In the 9 th century, a Turcoman tribe (the Oğuz Turks), ruled by Oğuz , lived in Central Asia north of the Aral Sea. Under the leadership of Seljuk, these Turks developed a highly effective fighting force and started to migrate south. Through their contacts with Persian court life in Khorasan and Transoxania, they attracted a body of able administrators. They embraced Sunni Islam and defended it with an irresistible power. In 1055, Tuğrul Bey, grandson of Seljuk, entered Bagdad and freed the Abbasid caliph from the Shi'ite pressure of the Buwayhid dynasty, thus becoming the protector of the Caliphate under the nominal authority of the Abbasid caliph who bestow ed on him the title Sultan of the Seljuks. Tuğrul Bey (1025-1063) and his successor Alp Arslan (son of Tuğrul Bey's brother Çağrı, 1064-1072), founded and administered the Great Seljuk Empire with Ray (Tehran) as the capital .
In 1071, Alp Arslan defeated the Byzantine Emperor Romanus IV Diogenes at the Battle of Manzikert (Malazgirt) in the north of Van. This victory caused the Byzantines to lose their Anatolian provinces and as a result, Alp Arslan allowed his Turcoman generals to create small beyliks (emirates) of their own in Anatolia.
They overran Anatolia in two years, went as far as the Aegean Sea founding many small Turcoman emirates where, like in the central administration, the Persian language was used : the Saltukids (1092-1202) established themselves in Northeastern Anatolia, the Mengujeks (1118-1250) in Eastern Anatolia, the Artukids (1101-1409) in Southeastern Anatolia, the Danışmendids (1092-1178) in Central Anatolia, and Çaka Bey (1081-1097) established his beylik in the Aegean region ( İzmir). Western Anatolia was overrrun by Alp Arslan's cousin, Süleyman Shah ( 1075-1086) , who took Konya then Nicea, making the latter his capital. In 1077, he established the Anatolian Seljuk State and in a short period of time spread his rule all over Anatolia . After a short period of interregnum, under the reign of his son, Kılıç Arslan I (1092-1107), Nicea was seized by the Crusaders and given back to the Byzantines. Konya then became the capital of the Sultanate of Rum (or Sultanate of Konya). The first schooling institutions, which are the medreses or Moslem theological schools, appeared in Anatolia during the time of Kılıç Arslan.
Under the reign of Malik Shah (1072-1092) who moved the capital to Isfahan, the Great Seljuk Empire was at its peak and experienced its most successful period in the fields of science, literature, politics and military field. At that time, the Empire comprised Khorezm, Transoxiana, Khorasan, Persia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Irak, Syria and Anatolia.
In 1092, Malik Shah's death led to internal conflicts among the young heirs, and to the fragmentation of the central authority into smaller Seljuk states in Syria and Anatolia. The new leaders were now unable to unite the Muslim world against another force, the Crusaders, appeared in 1096 in the Middle East. Due to endless struggles for the control of the throne and rebellions, the Great Seljuk Empire finally collapsed in 1157, breaking into about fifteen independent states, the most important being the Anatolian Seljuk State.
In Anatolia, Sultan Kılıç Arslan I (1092-1107), established in Konya, started a war of attrition against the Crusaders who, however, succeeded in taking command of Antioche and Edessa before they continued on their way to the Holy Places. The efforts to unify Anatolia were also continued during the reign of his successors , who little by little, amalgamated the emirates with the Anatolian Seljuk State. Mesut I (1116-1155) repelled the Byzantine army headed for Konya and defeated the Crusaders at the Battle of Dorylaeum (near Eskişehir). He also reduced the Danışmendids to the state of vassals. In 1176, at Myriokephalon (near Denizli), Kılıç Arslan II (1155-1192) inflicted a heavy defeat on the Byzantine army led by the Emperor Manuel Comnenus I who had made an alliance with the Atabey of Mosul. Following this victory, the influence of the Byzantine Empire over Anatolia was completely lost. Kılıç Arslan II finally dissolved the Danışmendid State with the annexation of Sivas, Niksar and Tokat in 1178. Giyaseddin Keyhüsrev I (1192-1196) was succeeded by Süleyman II (1196-1204) who brought the Saltukid rule of Erzurum to an end in 1201. Upon his death in 1204, his throne was left to his son Kılıç Arslan III (1204-1205) who was still a child. When the Franks took Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade in 1204, Giyaseddin Keyhüsrev I dethroned his nephew and reestablished himself sultan for the second time (1205-1211) but died during a batlle against Theodorus Laskaris in 1211.
Archer on horseback, miniature
The reign of Izzedin Keykavuş I (1211-1220) and most of all that of Alaeddin Keykubat I's (1220-1237) were the most glorious years of the Sultanate of Rum, bringing a period of peace and prosperity when frontiers were secured, roads and bridges were built. Trade became very important, and in order to meet the needs of traders, caravanserais were built along the roads. The harbors of Trabzon, Sinop and Alanya at the end of the main continental arteries, became secure shelters for Italian merchants sailing in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Strong relations with Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries were also established. The finest examples in Anatolian Seljuk architecture were also built in the 13 th century. In addition, hospitals (darusşifa) were founded in Kayseri, Sivas, Divriği, Tokat and Amasya to become centers of highly evolved medical therapy and education.
