Tamerlane (Timur) was a Turko-Mongol conqueror who exploited the vacuum created by the disintegration of the Mongol Empire. A vizier in the Chagatai Khanate, he later claimed to be a direct descendant of Genghis Khan, enabling him to become the ‘legitimate’ ruler of a new Mongol dynasty. By 1400, his armies had advanced southwards from Chagatai Khanate and annexed Transoxiana, Central Asia and Persia to the River Euphrates. He also invaded and pillaged much of Eurasia, including the Sultanate of Delhi and the Mongolian territories around the Volga and Black Seas (known as the Golden Horde). He was brutal and much feared, with stories circulating of his extreme barbarity; it is thought that his armies slaughtered 17 million people. In 1400–03, he destroyed Mamluk Syria and, in 1402, defeated the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Ankara. He died two years later, while leaving his capital, Samarkand, to conquer China.
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