Ulugh Beg

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Ulugh Beg (Persian: میرزا محمد طارق بن شاہرخ الغ‌بیگ - Mīrzā Muhammad Tāraghay bin Shāhrukh Uluġ Beg) (22 March 1394 in Sultaniyeh (Persia) – October 27, 1449 (Samarkand)) was a Timurid ruler as well as an astronomer, mathematician and sultan. His commonly-known name is not truly a personal name, but rather a moniker, which can be loosely translated as "Great Ruler" or "Patriarch Ruler" and was the Turkic equivalent of Timur's Perso-Arabic title Amīr-e Kabīr.[1] His real name was Mīrzā Mohammad Tāraghay bin Shāhrokh. Ulugh Beg was also notable for his work in astronomy-related mathematics, such as trigonometry and spherical geometry. He built the great observatory in Samarkand between 1424 and 1429.

Contents

Early life

He was the grandson of the conqueror, Timur (Tamerlane) (1336–1405), and oldest son of Shah Rukh, both of whom came from the Turkified Barlas tribe of Transoxiana (now Uzbekistan). His mother was a noblewoman named Goharshad. Ulugh Beg was born in Sultaniyeh in Persia. As a child he wandered through a substantial part of the Middle East and India as his grandfather expanded his conquests in those areas. With Timur's death, however, and the accession of Ulugh Beg's father to much of the Timurid Empire, he settled in Samarkand, which had been Timur's capital. After Shah Rukh moved the capital to Herat (in modern Afghanistan), sixteen-year-old Ulugh Beg became the shah's governor in Samarkand in 1409. In 1411, he became the sovereign ruler of the whole Mavarannahr khanate.

Science

The teenaged ruler set out to turn the city into an intellectual center for the empire. Between 1417 and 1420, he built a madrasa ("university" or "institute") on Registan Square in Samarkand, and he invited numerous Islamic astronomers and mathematicians to study there. The madrasa building still survives. Ulugh Beg's most famous pupil in astronomy was Ali Qushchi (died in 1474).

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