Battle of Talas River ( The forgotten battle )

Battle of Talas River ( The forgotten battle )

Battle of Talas River ( The forgotten battle )
  • The first and last military clash occurred between the Muslims and the Chinese.
  • The battle of Nahr Tlass took place in September 751, but the truth is that the beginning of its story must be told starting in the year 618, meaning 133 years before this battle took place.
  • Beginning in 618, China was ruled by a powerful dynasty called the Tang Dynasty, like any empire with ambition, who began to spread their influence over the countries around them.

  • The Tang family's style was, why would I fight you instead of buying your loyalty?

  • The weapon that they had in their hands was trade, and from the year 618 to the year 640, the influence of the Tang dynasty grew and grew and they depended on soft power, which is money, trade, and bribes, until they reached a stage where there is no use except the use of the power of arms in front of the two strongest enemies in front of them.

The Reasons For The Hostility

songstan jampo founder of the tibetan state

  • The first enemy was the Tibetan Empire, a state founded by one named Songstan Jampo.

  • The most important reason for the enmity between the Tang Dynasty and Songstan Jampo is that China and Tibet used to fight for control of the western region of China called Longyu and now it is known as Xinjiang and this area has been oscillating between the Tibetan rule and the Chinese at other times.

  • The second enemy of the Tang's family was the Uyghur Turks who were living in northwestern China today and still live in it, but they are a minority, and you will certainly hear in the news now about the size of the tragedies in which they are living under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party.

Conditions of the Arabs in the East

expansion of the Umayyad state

  • At the time when the Tang Dynasty was engaged in the endless wars between them and the Tibetans and the Igor Turks, great events were taking place in the Middle East.

  • Our master the Prophet Mohammed peace and blessings be upon him died in the year 632AD, and after 30 years the first sedition took place, which is the first civil war to take place between Muslims, and which ended with our master Muawiyah bin Abi Sufyan, may God be pleased with him, establishing the Umayyad state, and this was the year 661,At that time the Tang Dynasty was at its most powerful.

  • The Umayyad state expanded very quickly and during a very short time the Umayyads took control of all of North Africa and entered Andalusia in the west and in the east they entered the oasis of Merv in the territory of Turkmenistan and this was the capital of the Sasanian state and they executed the king Yazdegred III and this It happened in the year 661, which means almost in the same year that our master Muawiyah bin Abi Sufyan declared himself caliph.

  • After that, they conquered Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara in Pakistan, and they entered many regions of Afghanistan until they reached the region that is now the border between Kyrgyzstan and China.

  • Here, China began to realize that the Merv oasis, which the Umayyads entered, was under the control of the Chinese Han Dynasty from a very long time in the year 97 BC, and they stationed an army of 70,000 fighters in it just to protect the trade route, so it is natural that they keep their eyes on the region and monitor it well.

  • In the year 651 AD, the Chinese were terrified when they saw the Umayyads and what they were doing in the cities and the Sassanian state, which the Umayyads defeated, they were allies of the Tang Dynasty, and there was a lot of trade between them.
  • With the fall of Merv, the son of King Yazdigrid III, and his name was Fayrouz, he fled to the capital of China under the rule of the Tang Dynasty, which is the city of Jiangling, and now the city of Jian Xian, and the Chinese appointed him as a general in their army, then they made him rule an area that is now called the city of Zaranj in Afghanistan.

The beginning of the clashes between the Umayyads and the Chinese

The Umayyads allied with the Tibetan Empire

  • Ten years later, the first clash took place between the Umayyads and the Chinese, and this was in the year 715 in the Ferghana Valley in Afghanistan.

  • The Umayyads allied with the Tibetan Empire in order to overthrow the ruler of the Ferghana Valley, and his name was Ikhshid, and he was allied with the Tang Dynasty, and they appointed one named Al-Wattar in his place.

  • Ikhshid asked the Tang family to help him return to power, and the Chinese actually sent him an army of 10,000 fighters.

  • Two years later, the Umayyads and their allies, the Tibetans, besieged two cities in the Jin Jiang region, which was always the cause of the quarrel between the Tang Dynasty and the Tibetan Empire.

  • The Chinese replied that they had sent an army of mercenaries from a region called Qarluq, and this army of mercenaries was able to defeat the Umayyads and their allies from Tibet.

  • Beginning from 717 until the year 750, and this is the year in which the Umayyad state collapsed, and the situation remained as it was. No one, neither the Umayyads nor the Chinese, knew how to take anything from the other.

