Amir Temur is a military leader and ruler who has played an important role in the history of Central, South and West Asia as well as the Caucasus, the Volga and Russia. The commander, the founder of the Timurid Empire (1370) with the capital Samarkand.
Amir Temur was born on April 9, 1336 in the village of Khodja Ilgar (Yakkabag) near Kesh (Shakhrisabz). According to the legend he was born with a bloodstain in his hand and hair white like that of an old man, the same was said of Genghis Khan. His father, Emir Muhammad Taragai, came from a noble family of the Turkish tribe Barlass. He was an influential man and enjoyed great authority in Mawarounnahr. His ancestors took a worthy place in the ranks of the palace elite of the Chagatai Ulus and derived their ancestry from the legendary leader of the Turks Alan-kuva, and their possessions were around Kesh and Nesef.
Temur’s father, Emir Taragai, constantly attended the Kurultai of Chagatai Bekes, which was called by the Khan of the Ulus on the banks of River II. In 1355 he married the daughter of Emir Jaku Barla’s Turmush-aga.
The Supreme Emir Mawarounnahr Kasagan, who had assured himself of Amir Temur’s merits, gave him his granddaughter Uljai Turkan-aga as his wife in the same year. Through this marriage, Amir Temur’s alliance with Emir Husain, the grandson of Kasagan, became apparent. Together they fought against the Mongols. In 1356 two sons of Amir Temur were born – Jahongir and Omar Shaikh.
The economic situation of Mawarounnahr at the end of the 13th century and in the first half of 14 centuries deteriorated day by day. This was used by Togluk Timur, Khan of Mogulistan, who reached Kashkadarya in 1360 without resistance. Amir Temur entered his service. But when Togluk Timur appointed his son Ilyas Hoja as governor of Mawarounnahr, Amir Temur did not want to serve this prince, and after reaching an agreement with the governor of Balkh, Emir Husain, Amir Temur entered into a persistent fight with the Mongols.
At that time the Sarbadors – “gallows” – dominated Samarkand, who also fought against the Mongols. The name of this popular movement was derived from the slogans of its participants “Either the fight for freedom or the head on the gallows”. In 1370 Amir Temur was crowned as the Supreme Emir of Turan on the Kurultai in Balkh.
And the marriage with the daughter of Genghisid Sarai Mulk Khanum allowed Amir Temur to add the honorary title “Guragan” to his name, i.e. “son-in-law of the Khan”.
The main task of Amir Temur was to overcome the fragmentation and unite individual possessions in one state. He chose Samarkand as the capital of this state, where he urgently started the construction of city walls, citadel and palace. He built a new Samarkand near the ruins of the old capital Sogdiana (modern Afrasiab).
The reign of Amir Temur lasted 35 years (1370 – 1405). He created a huge empire from Indus and Ganges to Syrdarya and Zarafshan, from Tien Shan to the Bosporus, and spent most of his life in campaigns.
Amir Temur died in 1405 in Otrar during a campaign to China.
During Amir Temur’s lifetime a special essay was written about the state administration, known as “Temur’s Orders”. It is a valuable historical source from the Middle Ages and consists of two parts. It contains Temur’s biography and events from his life, the views of this famous statesman and military ruler on the art of war, the structure and governance of the country. It is a valuable complex of laws that show that Amir Temur created a centralized, controlled, powerful state.
By creating a great power, Amir Temur has created the conditions for the country’s economic and cultural development. Centuries-old traditions of past eras are being revived in a new historical context. When Mawaraunnahr became the center of trade, economy and culture of the Middle East, such historical cities as Samarkand, Kesh, Bukhara, Termez, Tashkent, Merv and others, which were destroyed to the ground by the hordes of Genghis Khan, began to improve.
Splendid buildings such as mosques, Koran schools, mausoleums, caravanserais and baths were built. It became common that every victory or event was immortalized in architecture. Amir Temur pursued certain political goals with his building activities – the buildings he erected were to demonstrate the strength, power and greatness of his empire.
During the years of his reign, he put an end to feudal fragmentation, established trade and diplomatic relations with the largest kingdoms in Europe – France, England, Castile. Unfortunately, after the death of Amir Temur, trade and diplomatic relations with Western Europe did not develop.
He is one of the most controversial figures in human history. Our knowledge about him, based on various sources, shows him as a ruler, conqueror, commander and warrior.