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Tragic Story of Baghdad Massacre by Hulagu Khan

by Khalil Ahmad kakar 5 months ago in history

More than one million people were killed by Mongol king in Baghdad

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This story is about the massacre of Baghdad by the Mongol King Hulagu Khan.Read about one of the tragic incidents in History of the World where more than one million people were butchered.

Mongol forces had been besieging Baghdad for 13 days. When all hopes of resistance were dashed, on February 10, 1258, the gates of the wall opened.The 37th Abbasi Caliph Mustasim Ballah, along with his ministers and nobles, emerged from the main gate and surrendered to Hulagu Khan.

Hulagu did what his grandfather Genghis Khan had been doing for the last half-century. He killed all the elites except the caliph, and the Mongol forces entered Umm al-Balad in Baghdad.

What Happened Next

What happened over the next few days can be gauged from the words of historian Abdullah Wasaf Shirazi, he wrote in his book (Tarikh e Wassaaf ;

The Mongols roamed the city like hungry donkeys, like angry wolves attacking sheep. Beds and pillows were torn with knives. The harem women were dragged into the streets, and each of them became a toy for the Tatars.

It is difficult to estimate exactly how many people were killed in this massacre. Historians estimate that swords, arrows, or spears killed between two million and one million people.

History books say the streets of Baghdad were littered with corpses. Within a few days, Hulagu Khan was forced to pitch a tent outside the city because of the stench.

Simultaneously, when the magnificent royal palace was set on fire, the fragrance of the precious wood of ebony and sandalwood used in it must have merged with the stench of the surrounding air.

Something similar happened in the Tigris by Hulagu Khan. It is said that the gray water of this mythical river kept flowing red for the first few days and then turned black. The reason for the headline was the blood that flowed from the streets into the river. The reason for the ink was that the rare manuscripts preserved in hundreds of the city’s libraries were thrown into the river, and their ink melted into the river headline.

Hulagu Khan began the siege of Baghdad on January 29, 1257. Before the attack, he wrote to Caliph Mutasim:

'Don’t try to hit Mecca with an iron needle. Don’t mistake the sun for a candle. Tear down the walls of Baghdad immediately. Break its trenches, leave the government and come to us. If we invade Baghdad, you will find refuge in the deepest abyss and not in the highest sky.

The 37th Abbasid Caliph Mustasim Ballah did not have the glory that his great ancestors had, but he still ruled most of the Muslim world, and the caliph claimed to have attacked him. Upon hearing the news, all Muslims from Morocco to Iran will be overwhelmed.

So the caliph wrote in reply to Hulagu:

'Young man, fortunately for ten days, you have begun to consider yourself the master of the universe. Know that the believers who believe in God from east to west are my subjects. Return safely. '

Hulagu Khan had full confidence in the abilities of his Mongol soldiers. Over the past four decades, they have moved 4,000 miles from their native Mongolia, subjugating much of the known world.

In the run-up to the attack on Baghdad, not only did Hulagu Khan’s brother Manguqan send fresh troops, but also a large number of Christian soldiers from Armenia and Georgia who were eager to avenge Europe’s defeat in the Crusades against the Muslims.

Not only that, but the Mongol army was also technically superior and endowed with modern technology.

The Mongol army had a unit of Chinese engineers specializing in the manufacture of catapults and the use of bardo. Baghdad citizens were familiar with the flammable substance Nafta, which was tied with arrows and thrown, but they were never exposed to explosives.

The dynamite of the time burned slowly, and the Mongols invented it by placing it in the iron or baked clay tubes, which exploded. The Mongols also mastered the art of making smoke bombs.

Their catapults began raining fire on the city. Not only that, the Mongols began to break down the wall by placing ammunition under it.

Residents of Baghdad had never seen such a disaster before.

Less than a week after the siege, the caliph offered peace to Hulagu Khan on the condition that he pays a heavy ransom and read his name in his Friday sermon in his kingdom, but Hulagu saw victory. Immediately turned down the offer.

Finally, on February 10, the caliph opened the city’s gates to the Mongols.

In Mongol religion, the shedding of blood by a king on earth was considered ominous. Therefore, Halagu initially made the caliph believe that he had become his guest in Baghdad.

There are many well-known stories about the caliph’s death, but the most speculative is the statement of Naseer-ud-Din Tusi, the minister who was present on occasion.

He writes that after keeping the caliph hungry for a few days, a covered pot was brought before him. The hungry caliph eagerly lifted the lid and saw that the pot was full of diamond jewels. "Eat," said Hulagu.

Mustasim Ballah said: 'How can I eat diamonds?' Hulagu replied: "If you could make swords and arrows for your soldiers from these diamonds, I would not be able to cross the river."

The Abbasi Caliph replied:

"That was God’s will."

Halagu said:

"Well, now what I’m going to do with you is also God’s will.

He wrapped the caliph in sackcloth and made horses run over him to have no bloodshed on the ground.

Baghdad City History

Baghdad, located on both banks of the Tigris, was the city of Shahrzad of Alif Laila, the city of the Dar al-Tarjuma established by Caliph Harun al-Rashid and Mamun.

This was the city where translators were paid gold by weighing books. It was a city of charming mosques, spacious libraries, magnificent palaces, lush gardens, bustling bazaars, seminaries, and luxurious baths.

The foundation of Baghdad was laid by Abu Ja’far ibn al-Mansur, the ancestor of Mustasimullah, in 762, near a small village called Baghdad.In just a few decades, the town became one of the largest cities in the world’s history. Scholars, philosophers, poets, philosophers, scientists, and thinkers from India to Egypt began to arrive here.

At the same time, Muslims learned how to make paper from the Chinese, and the city was immediately filled with scholarly activity. In the ninth Century, every citizen of Baghdad could read and write.

According to historian Tertius Chandler,775 AD to 932 AD, Baghdad was the largest city in the world in terms of population. It also distinguishes being the first city in the world to reach a population of one million.

Books began to be translated into Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, Syriac, and other languages ​​at the Dar al-Tarjuma Bait al-Hikma (A institute in Baghdad).

These books reached Europe centuries later and played an essential role in the renaissance of Europe.

Dozens of words like algebra, algorithm, alchemy, zenith, alcohol, etc., are the religion of Baghdad’s golden age.

See also the names of some of the most famous figures in Baghdad:

  • Jaber ibn Hayyan (Founder of Modern Chemistry)
  • Al-Khwarizmi (Founder of Algebra),
  • Al-Kandi and al-Razi (Philosopher),
  • Al-Ghazali (Thinker),
  • Abu Nawas (Arabic poet),
  • Sheikh Saadi, (Persian Poet),
  • Zaryab (Musician),
  • Tabari (Historian),
  • Imam Abu Hanifa (Religious leader)
  • Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal (Religious leader)
  • Imam Abu Yusuf (Religious Leader).


Seven hundred sixty years ago, this sudden Mongol wind blew over Baghdad. It uprooted the millennia-old civilization of Mesopotamia to such an extent that it has not recovered to this day. Not only that, but since then, no Muslim city has been able to reach the tenth of Baghdad’s splendor.

Some historians believe that Western civilization flourished because the Mongols destroyed the then superior Muslim civilization and paved the way for the west.

Thanks for Reading.

I gathered all information from History books, and I have given references(links).

the story is published on my medium and blog

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Khalil Ahmad kakar
Khalil Ahmad kakar
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Khalil Ahmad kakar

I am college student and a Writer with no experience

Trying to practice my writing and raise some money to continue my study in college.

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