Shahrukh Mirza, Schahruch Mirza, Shakhrukh Mirza, Chahrokh Mirza, Шахрух Мирза

Shahrukh Mirza

Shahrukh Mirza: A reflection on the life and legacy of a ruler from Central Asia

Muin al-Haqq wa-din Shahrukh Mirza (from Arabic ruh (“soul”) and Persian šāh (“king”) – the fourth son of Amir Temur, ruler of Khorasan (since 1397), the Timurid state (since 1409) and Iraq (since 1420). He is the father of the famous astronomer Ulugbek. He was descended from the Turkic tribe Barlas.

The younger son of Amir Temur Shahrukh was born on 20 August 1377. Shahrukh’s mother was Dilshad aga from the Duglats family. Amir Temur married her in 1375. According to legend, the name Shahrukh Mirza was invented by Amir Temur himself. Shahrukh’s mother died early in 1383 and he was brought up by Temur’s elder wife Saray mulk chanim.

On 22 March 1394, Shahruk’s son Ulugbek was born. In honour of this event, Amir Temur pardoned the rebels of the city of Mardin, which was taken at that time after the siege, and ordered them to return the things they had taken away. Soon after, Sahibkiran widely celebrated the birth of another son of Shahrukh and his grandson, Ibrahim Sultan.

Amir Temur then appointed Shahrukh Mirza as ruler of Samarkand and immediately sent him to the capital. This appointment indicated that the next campaign would last longer than expected.

In 1397, after returning to Samarkand, Amir Temur appointed Shahrukh Mirza as ruler of Khorasan, Seistan and Mazandaran.

On 28 July 1402, one of the most important battles in history, the battle between Bayazed the Lightning and Sahibkiran Amir Temur, began at 9 am. Shahrukh Mirza also fought in this battle.

At the time of his father’s death, he was putting down a rebellion in Khorasan. Later Sahibkiran, before his death, would give this province to Shahrukh.

After the death of Amir Temur in 1405, an internal war broke out. His grandson Khalil Sultan (1405-1409) seized power in Mavarannahr, but after several military clashes in Khorasan, Amir Temur’s younger son Shahrukh took over.

In 1409 after the defeat of Khalil Sultan, the Temurid military commanders handed over power in Mavarannahr to Shahrukh Mirza. Shahrukh chose to remain in Khorasan and made Herat the capital of the state and Mavarannahr was handed over to his son Ulugbek (1409-1449). During the reign of Shahrukh Mirza, Herat became the largest centre of science and culture in the East. His son Baysonkur founded the Academy of Arts here, which later gave rise to the famous Behzad. During his reign, the power of the Temurid state was maintained.

Shahrukh Mirza repeatedly received the ambassadors from Egypt, the Ottoman Empire and China. His envoys visited China, India, Egypt and the Ottoman Empire. According to archival records, the Ottoman Empire sent some tributes to Shahrukh as the successor of Amir Temur even before 1444. Repeated attempts were made on the life of Shahrukh, who usually went to the mosque without a bodyguard. Shahrukh’s elder wife, Gavharshad Begim (Goharshad), played a major role in the domestic political life of the country.

After the death of Shahrukh in 1447, power passed into the hands of Ulugbek. The remains of Shahrukh were transported by Ulugbek from Herat to Samarkand and buried in the Gur-Emir family tomb.

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