Sultan Husayn Mirza Bayqara

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Sultan Husayn Mirza Bayqarah
Behhzad 001.jpg
A portrait of Sultan Husayn Mirza, from an early illustrated manuscript.
Reign1469  – 4 May 1506
PredecessorMirza Abul-Qasim Babur
Abu Sa'id Mirza
SuccessorBadi' al-Zaman Mirza & Muzaffar Husayn Mirza
BornJune 1438
Herat, present-day Afghanistan
Died4 May 1506 (age 68)
Baba Ilahi, Khurasan
Herat, present-day Afghanistan
SpouseBega Sultan Begum
Chuli Begum
Shahr Banu Begum
Payanda Sultan Begum
Khadija Begi Agha
Zainab Sultan Begum
Afak Begum
Zobeida Sultan Aghacha
Baba Aghacha
Latifa Sultan Aghacha
Mangeli Bi Aghacha
Begi Sultan Aghacha
IssueBadi' al-Zaman Mirza
Muzaffar Husayn Mirza
Shah Gharīb Mirza
Abul Hassan Mirza
Muhammad Muhsin Mirza
Abu Tarab Mirza
Muhammad Husayn Mirza
Feridun Husayn Mirza
Haider Mirza
Muhammad Maasum Mirza
Farrukh Husayn Mirza
Ibrahim Husayn Mirza
Ibn Husayn Mirza
Muhammad Qasim Mirza
Sultanim Begum
Ak Begum
Kechek Begum
Bega Begum
Agha Begum
Fatima Sultan Begum
Nizhad Sultan Begum
Sa'adat Bakht Begum
Aisha Sultan Begum
Maryam Sultan Begum
Munawar Sultan Begum
Full name
Husayn Mirza bin Mansur bin Bayqarah bin Umar Shaikh bin Timur
DynastyTimurid dynasty
FatherMansur Mirza
MotherFiroza Sultan Begum

Sultan Husayn Mirza Bayqara (Persian: حسین بایقرا‎ / Husayn Bāyqarā) was born in Herat in June–July 1438 C.E. to Ghiyas ud-din Mansur Mirza son of Bayqarah Mirza I son of Umar Shaikh Mirza I son of Amir Timur Beg Gurkani. He was the Timurid ruler of Herat from 1469 until May 4, 1506, with a brief interruption in 1470.[1]

Early Life and Distinguished Lineage[edit]

Ghiyas ud-din Mansur Mirza of the Barlas tribe was married to Firoza Sultan Begum daughter of Sultan Husayn son of Muhammad Beg son of Amir Musa of the powerful Tayichiud tribe.[2] To them were born two sons named Bayqara Mirza II and Sultan Husayn Mirza as well as two daughters. Sultan Husayn Mirza in addition to Timurid and Genghis Khanid lines also claimed descent in the ninth generation from Khwaja Abdullah Ansari of Herat also known as Pir-e-Herat (Sage of Herat).[3] His father died when he was around seven or eight years of age. Given that his father was not a noteworthy personality in the Timurid family he took the name Sultan Husayn Mirza Bayqarah after his more illustrious grandfather.[4] After consulting with his mother he entered the service of his older cousin Mirza Abul-Qasim Babur bin Baysonqor, ruler of Herat, in 1452.[5] Mirza Abul-Qasim Babur was not the best ruler. He mismanaged his territory and went into battle against Abu Sa'id Mirza, the Timurid ruler of Samarkand.[6] Sultan Husayn Mirza not happy with his employment tried to go over to Abu Sa'id Mirza by meeting with him. Although Abu Sa'id was inclined to take him into his service, a rebellion on part of Sultan Husayn Mirza's relative, Sultan Awais Mirza son of Muhammad Mirza son of Bayqarah Mirza, induced Abu Sa'id to arrest Sultan Husayn Mirza and other relatives as a precaution.[7] Eventually on the plea of his mother, Firoza Begum, he was freed and he rejoined Mirza Abul-Qasim Babur bin Baysonqor till Baburs' death two years later.[8]

