Dedicated to classics and hits.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Muslim Conquest of Central Asia

This Map shows the path of the Muslim invasion of Central Asia.  The Muslim armies were led by Arabs and had Persian officer corps.  The state-lets of Central Asia had mostly Turkish overlords and Iranian related populations. The Muslim histories tend to discuss it as Arabs vs. Turks, but it was really mixed Arab/Persians vs. Turk/Iranians

The Muslim Conquest of Central Asia

Book Review
The Arab Conquests of Central Asia
by H.A.R. Gibb
originally published 1923
reprint by AMS Press 1970

   The Muslim invasion of Central Asia basically lasted from 645 A.D to 711 A.D.  The invading armies were led by Arabs from the Saudi peninsula but used officers and regular soldiers from Persia.  The situation in Central Asia prior to the invasion was muddled: basically a set of independent city state/oasis type polities who were being invaded and conquered by Turks prior to the invasion.  Some of the city states had maintained their Iranian leadership, but may have used Turkish mercenaries.  To the East, the Chinese were pressing north of the Central Asian city states, but they effectively cut off any potential help from Turks from the North.

  The invading Muslim armies gave people the basic, "Submit or die" pitch. The various city states resisted with various degrees of success.  The first phase of invasion was led by Qutayba, the Arab general from Medina.  Qutayba's conquests are summarized by Gibb:

1.  705 AD: The recovery o Lower Turkestan(Tukharistan in the text)
2.  From 706 AD- 709 AD: The conquest of Bukhara.
3.  From 710 to 712: Consolidation of Arab authority in the Oxus valley and its extension into Sughd.
4.  From 713 to 715: Expeditions into the Jaxarates provinces.

    Qutayba was killed by his own troops after he had an overly confident reaction to a change in power at the heart of Umayyad Empire.  It's fair to say that due to his roots in the movement (he was there at Medina) he thought he was bigger than the Empire at the End, and that was his downfall.  After his death there was a twenty five year period of retrenchment and counter attack from the Turkish princes of the area.

  The Turks went down eventually, then China lost interest in funding rebellion against the Arabs, and the situation settled down to the status quo that would be encountered by Genghis Khan and his invading armies almost 500 years later.

No comments:

Blog Archive