The Seljuks were a Sunni Muslim Turkish
confederation that ruled much of Central Asia and
Anatolia between 1071 and 1194.
The Seljuk Turks originated on the steppes of what is
now Kazakhstan, where they were a branch of the
Oghuz Turks called the Qinik. Around 985, a leader
called Seljuk led nine clans into the heart of Persia.
He died in about 1038, and his people adopted his
The Seljuks intermarried with Persians and adopted
many aspects of the Persian language and culture.
By 1055, they controlled all of Persia and Iraq as far
as Baghdad. The Abbasid caliph, al-Qa'im, awarded
the Seljuk leader Toghril Beg the title sultan for his
assistance against a Shi'a adversary.
The Seljuk Empire, based in what is now Turkey, was
a target of the Crusaders from western Europe. They
lost much of the eastern part of their empire to
Khwarezm in 1194, and the Mongols finished off the
Seljuk remnant kingdom in Anatolia in the 1260s.