia, where he died in August 1227. Iran was left divided, with Mongol agents remaining in some districts and local adventurers profiting from the lack of order in others.

“Triumph,” by Vasily Vereshchagin, depicting the Sher-Dor Madrasah in the Registan.

It was the greatest of the countries of the Sultan’s empire In width of territory, the most pleasant of his lands in fertility of soil and, by common consent, the most delectable of the paradises of this world among the four Edens. If it is said that a paradise is to be seen in this world, then the paradise of this world is Samarkand. Its air inclines to mildness, its water is embraced in the favor of the North wind and its earth by the force of its exhilaration has acquired the property of the fire of wine. A country whose stones are jewels, whose soil is musk and whose ram water is strong wine.” – Ala-ad-Din Ata-Malik Juvaini (1226–1283 CE), Persian historian and governor of Baghdad.



📹 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...


📹 The Otrar Massacre 1218 — Why did the Mongols invade the Khwarezmian Empire? (VİDEO)

📹 The Otrar Massacre 1218 — Why did the Mongols invade the Khwarezmian Empire? (LINK)

The Otrar Massacre of 1218, wherein a Mongol sponsored caravan of Muslim merchants was slaughtered by the governor of the city of Otrar, is often city as the spark that set off the Mongol invasion of the Khwarezmian Empire, bringing the Mongols violently into the Muslim world. But there is much more to this story than just that, and to the drastic decision by Chinggis Khan to pull his armies from China and send them crashing through Central Asia. This video examines that.


📹 The Mongol Invasion of the Khwarezmian Empire 1219-1221 (VİDEO)

📹 The Mongol Invasion of the Khwarezmian Empire 1219-1221 (LINK)

.The punishment of God! In 1219, Chinggis Khan raised his armies, and marched west from Mongolia, striking with red hot fury at the empire of Khwarezm. The Mongol Invasion of the Khwarezmian Empire has come! Transoxania, Khurasan, Persia, Afghanistan: all shall hear the hoof beats of Mongol horses!

My thought with this video is for it to act as a general overview of the entire campaign, and in following videos, do shorter, detailed looks at important events and topics. That way, those videos don't need to spend much time 'setting themselves up,' and you can see where they fit into the larger campaign here.


📹 Mongol Massacres in the Khwarezmian Empire — Reasons for (VİDEO)

📹 Mongol Massacres in the Khwarezmian Empire — Reasons for (LINK)

The Mongol conquests are popularly associated with senseless massacre, an unparalleled period (before the twentieth century at least) of bloodshed, with the destruction of the Khwarezmian Empire a monument to unending brutality. But as we demonstrate here, even in this famous campaign, the Mongols were not aiming at the death of every person past the Syr Darya River, (!) and took multiple approaches to the submission of cities. In this video we present the reasons for massacre, and the other alternatives cities in Khwarezm faced when Mongol armies reached their door.




Khwarazm (W)

Khwarazm /kwəˈræzəm/, or Chorasmia /kəˈræzmiə/ (Persianخوارزم‎, Xwârazm or Xârazm), is a large oasis region on the Amu Darya river delta in western Central Asia, bordered on the north by the (former) Aral Sea, on the east by the Kyzylkum desert, on the south by the Karakum desert, and on the west by the Ustyurt Plateau. It was the center of the Iranian Khwarazmian civilization, and a series of kingdoms such as the Khwarazmian dynasty and the Afrighid dynasty, whose capitals were (among others) KathGurganj (the modern Konye-Urgench) and – from the 16th century on – Khiva. Today Khwarazm belongs partly to Uzbekistan, partly to Kazakhstan and partly to Turkmenistan.

Names and etymology



Khwarazm has been known also as ChorasmiaKhaurism, KhwarezmKhwarezmiaKhwarizmKhwarazmKhorezmKhoresm, KhorasamKharazmHarezmHorezm, and Chorezm.

