MAPS: 1215AD – 1453AD Middle East

Middle East 1215AD – 1453AD


The previous centuries[1] have seen further invasions from central Asia. From the 1230s, the Middle East came under the rule of the Mongols. They conquered Iran[2] and Iraq,[3] and in 1258 captured Baghdad, killing the last of the Caliphs. They were only stopped by the Mamluq Turks, a group of slave-soldiers who had seized control of Egypt,[4] Syria[5] and western Arabia.[6] They ousted the last Crusader toe-holds on the Syrian coast.

The Mongols introduced firearms to the region; the Mamluq armies adopted them and used them to greater effect than the Mongols had done.

The vast Mongol empire was divided amongst the descendants of Genghis Khan, and the Middle East fell to a branch which became known as the Il-khans. These converted to Islam. However, the usual decline set in, and a number of regional states emerged.

In the 1340s the region was struck by the Black Death. In the late 14th century another conqueror from central Asia, Timur, became master of most of the Middle East, with the major exception of Egypt and Syria, still under the Mamluqs.

Since Timur’s death his empire has shrank back to Iran, and Iraq has fallen to another group from central Asia, the Black Sheep Turks.

Meanwhile, Asia Minor[7] has now come under the Ottoman empire. In this year, 1453, the Ottomans capture the great Byzantine capital of Constantinople.


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