Sultan Mukhammed Uzbek
Uzbek, Sultan Mukhammed
(also Ozbeg, Oz Beg). Year of birth unknown; died 1342. Khan of the Golden Horde from 1313 to 1342.
Uzbek became ruler of the Golden Horde in January 1313 after the death of Khan Tokta. He made Islam the state religion and persecuted all those practicing a different faith. His actions provoked the Golden Horde emirs into forming a conspiracy, which Uzbek ruthlessly crushed. With the support of the Muslim religious organization, Uzbek strengthened the Horde by putting an end to internal feudal strife.
Fearing the growing power of Rus’, Uzbek continually stirred up hostility among the Russian princes. He arranged a marriage between his own sister, Konchaka, and Prince Iurii Danilovich of Moscow. Then, in 1317, Uzbek elevated Iurii Danilovich to the position of Grand Prince of Vladimir, favoring him over Prince Mikhail Iaroslavich of Tver’, who sought to unite the Russian lands under his rule and liberate them from the Mongol-Tatar yoke. Uzbek gave Iurii a Tatar army, but it was defeated by Mikhail, whereupon Uzbek summoned Mikhail to the Horde to be tried and had him killed.
In 1327, with the help of Prince Ivan I Danilovich Kalita of Moscow, Uzbek ruthlessly suppressed a popular anti-Horde uprising in Tver’ and laid waste the principality of Tver’; he then divided the chief territories of northeastern Rus’ into two parts and gave them to the princes of Moscow and Suzdal’. In 1339, at the instigation of Ivan Kalita, Uzbek slew Prince Aleksandr Mikhail-ovich of Tver’ and his son Fedor.
Uzbek was also active in the south. In 1319 and in 1335 he conducted campaigns against Aran, a Hulaguid possession on the territory of present-day Azerbaijan.
V. A. KUCHKIN