Tokhtamysh

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Tokhtamysh (tat. Tuqtamış) [1] (died 1406) was the prominent khan of the Blue Horde, who briefly unified the White Horde and Blue Horde subdivisions of the Golden Horde into a single state. He was a descendant of Genghis Khan's eldest grandson, Orda Khan or his brother Tuqa-Timur.

Early campaigns[edit]

Tokhtamysh appears in history in 1376, trying to overthrow his uncle Urus Khan, ruler of the White Horde, and fleeing to the great Timur. Tokhtamysh outlived Urus and both his sons and forcefully ascended the throne of the White Horde in 1378 with Timur's backing.

Tokhtamysh dreamed of emulating his ancestors and made plans to reunite the Ulus Jochi. In 1380, he invaded the Blue Horde by fording across the Volga. The ruler of the Blue Horde, Mamai, was killed shortly after the Battle of Kulikovo, making Tokhtamysh's victory over the horde all the easier.

Having reunited the Blue and White Hordes into the Golden Horde in 1382 Tokhtamysh led a successful campaign against Russia as a punishment for the Kulikovo defeat - setting back, though not ending, the Russian aspiration to free themselves of Tatar rule. In just six years, Tokhtamysh had reunified the lands of the Golden Horde from Crimea to Lake Balkhash.

Tokhtamysh in front of Moscow, 1382

Wars against Tamerlane[edit]

Timur and his troops gather to launch a war against the Golden Horde Khan Tokhtamysh.

Believing he could defeat the Ilkhanate Chobanids and capture the disputed territories of the Caucasus since the days of Berke Khan, in 1385 Tokhtamysh, with an army of 50,000 (or five tumens), invaded Persia and took Tabriz. Returning north they took 200,000 slaves from Caucasus, including tens of thousands of Armenians from the districts of Parskahayk, Syunik, and Artsakh.[2] This proved to be a fatal error for, who Tokhtamysh moved north from the Caucasus, thus allowing his Ilkhanate rivals to side with Timur, who annexed Persia to his own expanding kingdom. Furious, Tokhtamysh turned back and made war on his former ally.

Eventually, Tokhtamysh conceded defeat and withdrew to the steppe. However, in 1387 he suddenly invaded Transoxiana, the heart of Timur's realm. Unfortunately for Tokhtamysh, heavy snow forced him back to the steppe.

In 1395, the scenario reached its climax as Timur attacked the Golden Horde and defeated Tokhtamysh at the Terek. Timur sacked the capital, Sarai Berke, vassalized the Golden Horde, and placed a puppet ruler, Koirichak, on the throne of Orda's Ulus and appointed Temur Qutlugh khan of the Horde.

Tokhtamysh escaped to the Ukrainian steppes and asked for help from the Grand Duke Vytautas of Lithuania. In the great Battle of the Vorskla River (1399) the combined forces of Tokhtamysh and Vytautas were defeated by two of Timur's generals, khan Temur Qutlugh and emir (murza, visir) Edigu. The defeated Tokhtamysh was killed in Tyumen by Edigu's men in 1406.

He was the last khan who minted coins with Mongolian script.

Family[edit]

He had 8 sons;

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The spelling of Tokhtamysh varies, but the most common spelling is Tokhtamysh. Toqtamysh, Toqtamış, Toqtamıs, Toktamys, Tuqtamış, and variants are also in use.
  2. ^ The Turco-Mongol Invasions IV, Medieval Armenian History, Turkish History, Turkey
Tokhtamysh
House of Qiyat (1206–1635)
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Arab Shah Muzaffar
Khan of the Golden Horde
1381–1397
Succeeded by
Temur Qutlugh
Preceded by
Timur-Malik
Khan of the Blue Horde
1378–1395
Succeeded by
Koirichak