BĀBUR begins his Memoirs abruptly, by informing us, that he mounted the throne of Ferghāna at the age of twelve. As he often alludes to events that occurred previous to that time, and speaks familiarly of the different princes who had governed in the neighbouring countries, supposing the reader to be well acquainted with their history, it becomes necessary, for the better understanding of his text, to give a short review of the succession of the most eminent of those who had ruled in his kingdom and in the adjoining countries for some years before his accession; and as the whole of these princes were descended from the famous Tamerlane, or Taimūr Beg, as all their kingdoms were only fragments of his immense empire, and their claims and political relations derived from him, the reign of that prince is the most convenient period from which to commence such a review.

Death of

Taimūr Beg, after having spread his empire over the fairest provinces of Asia, died in the year 1405,* near the city of Otrār, beyond the river Sirr. His dominions, how­ever, though extensive, were ill compacted and ill governed. He had conquered countries, but he had not the genius to found an empire. Though a conqueror, whatever his enco­miasts may assert, he was no legislator. He had marched into Tartary, into Hindustān, into Mesopotamia, into Syria and Asia Minor, and had subdued a great portion of all these countries; but in the course of a very few years his native country of Māweralnaher, with Persia and Kābul, alone remained in his family, and Persia also very soon after escaped from their grasp, and was overrun by the Turkomāns.

In his lifetime, he had given the immediate government of different quarters of his extensive dominions to his sons and their descendants, who, at the period of his death, were very numerous; and the Tūrki and Moghul tribes, like other Asiatics, having no fixed rules of succession to the throne, various princes of his family set up for themselves in different provinces. The nobles who were about his He is suc-
ceeded in
by Khalīl.
A.D. 1412.
person at the time of his death proclaimed his grandson Khalīl, an amiable prince of refined genius and warm affections, but better fitted to adorn the walks of private life than to compose the dissensions of a distracted king­dom, or to check the ambitious designs of a turbulent nobility. He reigned for some years, with little power, at Samarkand, his grandfather’s capital; but was finally dethroned by his ambitious nobles. His uncle Shahrokh, Shahrokh
Mirza seizes
A.D. 1415.
the youngest son of Taimūr Beg, a prince of solid talents and great firmness of character, on hearing of this event, marched from Khorasān, which was the seat of his dominions, took possession of Samarkand, and reduced all the rest of Māweralnaher under his obedience. He governed his His death.
A.D. 1446.
extensive dominions with a steady hand till his death, which happened in 1446.

On his death, his sons, according to the fashion of their Is succeed-
ed in Sa-
by Ulugh
Beg Mirza.
country and age, seized the different provinces which they had held as governors, each asserting his own independence, and aiming at the subjugation of the others. He was succeeded in Samarkand by his eldest son Ulugh Beg, a prince illustrious by his love of science, and who has secured an honest fame, and the gratitude of posterity, by the valuable astronomical tables constructed by his directions, in an observatory which he built at Samarkand for that purpose. Ulugh Beg, who had long held the government of Samarkand in his father’s lifetime, soon after his accession, led an army from that city against his nephew Alā-ed-daulat, the son of his brother Baiesanghar, who was the third son of Shahrokh. Alā-ed-daulat, who had occupied In Khora-
sān by Alā-
who is de-
throned by
Ulugh Beg.
the kingdom of Khorasān, being defeated by his uncle Ulugh Beg, on the river of Murghāb, fled to his brother, the elder Bābur Mirza. That prince had taken possession of Jorjān, or Korkān, on the south-east of the Caspian, the government of which he had held in the lifetime of his In Korkān
by Bābur
Mirza, who
marches to
restore his
but is de-
feated, and
flies to Irāk.
grandfather, Shahrokh, and now asserted his independence. Bābur led the forces of his principality towards Herāt, to restore his brother Alā-ed-daulat; but being defeated, and hard pushed by Ulugh Beg, was forced to abandon even his capital, Asterābād, and to take refuge, in company with Alā-ed-daulat, in Irāk, which was then held by another of their brothers, Muhammed Mirza. Ulugh Beg having soon afterwards returned across the Amu to Bokhāra, Bābur Mirza again entered Khorasān, and took possession Conquers
of Herāt; while Ulugh Beg’s own son, Abdallatīf, revolted and seized upon Balkh.

Revolt of

To complete Ulugh Beg’s misfortunes, Abūsaīd Mirza, who was the son of Muhammed Mirza, the grandson of Taimūr Beg, by that conqueror’s second son Mirānshah, but who is better known by his own conquests, and as the grandfather of the great Bābur, also appeared in arms against him. Abūsaīd had been educated under the eye of Ulugh Beg. When his father, Muhammed Mirza, was on his death-bed, Ulugh Beg had come to visit him. The dying man took Abūsaīd’s hand, and, putting it into Ulugh Beg’s, recommended his son to his protection. Ulugh Beg was not unworthy of this confidence, and treated the young prince with great kindness and affection. One of Ulugh Beg’s friends having remarked to him that his young cousin seemed to be attached and active in his service, ‘It is not my service in which he is now employed,’ said the generous Sultan; ‘he is busy acquiring the rudiments of the arts of government and of policy, which will one day be of use to him.’* Abūsaīd, during the disorders that followed the death of Shahrokh, had for some time held the province of Fārs; but, being stripped of that possession by Muhammed Mirza (the brother of Alā-ed-daulat and of Bābur Mirza), had again taken refuge at the court of Ulugh Beg, who had given him one of his daughters in marriage. Believing, probably, according to the maxims of his age and country, that the pursuit of a throne dissolved all the obligations of nature or of gratitude, he now availed himself of the prevailing confusions, and of the absence of Ulugh Beg, who had marched against Abdallatīf, his rebellious Death of
Ulugh Beg.
son, to seize on Samarkand. Ulugh Beg, on hearing of this new revolt, had turned back to defend his capital, but was followed from Balkh by Abdallatīf, who defeated and slew 1449. him, after a short reign of three years.


Abdallatīf, after the murder of his father, continued his march, defeated Abūsaīd Mirza, took him prisoner, and recovered Samarkand. But Abūsaīd, who was destined to act an important part in the history of Asia, was fortunate enough to effect his escape, and found shelter and con­cealment in Bokhāra. While in this retreat, he heard that Abdallatīf had been murdered by a mutiny in his army, and had been succeeded by his cousin Abdallah,* who Is succeed-
ed by
was the son of Ibrahīm, the second son of Shahrokh, and consequently a nephew of Ulugh Beg. The ambitious hopes of Abūsaīd Mirza were revived by this event. He succeeded in forming a party, seized upon Bokhāra, and marched against Samarkand, but was defeated and forced 1451. to take shelter in Turkestān,* beyond the Sirr. Next year, Abusaīd
and reduces
however, having engaged the Uzbeks of the desert to assist him, he returned towards Samarkand, defeated Abdallah in a great battle, and occupied all Māweralnaher. His new allies appear to have indulged in great excesses, and were with difficulty prevailed upon to retire from the fertile plains and rich pillage of the valley of the Soghd.*

driven from
Herāt by