Thursday, 23 December 2021

Sultan Mahmud Ghazni

Mahmud of Ghazni or Mahmud Ghaznavi was the founder of the Turkic Ghaznavid dynasty, ruling from 998 to 1030. At the time of his death, his kingdom had been transformed into an extensive military empire, which extended from northwestern Iran proper to the Punjab in the Indian subcontinent, Khwarazm in Transoxiana, and Makran.


Mahmud of Ghazni (center) receives a robe from Caliph Al-Qadir


He followed policy of plundering India and to establish his rule where he felt it can be permanently established which is now Pakistan. Highly Persianized, Sultan Mahmud continued the bureaucratic, political, and cultural customs of his predecessors, the Samanids, which established the ground for a Persianate state in northwestern India.


His capital of Ghazni evolved into a significant cultural, commercial, and intellectual center in the Islamic world, almost rivalling the important city of Baghdad. The capital appealed to many prominent figures, such as al-Biruni and Ferdowsi.

In 994 Mahmud joined his father Sabuktigin in the capture of Khorasan from the rebel Fa'iq in aid of the Samanid Emir, Nuh II. During this period, the Samanid Empire became highly unstable, with shifting internal political tides as various factions vied for control, the chief among them being Abu'l-Qasim Simjuri, Fa'iq, Abu Ali, the General Bekhtuzin as well as the neighboring Buyid dynasty and Kara-Khanid Khanate. Fight between Mahmud of Ghazni and Abu 'Ali Simjuri.


 In 998, Mahmud then traveled to Balkh and paid homage to Amir Abu'l-Harith Mansur b. Nur II. He then appointed Abu'l-Hasan Isfaraini as his vizier, and then set out west from Ghazni to take the Kandahar region followed by Bost (Lashkar Gah), where he turned it into a militarized city. Ghaznavid fortress of Lashkari Bazar in Lashkargah, ancient Bost, southern Afghanistan. It was founded by Mahmud of Ghazni in 998-1030 CE.
    


Mahmud initiated the first of numerous invasions of North India. On 28 November 1001, his army fought and defeated the army of Raja Jayapala of the Kabul Shahis at the Battle of Peshawar. In 1002 Mahmud invaded Sistan and dethroned Khalaf ibn Ahmad, ending the Saffarid dynasty. From there he decided to focus on Hindustan to the southeast, particularly the highly fertile lands of the Punjab region.


Sultan Mahmud and his forces attacking the fortress of Zaranj, Afghanistan in 1003 CE.


In 1005 Mahmud of Ghazni invaded Bhatia (probably Bhera), and in 1006 he invaded Multan, at which time Anandapala's army attacked him. The following year Mahmud of Ghazni attacked and crushed Sukhapala, ruler of Bathinda (who had become ruler by rebelling against the Shahi kingdom). In 1013, during Mahmud's eighth expedition into eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Shahi kingdom (which was then under Trilochanapala, son of Anandapala) was overthrown.


In 1014 Mahmud led an expedition to Thanesar. The next year he unsuccessfully attacked Kashmir. In 1018 he attacked Mathura and defeated a coalition of rulers there while also killing a ruler called Chandrapala. In 1021 Mahmud supported the Kannauj king against Chandela Ganda, who was defeated. That same year Shahi Trilochanapala was killed at Rahib and his son Bhimapala succeeded him. Lahore (modern Pakistan) was annexed by Mahmud.


Mahmud besieged Gwalior, in 1023, where he was given tribute. Mahmud attacked Somnath in 1025, and its ruler Bhima I fled. The next year, he captured Somnath and marched to Kachch against Bhima I. That same year Mahmud also attacked the Jats of Jud and defeated them. Ruins of the Somnath temple in the 19th century.


The last four years of Mahmud's life were spent contending with the influx of Oghuz and Seljuk Turks from Central Asia and the Buyid dynasty. Initially, after being repulsed by Mahmud, the Seljuks retired to Khwarezm, but Togrül and Çagrı led them to capture Merv and Nishapur (1028–1029). Later, they repeatedly raided and traded territory with his successors across Khorasan and Balkh and even sacked Ghazni in 1037. In 1040, at the Battle of Dandanaqan, they decisively defeated Mahmud's son, Mas'ud I, resulting in Mas'ud abandoning most of his western territories to the Seljuks.

Friday, 9 April 2021

Philip IV of Spain

Philip IV (8 April 1605 – 17 September 1665) was King of Spain from 1621 to his death and (as Philip III) King of Portugal from 1621 to 1640. Philip is remembered for his patronage of the arts, including such artists as Diego Velázquez, and his rule over Spain during the Thirty Years' War. By the time of his death, the Spanish Empire had reached approximately 12.2 million square kilometers (4.7 million square miles) in area but in other aspects was in decline, a process to which Philip contributed with his inability to achieve successful domestic and military reform.

