Battle of Qara-Derrah Pass

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Battle of Qara-Derrah Pass
Part of Timurid Invasion of Turkey
LocationQara-Derrah Pass near Bendimahi of Lake Van, Turkey
Result Timurid Empire victory
KarakoyunluFlag.png Kara Koyunlu Timurid Empire
Commanders and leaders
Abu Nasr Qara Yusuf Pir Muhammad ibn Umar Shaikh Mirza I

The Battle of Qara-Derrah Pass was fought between Pir Muhammad ibn Umar Shaikh Mirza I of the Timurid Empire and Abu Nasr Qara Yusuf of the Kara Koyunlu confederation of Turkmen people in eastern Turkey near Lake Van in the year 1395 C.E.


When the Ilkhanate collapsed after the death of Abu Sa'id Bahadur Khan, rival Mongol tribes namely the Chopanids, Jalayirids and Injuids along with a Persian clan, the Muzaffarids, were involved in conflicts for dominance over Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia & Georgia. This rendered them weak and ideal targets for an invasion by Timur the Lame in 1393. He overran Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and sacked portions of eastern Anatolia. But Timur's prolonged absence from his homeland began to worry his nobles and family members and so he sent his grandson (son of Umar Shaikh Mirza I) named Pir Muhammad ibn Umar Shaikh Mirza I to Shiraz in 1395 to provide security in that part of his dominions.

Pir Muhammad ibn Umar Shaikh Mirza I departed accordingly for Shiraz accompanied by Ghiyasuddin Tarkhan and Amir Shams-ud-din Abbas who was to move on with his forces to Transoxiana. Having reached Ardabil they received intelligence that Qara Yusuf at the head of Kara Koyunlu of superior force was encamped in the neighborhood of Alahtauk with the design of making an attempt on Khoy.

Ghiyasuddin Tarkhan and Amir Shams-ud-din Abbas continued their march for Samarkand while Pir Muhammad made the best of his way to Tabriz in order to assemble the troops of the province and he was shortly afterwards joined at that place by several officers sent by Miran Shah as reinforcements.


Pir Muhammad advanced without further delay to oppose the designs of Abu Nasr Qara Yusuf and reaching a particular spot without confrontation he became aware that a detachment of the enemy sent forward by the Kara Koyunlu chief to explore and scour the country had taken post in the Qara-Derrah Pass, a strong defile in the mountains which at a subsequent period formed the boundary between the Turkish and Persian dominions. With equal promptitude and decision the young prince resolved on an attempt to cut off this detachment and accordingly coming upon them with a suddenness which precluded resistance all those who could escape fled with the utmost consternation to the Bendimahi river which flows into the Lake Van.

Abu Nasr Qara Yusuf had at this period removed his headquarters from here instantly and withdrew in dismay on intelligence that the Timurids were approaching. In effect Pir Muhammad came upon the fugitives to Bendimahi village or town and from there dispatched a part of his force in pursuit of Abu Nasr Qara Yusuf.


Abu Nasr Qara Yusuf having disappeared without leaving a vestige to indicate the course of his flight, it was thought advisable to terminate the pursuit and Pir Muhammad being at liberty to resume his march for Shiraz now proceeded to Soltaniyeh.


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