2 – He Was a Military Genius
Timur’s military career began in an inauspicious manner as he plotted against the Mongols. When the enemy learned of his plan, he had to flee and become a bandit to survive. His success as a mercenary in Persia helped him garner a large following, and he collaborated with Amir Hussein to start conquering territory. By 1366, the duo had control of Transoxiana, but four years later, he killed Hussein, so Timur became the leader of the entire region.
From this point onward, Timur was dedicated to expansion and spent the final 35 years of his life in a state of constant conflict. The so-called Timurid Empire was founded by him in 1370, and he spent the next decade conquering the rest of Central Asia. In 1380, he assisted the Mongol Khan Toktamysh in his invasion of Russia, and he began his Persian campaign with the capture of Herat (in modern day Afghanistan) in 1383. Within four years, all of Persia was his; marked by the conquest of Isfahan in 1387.
Timur’s next task was a five-year campaign west which began in 1392 with an attack on Persian Kurdistan. Shiraz surrendered the following year, and Timur also found time to turn against Toktamysh beginning with an invasion of Azerbaijan in 1385. Timur destroyed his enemy’s army at the Battle of the Kondurcha River in 1391 and ended the matter with Toktamysh by comprehensively beating him at the Battle of the Terek River in 1395. Although Toktamysh survived for another decade, he never held his former power again. Timur destroyed the capital of the Golden Horde, Sarai, and started his campaign against the Tughlaq Dynasty with an invasion of Northern India in 1398.
Despite facing harsh conditions, Timur captured Delhi in 1399 and began a war with the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Bayezid I, in the same year. Other cities to fall included Aleppo, Damascus, and Baghdad before he died at the beginning of his campaigns against Ming China. The Timurid Empire he founded lasted until 1507 when the Uzbeks of Muhammad Shaybani conquered Samarkand and Herat. Although Timur was generally merciful to cities that surrendered, this was not always the case. If you tried to fight, Timur would annihilate the inhabitants of the city and liked to experiment with varying forms of grotesque punishments.