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Baghdad History - A centre of learning (8th to 13th centuries)-The end of the Abbasids in Baghdad

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A centre of learning (8th to 13th centuries)-The end of the Abbasids in Baghdad

By the 10th century, the city's population was between 1.2 million and 2 million. Baghdad's early meteoric growth eventually slowed due to troubles within the Caliphate, including relocations of the capital to Samarra, the loss of the western and easternmost provinces, and periods of political domination by the Iranian Buwayhids and Seljuk Turks.

The Seljuks were a clan of the Oghuz Turks from the Siberian steppes that converted to the Sunni branch of Islam. In 1040, they destroyed the Ghaznavids, taking over their land and in 1055, Tughril Beg, the leader of the Seljuks, took over Baghdad. The Seljuks expelled the Buyids dynasty of Shiites that ruled for some time and took over power and control of Baghdad. They ruled as Sultans in the name of the Abbasid caliphs Tughril Beg saw himself as the protector of the Abbasid Caliphs. On February 10, 1258, Baghdad was captured by the Mongols led by Hulegu, a grandson of Chingiz Khan during the sack of Baghdad. Many quarters were ruined by fire, siege, or looting. The Mongols massacred most of the city's inhabitants, including the caliph Al-Musta'sim, and destroyed large sections of the city. The canals and dykes forming the city's irrigation system were also destroyed. The sack of Baghdad put an end to the Abbasid Caliphate, a blow from which the Islamic civilization never fully recovered.

At this point Baghdad was ruled by the Il-Khanids, the Mongol emperors of Iran. In 1401, Baghdad was again sacked, by Timur. When his forces took Baghdad, he spared almost no one, and ordered that each of his soldiers bring back two severed human heads. It became a provincial capital controlled by the Jalayirid, Kara Koyunlu, Ak Koyunlu, and the Iranian Safavid dynasties.


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The end of the Abbasids in Baghdad
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