Period of Anarchy in Khurasan[edit]

Following Babur's death in 1457 a period of anarchy ensued in Khurasan. Economic instability and lack of central authority with frequent regime changes invited the invasion of Khurasan by the Timurid ruler of Samarkand, Abu Sa'id Mirza who occupied Herat on July 19, 1457.[9] But Abu Sa'id Mirza immediately abandoned the city in order to deal with troubles at home. Next came the invasion of Kara Koyunlu leader Muzaffar-al-Din Jahan Shah ibn Yusuf who took Mazandaran.[10] During this chaotic time Khurasan was divided into many territories;[11]

In Merv and Khwarazm[edit]

Sultan Husayn Mirza unable to compete with these rivals adopted the life of a mercenary and joined Sultan Sanjar Mirza of Merv who married him to his daughter Beqa Sultan Begum.[12] To them was born Badi' al-Zaman Mirza.[13] Sultan Sanjar Mirza and Sultan Husayn Mirza got along well, but in June/July 1457 when Sanjar appointed Husayn in charge of the city while he was absent, Husayn tried to take power after he suspected the chief dignitary Hasan Arlat of plotting to kill him. Amirs loyal to Sanjar revolted and the attempt failed. Sultan Husayn Mirza was forced to escape with just 5 horsemen. But outside the city he was joined by the head of security of trade caravans of Iranji sector, named Hasan Charkas and his 200 men. This would become Sultan Husayn Mirza's first mercenary force.[14] To solidify this new relationship he married Hasan Charkas' daughter named Afāk Begum.[15] He was chased by Sanjar Mirza to Karakum Desert. He was continuously pursued by Sanjar till he was forced to march towards Khwarazm where he remained between the deserts of Marv and Khiva.[16]

Timurid-Kara Koyunlu Conflict[edit]

Recognizing the weakness of Timurid authority in Herat, Jahan Shah of Kara Koyunlu invaded & took the city on June 28, 1458, which was now occupied by Ibrahim Mirza's father Ala-ud-Daulah Mirza bin Baysonqor.[17] But Abu Sa'id Mirza could not tolerate this and after negotiations Jahan Shah decided to return territorial demarcation to Shahrukh Mirza's times.[18] Thus, Khurasan, Mazandaran and Jurjan were returned to the Timurids and Abu Sa'id Mirza returned and took Herat a second time on December 22, 1458.[19]

Sultan Husayn Mirza Bayqarah vs. Abu Sa'id Mirza[edit]

Sultan Husayn Mirza by now had mustered a force of 1,000 men and had taken Jurjan on October 19, 1458 from Kara Koyunlu.[20] Sultan Husayn Mirza was just 20 years old.[21] Abu Sa'id Mirza invaded Jurjan which Sultan Husayn Mirza hastily abandoned and fled towards Khwarazm again. Abu Sa'id Mirza appointed his son Sultan Mahmud Mirza as Jurjan's governor. When Sultan Husayn Mirza learned that Abu Sa'id Mirza had left Herat to crush the rebellion of his relative Muhammad Juki, he attacked Jurjan again and at the Battle of Jauzi Wali in May 1461 he defeated Sultan Mahmud Mirza and appointed Abdal-Rahman Arghun the territory's governor. However, he could not follow up this victory when he besieged Herat from August–October 1461. Abu Sa'id Mirza returned and Sultan Husayn Mirza again fled towards Khwarazm from where he began making pillaging raids into Khurasan; these raids were conducted in earnest starting in 1464. Seeking to protect himself against Abu Sa'id, he requested the help of the Uzbeks. But that help never came since Abul-Khayr Khan, the Uzbek leader died in 1468. This period of 8 to 10 years was the worst in Sultan Husayn Mirza's life. He wandered from one place to the next at times in dire straits.

