Mongol Invasions from the 13th to 15th Centuries
The Mongol conquest of the Persian world brought with it terrible destruction and large-scale massacres. In 1219, Gengis Khan's army attacked the state of Khwarezm, capturing Transoxiana, Samarkand (1220) and Khorassan (1221) while a detachment Penetrated as far as Azerbaijan. In 1256, a second expedition led by Hulagu (1217-I265), Genghis Khans` grandson, subdued the whole of Persia In 1258, Baghdad was captured and the caliph put to death, bringing the Abbasid Caliphate to an end. Hulagu successors who took the title of Il-khan, established their capital at Tabriz.
The death of Sultan Abu Said in 1335 lead to the division of the Mongol Empire of Persia. Once again, local chiefs took advantage of this to declare themselves independent: a Persian Shi'ite dynasty, the Sarbedarians (1337-1381), Settled in the northwestern part of Khorassan while the Mozzafferids (1340-1392) took control of the south from Fars to Kermn. But these dynasties were to be short-lived as a third invasion, this time of Turko-Mongol nomads lead by Tamerlane or Lame Timur, swept across the region. The east of Iran fell in 1380, and Azerbaijan Iraq and Fars a few years later. Like his predecessors, Tamerlane left a trail of destruction in his wake; the sack of Isfahan is said to have caused 70,000 deaths.
Tamerlane's immense empire became the object of intense fighting after his death in 1405, but the Timurids who settled in eastern Iran and Afghanistan were paradoxically active protectors of Persian culture, in particular Shah Rokh (1405- 1447): this was to be a period of great flourishing of the arts, especially of the schools of miniature painting at Shiraz and Herat, and of architecture.
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