Saturday, 19 November 2011

History's Lessons ... Don't Ally With Turks!

A Lesson From History:
Islam's China Wars-751 A.D-Battle of Talas

The Battle of Talas (or Battle of Artlakh) (怛羅斯會戰) (معركة نهر طلاس) in 751 AD was an especially notable conflict between the Arab Abbasid Caliphate and the Chinese Tang Dynasty (together with variously involved peoples and nations associated with the geographical territory involved) for control not only of the Syr Darya region, but even more. In fact, this battle marked the end of the western expansion to the territory of the Tang dynasty; and, also, reached a point never reached by prior or subsequent dynasties. Prior to this time, a series of military events had lead the Tang army further and further westward, during the course of which various cities and states were conquered or overthrown. On July 751, The Abbasids started a massive attack against the Chinese on the banks of the Talas river; the Arab army (200,000 Muslim troops according to Chinese estimates though these numbers are almost certainly exaggerated) met the combined army of 10,000 Tang Chinese and 20,000 Karluks mercenary (Arab records put the Chinese forces at 100,000 also an exaggeration). Out of 10,000 Tang troops, only 2000 managed to return from Talas to their territory in Central Asia. 
The Tang dynasty's defeat was due to the defection of Karluk mercenaries and the retreat ofFerghana allies who originally supported the Chinese. The Karluks forces, which composed two thirds of the Tang army, deserted the Chinese coalition and changed to the Muslim side while the battle was ongoing. With the Karluk troops attacking the Tang army from the rear and the Arab attacking from the front, the Tang troops were unable to hold their positions. The commander of the Tang forces, Gao Xianzhi, recognized that defeat was imminent and managed to escape with some of his Tang regulars with the help of Li Siye. Despite losing the battle, Li did inflict heavy losses on the pursuing Arab army after being reproached by Duan Xiushi. After the battle, Gao was prepared to organize another Tang army against the Arabs when the devastating An Shi Rebellion broke out in 755. When the Tang capital was taken by rebels, all Chinese armies stationed in Central Asia were ordered back to China proper to crush the rebellion[6]
The Chinese name Daluosi (怛罗斯, Talas) was first seen in the account of Xuanzang. Du Huan located the city near the western drain of the Chui River.[7] The exact location of the battle has not been confirmed but is believed to be near Taraz and Talas on the border of present day Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

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