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Women’s History Month: Qutlugh Nigar Khanum and Mounted Archery

Greetings, fellow Age fans! It’s been a while since we last spoke, but I am back with a special bit of knowledge and surprise for you all in remembrance of Women’s History Month. Today I’d like to share with you some information on the history of mounted archery and about the inspiration behind our mounted archer.

You may be familiar with mounted archers from our Age of Empires II: Dynasties of India and Qutlugh Nigar Khanum, one of our in-game female mounted archers. Although not well known, this princess and warrior was still an important part of history and served as an inspiration for our female mounted archer unit. 

Mounted archers were key players in military warfare across the world. From the Mongol Empire, ancient India, all the way to North America, mounted archers on horses were a force to be reckoned with. Contrary to popular belief, many armies employed both male and female archers, and began their training during their early childhood to achieve the level of skills needed to become a part of these military units. Each archer had a plethora of options for their bows, but composite bows were often the preferred type. This is because they were made of different materials such as bamboo and sinew which made them more flexible and quicker to fire.

To be a mounted archer, each warrior needed to have not only outstanding targeting expertise but also impeccable equestrian skills. The latter was as necessary as their shooting abilities, therefore special saddles with high backs were also essential to a mounted warrior’s success. They needed a saddle that could stabilize them while they swiftly moved their body, mainly their torso, to shoot their targets. In addition, mounted archers had different types or horses that they could ride into battle depending on their chosen strategy, heavy or light. Heavy horses were often used in tighter and neater formations, while the lighter horses were able to move swiftly through formations. Occasionally, mounted archers also traveled in fast moving carriages as well.

It is important to note that while incredibly effective, these military units were most effective in battles where there was broad open space for the horses and carriages to move. Without this space, archers were more vulnerable to attack as they were a larger target compared to foot or longbow soldiers. In addition to being effective in battle, mounter archers could use their skills to hunt, protect their herds, and more. 

Qutlugh: Princess & Mounted Archer

Qutlugh Nigar Khanum, also known as Kutlak Nigar Khanum, was princess of Moghulistan and daughter of Yunus Khan, king of Moghulistan. She married Umar Shaikh Mirza II, who ruled the Ferghana Valley, therefore, serving as his chief consort, and gave birth to the future emperor and founder of the Mughal empire, Babur. As her son began to take on military and political challenges, Qutlugh gave him her support throughout his journey.

Qutlugh followed her son in raids and battles and is said to have served as a mounted archer for his army which was comprised of many cavalry units. Although she witnessed her son taking over Kabul, she unfortunately died before she could see him take the throne as Mughal emperor. Some believe Qutlugh Nigar Khamun’s support in Babur’s military efforts was influential to his success and the rise of the empire of India. 

For Women’s History Month, we’re giving away some of the most iconic Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition mods and rewards in celebration of women! Log in before the end of March to grab these rewards for yourself! 

Thank you all for joining me today and I can’t wait for our next adventure! Time to flip the page. 


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