Was born In 1336, in Chagatai Khanate, a village thirty-six miles
south of Samarkand, He was the son of a pious Muslim who headed the
Barlas. When Timur was ten-years-old the Mongols lost power in
Ariana. Timur developed into an aggressive young man, skilled at
riding and fighting. His intelligence and skill put him at the head
of a small army.
When Timur was
twenty-two the Mongols re-conquered Ariana. With the coming of the
Mongol armies in 1360 and 1361, Timur became a minister to the
new Mongol governor of Ariana, Ilyas Khodja.
1364, defeated Ilyas Khodja but soon
retreated to Khurasan.
1370 at the age of 34 was the
dominant power in Ariana. His army was modeled after the armies of
Genghis Khan, but with more foot soldiers and drawn with more
settled people than with nomadic horsemen
1370-71, in Samarkand, Timur had new
walls built on the foundation of those destroyed by the. He had the
market place improved, and it is said that he had great gardens made
and palaces built. Samarkand's magnificence and prosperity are said
to have caused envy in Cairo and Baghdad.
1371 he was moving again, he went
east and ravaged the countryside around Issyk-kul, and he made the
people there his subjects.
1377 he fought one of his major
battles near Sauran.
1380 he occupied Shufu in
Then, Timur campaigned to the west of
Samarkand. He overran Heart, went south to Sistan and raged against
its capital, Zarendj.
1386 he moved north into Georgia and,
posing as a warrior for Islam, he waged war against local
1387 he sought control over Armenia
and dared to attack caravans on their way to Mecca. He turned south
and conquered Isfahan in central Persia, a rich and cultured city of
Muslims and one of the great cities of West Asia. The city rebelled,
and in retribution, according to reports, Timur's troops looted,
massacred from 70,000 or 100,000 people and destroyed crops.
While Timur was busy in Persia, a
Mongol force came south to Georgia, from the forest region around
Timur pushed them back toward Moscow, and in late
1391 Timur and his army returned to
1395 a Mongol army again drove south
to Georgia and again Timur drove them back.
Enriched, Timur began more building,
ordering work on a great mosque. 200 masons worked on the building.
500 hundred others cut the stones that were transported to Samarkand
by elephant trains. It was the largest mosque yet in Central Asia
and one of the largest in the Muslim world.
Timur was deterred from marching
further south, to Jerusalem, because of what has been described as a
plague of locusts that was ruining crops in Palestine
1401 he went to Baghdad,
reconquered that city and massacred 20,000.
1402, a great battle was fought at
Ankara. With superior strategy, Timur defeated Bayezid's army.
Bayezid was captured and soon died.
Timur returned to
Samarkand in 1404 and in 1405, at the age of sixty-nine, he and his
army departed for China. En Route to China he died. The expedition
turned around. Timur's body was returned to Samarkand, and it was
embalmed and buried in an ebony casket in a tomb.
positive achievements were the encouragement of art, literature, and
science and the construction of vast public works. It was said that
he had little hope that his vast conquests would remain intact, and
before his death he arranged for them to be divided among his sons.
as was custom, had divided his empire among his sons -- between two
sons and a grandson. But his sons quarreled, and for ten years they
warred against each other. The younger son, Shah Rukh, emerged