Becomes King of Khurasan[edit]

When Abu Sa'id Mirza went to invade Ak Koyunlu he was defeated at the Battle of Qarabagh and caught. Uzun Hasan handed him over to the 19-year-old Timurid of Shahrukh Mirza's descent named Yadgar Muhammad Mirza who executed Abu Sa'id Mirza. Upon Abu Sa'ids death, the Timurid Empire collapsed. Taking advantage of Abu Sa'id Mirza's absence Sultan Husayn Mirza Bayqarah had again entered Khurasan and besieged Herat which he finally captured on March 24, 1469. Thus he became the Timurid ruler of Khurasan. Although the sons of the late Abu Sa'id Mirza went towards Khurasan but they turned back when they learned that not only had Husayn consolidated his control over Herat but the defeated army of their father had joined Husayn Mirza.

Conflict with Ak Koyunlu and Yadgar Muhammad Mirza[edit]

Meanwhile, Uzun Hasan of the Ak Koyunlu (White Sheep) sent his protege, Yadgar Muhammad Mirza, to conquer Khurasan. Husayn defeated Yadgar at the Battle of Chenaran (September 15, 1469), but the latter was sent reinforcements. Uzun Hasan demanded that Husayn hand over various Black Sheep officials who had fled to Herat, a demand which Husayn refused. Yadgar therefore continued into Khurasan, and Husayn was unable to match his forces due to mass desertions. He ended up fleeing Herat, which was occupied on July 7, 1470. Six weeks later, however, Husayn reoccupied the city, after raising a fresh force and defeating the sons of Abu Sa'id who were attempting to advance into Khurasan. He captured Yadgar and executed him.

Husayn's empire was now secure. The White Sheep made no further attempts against him, and the Timurids in Transoxiana were too weakened by internal conflicts to advance into his territory. His boundary with the White Sheep started on the southern edge of the Caspian Sea, running south, then east across the north of the Dasht-e Lut, ending at Lake Hamun. His border with the Timurids was the Oxus River. He more or less respected both borders, refusing to cross north in an attempt to capture Transoxiana from the northern Miranid Timurids. He was probably aware of the Uzbek threat to the region, and was wise enough not to pursue a border with this dangerous tribal people.


Husayn was viewed as "a good king, a lover of peace and justice", and he built numerous structures including a famous school; however, he was sick with a palsy for twenty years of his reign.[22] He was forced to deal with several revolts and incursions. In 1490 the brother of Husayn's son Ibrahim Husain's guardian, Darvish 'Ali, conspired with Sultan Mahmud, who by that time ruled in Hisar. Mahmud moved against Balkh, which Ibrahim resided in, forcing Husayn to mobilize against him. Some years later, Husayn transferred his eldest son, Badi' al-Zaman, from Astarabad (renamed Gorgan in 1937) to Balkh, but Badi' revolted when his son Muhammed Mu'min was denied rule in Astarabad. Husayn defeated both Muhammed, whom he executed, and Badi', whom he reconciled with. The truce fell apart afterwards, however, and in 1499 Badi' besieged Herat.

Uzbek threat[edit]

In 1501 the Uzbeks conquered Transoxiana for good from the Timurid Babur. Under Muhammad Shaybani, the Uzbeks could now threaten Khurasan. Suffering from the effects of advanced age, Husayn made no move against them, even after Babur advised him to act. The Uzbeks began conducting raids into Khurasan. Finally changing his mind, he began to march against them but died in 1506 just after beginning his advance. The inheritance of his empire was disputed between his sons Badi' and Muzaffar Husain. Babur, who had begun an expedition in support of Husayn, noted the infighting between the brothers, decided the area was impossible to defend and retreated. The next year, Muhammad Shaybani conquered Herat and caused Husayn's successors to flee, putting an end to Timurid rule in Khurasan.

