Timurids (tĭmŏrˈĭdz) [key], dynasty founded by Timur (or Tamerlane). After the death of Timur (1405) there was a struggle for power over his empire, which then extended from the Euphrates River to the Jaxartes (Syr Darya) and Indus rivers. The western empire, which included Tabriz and Baghdad, lasted only a few years because of internal wars. The so-called Black Sheep Turkmen horde brought it to an end when they took (1410) Baghdad. Shah Rukh, Timur's son, ruled (1409–46) the eastern empire, including Khorasan and Transoxiana (region E of the Amu Darya, or Oxus, River). He fought the Black Sheep and succeeded in recapturing Tabriz and much of W Persia. His domain was the focal point of trade between the East and the West, and it attained a spectacular prosperity. Because all the Persian cities were desolated by previous wars, the seat of Persian culture was now in Samarkand and Herat; these cities became the center of the Timurid renaissance. This cultural rebirth had a double character; on one hand, there was a renewal of Persian civilization and art (distinguished by extensive adaptations from the Chinese), and on the other, an original national literature in the Turk-Jagatai language, which borrowed from Persian sources. Shah Rukh was succeeded by his son, Ulugh Beg (ruled 1447–49). He had earlier been (1409–47) viceroy of Transoxiana. He constructed many public buildings and was a patron of Persian art and literature; he made Samarkand a center of Muslim civilization. After his succession (ruled 1447–49) to the throne the Timurid empire fell into anarchy; the Turkmen horde known as the White Sheep conquered much territory, while the Uzbeks looted Samarkand. Petty princes took over the rule, and local dynasties sprang up. One of these princes, and the last of the Timurids, was Babur.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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