Battle of the Indus, 24 November 1221

The battle of the Indus, 24 November 1221, marked the first appearance of the Mongols in India, but the battle was the final stage of Genghis Khan's war against Khwarazm, and after his victory Genghis left India alone.

After the fall of Samarkand Shah Muhammad of Khwarazm named his son Jalal al-Din as his successor, before conducting a long fighting retreat that only ended with his death on a isolated island in 1221. Jalal al-Din was also able to win some successes against the Mongols, even defeating a small Mongol army near Kabul, but these came against other commanders. When Genghis Khan appeared in person Jalal al-Din was forced to retreat. He decided to try and escape into the Sultanate of Delhi, and led his army towards the Indus.

The Mongols caught up with Jalal al-Din just as his army was preparing to cross the Indus. Jalal al-Din was forced to stand and fight, but his army was surrounded on three sides before the battle, and he suffered a heavy defeat in which his general Amin Malik was killed.

Jalal al-Din himself was able to escape by swimming his horse across the Indus, but he was unable to find refuge in Delhi, where Sultan Iltutmish was unwilling to risk an encounter with the Mongols. Jalal al-Din spent the next ten years fighting a reasonably successful border-war against the Mongols, before being murdered in 1231.

Despite Iltutmish's efforts a clash between Delhi and the Mongols was inevitable. The first major clash came twenty years after the battle of the Indus, when a Mongol force captured and sacked Lahore (22 December 1241).

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (7 April 2010), Battle of the Indus, 24 November 1221 ,

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