The Mongol Khns

The Mongol Khns

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Mongolian culture in most respects reflected the influence of China. For instance, there are Mongolian terms for the Chinese 60 year calendar cycle. On the other hand, significant other influences came into play. The writing system eventually adopted for Mongolian was the alphabet brought by Nestorian Christian missionaries into Central Asia, which was used to write other Altaic languages related to Mongolian, like Uighur and Manchu. This script is deficient in letters for vowels, which always made it an ambiguous way to write these languages. Under Soviet influence, Mongolian now is mostly written in the Cyrillic alphabet. In religion, Mongolia also went its own way, adopting the Vajrayana Buddhism, or Lamaism, of Tibet. This may have contributed to the military decline of Mongolia, since a large part of the population committed to monasticism does not make for anything like the nation of fierce warriors that stormed across Asia in the 13th century. Thus, Manchu China conquered Mongolia for the first time in its history in 1696. It remained part of China until 1911, when the fall of the Manchus enabled the Mongols, like the Tibetans, to assert their independence. The Chinese, however, enforced their claim to Mongolia by an invasion in 1919. This was successful, but with Soviet help the Chinese were driven out in 1921. Mongolian independence, at least from China, was henceforth under the protection of the Soviet Union. But this also, naturally, made Mongolia subject to Russian experiments in Communism. Stalin’s collectivization of agriculture was extended to Mongolia, with the forced settlement of nomads. Many of them, consequently, moved to Chinese Inner Mongolia to escape. Since 1990, Mongolia, like other post-Soviet states, has been struggling to develop a normal life and government free of police state measures and Russian domination.

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Philosophy of History


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Map shows the conquests of Chingiz Khn as divided at his death among his four sons. Jochi, the eldest son had, however, already died; so his sector was actually divided between his own sons, Batu (the Blue Horde), Orda (the White Horde), and Shiban, later united into the Golden Horde, the most durable of the Mongol regimes. Tuli (Tolui), the youngest son, was given the homeland of Mongolia. And it was the sons of Tuli, after the conquest of Russia, who carried out the greatest subsequent conquests, of the Middle East and China.

The Great Khns,
the Yan Dynasty of China,
and Mongolia after the Yan
Chingiz Khn
Genghis Khan
Chin Empire attacked,
Qara-Khita overthrown,
Khawarizm Shh thrown out
of Transoxania, 1219-1222;
Hsi-Hsia overthrown, 1226-1227
gedei Khn 1229-1241
Khawarizm Shh overthrown, 1231
Chin overthrown, 1230-1234
Tregene Khtn regent,
Gyk Khn 1246-1248
Oghul Ghaymish regent,
Mngke Khn 1251-1259
Southern Sung invaded,
Qubilai Khn
Shih Tsu
Southern Sung conquered,
Temr ljeyt Khn
Ch’eng Tsung
Qayshan Glk
Wu Tsung
Jn Tsung
Suddhipala Gege’en
Ying Tsung
Tai-ting Ti
Jijaghatu Toq-Temr
Wen Tsung
Qoshila Qutuqtu
Ming Tsung
Shun Ti
Mongols expelled from
China, 1368
Togus-Temr 1370-1388
Biliktu 1370-1379
Usaqal 1379-1389
Engke Soriktu 1389-1393
Elbek 1393-1400
Gun Timur 1400-1403
Oljei Timur 1403-1411
Delbeg 1411-1415
Eseku 1415-1425
Adai Qa’an 1425-1438
Esen Toghan Tayisi 1438-1440
Tayisung Qa’an 1440-1452
Esen Tayisi 1452-1455
Molon Khan Togus 1452-1454
Maqa Kurkis 1454-1463?
Mandughuli 1463?-1467
Bayan Mongke 1467-1470
civil war, 1470-c.1485
Dayan Khan 1479-1543
Altan Khan 1543-1583
Kudeng Darayisun 1547-1557
Tumen Jasaghtu 1557-1592
Sechen Khan 1592-1604
Ligdan Khan 1604-1634
Manchurian Conquest,
1696 (1628-1759)

Genghis Khan (Chingiz or Chinngis, Khn or Khagan) believed that he had been given the dominion of the whole world. Although the Mongols, as far as we know, didn’t have a tradition of believing such a thing, Genghis launched a campaign that came closer than any other such effort in history to realizing its goal. What Genghis accomplished himself was mostly to absorb kingdoms in Central Asia that most people would not have heard of anyway, but his sons and grandsons accomplished the conquests of China, Russia, Korea, Iran, and Iraq — just to mention the most famous places. The abolition of the Islmic Caliphate in Baghdad affected the whole subsequent history of Islm. Devastating defeats were also inflicted on Poland, Hungary, and Turkey, but growing feuds between increasingly more estranged cousins began to divert energies from more distant permanent conquests. Sometimes, as in the invasions of Japan, extraordinary circumstances, in that case the “Divine Wind” (kami kaze) typhoons, foiled Mongol conquest. But the ultimate enemy of the Mongols was themselves. Whereas the average length of a generation of European royalty from Charlemagne to Queen Elizabeth (about 40 generations) was nearly 30 years, the Mongol generations turned over in only about 20 years. The Chingizids tended to drink themselves to death; and once no longer centered on the steppe, they lost their military edge. Only the Golden Horde (“horde” from ordu, “army”) retained a steppe base and steppe culture, consequently lasting more than three centuries, rather than less than 90 years like both the Ilkhnsin the Middle East or the Yan Dynasty in China.

