Afghanistan Table of Contents
In 1220, the Islamic lands of Central Asia were overrun by the armies of the Mongol invader Genghis Khan (ca. 1155-1227), who laid waste to many civilizations and created an empire that stretched from China to the Caspian Sea. But he failed to destroy the strength of Islam in Central Asia. In fact, by the end of the thirteenth century, Genghis Khan's descendants had themselves become Muslims. From the death of Genghis Khan in 1227 until the rise of Timur (Tamerlane) in the 1380s, Central Asia went through a period of fragmentation.
A product of both Turkish and Mongol descent, Timur claimed Genghis Khan as an ancestor. From his capital of Samarkand, Timur created an empire that, by the late fourteenth century, extended from India to Turkey. The turn of the sixteenth century brought an end to Timurid Empire when another Mongol-Turkish ruler overwhelmed the weak Timurid ruler in Herat. Muhammad Shaybani (also a descendant of Genghis Khan) and his successors ruled the area around the Amu Darya for about a century, while to the south and west of what is now Afghanistan two powerful dynasties began to compete for influence.
Data as of 1997