Battle of Kan-bai, 1495

The battle of Kan-Bai (1495) was an early battle in the series of struggles that followed the death of Sultan Mahmud Mirza of Samarkand in January 1495. The squabble that followed was essentially a family dispute between the various descendants of Tamerlane. Sultan Mahmud was succeeded by his second son, Baisanghar Mirza, who was judged to be a stronger character than his older brother. This may have been the reason that some of the notables of Samarkand decided to ask Sultan Mahmud of Tashkent, known as the 'Elder Khan', to intervene.

Mahmud sent a large army of Moghuls to invade Samarkand, under the command of Haidar Kukuldash. The invading army stopped to attack the town of Kan-bai, giving Baisanghar time to gather his own army. Madmud's army deployed with Haidar Kukuldash's Moghuls in the vanguard. According to Babur's account of the battle the Moghuls were dismounted ande fighting as archers when a force of mail-armoured horsemen from Samarkand and Hisar charged and overran them. The rest of the army turned and fled, suffering very heavy casualties. According to Babur so many Moghuls were beheaded in front of Baisanghar that his tent had to be moved three times to make space.

The victory at Kan-bai did little to secure Baisanghar on his throne. The invasion from Tashkent was followed by a more formidable one from Khorasan, led by Sultan Husain Mirza Baiqara, and then by a civil war that would see Samarkand besieged in 1496 and 1497, and Baisanghar forced to seek refuge in Kunduz.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (19 April 2010), Battle of Kan-bai, 1495 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_kan-bai.html

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