In Avestan the name is Xvairizem; in Old Persian 𐎢𐎺𐎼𐏀𐎷𐏁 ʰUvarazmiš; in Modern Persianخوارزم‎ Xvārazm; in Arabicخُـوَارِزْم‎ Xuwārizm; in Old Chinese *qʰaljɯʔmriɡ (呼似密); in Modern Chinese Huālázǐmó (花剌子模 / Xiao'erjing: خٗوَلاذِموْ); in TajikХоразмXorazm, خارَزم; in KazakhХорезм (Xorezm), حورەزم; in UzbekXorazmХоразм, خورەزم; in TurkmenHorezmХорезм, خوْرِزم; in TurkishHarezm; in Greek language Χορασμία (Chorasmía) and Χορασίμα (Chorasíma) by Herodotus.



The Arab geographer Yaqut al-Hamawi in his Muʿǧam al-buldan wrote that the name was a Persian compound of khwar (خوار), and razm (رزم), referring to the abundance of cooked fish as a main diet of the peoples of this area.

C.E. Bosworth, however, believed the Persian name to be made up of xor (خور "the sun") and zam (زم "earth, land"), designating "the land from which the sun rises",  although a similar etymology is also given for Khurasan. Another view is that the Iranian compound stands for "lowland" from kh(w)ar "low" and zam "land.". Khwarazm is indeed the lowest region in Central Asia (except for the Caspian Sea to the far west), located on the delta of the Amu Darya on the southern shores of the Aral Sea. Various forms of khwar/khar/khor/hor are commonly used also in the Persian Gulf to stand for tidal flats, marshland, or tidal bays (e.g., Khor MusaKhor AbdallahHor al-AzimHor al-Himar, etc.)

The name also appears in Achaemenid inscriptions as Huvarazmish, which is declared to be part of the Persian Empire.

Some of the early scholars believed Khwarazm to be what ancient Avestic texts refer to as Airyanem Vaejah (Ariyaneh Waeje; later Middle Persian Iran vij). These sources claim that Old Urgench, which was the capital of ancient Khwarazm for many years, was actually Ourva, the eighth land of Ahura Mazda mentioned in the Pahlavi text of Vendidad. However, Michael Witzel, a researcher in early Indo-European history, believes that Airyanem Vaejah was located in what is now Afghanistan, the northern areas of which were a part of ancient Khwarazm and Greater Khorasan. Others, however, disagree. University of Hawaii historian Elton L. Daniel believes Khwarazm to be the "most likely locale" corresponding to the original home of the Avestan people, and Dehkhoda calls Khwarazm "the cradle of the Aryan tribe" (مهد قوم آریا).

Legendary history


Al-Biruni (973-1048), a native speaker of Chorasmian (an Iranian language), says that the land belonging to the mythical king Afrasiab was first colonised 980 years before Alexander the Great (thus c. 1292 B.C., well before the Seleucid era) when the hero of the Iranian epic Siyavash came to Khwarazm; his son Kay Khusraw came to the throne 92 years later, in 1200 B.C. Al-Biruni starts giving names only with the Afrighid line of Khwarazmshahs, having placed the ascension of Afrighids in 616 of the Seleucid era, i.e. in 305 A.D.

Early people


Like Soghdiana, Khwarazm was an expansion of the BMAC culture during the Bronze Age which later fused with Indo-Iranians during their migrations around 1000 BC. Early Iron Age states arose from this cultural exchange. List of successive cultures in Khwarazm region 3000–500 BC:


During the final Saka phase, there were about 400 settlements in Khwarezm. Ruled by the native Afrighid Dynasty. It was at this point that Khwarezm entered the historical record with the Achamenid expansion.


Khwarezmian language and culture

An East Iranian language, Khwarezmian, was spoken in Khwarezm proper (i.e., the lower Amu Darya region) until soon after the Mongol invasion, when it was replaced by Turkic languages. It was closely related to Sogdian. Other than the astronomical terms used by the native Iranian Khwarezmian speaker Al-Biruni, our other sources of Khwarezmian include Zamakhshari's Arabic-Persian–Khwarezmian dictionary and several legal texts that use Khwarezmian terms to explain certain legal concepts.

