Genghis Khan, by all accounts, was one of the world's most fearsome warriors. When he emerged from the Mongolian steppe and established the Mongol Empire in 1206, he controlled lands spilling across present-day Mongolia, Russia, Central Asia, and even part of Europe. Wise as he was, Genghis Khan knew that no single man could manage such a vast kingdom effectively all by himself. So before he died, he split the Mongol Empire into four parts and gave one to each of his four sons. Chagatai, Genghis Khan's second son, got the piece of territory in Central Asia and founded the Chagatai Khanate. For the next hundred years or so, the Chagatai Khanate remained a dominating player in Central Asia, but there were certainly signs of trouble boiling beneath the surface. After the Khan Qazan died in 1346, the Chagatai Khanate fell apart. At the time, it seemed that the heyday of the Mongols was definitely drawing to an end, but one Turk named Timur refused to let go of the notion. He later consolidated his power and built an empire in 1370 to restore the glory of the Mongols. This Turk said that he was a direct descendent of Genghis Khan, but the claim was a falsehood. As far as the relation was concerned, Timur did marry somebody from Genghis Khan's bloodline. Any pretense of him having an even closer tie with this legendary conqueror would be stretching the truth.
Timur (also called Tamerlane) was born at Kesh, Transoxania (present-day Shahrisabz, Uzbekistan), in 1336. When he was in his early twenties, his ability to fight and command troops began to shine. For years, he fought in battles on behalf of different khans. At last, he decided to branch out and build his own kingdom. By 1370, he did exactly that. He founded the Timurid Empire and chose Samarkand as the capital. The success fueled his ambition and made him want to conquer more countries. From that day on until he died, Timur invaded one kingdom after another. At one point, he had full control in Persia, Central Asia, and northern India. He even occupied Moscow for a year!