Ancient history

Asian Empires in the Middle Ages

The Asian Empires in the Middle Ages intersected with the Western Empires, as had never happened before for a long time, since they changed the destiny of the Middle Ages, the main fact being the fall of Constantinople and the travels of Marco Polo.

The Turks

Before the Christian era, nomadic peoples who received the generic names of Turks and Mongols lived on the edges of the Chinese Empire. To defend against their attacks, the Chinese had built, in the year 214 a. of Christ, the Great Wall . These peoples were warlike and not very religious. His highest aspiration was to die in combat:Man is born at home and dies in the field , claimed a Turkish proverb. When the Arabs, in their expansion, came to Tibet and penetrated the steppes bordering China, the Turks became Islamized and entered as mercenaries in the service of the caliphs of Baghdad. Pushed, from the year 960, by the warrior policy of Chinese Emperor Tai Tsu , founder of the Song dynasty, the Turkic tribes migrated to the West, and one of them, the chuz , led by the descendants of Seldjuk (Seljuks), attacked and overthrew the Caliphate of Baghdad, seized power and arrived, in the middle of the eleventh century, in Asia Minor, provoking the western reaction of the Crusades.
Another branch of the Turks, the Ottomans, submitted, at first, to the Seljuks, converted to Islam with Osman, and from 1308 they seized control and launched themselves against the Byzantine Empire . The greatest danger occurred when the sultan Bayacet I (1389-1402) smashed a Crusader army at Nicopolis (1396). But a new eastern danger, the Mughals, then saved Christendom. Bayezid was defeated and taken prisoner by Tamerlane, in the battle of Ankara (1402).
Spare parts from the disaster, the Ottomans returned to the attack with Amurates II (1421-1451), who came to lay siege to Constantinople, a city that bought the retreat from the Turks. With Mohamet II (1451-1481) the Byzantine Empire came to an end, almost reduced to the capital. In April 1453, Mohamet besieged it with 160,000 soldiers, while the last Byzantine emperor, Constantine XI He had only 9,000 men to defend it. The siege lasted fifty days, and on the night of May 28-29, the Turks breached the San Román gate and took it. Mohamet II personally entered the Hagia Sophia on horseback and converted it into a mosque. Constantine died fighting, while the city was subjected to a hideous sack.

The Moguls

The Mughals were united with the Turks until the 11th century, when they emancipated themselves by forming small autonomous groups. As these groups could not survive, they took refuge in the protection of the Chinese emperors of the South, who used them as soldiers against the Manchus of the North.

One of the chiefs, named Temudjin , militarily organized his people and unified him. In 1206 he took the title of Genghis-Khan (inflexible emperor), and dictated a rigid organization. The capital of it was Kara-korum , on the edge of the desert, a city made up of modest mud houses and rough black leather shops, with extensive stables, where thousands of horses were housed, and warehouses where millet and rice were kept. Unity achieved, Ghengis-Khan first marched against northern China which he conquered. He then he went west, took over Iran, and went through the Caucasus to Russia. Upon his death in 1227, the Empire was divided among his four sons, although the title of khan or emperor fell to the third, Ogotay or Ogodey (1229-1241), which ended the conquest of North China, Korea and Russia. At this time, the Mughal general Batu defeated the Poles and the Hungarians, and reached the Adriatic. Batu created in southern Russia the khanate or kingdom of the Golden Horde . The Empire was once again unified by Kubilai-Khan (1259-1294), who conquered southern China, made his residence in Peking, and was a moderate and humane ruler. At this time, the Polos , Venetian merchants, arrived in China, occupying Marco Polo in court important charges. Upon his death, the empire broke up into small kingdoms.

The Empire of Tamerlane

Timur Leng (Timur the Lame, called Tamerlane in Europe), Mughal or Turkish warlord, turned Prince of Transoxiana , he formed in 1369, with great military genius, an army which he launched into conquest with the methods of Turco-Mughal terror. He was a fervent Muslim and pretended to be a descendant of Genghis-Khan, declaring himself his successor. In successive campaigns he subdued the states between the Indus and the Euphrates:India, Syria, and Asia Minor, and the Kingdom of the Golden Horde in southern Russia. He had in Samarkand the capital of his empire. When, old and sick, he was preparing a campaign against China, he died (1405), immediately disintegrating the Empire that he had formed and maintained by force, but that he did not know how to consolidate politically, because if he was a dazzling warrior, he lacked the skills of government.

The knowledge of the world:the voyages of the Polos to Asia

After the Crusades, Europe's interest in the far eastern world was awakened. Venetians, Pisans and Genoese took advantage of periods of truce in the struggle against the Muslims to engage in an interesting trade in exotic products, increasingly valued in Western Europe. Some exceptional travelers even dared to visit those distant countries. Of these, the most notable are the Polo. Two Venetian merchants, Nicolás and Mateo Polo in the middle of the 13th century, arrived in Turkestan through Russia, and from there, they were part of an embassy, ​​they managed to arrive in Beijing , to Kubilai's court. In 1271, two years after their return, they set out again accompanied by Marco Polo Nicholas's son. This time they went through Persia, Pamirs, the Tarim Basin and the Gobi desert to reach Beijing. Emperor Kubilai appointed Marco Polo governor of the southern provinces of the Empire. Sixteen years Marco was touring the south of China and Indochina. In 1292 the Polos returned by sea to Hormuz and then continued by land to Europe, where upon arrival they fell prisoners of the Genoese, then at war against the Venetians.
In prison Marco Polo wrote the amazing Book of the Wonders of the World , in which he described his impressions of the countries he visited, a book that exerted a great influence on future discoveries in the Modern Age.

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