The Abbasid Caliphate and the Conflict Continues

Abu Muslim Al-Khurasani

  • In the year 750 AD, and after the Muslims became under the Abbasid caliphate, the situation on the Islamic-Chinese borders was as follows :
  • The Muslims and their allies from the Tibetans and the Uyghur Turks were under the command of Ziyad bin Saleh al-Harithi, and the armies of the Tang Dynasty were under the command of Kao Hsien-Chih, and this man was originally Korean, not Chinese, but this was normal in China at the time because military life was not Especially good for the aristocracy, and the rich families in China did not want their sons to join the army for fear of being killed. It was normal to see an ambitious young man from the minorities living in China who entered the military career until he became a general.
  • The important thing is that in this year a quarrel occurred between the ruler of the Ferghana Valley and the ruler of another city called Chach.
  • The governor of the Ferghana Valley sent to the Chinese to help him teach the governor of the city of Shash literature, but Kao Hsien-Chih took his army and besieged the city of Chach and offered its ruler to let him live if he turned himself in and surrenders and leaves the city for him, acctually he did and surrendered himself, but they executed him after he surrendered himself.
  • The son of the ruler of Chach went to Abu Muslim Al-Khurasani, the governor of Khurasan, which is now Afghanistan, and told him what happened with his father, so Abu Muslim Al-Khorasani gathered his army and met with the army of Ziyad bin Saleh al-Harithi.
  • Abu Muslim Al-Khurasani did this By order of Caliph Abu Jaafar Al-Mansur for two important reasons :
  • First and because Kao Hsien-Chih executed a man who was an ally of the Abbasid state, it was necessary to make those who did this a lesson for whom he considers so that no one dares to oppose the Abbasid caliphate.
  • Secondly, he wants to secure the borders of the Abbasid state, because if all the leaders of the Chinese armies betray the covenant, like Kao Hsien-Chih, then he needs to show them severe strength, so that after that, when he makes a peace agreement with them, no one thinks that he is betraying the agreement.

Epic Day

Battle of Talas River

  • In July 751, the two armies met each other at the Talas River, which is now on the border between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. If you look at the records of China, they say that the army of Kao Hsien-Chih was about 30,000, but the Muslim records say that the Chinese army had 100,000 fighters, generally no one know exactly how many were the army of the alliance between the Muslims, the Uighurs and the Tibetans, but what we are sure of is that the Muslim army was a little larger than the Chinese army.
  • And for a full 5 days, no one knew how to resolve this battle in his favor, but suddenly all this changed when the mercenary army of Qarluq appeared, this army that the Chinese hired to defeat the Umayyads, This time, the Abbasids hired him to fight the Chinese.
  • None of the two armies could win the battle in their favor for five consecutive days of fighting but the situation changed completely with the appearance of mercenary forces led by Qarluq on the battlefield. These forces were used by the Chinese in fighting the Umayyads, but this time the mercenary forces were fighting on the side of the Abbasid army.
  • And when the Chinese saw Qarluq's forces, they thought they were fighting with them, but they were surprised by these forces attacking the rear of their army.
  • For years and years the Chinese never forgot what Qarluq and his forces had done to them.
  • Kao Hsien-Chih's army was finally broken and Kao Hsien-Chih fled with some of his surviving cavalry.
  • Kao Hsien-Chih lived for five years until the Chinese themselves executed him on charges of corruption, and the rest of the captives who fell into the hands of the Muslims were sent to the city of Samarkand, which is now in Uzbekistan.

Battle results

Battle of Talas River
  • The Abbasids were not able to continue the incursion into China for several reasons, including that the supply lines of the Abbasids in Khurasan were dying and could not bear another military campaign. Moreover, the distance between China and Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid caliphate, is very far.
  • And that the Abbasid army, if it decided to penetrate into China, it must cross the Hindu Kush mountain range and then cross the intire desert of western China.
  • The Chinese saw that they needed hundreds of thousands of soldiers if they wanted to fight the Abbasids again, and this was impossible for them.
  • After the defeat and the collapse of the Tang Dynasty, the rest of the tribes rebelled against the ruling family. For example, the Khitan tribe living in Manchuria rebelled against the Tang Dynasty.
  • Then another revolution arose in the territory of Yunnan, until the civil war broke out, starting from the year 755 AD to 763 AD, and in this year, the Tibetan Empire was able to control their capital, Gian.
  • As for the Abbasids, after the end of the battle, no one dared to fight them, so they began to focus on trade, education and spreading Islam.

  • The importance of the battle is due to the fact that it was the first and last military clash that occurred between Muslims and Chinese, and it also ended China's influence in Central Asia after Kyrgyzstan fell into the hands of Muslims, as that region Central Asia was dyed with an Islamic tint after most of its tribes became Muslim and became areas of Islamic and civilized radiation and gave birth to great Muslim scholars such as Imam Bukhari, Imam Tirmidhi and others.

  • After the end of the war and for about 250 years, most of the tribes that inhabited the region, which once embraced Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, and even Christians, began to convert to Islam.

  • But the most important thing the Abbasids benefited from after the battle was a man who was one of the captives who deported to Samarkand. His name was Tou Houan, and he was a great artist who taught the Arabs and Muslims how to make paper.

  • And quickly, the paper industry began to spread from Samarkand to Baghdad, Damascus, and Cairo, and until the year 1120AD, the first paper factory was established in the city of Valencia, Spain, and from it the paper industry spread to Italy, Germany, and the rest of Europe.


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