I had some problems with reconciling the Mongolian dates and names [The Mongols, David Morgan, Basil Blackwell, 1986, and The New Islamic Dynasties, Clifford Edmund Bosworth, Edinburgh University Press, 1996, which do not give Chinese names] with the Chinese list of Yan emperors [Mathews’ Chinese-English Dictionary, Harvard University Press, 1972, p. 1175, which does not give the Mongolian names]. This is now cleared up by Ann Paludan’s Chronicle of the Chinese Emperors [Thames & Hudson, London, 1998, pp. 148-157]. Two Emperors did not reign long enough to be acknowledged by Chinese historians. Also, Chinese sources list Ming Tsung before Wen Tsung (or Wen Ti, in Mathews’) because the second reign of the latter is counted. After Togus-Temr, I have only found a list of rulers for Mongolia in Bruce R. Gordon’s Regnal Chronologies — though Gordon actually doesn’t list Togus-Temr, but only “Biliktu,” with slightly different dates. Gordon cautions that after about 1400, the country is not politically unified and the rulers often only have local authority. Since Mongol authority was asserted over Tibet in 1642, Gordon’s information, which doesn’t even extend that far, gives no hint whence this vigor derived.

The Chaghatayid or Jagataid
Khns of Mughulistn
Chaghatay/Jagatai 1227-1244
Qara Hleg 1244-1246
Yes Mngke 1246-1251
Orqina Khtn 1252-1260
Alughu 1260-1266
Mubrak Shh 1266
Ghiyth adDn
Negbey 1271-1272
Buqa/Toqa Temr 1272-1282
Du’a, Duwa, Tuva c.1282-1306
conquers domain of Qaidu, 1306
Knchek 1306-1308
Taliqu 1308-1309
Kebek 1309,
Esen Buqa 1309-1320
Eljigedey 1326
Du’a Temr 1326
‘Al’ adDn
Buzan 1334
Changshi 1334-1338
Yesn Temr c.1338-1342
Muh.ammad c.1342-1343
Qazan 1343-1346
Danishmendji 1346-1358
Buyan Quli 1358
Shh Temr 1359
Tughluq Temr 1359-1363

The situation in Mughulistn (Turkistan and Sinkiang, including the Tarim Basin, in Central Asia) seems confused. Other sources ascribe a reign to Qaidu, son of the Great Khn Gyk; and grandson of the Great Khn gedey, but he is not listed by Bosworth’s New Islamic Dynasties. At the same time, Bosworth lists Qara Hleg as the son of M’eken, who is listed as an otherwise unknown, to me, son of Chingiz [p.248]. Similarly, other sources affirm that Jagatai-ids return to power by 1309, but Bosworth’s list takes no note of this and simply continues with descendants of Chaghatay and M’eken. This is perplexing. The answer appears to be that Qaidu detached his own domain, to contest the Great Khnate, in the Dzungaria (Junggar) Basin and through part of Mongolia to the north-east, ruling from 1260/64-1301/03. He was succeeded by his son, Chapar, who briefly ruled 1301/03-1306. Chapar was defeated by the proper Chaghatayid Khn, Du’a, eliminating the division within Mughulistn.

This event is of independent interest, since Du’a’s name also appears as Tuva, a name that apparently stuck in a small mountainous area north-east of the Altai Mountains. The Republic of Tuva (capital Kyzyl) was independent for a short period after the fall of the Russian Empire, before being conquered by the Bolsheviks. The Republic even issued stamps that came to the attention of the great physicist, and youthful stamp collector, Richard Feynman. The Tuva Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, part of the the Russian Republic in the Soviet Union, claimed to contain the geographical center of the Continent of Asia, with a monument to mark the spot. It was also closed to foreigners. Nevertheless, Feynman spent the last few years of his life trying to arrange a trip there. Unfortunately, he died very shortly before permission for his visit arrived (1988).

The end of the Chaghatayids is as obscure as these other issues. Mughulistn is displaced from Transoxania by the Timurids, Uzbeks, and Kazakhs. In Sinkiang (Xinjiang), domains of the Turkic Uighurs took over until Manchu conquest in 1754-59.

