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1411-1508 - Turkomans

The valley of the Euphrates, the western slope of the Armenian mountains, and northern Mesopotamia were inhabited by two powerful Turkoman tribes from the Caspian. The horde of the White Sheep - Ak-Koinlu - occupied the table-lands between Ssiwas and Erzerum, and the horde of the Black Sheep - Kara-Koinlu-Ssamsat (Samosata) - Amida, and the plain country toward Harran and Nisbin (Nisibis), and eastward the highlands of Khelat to the shores of the lake Wan in Persarmenia. Their attachment to a wandering life led several of their hordes into the plains of Asia Minor, where, by the support they rendered the Seldjukian Emirs and the Emperors of Trebizond, they soon got into war with the Ottoman Turks.

A branch of the Turkomans, called the Turkomans of the Black Sheep, rose into power in the beginning of the fifteenth century; and having seized Bagdad, which then belonged to the Ilkhanian Moguls, AD 1410, reigned in Armenia, Irak Arabi, and Tauriz. In AD 1411 the Timurid dynasty gave place to the Kara Kuyunli, the Turkomans of the 'Black Sheep,' who occupied Baghdad till they were in turn dispossessed, in AD 1469, by the rival clan of the Ak-Kuyunli or 'White Sheep' Turkomans.

It had to yield, AD 1468, to the Turkomans who bore the White Sheep on their banners, and had become masters of part of Lower Armenia, Irak Arabi, and Anatolia. These likewise conquered Persia and Khorassan : but they were, in their turn, overpowered by Ismail Sofi, the founder of the modern Persian kingdom, AD 1501; and a few years afterwards, in 1508 their dynasty was at an end.

Isoun Hassan, the celebrated Chan of the White Horde, formed a powerful empire in Armenia and Mesopotamia by his victory over the Black Sheep. Hassan opposed a barrier to the Ottomans in the East, and though he was defeated by Mohammed II in person, near Terdshan, in 1478, the Sultan did not dare to cross the Euphrates.

The great Turkoman chief died in 1478; the disputes among his nephews weakened the state and on its ruins rose the new Persian Empire, which was founded in 1508 by that astonishing fanatic, Ismael Sophi, who under the mask of religious enthusiasm and divine inspiration raised himself from a hut to the throne of a great monarchy. Cities in Turkomania were Erzerum, on the Upper Euphrates, the great manufacturing town of Armenia, and later one of the bulwarks of the Ottoman Empire; Erzendgin (Arzinga), on the same river.

In AD 1508 the troops of Shah Ismail I of Persia took Baghdad from these Turkomans: but the Persians gave place to the Ottoman Turks in AD 1534, when the general of Sultan Sulayman the Magnificent conquered the city. In AD 1623, under Shah 'Abbas the Great, the Persians, through the treachery of Bakir Agha the Janissary, once more became masters of Baghdad ; but a few years later, in AD 1638, they were again driven out, when Sultan Murad IV conquered the city. And since this date Baghdad has been the residence of the Turkish Pasha of Mesopotamia.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:48:46 ZULU