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Turkey: The Sixteen Great Turkish Empires

Part 4

Last modified: 2005-01-22 by ivan sache
Keywords: golden horde | timur | tamerlane | babur | moghul | ottoman | crescent (red) | disk (grey) |
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Important note

The 16 Great Turkish Empires are listed on several Turkish sources, such as the websites of the Research Centre for Turkestan and Azerbaijan and the Australian-Turkish Media Group. All sources give an identical presentation of the Empires, which probably comes from some official document. In the following paragraphs, this description is given as the "official description".

To the best of our knowledge, the historical existence of most of these flags is not proven and we are not aware of their origin and designer. They are therefore considered as "attributed flags".

Ivan Sache, 27 November 2003

The Golden Horde (Altınordu Devleti)

[The Golden Horde]by Ivan Sache

"Official description":

Founded by Batur Khan, covering Eastern Europe, the Western Urals, Crimea and the area to the north of the Volga.

The Golden Horde, the Mongol Khanate in Russia, was established in the mid-XIIIth century and lasted till the XVth century.

The flag attributed to the Golden Horde is white with a red crescent pointing upwards, placed above a grey disk charged with a black symbol.

Ivan Sache & Jarig Bakker, 4 July 2004

The Great Timur Empire (Büyük Timur İmparatorluğu)

[The Great Timur Empire]by Ivan Sache

"Official description":

Founded by Timur Gurgani bordering the Balkans in the West, the Volga in the North, Indian Ocean in the South and Central Asia in the East

Timurids: Barlas Turkish family founded by Timur (Tamerlane), who rose to power in the mid-XIVth century in Transoxiana and spent his long reign in far-ranging and immensely destructive campaigns, overrunning Iran, Iraq, Asia Minor and the domain of the Golden Horde in Southern Russia. He sacked Delhi in 1398 and temporarily broke the power of the Ottoman Turks at Ankara in 1402. On his death his large empire in Iran and Transoxiana became divided among his descendants and shrank rapidly over the XVth century amid family quarrels. The last minor prince of the dynasty, Babur, was expelled from Farghana by the Shaibanids, conquerors of Transoxiana, and established himself at Kabul. In 1526, he defeated and killed the Lodi sultan of Delhi, becoming master of northern India and founding the Moghul empire.

Source: R.F. Tapsell. 1983. Monarchs, Rulers, Dynasties and Kingdoms of the World.

Recent studies have shown that this Empire was a Mongol state but official Turkish sources still consider it as Turk.

The flag attributed to the Great Timur Empire is blue with three white disks placed 1 + 2 in the middle of the flag.

Ivan Sache, Jarig Bakker & Onur Özgün, 4 July 2004

Other reported flag

[Other reported Tamerlane's flag]by Jarig Bakker

In Flags of the World 1669-1670, edited by Kl. Sierksma, 1966 [sie66] is a flag on p. 271 with caption "TAMERLANE". This particular flag nowhere has its counterpart. It is not to be found in the Sketchbook, a Napolitan manuscript from c. 1666&.
Nevertheless it can almost certainly be defined as the flag of the empire of Tamerlane, inasmuch as we read in Cleirac (pages 67 and 68) [cle47]:

Tamerlan, le fléau de l'Asie, souloit arborer ses pavillons de trois diverses couleurs, de blanc, de rouge & de noir, couleurs de paix, de sang, & de mort.

which translates in English as:

Tamerlan, the scourge of Asia, wanted (? provided souloit is indeed vouloit, the ancient form of voulait) to hoist his three-coloured ensigns, white, red and black, colours of peace, blood and death.

The full source is: Cleirac, Estienne: Explication des termes de marine employés dans les dicts, ordonances et réglemens de l'admirat ... Jacques Mongiron Millanges, Bordeaux, 1647. -4to, First edition 1636.

I suppose that Cleirac based his remarks on the travel-book of Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo, who travelled to the court of Timur 1403-1406, and wrote: the Historia del gran Tamurlan e itinerario, which appeared in the Hakluyt series in English translation in 1859 (1st series, no. 26).

Jarig Bakker, 15 July 2003

The Babür Empire (Babür İmparatorluğu)

[The Babur Empire]by Ivan Sache

"Official description":

Founded by Babur Shah, covering Afghanistan and India (total area 2,700,000 sq. km)

Babur descended from the Timurids in Fergana, was expelled from there by the Shaibanids and fled to India, which he conquered. He founded the Moghal (or Moghul) dynasty, which ruled from 1526 to 1857.

The flag attributed to the Babur Empire is red with a yellow triangle placed all along the fly and pointing to the middle of the hoist.

Ivan Sache & Jarig Bakker, 4 July 2004

The Ottoman Empire (Osmanlı İmparatorluğu)

[The Ottoman Empire]by Ivan Sache

"Official description":

Founded by Osman, covering Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Syria, Iraq, Anatolia, Caucasia, Crimea, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus (total area 20,000,000 sq. km)

The Ottoman Empire preceded the modern Turkish Republic.

The flag attributed to the Ottoman Empire is red with a white crescent and eight-pointed star.

Ivan Sache, 4 July 2004