Palms Over Baghdad: Riches and Fear during the Mongol Invasion – Part I

Palms Over Baghdad: Riches and Fear during the Mongol Invasion – Part I

In 1253 CE, a breeze began to blow into Baghdad from the east. Unbeknownst to Al-Musta'sim, the Abbasid Caliph, this breeze would soon turn into a violent shamal (wind). This shamal was gaining energy from Karakorum, the Mongol capital of the most powerful empire on earth. For in the same year, Mongke Khan, the Great Khan, held a khuriltai (a political and military council meeting) with siblings and close family. It was during this meeting that Mongke expressed his desire to launch a dual military campaign: one led by Khubilai against the Sung Dynasty in China, and another against the Arabs and Persians, this led by Hulegu, grandson of Genghis Khan.

Hulagu Khan, 14th century

Hulagu Khan, 14th century (Public Domain)

An artist’s depiction of ancient Karakorum.


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