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The Seljuk Turks

The Seljuk Turks

The first group of nomads to successfully conquer parts of Asia were the Seljuk Turks. These nomads were hired by the nation of Islam as mercenary soldiers to fight in their wars of conquest. As the Turks served in these military units, they learned the skills that they would later use to eventually control much of Islam and parts of central Asia.


These fearsome warriors were quick, brutal, and effective. Through their military exploits they eventually controlled a large empire that included some of the most important trade routes in Asia. Their conquests took them as far as the Byzantine Empire, which they almost defeated in 1071 A.D.

Empire of Seljuk Turks

What the Seljuk Turks had in fighting capacity, however, they lacked in talent for governing. Their empire was short lived because they were not able to establish an effective government. Internal squabbles and civil war weakened their nation, making it impossible for them to defend themselves against other nomadic tribes.