Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mongolia | Chingis Rides West | Chingis Khan and the Khwarezmshah

One ruler who could not help but take note of Chingis Khan’s sudden rise to power in the East was Ala ad-Din Muhammad II, the Sultan of the Khwarezm Empire, also known as the Khwarezmshah. The empire over which he reigned was by 1215 the most powerful state in Central Asia. Centered around the ancient province on Khwarezm on the lower valley of Amu Darya River—the Oxus of Antiquity—and the delta of the river where it flowed into the Aral Sea, the Khwarezmshah’s domains extended westward to the edge of the Iranian Plateau and south to the Persian Gulf, encompassing much of current-day Iran. HIs territories abutted Mesopotamia, home of the long-ruling ((750-1258) Abassid Caliphate whose ruler an-Nasir was the Caliph—the Commander of the Faithful—of the Muslim world. The Khwarezmshah had even launched an attack on the Abbasid Dynasty in an attempt to overthrow the Caliph an-Nasir and name one of his own nobles as “Commander of the Faithful”, thus making himself Islam’s most powerful figure. This venture had failed, but in 1215 he still posed a threat to the Abbasids. In the east he had defeated the Kara-Khitai, the remnants of the old Khitan Dynasty in China who after being overthrown by the Jin had migrated westward and founded their own state in Inner Asia, thereby extending his empire up the Amu Darya River valley into current-day Kyrgyzstan Thus in the northeast his empire had reached the ramparts of the Tian Shan, on the other side of which lie Uighuristan, now part of Chingis Khan’s burgeoning empire . . . Continued.