When the Mongols expanded their empire to the west in the early-mid 13th century they were certainly not the first steppe peoples to make that journey. Indeed, it was a group of ex-slaves who’d come from the Eurasian steppe, the Mamluks, who eventually ended the Mongols’ westward expansion at the Battle of Ayn Jalut in 1260. And several years earlier than that, the Mongols bumped into another people, the Seljuks, who had migrated out of Central Asia and at one time established a vast Middle Eastern empire of their own. That empire was already gone by 1243, but the Seljuks still ruled Anatolia, or the Sultanate of Rum, which they’d conquered from the Byzantine Empire progressively, starting with their victory in the 1071 Battle of Manzikert.
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