In the very early part of its history, the inhabitants of the area were from Iranian stock and they spoke an Eastern Iranian language called Khwarezmian. The famous scientist Al-Biruni, a Khwarezm native, in his Athar ul-Baqiyah, specifically verifies the Iranian origins of Khwarezmians when he wrote (in Arabic):

أهل خوارزم [...] کانوا غصناً من دوحة الفرس
("The people of the Khwarezm were a branch from Persian tree.")

The area of Khwarezm was under Afrighid and then Samanid control until the 10th century before it was conquered by the Ghaznavids. The Iranian Khwarezmian language and culture felt the pressure of Turkic infiltration from northern Khwarezm southwards, leading to the disappearance of the original Iranian character of the province and its complete Turkicisation today, but Khwarezmian speech probably lasted in upper Khwarezm, the region round Hazarasp, till the end of the 8th/14th century.

The Khwarezmian language survived for several centuries after Islam until the Turkification of the region, and so must some at least of the culture and lore of ancient Khwarezm, for it is hard to see the commanding figure of Al-Biruni, a repository of so much knowledge, appearing in a cultural vacuum.

Achaemenid, Parthian and Sassanid era


Sometime before the Achaemenid king Cyrus the Great's death in 530 BC, he had conquered Khwarezm. While he was dying, he appointed his son Smerdis/Bardiya as the governor of the region, along with BactrianaCarmania, and the other eastern provinces of the empire. And the Persian poet Ferdowsi mentions Persian cities like Afrasiab and Chach in abundance in his epic Shahnama.

When the king of Khwarezm offered friendship to Alexander the Great in 328 BC, Alexander's Greek and Roman biographers imagined the nomad king of a desert waste, but 20th-century Russian archeologists revealed the region as a stable and centralized kingdom, a land of agriculture to the east of the Aral Sea, surrounded by the nomads of Central Asia, protected by its army of mailed horsemen, in the most powerful kingdom northwest of the Amu Darya (the Oxus River of antiquity). The king's emissary offered to lead Alexander's armies against his own enemies, west over the Caspian towards the Black Sea (e.g. Kingdom of Iberia and Colchis). Alexander politely refused.

Although largely independent during the SeleucidBactrian and Arsacid dynasties, it is known that Khwarezm and neighboring Bactriana were part of the Sassanid empire during the time of Bahram IIYaqut al-Hamawi verifies that Khwarezm was a regional capital of the Sassanid empire. When speaking of the pre-Islamic "khosrau of Khwarezm" (خسرو خوارزم), the Islamic "amir of Khwarezm" (امیر خوارزم), or even the Khwarezmid Empire, sources such as Al-Biruni and Ibn Khordadbeh and others clearly refer to Khwarezm as being part of the Iranian (Persian) empire.[23] The fact that Pahlavi script which was used by the Persian bureaucracy alongside Old Persian, passed into use in Khwarezmia where it served as the first local alphabet about the AD 2nd century, as well as evidence that Khwarezm-Shahs such as ʿAlā al-Dīn Tekish (1172–1200) issued all their orders (both administrative and public) in Persian language, corroborates Al-Biruni's claims. It was also a vassal kingdom during periods of KushansHephthalites and Gokturks power before the coming of the Arabs.



The Afrighids (آفریغیان-آل آفریغ) were a native Chorasmian (i.g. Iranian)  dynasty which ruled over the kingdom of Khwarezm (according to Al-Biruni) from 305 until 995 A.D. Sometimes it was under Sassanid control.