The battle of Sultan Ḥusayn Mīrzā against Sultan Masʿūd Mīrzā at Hiṣṣār



Husayn had twelve consorts:

  • Bega Sultan Begum (m. 1457 - div., died 1488), daughter of Sanjar Mirza of Merv, son of Mirak Ahmad Mirza, son of Umar Shaikh Mirza, son of Timur;
  • Tulak Begum known as Chuli Begum (div.), daughter of Husayn Sufi, a chief of the Azaks, and sister of Amir Yusuf Sufi Jandar;
  • Shahr Banu Begum (m. 1469 - div.), daughter of Sultan Abu Sa'id Mirza;
  • Payanda Sultan Begum, another daughter of Sultan Abu Sa'id Mirza;
  • Khadija Begi Agha, daughter of Amir Muhammad Sarik bin Amir Muhammad Khawaja, and widow of Abu Sa'id Mirza;
  • Zainab Sultan Begum, daughter of Amir Taj-al-din Hasan bin Nizam-al-din Charkas;
  • Afak Begum, another daughter of Amir Taj-al-din Hasan bin Nizam-al-din Charkas;
  • Zobayda Sultan Aghacha, daughter of Hasan bin Hussain Sheikh Taimur, of the race of the Shaban Sultans;
  • Latifa Sultan Aghacha, daughter of Amir Sultan Husayn Chaharshanba and a relative of Jahan Shah;
  • Mangeli Bi Aghacha, an Uzbek concubine, and former slave girl of Shahar Banu Begum;
  • Baba Aghacha, daughter of Khawaja Muhammad Ataka, and foster sister of Afak Begum;
  • Begi Sultan Aghacha, a concubine, and mother of Afrasiyab Mirza;

Husayn had eighteen sons:

  • Badi' al-Zaman Mirza — with Bega Sultan Begum;
  • Shah Gharib Mirza — with Khadija Begi Agha;
  • Muzaffer Hussain Mirza — with Khadija Begi Agha;
  • Abul Hassan Mirza — with Latifa Sultan Aghacha;
  • Muhammed Muhsin Mirza — with Latifa Sultan Aghacha;
  • Abu Tarab Mirza — with Mangeli Bi Aghacha;
  • Muhammed Hussain Mirza — with Mangeli Bi Aghacha;
  • Feridun Hussain Mirza — with Mangeli Bi Aghacha;
  • Haidar Muhammad Mirza — with Payanda Sultan Begum;
  • Muhammed Ma'asum Mirza — with Baba Aghacha;
  • Farrukh Hussain Mirza — with Baba Aghacha;
  • Ibrahim Hussain Mirza — with Baba Aghacha;
  • Ibn Hussain Mirza - with Baba Aghacha;
  • Muhammad Qasim Mirza — with Baba Aghacha;
  • Afrasiyab Mirza — with Begi Sultan Aghacha;
  • Masum Ali Mirza - Latifa Sultan Aghacha;
  • Sultan Jahangir Mirza — with Khadija Begi Agha;
  • Jahangir Husain Mirza — with Khadija Begi Agha;

Husayn had eighteen daughters:

