Tokhtamysh–Timur war

Tokhtamysh–Timur war

The Tokhtamysh-Timur war was fought in the 1380s and early 1390s between Tokhtamysh, khan of the Golden Horde and the Turkic warlord and conqueror Timur, in the areas of the Caucasus mountains, Turkistan and southern Russia. The battle between the two Turkic rulers played a key role in the decline of the Turkic power in southern Russia.


In the late 1370s and early 1380s, Timur helped Tokhtamysh to assume supreme power in the White Horde against his (Tokhtamysh's) uncle Urus Khan. After this he united the White and Blue Hordes, forming the Golden Horde, and launched a massive military punitive campaign against the Russian principalities between 1381 and 1382, restoring the turko(tartar)mongol power in Russia after the defeat in the Battle of Kulikovo. The Golden Horde, after a period of anarchy between early 1360s and late 1370s, passed for a briefly reestablishing as a dominant regional power, defeating Lithuania in Poltava around 1383. But Tokhtamysh had territorial ambitions in Persia and Central Asia, and on account of this he turned against his old ally, Timur.

The war

After the death of Abu Sa'id in 1335, the last ruler of the Ilkhanid Dynasty, there was a power vacuum in Persia. So in 1383 Timur could start 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. The city of Tabriz was plundered and Tokhtamysh could retire with a rich booty.

Between 1389 and 1391, the two started fighting, with the Battle of the Kondurcha River awarding victory to Timur. But Tokhtamysh recovered his position and in the spring of 1395 raided the Timurid territory of Shirvan. Timur then promoted a new attack, reconquering the area and raiding the Golden Horde's territories. He decisively routed Tokhtamysh in the Battle of the Terek river on April 15, 1395. In the same year Timur also plundered Sarai, Ukek, Majar, Azaq and burnt Astrakhan.


After his resouding 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 defeat and annihilated by khan Temur Qutlugh and Edigu, two of Tamerlane's generals. Around 1406 Tokhtamysh was killed in Siberia by Edigu's men; in turn, Edigu 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 in smaller khanates: the Kazan khanate, Nogai Horde, Qasim Khanate, Crimean Khanate and Astrakhan Khanate. Thus Turkic power in Russia was weakened and in 1480 the Eastern yoke over Russia, a reminder of the bloody Mongol conquest, was definitely 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, except the Crimean Khanate which survived until 1783, under Ottoman protection.


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