Mongolians and Khans

16Sep14

Mongol Khan Ogedei appointed Chin-Temur governor of Khurasan and Mazandaran; but he died in 1235 and was succeeded by a centenarian, who lasted four years. Then the Uighur Korguz, a Buddhist who converted to Islam, held a census and revised taxes. He rebuilt Tus and took over Azerbaijan. After the Great Khan Ogedei died in 1241, Korguz was accused of offending the widow of Chaghatai and put to death by Chaghatai’s grandson Qara-Hulegu (r. 1242-46).

Abagha’s eldest son Arghun yielded to Hulegu’s son Teguder, who took the Islamic name Ahmad. He developed friendly relations with Egypt. Arghun was Governor of Khurasan and plotted rebellion, and Teguder executed Prince Qongqurtai. Arghun was outnumbered and surrendered. The emir Buqa secretly supported Arghun, and with other princes they killed those loyal to Teguder, making Arghun Sultan. Teguder tried to escape but was captured, tried, and executed in 1284 for having killed Qongqurtai. Arghun put his son Ghazan over Khurasan, Mazandaran, Qumis, and Ray. Buqa engaged in much speculation and was put to death in 1289 as the Jew Sa’d al-Daula became Arghun’s financial administrator. Arghun repelled invasions by the Golden Horde’s ruler Tole-Buqa in 1288 and 1290. Arghun imported Buddhist priests from India and eventually died from treatment by an Indian yogi. Emirs resenting Sa’d al-Daula killed him in 1291, and Arghun died five days later, resulting in pogroms against Jews in Baghdad and Tabriz.

Ghazan (r. 1295-1304) had been a Buddhist but converted to Islam, taking the name Mahmud and proclaiming Islam the Mongol state religion. In the first year of Ghazan’s reign five princes were killed in civil war; but the rebellion ended after General Qutlugh-Shah was executed in 1296. Ghazan’s army invaded Syria in 1299 and defeated the Mamluks near Homs. Damascus surrendered to the Mongols the next year; but the Mongols soon retreated from Syria. Ghazan promoted learning and was considered the greatest of the Il-Khans. He was aided by his outstanding Jewish Vizier Rashid al-Din (1247-1318), who also wrote on history and theology with encyclopedic learning. The land tax was made more precise and semi-annual, and imposts on trade and crafts were cut in half or eliminated in some towns. The burdensome system of paying state officials, pensioners, and creditors was abolished. These reforms relieved the peasants and improved the Persian economy from the devastation of the Mongol conquest and the exploitation by feudal lords.

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