Battle of Baghdad (1258)

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Battle of Baghdad (1258)
Part of the Mongol invasions
Bagdad1258.jpg
Hulagu's army conducting a siege on Baghdad walls.
Date January 29 – February 10, 1258
Location Baghdad, modern-day Iraq
Result Decisive Mongol victory
Participants
Mongol Empire
Georgian-Mongol alliance
Abbasid Caliphate
Commanders and leaders
Hulagu Khan
Guo Kan
Baiju
Kitbuga
Koke Ilge
David VII ulu
Caliph Al-Musta'sim #
Mujaheduddin
Sulaiman Shah #
Qarasunqur.
Strength
120,000[1]-150,000[2] total
(60,000 Georgian infantry,
12,000 Armenian cavalry,[1]
Chinese bombardiers,[2]
and Mongol, Turkic, Persian and Georgian soldiers)
50,000
Casualties and losses
Unknown but believed to be minimal 50,000 soldiers,
90,000-1,000,000 civilians[source?]

The Battle of Baghdad in 1258 was a victory for the Mongol leader Hulagu Khan, a grandson of Genghis Khan. Baghdad was captured, sacked, and over time burned.

Background[change | change source]

Baghdad was the capital of the Abbasid Empire.[3] This was an Islamic empire in what is now Iraq. The Abbasid caliphs were the second of the Islamic dynasties.

The besieging army[change | change source]

The Mongol army, led by Hulagu (also spelled as Hulegu) Khan and the Chinese commander Guo Kan in vice-command, set out for Baghdad in November of 1257. Hulagu marched with what was probably the largest army ever fielded by the Mongols. By order of Mongke Khan, one in ten fighting men in the entire empire were gathered for Hulagu's army (Saunders 1971). The attacking army also had a large contingent of Christian forces.

The siege[change | change source]

Hulagu demanded surrender; the caliph refused. Many accounts say that the caliph failed to prepare for the fight; he neither gathered armies nor strengthened the walls of Baghdad.

Hulagu divided his forces, so that they threatened both sides of the city, on the east and west banks of the Tigris. The attacking Mongols broke some dikes and flooded the ground behind the caliph’s army, trapping them. Much of the army was slaughtered or drowned.

Under Guo Kan's order, the Chinese counterparts in the Mongolian army then laid siege to the city, constructing a palisade and ditch, wheeling up siege engines and catapults. The siege started on January 29. The battle was swift, by siege standards. By February 5 the Mongols controlled a stretch of the wall. Al-Musta'sim tried to negotiate, but was refused.

On February 10 Baghdad surrendered. The Mongols swept into the city on February 13 and began a week of massacre, looting, rape, and destruction.

Other pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 L. Venegoni (2003). Hülägü's Campaign in the West - (1256-1260), Transoxiana Webfestschrift Series I, Webfestschrift Marshak 2003. Archived 12 March 2012 at WebCite
  2. 2.0 2.1 National Geographic, v. 191 (1997)
  3. "Six Essays from the Book of Commentaries on Euclid". World Digital Library. http://www.wdl.org/en/item/7465. Retrieved 21 March 2013.

Sources[change | change source]

  • Amitai-Preiss, Reuven. Mongols and Mamluks: The Mamluk-Ilkhanid War, 1260–1281 (first edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. ISBN 978-0-521-46226-6.
  • Morgan, David. The Mongols. Boston: Blackwell Publishing, 1990. ISBN 978-0-631-17563-6.
  • Nicolle, David, and Richard Hook (illustrator). The Mongol Warlords: Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan, Hulegu, Tamerlane. London: Brockhampton Press, 1998. ISBN 978-1-86019-407-8.
  • Saunders, J.J. The History of the Mongol Conquests. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001. ISBN 978-0-8122-1766-7.
  • Sicker, Martin. The Islamic World in Ascendancy: From the Arab Conquests to the Siege of Vienna. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers, 2000. ISBN 978-0-275-96892-2.
  • Souček, Svat. A History of Inner Asia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-521-65704-4.

Other websites[change | change source]