Muhammad II of Khwarezm
|Reign||1200 – 1220|
|Jalal ad-Din Manguberdi
Rukn ad-Din Qursanjdi
Qutb ad-Din Uzlaq-Shah
Qiyath ad-Din Pir-Shah
Princess Aysi Khatun
|Laqab: Ala ad-Din (shortly), Iskandar-i Sani
Given name: Muhammad
Turkic nickname: Sanjar
Nasab: Muhammad ibn Tekish ibn Il-Arslan ibn Atsiz ibn Muhammad ibn Anushtegin
|House||House of Anushtegin|
Ala ad-Din Muhammad II (Persian: علاءالدین محمد خوارزمشاه; full name: Ala ad-Dunya wa ad-Din Abul-Fath Muhammad Sanjar ibn Tekish) was the Shah of the Khwarezmian Empire from 1200 to 1220. His ancestor was a Turkic slave who eventually became a viceroy of a small province named Khwarizm. He is perhaps best known for inciting the Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia, which resulted in the complete and utter destruction of his empire.
Muhammad frequently clashed with Ghurids for hegemony at Khorasan region and with Western Karakhanids for Transoxania. He conquered Herat in 1204, Balkh, regions of Juzjan and Tokharistan. After defeating Muhammad of Ghor at the battle of Andkhvoy in 1205, he took Sistan from Ghurids in 1206. He captured Samarkand (captured by Karakhanids in 1208) in 1207 from the Kara Khitay, Tabaristan in 1210 from Ghurids and Transoxiana from Western Karakhanids. He pursued expansionist policy and conquered Tashkent and Fergana from Western Karakhanids and regions of Makran and Balochistan from Ghurids and Atabegs of Azerbaijan become his vassals in 1211. He finally destroyed Western Karakhanids in 1212 and Ghurids in 1215 annexing with their remainder territories. During 1212 the city of Samarkand revolted killing 8,000-10,000 Khwarezmians living there. Muhammad, in retaliation, sacked the city and executed 10,000 citizens of Samarkand.
By 1217 he had conquered all the lands from the river Jaxartes to the Persian Gulf he declared himself shah and demanded formal recognition from the caliph in Baghdad. When the caliph an-Nasir rejected his claim, Ala ad-Din Muhammad gathered an army and marched towards Baghdad to depose an-Nasir. However, when crossing the Zagros Mountains, the shah's army was caught in a blizzard. Thousands of warriors died and with the army decimated the generals had no choice but to return home.
In 1218, a small contingent of Mongols crossed borders in pursuit of an escaped enemy general. Upon successfully retrieving him, Genghis Khan made contact with the Shah. Having only recently conquered two-thirds of what would one day be China, Genghis was looking to open trade relations, but having heard exaggerated reports of the Mongols, the Shah believed this gesture was only a ploy to invade his land. Genghis sent emissaries to Khwarezm (reports vary - one stating a group of 100 Muslim merchants with a single Mongol leading them, others state 450) to emphasize his hope for a trade road. The Shah, in turn, had one of his governors openly accuse the party of spying, their rich goods were seized and the party was arrested.
Trying to maintain diplomacy, Genghis sent an envoy of three men to the Shah, to give him a chance to disclaim all knowledge of the governor's actions and hand him over to the Mongols for punishment. The shah executed the envoy (again, some sources claim one man was executed, some claim all three were), and then immediately had the Mongol merchant party (Muslim and Mongol alike) put to death. These events led Genghis to retaliate with a force of 100,000 to 150,000 men that crossed the Jaxartes in 1219 and sacked the cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, Otrar and others. Muhammad's capital city, Urgench, followed soon after.
Genghis Khan's revenge was considered brutal, even by Mongol standards. His campaign resulted in the complete annihilation of Khwarezm cities, destruction of countless historical artifacts and records, and arguably the bloodiest massacre the world has ever seen until the 20th century.
- A Global Chronology of Conflict: From the Ancient World to the Modern Middle, Vol. I, ed. Spencer C. Tucker, (ABC-CLIO, 2010), 269.
- Farooqui Salma Ahmed, A Comprehensive History of Medieval India: From Twelfth to the Mid-Eighteenth Century, (Dorling Kindersley Pvt., 2011), 53-54.
- Rafis Abazov, Palgrave Concise Historical Atlas of Central Asia, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), 43.
- Rafis Abazov, Palgrave Concise Historical Atlas of Central Asia, 43.
- Blandford, Neil; Jones, Bruce (1985). The World's Most Evil Men.
- Cawthorne, Nigel (1999). The World's Worst Atrocities.
- Man, John (2004). Genghis Kahn - Life, Death and Resurrection.
Muhammad II of KhwarezmBorn: 1169 Died: 1220
|Shah of the Khwarezmian Empire