Manuscript depicting the clash (16th century)
|Commanders and leaders|
The Tokhtamysh–Timur war was fought from 1386 to 1395 between Tokhtamysh, khan of the Golden Horde, and the warlord and conqueror Timur, founder of the Timurid Empire, in the areas of the Caucasus Mountains, Turkestan and Eastern Europe. The battle between Amir Timur and Tokhtamysh played a key role in the decline of Mongol power over early Russian principalities.
In the late 1370s and early 1380s, Timur helped Tokhtamysh assume supreme power in the White Horde against Tokhtamysh's uncle Urus Khan. After this Tokhtamysh united the White and Blue Hordes, reuniting the Golden Horde, and launched a massive military punitive campaign against the Russian principalities between 1381 and 1382, restoring Turco-Mongol (Tatar) power in Russia after the defeat in the Battle of Kulikovo. The Golden Horde, after a period of anarchy between the early 1360s and late 1370s, briefly reestablished itself as a dominant regional power, defeating Lithuania around 1383. But Tokhtamysh had territorial ambitions in Persia and Central Asia, and on account of this he turned against his old ally, Timur.
After the death of Abu Sa'id in 1335, the last ruler of the Ilkhanid Dynasty, a power vacuum emerged in Persia. Persia's vulnerability led to military incursions from Persia's neighbours. In 1383 Timur started his military conquest of that country. In 1385 he captured Herat, Khorasan and all of eastern Persia. In the same year Tokhtamysh raided Azerbaijan and northwestern Iran.
In 1386, the city of Tabriz was plundered and Tokhtamysh retired with a rich booty.Between 1389 and 1391 there was intense fighting between Timur's forces and the Golden Horde. The first phase was won by Timur at the Battle of the Kondurcha River. Despite the setback, Tokhtamysh recovered his position and in the spring of 1395 raided the Timurid territory of Shirvan.
In 1395, Timur launched his final assault on the Golden Horde.He decisively routed Tokhtamysh in the Battle of the Terek river on 15 April 1395. All the major cities of the khanate were destroyed: Sarai, Ukek, Majar, Azaq, Tana and Astrakhan. Timur's attack on the cities of the Golden Horde in 1395 produced his first Western European victims, since it caused the destruction of the Italian trading colonies (comptoirs) in Sarai, Tana and Astrakhan. During the siege of Tana, the trading communities sent representatives to treat with Timur, but the latter only used them in a ruse to reconnoiter the city. The Genoese city of Caffa on the Crimean peninsula was spared, despite being a former ally of Tokhtamysh.
After his resounding defeat in the Battle of the Terek River, Tokhtamysh was deposed and replaced by Edigu, fleeing to the Ukrainian steppes and asking for help from Grand Duke Vytautas of Lithuania. The two combined their forces in the Battle of the Vorskla River in 1399, but were crushingly defeated by Khan Temur Qutlugh and Edigu, two of Timur's generals. Around 1406 Tokhtamysh was killed in Siberia by Edigu's men; Edigu, in turn, would be slain thirteen years later by one of Tokhtamysh's sons. The Golden Horde never recovered from this war. In the middle of the 15th century, it fragmented into smaller khanates: the Kazan khanate, Nogai Horde, Qasim Khanate, Crimean Khanate and Astrakhan Khanate. Thus Tatar-Mongol power in Russia was weakened and in 1480 the 'Tatar yoke' over Russia, a reminder of the bloody Mongol conquest, was definitively shaken in the Great standing on the Ugra River. The last remnant of the Golden Horde was destroyed by the Crimean Khanate in 1502, and the Khanates that arose after the Golden Horde's fragmentation were annexed by Muscovite Russia between the 1550s and early 17th century. The Crimean Khanate survived until 1783, under Ottoman protection. The Kazakh khanate survived until mid 19th century.
The Golden Horde, self-designated as Ulug Ulus, lit. 'Great State' in Turkic, was originally a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate established in the 13th century and originating as the northwestern sector of the Mongol Empire. With the disintegration of the Mongol Empire after 1259, it became a functionally separate khanate. It is also known as the Kipchak Khanate or as the Ulus of Jochi, and it replaced the earlier, less organized Cuman–Kipchak confederation.
Mamai was a powerful Mongol military commander of the Golden Horde. Contrary to popular misconception, he was not a khan (king), but was a kingmaker for several khans, and dominated parts or all of the Golden Horde for a period of almost two decades in the 1360s and 1370s. Although he was unable to stabilize central authority during the war of succession known as the Great Troubles, Mamai remained a remarkable and persistent leader for decades, while others came and went in rapid succession. His defeat in the Battle of Kulikovo marked the beginning of the decline of the Horde, as well as his own rapid downfall.
Tokhtamysh was the Khan (ruler) of the Golden Horde, who briefly succeeded in consolidating the Blue and White Hordes into a single polity.
The Khanate of Astrakhan, also referred to as the Xacitarxan Khanate, was a Tatar state that arose during the break-up of the Golden Horde. The Khanate existed in the 15th and 16th centuries in the area adjacent to the mouth of the Volga river, around the modern city of Astrakhan. Its khans claimed patrilineal descent from Toqa Temür, the thirteenth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan.
