CHAPTER 5 KARABAGH IN XIV-XY CENTURIES

Learning about Timur’s arrival, the Khan ravaged Nakhichevan, Siunik and Tsar district of Artsakh and retreated to the Derbent Gates, But soon he, frightened to death, left his plunder and had a narrow escape to save his life. In Media Tamerlane mobilized a new army of 700 thousand soldiers and initiated incursions on all directions. In 1387 he raided Siunik, Ararat and Artsakh. Timur forgave neither those who fought against him, nor those, who submitted to him. In 1401, on the ninth of July he took Baghdad and returned to Media. The German traveller Johann Schiltenberg, who was taken captive in a battle between the Turks and Crusaders, gave evidence about that complicated period. The Turks had sold him to Tatars and for about thirty-one years he had been travelling with the conquerers in Asian and African countries and at last returning home in 1427, decided to record the events of his own life and experience. According to him, Tamerlane left Tabriz for Karabakh in 1401. After Timur’s death, the German served his son Shahrrukh. “He (Shahrrukh) used to winter in a large plain, which was called Karabakh. It was distinguishable for its pastures…. The best silk was found here. Though this valley is situated in Armenia, it belongs to the Muslims, and the Armenian villages payed taxes to them”3.

After the death of Tamerlane in 1405, the order which he had established began to break down. Besides his descendants laying claim to the enormous inheritance, various governors and generals began to struggle for possession of lands. Meanwhile the Turkmanians (the tribe “Kara Koyunlu”) established their domination. Their leader Kara-Yusup was no less cruel than Timur and his generals.

The descendants of Khachen’s Jalalian family survived the invasion of Tamerlane and the incursions of the Turkmens and continued to rule in Artsakh in the second half of the fourteenth century4.

Thus Karabakh was the only part of Armenia where a tradition of national sovereignity was preserved unbroken until the late medieval period.

The fourteenth century witnessed the fall of the Cilician Armenian Kingdom. The revival of the Armenian independent monarchy proved short-lived (3 hundred years). Under the attacks of the neighbouring Arab states, the kingdom was destroyed. The last king of Cilician Armenia, Levon Y Lusignan, died in exile in 1393. The Pope of Rome and the European countries did not come to their help.

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