Saturday, December 28, 2013

Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu - A Short Biography of Khorezms most famous son

Photo: Jalal ad din Manguberdi

Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu al-Khwarazmi (full name: Jalal ad-Dunya wa ad-Din Abul-Muzaffar Manguberdi ibn Muhammad) or Jaloladdin Manguberdi (Turkic for "God-given"), also known as Jalâl ad-Dîn Khwârazmshâh, was the last ruler of the Khwarezmian Empire. Following the defeat of his father, Ala ad-Din Muhammad II by Genghis Khan in 1220, Jalal ad-Din Mengübirti came to power but he rejected the title shah that his father had assumed and called himself simply Sultan. After the fall of Samarkand Jalal ad-Din with the remaining Khwarazm forces beat a forced retreat into Afghanistan, while pursued by a Mongol army. At the battle of Parwan, north of Kabul, the Khwarezmians with local Afghan Tajik allies defeated the Mongols (ED: the only time in Gengiz Khans lifetime that the Mongols were defeated in battle -  Interestingly even to this day no foreign army however mighty has ever been able to hold sway in Afghanistan).

After being deserted by his Afghan allies (as legend has it over a dispute about whom would have the white steed of the defeated Mongol General) the Mongols regrouped and soon after Jalal ad-Din and his troops were forced to flee towards India. On the left bank of the Indus River, however, the Mongols caught up with the Kharwarezms and at what has become known as the Battle of Indus inflicted a major blow against his army, killing most of his men along with slaughtering thousands of civilians with his army. He and his core followers famously putting up a heroic struggle against huge odds along the banks of the river, with the survivors including Mingburnu escaping across the Indus.

Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu was to spend the next three years in exile in India. Entering into an alliance with the Khokhars he captured Lahore and much of the Punjab. The next year he requested an alliance with Iltutmish against the Mongols. However the Sultan of Delhi refused, not wishing to get into a conflict with Genghis Khan and instead marched towards Lahore at the head of a large army. Mingburnu retreated from the city and moved towards Uchch inflicting a heavy defeat on its ruler Nasir-ud-Din Qabacha, and occupied Sindh and northern Gujarat before returning to Persia in 1224.

Once again he gathered an army and briefly re-established a kingdom, however he was unable to consolidate his power for long as once again his forces were pursued by the Mongols who met his forces in battle in the Alborz mountain range (located in northern Iran  stretching from the border of Azerbaijan along the western and entire southern coast of the Caspian Sea) after which he and his men had to make a forced crossing of the Caucasus whereupon they captured Azerbaijan in 1225, setting up their capital at Tabriz. After initially forming an alliance with the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm against the Mongols, Manguberdi fell out with them and his forces went on the attack once more in 1226 sacking Tbilisi (capital of the Kingdom of Georgia). Several years of skirmishes were to follow and in 1230 his army captured the town then Armenian city Akhlat (now situated in Turkey) from the Ayyubids. However his forces were overextended and in 1230 where defeated by Sultan Kayqubad I the Seljuq Sultan of Rûm at Erzincan on the Upper Euphrates at the famous Battle of Yassıçemen (Yassi Chemen).

Once again he and a core group of followers managed to escape into the Mountains of Kurdistan finding refugee in the city of Diyarbakir, however in the ensuring confusion the Mongols capture his previous stronghold of Azerbaijan. (ED: Diyarbakir today is one of the largest cities in south eastern Turkey and in the heartland of the Kurdish struggle for self determination). Diyarbakir was to be his last sanctuary, as he was assassinated there in 1231 by a Kurdish assassin hired by the Seljuks.

Manguberdi's loyal followers, however, remained loyal to him even after his death, transforming themselves into a mercenary force called the Khwarezmiyya. Thirteen years later they made history when in pay of the Ayyubid Sultan Salih Ayyub of Egypt, the Khwarezmiyya they invaded Christian-held Jerusalem, capturing the city's citadel, the Tower of David; and on July 11, 1244, forcing the surrender of the crusader army. Of great note is that after being conquered by the Khwarezmiyya, Jerusalem would stay under control of Islamic sovereignty until 1917,  near the end of World War I, when it was taken from the Ottomans by victorious British and Commonwealth forces.(ED: The Australian Light Horse brigade playing a critical role in the battle).

Video: Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu (2:08)


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