Iran History The Mongols

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The Mongols

Mughal Emperor Akbar 1556-1605
Mughal Emperor Akbar 1556-1605

Mongol Rulers of Iran (1219-1353)


Mongolian occupation was catastrophic for Iran. Numerous cities were mined, and a large number of people (especially men) were killed. The Kharazrn Shahs could not resist the Mongolian hordes led by Genghis Khan. The last Kharazn-Shah's prince al-Din tried to restore the empire, but failed to unite the Iranian territories, although at that time Genghis Khan, who had retreated to Mongolia, was dead. Iran was divided between Mongolian agents and local adventurers, both of whom benefited from the lack of order.A second Mongol invasion began when Gengis Khan's grandson Hulagu Khan destroyed the Ismailite fortress at Alamut. Then he laid siege to Baghdad, where he ordered the execution of the last Abbasid caliph. Hulagu hoped to consolidate Mongol rule over West Asia and expand the Mongol empire to the Mediterranean. He made Iran its base, but the Mamluks of Egypt (1250-1517) prevented him and his successors from reaching their imperial goal.Instead, a Mongolian dynasty, the Il-Khanid or "deputy khan", was established in Iran to repair the damage of the first Mongolian invasion to the Great Khan in China. They made Azerbaijan their center and chose Maragheh as the first capital until Sultaniyeh was built at the beginning of the 14th century.
A later Mongolian ruler, Ghazan Khan. And his famous Iranian vizier of Jewish descent, Rashid al-Din Fazlollah, gave Iran a partial revival. Ghazan Khan was the first Mongolian ruler to adopt Islam. His successor to the throne was Oljeitu. Oljeitu changed his religious affinities several times. A great-grandson of Hulagu, founder of the I1 Khanid dynasty, Oljeitu was a Christian baptized and given the name Nicholas by his mother. As a youth, he maintained shamanism, but later, apparently under the influence of one of his wives, was converted to Sunni Islam and adopted the name of Mohammad Khodabandeh ("Lord's Slave").
During the winter of 1307-1308, a bitter religious feud between the followers of the Hanafi and Shafii schools of Sunni Islamic law. Oljeitu was so disappointed that he considered the return to shamanism, but this course turned out to be politically impossible. The Shiite theologian, Ibn al-Mutahhar al-Hilli, greatly influenced the Shiite religion. On his return from a visit to the tomb of Iamam Ali in Iraq. He proclaimed Shi'ite Islam as a state religion. Oljeitu's transformation led to great unrest, and civil war was imminent, when he died in 1316. His son and successor, Abu Said, returned to Sunni Islam and turned to war, but during his reign, factional struggles and internal unrest became rampant. The Il Khanid line was interrupted by the death of Abu Said, who had passed away without leaving an heir, and Iran again returned to petty dynasties - the Jalayirids, Injuids and Mozaffarids.

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