The Battle of the Vorskla River was a great battle in the medieval history of Eastern Europe. It was fought on August 12, 1399, between the Tatars of the Golden Horde, under Edigu and Temür Qutlugh, and the armies of Tokhtamysh and a large Crusader force led by the Grand Duke Vytautas of Lithuania. The battle ended in a decisive Tatar victory for the Golden Horde.
Hacı I Giray was the founder of the Crimean Khanate and the Giray dynasty of Crimea. As the Golden Horde was breaking up, he established himself in Crimea and spent most of his life fighting off other warlords. He was usually allied with the Lithuanians. His name has many spellings, such as Haji-Girei and Melek Haji Girai.
The Nogai Horde was a confederation founded by the Nogais that occupied the Pontic–Caspian steppe from about 1500 until they were pushed west by the Kalmyks and south by the Russians in the 17th century. The Mongol tribe called the Manghuds constituted a core of the Nogai Horde.
The Turco-Mongol or Turko-Mongol tradition was an ethnocultural synthesis that arose in Asia during the 14th century, among the ruling elites of the Golden Horde and the Chagatai Khanate. The ruling Mongol elites of these Khanates eventually assimilated into the Turkic populations that they conquered and ruled over, thus becoming known as Turco-Mongols. These elites gradually adopted Islam as well as Turkic languages, while retaining Mongol political and legal institutions.
Edigu (1352–1419) was a Mongol Muslim emir of the White Horde who founded a new political entity, which came to be known as the Nogai Horde.
The Great Horde was a rump state of the Golden Horde that existed from the mid-15th century to 1502. It was centered at the core of the Golden Horde at Sarai. Both the Khanate of Astrakhan and the Khanate of Crimea broke away from the Great Horde throughout its existence, and were hostile to the Great Horde. The defeat of the forces of the Great Horde at the Great Stand on the Ugra River by Ivan III of Russia marked the end of the "Tatar yoke" over Russia.
The Battle of the Terek River was the last major battle of the Tokhtamysh–Timur war. It took place on 14 April 1395, at the Terek River, North Caucasus. The result was a victory for Timur.
The Battle of the Kondurcha River was the first major battle of the Tokhtamysh–Timur war. It took place at the Kondurcha River, in the Bulgar Ulus of the Golden Horde, in what today is Samara Oblast in Russia. Tokhtamysh's cavalry tried to encircle Timur's army from the flanks. However, the Central Asian army withstood the assault, after which its sudden frontal attack put the Horde troops to flight. However, many of the Golden Horde troops escaped to fight again at Terek.
Temür Qutlugh or Tīmūr Qutluq was a Khan of Golden Horde in 1397–1399.
Pūlād was a Khan of the Golden Horde for three years, 1407–1410, in the waning days of the khanate. He ruled as the protégé of the beglerbeg Edigu.
Jalal al-Din or Jalāl ad-Dīn (1380–1412) was the Khan of the Golden Horde in 1411–1412. He was the son of Tokhtamysh, Khan of the Golden Horde until 1395, by Ṭaghāy Beg Khatun, the daughter of Ḥājjī Beg. He is also famous for his written history of the Mongol Empire. He is also known as the Green Sultan, a false etymology based on the apparent meaning of a Slavic rendition of his name, Zeleni Saltan.
The division of the Mongol Empire began after Möngke Khan died in 1259 in the siege of Diaoyu Castle with no declared successor, precipitating infighting between members of the Tolui family line for the title of khagan that escalated into the Toluid Civil War. This civil war, along with the Berke–Hulagu war and the subsequent Kaidu–Kublai war, greatly weakened the authority of the great khan over the entirety of the Mongol Empire, and the empire fractured into four khanates: the Golden Horde in Eastern Europe, the Chagatai Khanate in Central Asia, the Ilkhanate in Southwest Asia, and the Yuan dynasty in East Asia based in modern-day Beijing – although the Yuan emperors held the nominal title of khagan of the empire. The four divisions each pursued their own interests and objectives and fell at different times. Most of the western khanates did not recognize Kublai as Great Khan. Although some of them still asked Kublai to confirm the enthronement of their new regional khans, the four khanates were functionally independent sovereign states. The Ilkhanate and the Yuan dynasty had close diplomatic relations, and shared scientific and cultural knowledge, but military cooperation between all four Mongol khanates would never occur again — the united Mongol Empire had disintegrated.
Timurid conquests and invasions started in the seventh decade of the 14th century with Timur's control over Chagatai Khanate and ended at the start of the 15th century with the death of Timur. Due to the sheer scale of Timur's wars, and the fact that he was generally undefeated in battle, he has been regarded as one of the most successful military commanders of all time. These wars resulted in the supremacy of Timur over Central Asia, Persia, the Caucasus and the Levant, and parts of South Asia and Eastern Europe, and also the formation of the short-lived Timurid Empire. Scholars estimate that his military campaigns caused the deaths of 17 million people, amounting to about 5% of the world population at the time.
Quyurchuq (Qūyūrčuq) was khan of Golden Horde in 1395–1397, appointed by Timur (Tamerlane). Information on his life and reign is very limited.
The Great Troubles, also known as the Golden Horde Dynastic War, was a war of succession in the Golden Horde from 1359 to 1381.