However, Alaeddin Keykubat I's death by poisoning created chaos in the country. The decline of the Seljuk State began with his successor Giyaseddin Keyhüsrev II (1237-1245), a weak figure.
The Mongols who had become a great threat, invaded Anatolia in 1243 and, at the Battle of Kösedağ near Erzincan, defeated the Seljuks who became their vassals. The Empire Genghis Khan and his descendents carved out, enveloped the whole of Central Asia from China to Persia, and stretched to the west as far as the Mediterranean. When the Empire started to desintegrate, in 1256 the Ilkhanid Mongol State was established in Persia, and Anatolia fell under their hegemony. The Ilkhanid governor of Anatolia, Abaka Khan , exterminated such a great number of Seljuk administrators that the last sultans Keykavuş II, Kılıç Arslan IV (who had required help from Mameluke Sultan Baibars against the Mongols), Keykubad II (the three brothers reigned between 1245 and 1262), Keyhüsrev III (1262-1284), and Keykubad III (1298-1301/2) retained little authority and Anatolia little independence. In 1308, the Seljuk dynasty ended with the death, in Konya, of the last Sultan Mesut II (1284-1296 / 1301/2-1308).
As a result of the disruption of the political
unity, new beyliks (emirates) founded on the model
of the old Seljuk beyliks, were formed by the
Karamanoğulları (1250-1487 karaman,
were the main adversaries to the Osmanoğulları;
the Germiyanoğulları (1260-1390
who were the most important after the Karamanoğulları;
the Eşrefoğulları (2 nd half
of the 13 th century 1326 Beyşehir); the Hamîdoğulları
(1280-1324 / 1327-1391 Isparta);
the Tekeoğulları (1300-1423
the Menteşeoğulları (1300-1425
Milas); the Aydınoğulları
(1300-1390 /1402-1425 Aydın, Aegean
Coast); the Saruhanoğulları
(1300-1390 /1402-1410 Manisa); the Karasıoğulları
(1303-1345 Balıkesir, Bergama); the İnançoğulları
the Çobanoğulları (1227-1309
Kastamonu); the Candaroğulları (1291-1461 Kastamonu,
Sinop, Samsun, Cankırı, Zonguldak); the Pervâneoğulları
(1277 - 1322 Samsun, Sinop); the Tâceddînoğulları
(1348 - 1428 Ordu, Niksar); the Ramazanoğulları
the Dulkadıroğulları (1348-1522 Maraş,
Malatya, Adıyaman); the Ahi Dervishes
the Karamanid Beys of Alâiye
the Eretnaoğulları, the
main heirs of the Ilkhanids, (1327-1380 Kırşehir,
Tunceli, Samsun, Gümüşhane) lost their possessions
to the Karamanoğulları. The Eretnaoğulları were
overthrown by vizir Kadı Burhâneddin
(1381-1398) who succeeded in keeping Sivas. Central
and eastern Anatolia remained under the administration
of the Ilkhanids until the death of the Ilkhanid
rulerEbu Said Bahadir Khan
in 1338, following the collapse of the Ilkhanid
State in 1336.
The Akkoyunlular (the Turcoman
clan of the White Sheep) who settled in eastern
and south-eastern Anatolia in the mid 14th century,
ruled from Diyarbakır,
and their rulers married Byzantine princesses.
They were strong adversaries to the Ilkhanids
and later to the Karakoyunlular (the
Turcoman clan of the Black Sheep) who were expanding
their territory and conquered the regions of Tabriz
(Persia) and Baghdad. In 1467, the famest White
Sheep leader, Uzun Hasan, by killing Jihan
Shah who had attempted to take Diyarbakır, put
an end to the hegemony of the Black Sheep and
took hold of their territory. Uzun Hasan, himself
defeated by the Ottomans in 1473, withdrew to
Tabriz. The White Sheep dynasty, also undermined
by the Safavids, soon declined and came to an
end in 1507.
The Turcoman grandfathers of Osman,
the founder of the Osmanoğulları (Osmanlı
or Ottoman Turks),
first settled in eastern Anatolia in the region
and later in the region of Erzincan. These Turkish
warriors were known as gazis,
meaning "warriors of the faith". Sultan
Alaeddin Keykubat I rewarded Ertuğrul
Gazi, Osman's father, for his service,
and about 1231 gave him lands in the west in the
Bilecik and Bursa
In 1299, Osman declared the independence of his beylik from the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum.
From the 14 th century, the Ottomans little by little established their sovereignty over the other beyliks which were completely amalgamated by the beginning of the 16 th century.
During the time of the Anatolian beyliks, culture (art, literature, education with the creation of theological schooling institutions called medrese), sciences (medecine, astronomy) and Turkish language developed significantly. " Türkçe " (Turkish) became the official language instead of the Persian language used by the Seljuk rulers.