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History: Amir Temur


Asia has long been the birthplace of conquerors of the world. One of the greatest of these was a man who commanded both fear and respect in Asia and Europe during the fourteenth century: Tamerlane. This name, by which he was known in Europe, is actually a corruption of his name in Persian, Timur-i-Leng, meaning "Timur the Lame." The word Temur is Turkic for "iron": it was an appropriate name for the man who, in his lifetime, rose from being a prince in a small Turko-Mongol tribe to become the ruler of an expanding empire that stretched from Delhi to Anatolia. His life was, in the words of one modern scholar, "one long story of man, who centralized three parts of the world: the south, the west and the east."

Temur was born in Kesh, also known as Shahr-i-Sabz, "The Green City" (located about fifty miles south of Samarkand) in 1336. He was the son of a chief in the Barlas tribe, one of the many Mongol tribes which had made up the hordes of Chingiz Khan (1162 -1227) and which had been subsequently Turkicised as a result of the strong Turkic element in the Mongol armies. Upon the death of the great Khan in 1227, his massive empire was divided up amongst his sons, each of whom received an allotment of territory, called an ulus.

The Khan's second son, Chagatay (d.1242), received the territories then known as Maverannahr (Transoxiana or "The Land Across the Oxus" and Moghulistan (present-day Semirechye and Sinkiang). Along with other Turko-Mongol tribes, the Barlas settled in Transoxiana, between the two major rivers in the region: the Oxus (Amu Darya) and the Jaxartes (Syr Darya). By the time of Timur, Mongol power in the Chagatay ulus was severely weakened.

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Ibn Sino
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