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The battles of Gold-Orda Khans and Hulakids for Azerbaijan

Since the first year of its existence the state of Hulakids had to conduct wars with Gold-Orda, which rulers considered the territories, included to the state of Elkhanids their own, legal possessions, which were bequeathed to them by Chingiz-khan. Elkhanids understood that, Gold- Orda was their most dangerous enemy and that is why, they sent their main forces against Gold Orda and obliged them to retreat.

In the beginning of Abu-Said’s reign, there happened uprisings against central authority in many regions. The one of them was the uprisings of the year of 1319, in Georgia under the leadership of emir Qurumi. Rebellors entered to the territory of Azerbaijan, captured Nakhichevan and made this city their residence. From there they moved to Tabriz. Hulakid ruler Abu-Said encountered the rebellors with lots of troops and managed to destruct them only near Sultaniyye.

The attempts of Abu-Said for strengthening the central authority was unresulted. In 1320, there began new revolt in Georgia and 1322, – in the region of Rum. During both military uprisings Abu-Said was dethroned and there was proclaimed new Sultan. But Abu-Said was able to press the revolts by the vehicle of main emir Choban and restored his reign too. Emir Choban completely occupied the state administration, utilizing from the weakness and childness of Abu-Said. At the result of attempts of another feudal – Qiyasaddin Mushammed Reshid, in 1328, Abu Said left the Chobanids and found himself in the influence of Qiyasaddin Muhammed Reshid. In 1334, Abu Said pressed the uprisings against central authority in Sultaniyye by the vehicle of Reshid.

In 1335, Abu Said, who learnt the interference of the khan of Gold-Orda, Uzbek to Azerbaijan came to the side of Kura with 60 thousandth troops. Uzbek, who was informed about it and knew that his army was less than Abu Said’s, had retreated.

The armed conflicts between Hulakid and Gold-Orda khans happened very often. Some of the sources connected these hostilities with the difference of their religion, but others mentioned that such armed conflicts continued even after the convertion of both branches of Chingizids to Islam. The major reason of these continuable wars as it mentioned above was the aim of Gold Orda khans to capture rich regions of Azerbaijan and their main argument was that according to the testament of Chingiz-khan, Azerbaijan had to be given to Bati-khan, the successor and heir of Chingiz khan’s son, Cuchi. That is why Gold-Orda considered Azerbaijan their territory and did their best to return Azerbaijan.

Nevertheless, Gold-Orda, which understood that Hulakids would not give these lands voluntarily, they oftenly made military campaigns in order to conquer Azerbaijan.

One more reason of these invasions was related with the economic and trade essence of Azerbaijan, as major trade ways between Gold-Orda and Egypt passed through Azerbaijan, the Gold-Orda and Egypt imerchants had to pay high taxes to Hulakids. Gold-Orda desired to obtain namely these profit from expensed trade, improved craft production and natural wealth of Azerbaijan.

Elkhanids also understood the suitable strategic position of Azerbaijan and secured the borders of Azerbaijan in order to provide the security of their state.

At the result of foughts among Gold-Orda and Elkhanid troops damaged country was Azerbaijan. The territory of Azerbaijan was destroyed. Conquerors killed the people, destroyed cities and villages, weakened the economy. The khans of Gold-Orda made relations with the local feudals, who disagreed from Elkhanids in order to conquer the country by their vehicle; they attracted feudals with money and promised them to give leading posts and various priveleges in the case of the conquest of Azerbaijan by Gold Orda.

The first armed conflict between Gold Orda and Elkhanids happened during the reign of Hulaku- khan (1256-1265). In 1262, the ruler of Gold-Orda, Berke khan sent 30 thousandth army under the leadership of Noqay to Shirvan. Hulaku khan defeated the troops of Gold-Orda and then entered to the territory of Gold Orda himself, captured the fortress of Derbend. Khan Berke sent new army against Hulaku-khan and there happened cruel battle among the enemies on the shore of Terek, on January 13, 1263. Gold Orda won in this battle. Hulaku khan retreated to Shabran with the remainings of his army and Derbend again passed to the territories of Gold Orda.

The second campaign of Gold Orda to Azerbaijan was in 1265.

The khan of Gold Orda, khan Berke attempted to frighten Abaga-khan, who came to the throne and replaced Hulaku khan recently. He demanded from Abaga khan the subordination of Hulakids to Gold Orda. With various excutes, khan Berke sent his emir, Nogay to Azerbaijan with big amount of troops. Nogay passed through Derbend and attacked to Shirvan. His major aim was to conquer Shirvan, Arran and Mughan. Abaga khan feared that, Noghay would be able to conquer southern regions of Azerbaijan and that is why, on July 25, 1265, the Elkhan of Hulakids sent his general, Gushmut against him. After the defeat of Hulakids, Abaga-khan himself came for help to Gushmut. At that time, khan Berke began the attack, but as he did not manage to cross the river of Kura, the khan of Gold Orda changed his aim and directed to Tiflis. On the way to Tiflis he fell sick and died, so Gold Orda troops retreated.

The third large/huge campaign of Gold Orda occurred during the reign of Argun-khan (1282-1291), in May of 1288. But, the troops of Gold Orda did not resolve to fight with Argun khan and retreated again.

The fourth campaign of Gold Orda coincided to the authority of Argun-khan too. This campaign began in March of 1290, but soon the hostilities were moved to their territory and in the battle, happened on April 27 of the same year, near the area of Garasu, located in the north of Derbend, the troops of Gold-Orda were defeated. After this the wars between Gold Orda and Hulakids stopped for a while. Temporary calmness was broken during Ghazan khan’s (1295-1304) reign. During the war between Hulakids and Egypt mamluks, Gold Orda again began the invasion. Rational Ghazan khan was able to send new army, commanded by emir Nuri to the northern frontiers of the country. At the result of it, Gold Orda did not manage to enter to Shirvan.

The relations between the khans of Gold Orda and Hulakids continued to become strained. The Khans of Gold Orda, who became much more active during the reign of Abu Said (1316-1335) did their best to utilize from the aggravated interior circumstances of the state of Hulakids and resolve this conflict on their behalf. In this occasion, they were able to make alliance with Egypt mamluks and act synchronized. In 1318, the khan of Gold Orda, Uzbek (1312-1340) moved to the shore of Kura, on the other side, in South-Eastern Anatolia the Egypt mamluks attacked to the state of Elkhanids. Simultaneously, there began uprising against central authority in the North-East of the country, i.e. in Khorasan. The condition of Abu Said became strained. He had to fight on three fronts. Major forces, led by emir Choban were sent to the North against Gold Orda. Although emir Choban made successful campaigns to the territory of Gold Orda twice, in 1319, and in 1325, the Gold Orda did not retreat: in 1335, they invaded to Azerbaijan twice. Abu Said sent Baghdad and Diyarbakir forces against Gold Orda khan, Uzbek. Later Abu Said came to Arran and at the result of it Uzbek retreated. But, interior internecine and conflicts stroke the state of Hulakids. Abu Said was poisoned by his wife in Karabakh, at the result of which, he died. Khan Uzbek, who utilized from this situation intervened to the country and moved till the river of Kura. The successor of Abu-Said, Arpa-khan (1335-1336) was able to withdraw the troops of Gold Orda for a little time, i.e. for one and a half monthes.

About Ismayil bey Zardabli

Author of t extbook for the higher educational institutions "THE HISTORY OF AZERBAIJAN, from ancient times to the present day"