Philip IV of Spain


Philip IV was born in Royal Palace of Valladolid, and was the eldest son of Philip III and his wife, Margaret of Austria. In 1615, at the age of 10, Philip was married to 13-year-old Elisabeth of France. Philip had seven children by Elisabeth, with only one being a son, Balthasar Charles, who died at the age of sixteen in 1646. 

Philip pictured with his older sister, Anne in 1612
by Bartolomé González y Serrano

At age of 44 in 1649, Philip remarried, following the deaths of both Elisabeth and his only legitimate heir. His choice of his second wife, 14-years-old Maria Anna. Maria Anna bore him five children, but only two survived to adulthood, a daughter Margarita Teresa, born in 1651, and the future Charles II of Spain in 1661.

Mariana of Austria

The 1620s were good years for Spanish foreign policy: the war with the Dutch went well, albeit at great expense, culminating in the retaking of the key city of Breda in 1624.

The Surrender of Breda by Diego Velázquez. Oil on canvas, 1635

By the end of the decade, however, Philip's government was faced with the question of whether to prioritize the war in Flanders or Spain's relationship with France during the War of the Mantuan Succession (1628–1631). Philip's advisors recommended prioritizing the war in Flanders, taking action to safeguard the Spanish Road to the Netherlands but at the cost of antagonizing Louis XIII. Strategically this was to prove a disaster.

Siege and capture of Casale Monferrato by French troops, 1630


Despite fresh Spanish successes in the mid-1630s – in particular, the triumph of Philip's government in raising a fresh Spanish army, marching it into Germany to defeat the Swedish-led Protestant forces at the Battle of Nördlingen in 1634 – the increased tensions with France made war between the two Catholic states increasingly inevitable.

The Battle of Nördlingen

The Spanish-French war that ensued from 1635 onwards was not a foregone conclusion. Early Spanish successes threatened Paris, and even after the Spanish defeat at Rocroi, Spain remained a strong opponent. But from 1640 onwards, a period which saw large-scale revolts across Spanish territories in protest against the rising costs of the conflict, Spain was finding it difficult to sustain the war.

Defeat at Rocroi ended Spanish dominance of the European battlefields


The Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, and the marriage of Philip's daughter Maria Theresa to the young King Louis XIV finally brought the war with France to a conclusion. The war against Portugal continued however, as Philip fruitlessly attempted to regain control over his lost kingdom.

Louis XIV and Philip IV of Spain at the
Meeting on the Isle of Pheasants, June 1660


Philip IV died broken-hearted in 1665, expressing the pious hope that his surviving son, Charles II, who was only 4 years old at the time, would be more fortunate than himself. On his death, a catafalque was built in Rome to commemorate his life. In his will, Philip left political power as regent on behalf of the young Charles II to his wife Mariana, with instructions that she heed the advice of a small junta committee established for this purpose. This committee excluded John Joseph, Philip's illegitimate son, resulting in a chaotic powerplay between Mariana and John Joseph until his death in 1679.

Rainaldi's print of the catafalque

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Battle of Gallipoli

The Battle of Gallipoli occurred on 29 May 1416 between a squadron of the Venetian navy and the fleet of the Ottoman Empire off the Ottoman naval base of Gallipoli. The battle was the main episode of a brief conflict between the two powers, resulting from Ottoman attacks against Venetian possessions and shipping in the Aegean Sea in late 1415.


14th-century painting of a light galley, from an icon now
at the Byzantine and Christian Museum at Athens

he Venetian fleet, under Pietro Loredan, was charged with transporting Venetian envoys to the Sultan, but was authorized to attack if the Ottomans refused to negotiate. The Ottomans exchanged fire with the Venetian ships as soon as the Venetian fleet approached Gallipoli, forcing the Venetians to withdraw.


On the next day, the two fleets manoeuvred and fought off Gallipoli, but during the evening, Loredan managed to contact the Ottoman authorities and inform them of his diplomatic mission. Despite assurances that the Ottomans would welcome the envoys, when the Venetian fleet approached the city on the next day, the Ottoman fleet sailed to meet the Venetians and the two sides quickly became embroiled in battle.

The Venetians scored a crushing victory, killing the Ottoman admiral, capturing a large part of the Ottoman fleet, and taking large numbers prisoner, of whom many—particularly the Christians serving voluntarily in the Ottoman fleet—were executed.


The Venetians then retired to Tenedos to replenish their supplies and rest. Although a crushing Venetian victory, which confirmed Venetian naval superiority in the Aegean Sea for the next few decades, the settlement of the conflict was delayed until a peace treaty was signed in 1419.

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