  • Zainab Sultan Begum known as Sultanim Begum - with Tulak Begum, married firstly to Sultan Wayis Mirza, son of Bayqara Mirza and Sa'adat Bakht Begum, married secondly to Abdul Baqi Mirza, son of Usman Mirza, son of Sidi Ahmad Mirza, son of Miran Shah;
  • Ak Begum - with Payanda Sultan Begum, married to Muhammad Qasim Mirza, son of Abu'l-Qasim Arlat and Bega Begum;
  • Kechek Begum - with Payanda Sultan Begum, married to Mullah Khwajah;
  • Bega Begum - with Payanda Sultan Begum, married to Babar Mirza, son of Muhammad Qasim Mirza and Rabia Sultan Begum;
  • Agha Begum - with Payanda Sultan Begum, married to Sultan Murad Mirza, son of Muhammad Qasim Mirza and Rabia Sultan Begum;
  • Fatima Sultan Begum - with Mengli Bi Aghach, married to Yadgar Farrukh Mirza, son of Farrukhzad Mirza, son of Sidi Ahmd Mirza, son of Miran Shah;
  • Maryam Sultan Begum - with Mengli Bi Aghacha, married to Sayyid Abdullah Mirza;
  • Sultan Nizhad Begum - with Baba Aghacha, married to Iskandar Mirza, son of Bayqara Mirza and Sa'adat Bakht Begum;
  • Sa'adat Bakht Begum known as Begum Sultan - with Baba Aghacha, married to Sultan Masud Mirza, son of Sultan Mahmud Mirza and Khanzada Begum;
  • Munawar Sultan Begum - with Baba Aghacha, married to Sayyid Mirza of Andekhud, descendent of Ulugh Beg;
  • Aisha Sultan Begum - with Zobayda Sultan Aghacha, married firstly to Qasim Sultan, a Shaibani Sultan, married secondly to Buran Sultan, a relative of Qasim;
  • Khanum Sultan Begum - with Khadija Begi Agha;
  • Sa'adat Nizhad Begum - with Baba Aghacha;
  • Salima Sultan Begum - with Baba Aghacha;
  • Badi-al-Mulk Begum - with Latifa Sultan Aghacha;
  • Umm Salima Begum - with Latifa Sultan Aghacha;
  • Munisa Sultan Begum - with Zubayda Sultan Aghacha;
  • Khurshid Bakht Begum - with Baba Aghacha;



  1. ^ Subtelny 2007, pp. 43–44
  2. ^ Subtelny 2007, pp. 43–44
  3. ^ Subtelny 2007, pp. 44–45
  4. ^ Subtelny 2007, p. 47
  5. ^ Subtelny 2007, p. 47
  6. ^ Subtelny 2007, p. 48
  7. ^ Subtelny 2007, p. 48
  8. ^ Subtelny 2007, p. 48
  9. ^ Subtelny 2007, p. 50
  10. ^ Subtelny 2007, p. 51
  11. ^ Subtelny 2007, p. 52
  12. ^ Subtelny 2007, p. 52
  13. ^ Subtelny 2007, p. ??
  14. ^ Subtelny 2007, p. ??
  15. ^ Subtelny 2007, p. ??
  16. ^ Subtelny 2007, p. ??
  17. ^ Subtelny 2007, p. ??
  18. ^ Subtelny 2007, p. ??
  19. ^ Subtelny 2007, p. ??
  20. ^ Subtelny 2007, p. ??
  21. ^ Subtelny 2007, p. ??
  22. ^ Stevens, John. The history of Persia. Containing, the lives and memorable actions of its kings from the first erecting of that monarchy to this time; an exact Description of all its Dominions; a curious Account of India, China, Tartary, Kermon, Arabia, Nixabur, and the Islands of Ceylon and Timor; as also of all Cities occasionally mention'd, as Schiras, Samarkand, Bokara, &c. Manners and Customs of those People, Persian Worshippers of Fire; Plants, Beasts, Product, and Trade. With many instructive and pleasant digressions, being remarkable Stories or Passages, occasionally occurring, as Strange Burials; Burning of the Dead; Liquors of several Countries; Hunting; Fishing; Practice of Physick; famous Physicians in the East; Actions of Tamerlan, &c. To which is added, an abridgment of the lives of the kings of Harmuz, or Ormuz. The Persian history written in Arabick, by Mirkond, a famous Eastern Author that of Ormuz, by Torunxa, King of that Island, both of them translated into Spanish, by Antony Teixeira, who liv'd several Years in Persia and India; and now render'd into English.


  • Subtelny, Maria (2007). Timurids in Transition: Turko-Persian Politics and Acculturation in Medieval Iran, Volume 7. BRILL. ISBN 9789004160316. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  • Peter Jackson (1986). The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume Six: The Timurid and Safavid Periods. ISBN 0-521-20094-6
  • Francis Robinson (2007). "The Mughal Emperors and the Islamic Dynasties of India, Iran and Central Asia". ISBN 978-0-500-25134-8
Sultan Husayn Mirza Bayqara
Preceded by
Yadigar Muhammad
Timurid Empire (in Herat)
Succeeded by
Badi' al-Zaman