Sultan Tughril, the founder of the Great Seljuk Empire, a short biography

Sultan Tugril was the son of Mikail Beg and grandson of Seljuk. Tughril and his brother Chagri Beg founded the Seljuk dynasty (after their grandfather’s name), which later became the Great Seljuk Empire.

Seljuk was the military commander of the Oghuz state in the upper regions of the Aral Sea during the second half of the 10th century. At some point, Seljuk and his people settled on the shores of the Syr Darya River, which bordered the Muslim Samanid state, and embraced Islam.

After the death of Seljuk, his eldest son, Arslan Yabghu (d.1032), became the head of the family. However, Arslan was taken captive by the Ghaznavids and died in captivity. Therefore, the only surviving son of Seljuk, Musa Yabghu, officially became the head of the family but in reality, the power was held by his nephews Chagrı and Tughril (i.e. the sons of Mikail).

Seljuk family tree shows the emergence of the various ruling branches of the family

Under their genius leadership, the Seljuks routed the Ghaznavids and gained control of Khorasan, followed shortly by Khwarezm. Tughril Beg was enthroned as sultan and Nishabur was declared the capital, thus establishing the first Seljuk state.

Sultan Tughril died on September 04, 1063 CE in the city of Rey in modern Iran and was succeeded by his nephew and the son of Chaghri, Sultan Alp Arslan. Alp Arsalan defeated Byzantines in the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 and opened Anatolia to the advancing Seljuks.

Alp Arsalan died in 1072 and was succeeded by his son Malik Shah. Malik Shah further expanded the empire and annexed Jerusalem, Damascus, Aleppo, Mosul, Antioch in Syria, Palestine, Diyarbakir in southeastern Anatolia, Bahrain, and Yemen to his empire.

In 1077, a separate Seljuk state known as Seljuk Sultanate of Rum was established by Suleiman ibn Qutulmish. The Sultanate of Rum was replaced by the Mongol Ilkhanate in 1308 AD.

While the Seljuks disappeared as a ruling dynasty, various Turkoman dynasties established principalities in various parts of Anatolia. Known as Anatolian emirates or Beylics, the Karamanoğulları, Germiyanoğulları, Mentşeoğulları, Hamidoğulları, Candaroğulları, and the Ottomans founded their sovereignties on this Seljuk heritage.

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