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Tamerlain or Timur Lenk


Subject History » Military History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631168485.1994.x


(1336–1405) Timur Lenk (Turkish – ‘Timur the Lame’, hence Tamerlain, Tamerlane or Tamburlaine in English), was a Transoxianan Turk born at Kesh in Turkestan, supposedly descended in the female line from Genghis Khan. In 1369 he took advantage of a period of internal unrest to ascend the throne of the Golden Horde in Samarkand to become one of the greatest of the Mongol khans. At the height of his conquests, he dominated territories stretching from India to Asia Minor and the extent of his successes has caused him to be compared with Genghis Khan. By 1386, Timur Lenk had conquered Persia, Georgia and Armenia while Mongol columns had marched as far north as Moscow. He then turned his attention southwards and conquered northern India and Delhi in 1398, founding a sultanate which became the basis of the Moghul Empire. In 1399, he cut a path of destruction to Aleppo before heading for Egypt via Jerusalem but a swarm of locusts destroyed the forage, obliging him to move northwards. After seizing Baghdad and Damascus, Timur Lenk marched into Asia Minor having beaten the Ottoman Turks under Bayazid I (1389–1403) at Ankara (Angora) in 1402. He advanced across most of Asia Minor, sacking Nicaea, Gemlik and Smyrna before returning to Samarkand in order to prepare for an invasion of China. However, he died in his capital city before this expedition could be realized. Timur Lenk combined the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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