Ghaznavid and Ghorid Rule

Ghaznavid and Ghorid Rule

Out of the Samanid Dynasty came the first great Islamic empire inAfghanistan, the Ghaznavid, whose warriors, raiding deep into the Indiansubcontinent, assured the domination of Sunni Islam in what is now Afghanistan,Pakistan, and parts of India. The most renowned of the dynasty's rulers wasMahmud, who consolidated control over the areas south of the Amu Darya thencarried out devastating raids into India--looting Hindu temples and seekingconverts to Islam. With his booty from India, he built a great capital atGhazni, founded universities, and patronized scholars. Mahmud was recognized bythe caliph in Baghdad as the temporal heir of the Samanids. By the time of hisdeath, Mahmud ruled the entire Hindu Kush region as far east as the Punjab aswell as territories far north of the Amu Darya. However, as occurred so often inthis region, the demise in 1130 of this military genius who had expanded theempire to its farthest reaches was the death knell of the dynasty itself. Therulers of the Kingdom of Ghor, southeast of Herat, captured and burned Ghazni,just as the Ghaznavids had once conquered Ghor. Not until 1186, however, was thelast representative of the Ghaznavids uprooted by the Ghorids from his holdoutin the Punjab.

The Ghorids controlled most of what is now Afghanistan, eastern Iran, andPakistan, while parts of central and western Iran were ruled by the SeljukTurks. Around 1200, most Ghorid lands came into the hands of the Khwarazm Turkswho had invaded from Central Asia across the Amu Darya.

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