In 712 Khwarezm was conquered by the Arab Umayyads. It thus came vaguely under Muslim suzerainty, but it was not until the end of the 8th century or the beginning of the 9th century that an Afrighid Shah was first converted to Islam appearing with the popular convert’s name of ʿAbdallah (slave of God). In the course of the 10th century, when some geographers such as Istakhri in his Al-Masalik wa-l-mamalik mention Khwarezm as part of Khorasan and Transoxiania, the local family of the Ma'munids who were based in Gurganj, on the left bank of the Amu Darya grew in economic and political importance due to trade caravans. In 995, they violently overthrew the Afrighids of Kath and themselves assumed the traditional title of Khwarazm-Shah. Briefly, the area was under Samanid suzerainty, before it passed to Mahmud of Ghazna in 1017. From then on, Turco-Mongolian invasions and long rule by Turco-Mongol dynasties supplanted the Iranian character of the region although the title of Khwarezm-Shah was maintained well up to the 13th century.


Khwarezmid Empire


The Khwarezmid Empire was founded in the 12th century. It became a vassal of the Kara-Khitan Khanate after Yelü Dashi won the Battle of Qatwan (1141) against a Seljuk army commanded by Sanjar.[28] Kara-Khitan suzerainty weakened later. The Khwarezmid Empire ruled over all of Persia in the early 13th century under Shah ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Muhammad II (1200–1220). From 1218 to 1220, Genghis Khan conquered Central Asia including the Kara-Khitan Khanate, thus ending the Khwarezmid Empire. Sultan Muhammad died after retreating from the Mongols near the Caspian Sea, while his son Jalal ad-Din, after being defeated by Genghis Khan at the Battle of Indus, sought refuge with the Delhi Sultanate, and was later assassinated after various attempts to defeat the Mongols and the Seljuks.

Modern age


The region of Khwarezm was split between the White Horde and Jagatai Khanate, and its rebuilt capital Gurganj (modern Kunya Urgench, "Old Gorganj" as against the modern city of Urgench some distance away ) again became one of the largest and most important trading centers in Central Asia. In the mid-14th century Khwarezm gained independence from the Golden Horde under the Sufid dynasty. However, Timur regarded Khwarezm as a rival to Samarkand, and over the course of 5 campaigns, he destroyed Urganch completely in 1388. This together with a shift in the course of the Amu-Darya caused the center of Khwarezm to shift to Khiva, which became in the 16th century the capital of the Khanate of Khiva, ruled over by the dynasty of the Arabshahids.

The rumors of gold on the banks of the Amu Darya during the reign of Russia's Peter the Great, together with the desire of the Russian Empire to open a trade route to the Indus (modern day Pakistan), prompted an armed trade expedition to the region, led by Prince Alexander Bekovich-Cherkassky, which was repelled by Khiva.

It was under Tsars Alexander II and Alexander III that serious efforts to annex the region started. One of the main pretexts to Russian military expeditions to Khiva was to free Russian slaves in the khanate and to prevent future slave capture and trade.

Early in The Great Game, Russian interests in the region collided with those of the British Empire in the First Anglo-Afghan War in 1839.

The Khanate of Khiva was gradually reduced in size from Russian expansion in Turkestan (including Khwarezm) and, in 1873, a peace treaty was signed that established Khiva as a quasi-independent Russian protectorate.

After the Bolshevik seizure of power in the October Revolution, a short-lived Khorezm People’s Soviet Republic (later the Khorezm SSR) was created out of the territory of the old Khanate of Khiva, before in 1924 it was finally incorporated into the Soviet Union, with the former Khanate divided between the new Turkmen SSRUzbek SSR and Karakalpakstan ASSR (initially part of Kazakh ASSR as Karakalpak Oblast).

The larger historical area of Khwarezm is further divided. Northern Khwarezm became the Uzbek SSR, and in 1925 the western part became the Turkmen SSR. Also, in 1936 northwestern part became Kazakh SSR. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, these became UzbekistanTurkmenistan and Kazakhstan respectively. Many of the ancient Khwarezmian towns are situated currently in Xorazm ProvinceUzbekistan.

Today, the area that was Khwarezm has a mixed population of UzbeksKarakalpaksTurkmens, Tajiks, Tatars, and Kazakhs.


İdea Yayınevi Site Haritası | İdea Yayınevi Tüm Yayınlar
© Aziz Yardımlı 2018-2019 | aziz@ideayayinevi.com