Transoxania describes the portion of Central Asia that corresponds approximately to modern-day Uzbekistan. The people that originally lived on Transoxania territory were sedentary, meaning that the settlers erected permanent dwellings. These inhabitants long were affiliated with the Islamic traditions.

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In the 1120s, a semi-nomadic people, possibly from Mongolian lineage and originally from northern China, established a Central Asian Empire. The original inhabitants of the Transoxania territory became subordinates of the new rulers. The new rulers were known as Qara-Khitan, also referred to as the Black-Khitan. The Qara-Khitan were the forerunners of the Mongols, that started their campaigns across the Islamic Central Asia, Persia, Iraq and Anatolia regions starting in the 1220s.

However, by 1208 the Qara-Khitan was in trouble. As the Qara-Khitan started to lose control over their empire one of the Muslim subordinates, under Qara-Khitan, saw an opportunity and acted. He subsequently took over the Transoxania territory and the greater part of Persia. The Shah of Khawaraqm, Ala al-Din Muhammad, started to take back much of Persia from the Qara-Khitan. By ca. 1210 he had taken Transoxania.

Regardless of Ala al-Din Muhammad’s efforts to reassert control over much of Persia, the Mongols had also taken advantage of the Qara-Khitan’s weakening control over Persia. Unfortunately for the shah, the Mongols also saw an opportunity to advance. In 1219 Chinggis Khan staged a three pronged attack against Transoxania. The shah refused to meet the Mongols in battle and fled to the Caspian Sea. Shortly thereafter he died.

After taking over much of Central Asia Chinggis Khan decimated his conquests. Throughout the territory of Transoxania the Mongols treatment of the people resembled a genocide. Those not slaughter became subjects of the growing Mongol Empire. They were ruled by the Mongol tribal federation. The tribal federation was comprised of representatives from the qaghen (from the old Turkic word meaning ‘to conquer’) and princes from the imperial dynasty.