Thursday, October 12

A Brief Moment Of Inevitable History 53

The Chinese are expelled from Central Asia
When the western Turks faded from Central Asia in the 7th century, a new power was waiting to fill the void - the army of Islam. Exploding out of Arabia just a few years after the Prophet Mohammed's death, the Muslim armies conquered Persia and set up a military base in Turkministan; the power struggles ebbed and flowed and eventually the Arab Muslims gained ground, taking Bukhara in 709.

China, meanwhile, had revived under the Tang Dynasty and expanded in Central Asia, murdering the khan of the Tashkent Turks - perhaps the most costly skulduggery in Chinese  history (the Silk Route had already given them a strong presence here). The enraged Turks were joined by the opportunistic Arabs and Tibetans; in 751 they forced the Chinese into the Talas Valley (present day Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan) sending what little remained of their 200,000 strong army back across the Tian Shans, marking then, and now, the outer limits of the Chinese Empire. 

And so it goes.