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The Khns of the Golden Horde
The Khns of the Blue Horde
Batu 1227-1256
Russia conquered, 1236-1239
Europe invaded, 1239-1242
Sartaq 1256-1257
Ulaghchi 1257
Berke 1257-1267
Mngke Temr 1267-1280
Tde Mngke 1280-1287
Tle Buqa 1287-1291
Toqta 1291-1313
Muh.ammad zbeg 1313-1341
Tn Beg 1341-1342
Jn Beg 1342-1357
Berdi Beg 1357-1359
Period of anarchy, 1357-1380; union with White Horde, 1378
The Khns of the Golden Horde
Toqtamsh 1377-1395,
d. 1406
1378/1380, union of White Horde & Blue Horde into the Golden Horde; sacks Novgorod & Moscow, 1382; expelled from Saray by Tamerlane, 1395
Edig Vizir,
Temr Qutlugh 1395-1401
Shd Beg 1401-1407
Pld Khn 1407-1410
Temr 1410-1412
Jall adDn 1412
Karm Berdi 1412-1414
Kebek 1414-1417
Yeremferden ? 1417-1419
Ulugh Muh.ammad 1419-1420,
of Kazan,
Dawlat Berdi 1420-1422
Baraq 1422-1427
Sayyid Ah.mad I c.1433-1435
Kchk Muh.ammad c.1435-1465
Ah.mad c.1465-1481
1480, Ivan III refuses tribute;
independence of Russia
Shaykh Ah.mad 1481-1498,
Murtad. 1481-1499
Defeated and annexed by
the Khns of the Crimea, 1502

The Khns of the White Horde
Orda 1226-1280
Kch 1280-1302
Buyan 1302-1309
Ssibuqa ? 1309-1315
Ilbasan c.1315-1320
Mubrak Khwja 1320-1344
Chimtay 1344-1374
Urus 1374-1376
Blue Horde,
Toqtaqiya 1376-1377
Temr Malik 1377
Toqtamsh 1377-1395
1378, union of White Horde & Blue Horde into the Golden Horde

Josef Stalin said that his best generals were “January and February.” Indeed, the great invasions of Russia by Napoleon and Hitlercame to grief in great measure because of the harsh Russian winter. Napoleon lost much of his Grand Army in 1812 in a retreat from Moscow in the cold and the snow. Hitler was aware of Napoleon’s failure, but he expected to conquer Russia before winter set in. However, Hitler got delayed by a campaign against Yugoslavia and then launched forces, not only towards Moscow, but against Leningrad and the Ukraine also. Thus, as the snow began to fall in 1941, the Germans had barely come within sight of Moscow. They weren’t even prepared for winter. The men did not have winter clothing and the summer oil in the tanks actually froze.

In light of these events, it is chiling (as it were) to remember that the Mongols conquered Russia during the winter. The Mongols liked winter. Frozen rivers and marshes meant that they could ride right over barriers that in the spring or summer would have slowed them down. Their tough Central Asian ponies knew how to dig down through the snow to eat the frozen grass beneath. This all made for a terror unknown to the Russians before or since. What the Russians then called their Mongol conquers was the “Tartars” — invaders come from Tartarus, the deepest part of Hell. However, this was a deliberate modification of the Persian word ttr, which just meant a kind of Turk, though the Mongols, of course, were not Turks. But then, as the Mongols appeared out of nowhere from the Steppe, arriving from origins far beyond the knowledge of Russians or Persians, no one really knew who they were or where they were from. To Europeans, they seemed like the Scourge of God.

Eventually, the Golden Horde weakened and broke up into the Khnates of Astrakhan, Kazan, and Crimea. Remnants of the Golden Horde passed in 1502 to the Crimea, which, as a vassal of the Ottoman Empire (as of 1475), held out the longest against Russian power. Thus, independent Hordes survived in Russia for three centuries, and the Crimea for more than two more. This original durability, far beyond the other Mongol Khnates, may be due to the fact that only the Golden Horde remained centered on the steppe. For so long as nomadic military tactics held an advantage, the Golden Horde benefited from it. The day of the nomad had to pass before the Russians gained the upper hand. Crimea survived thanks to the very non-nomadic power of the Ottomans. Russian expasion east would then not be through the steppe but in the Taiga, the dense forestland.

The map at right shows the situation in 1483. Moscow has just ceased paying tribute to the Golden Horde (1480). The successor Khanates to the Horde are already in place. As noted, the Crimea is already a vassal of the Ottomans. Although it would be the Crimean Khns who finally overthrew the Horde, Astrakhan would acquire the lion’s share of the remaining lands of the Horde. Timurids and the White Sheep (Aq Qoyunlu) Turks dominate the Middle East and Central Asia.

Note that Shiban, as a son of Jochi, originally had his own division of the Horde (an ulus, “patrimony”), as seen in the map above. When Toqtamsh moved west to unify the Golden Horde, the Shibanids expanded south and grew into the Khnate of the zbegs or Uzbeks, perhaps named after the Khn of the Blue Horde, Muh.ammad zbeg (1313-1341). Thus, on the map of 1483, the Uzbeks have become conspicuous. Their line is given below, as their realm (and the Kazakhs) succeeded to most of Central Asia until the coming of the Russians. There was also another son of Jochi, Toqa Temr, who had descendants from who some later Khns may have descended. This may have included the founder of the Golden Horde proper, Toqtamsh, whose parentage is uncertain.

For a long time I displayed nothing here on the descent of the White Horde or the Golden Horde. Now, however, this has been provided by a correspondent in the Netherlands, who organized information from a French genealogy site, with some reference to RootsWeb, where there is a discussion of the descent of Toqtamsh. I have revised some of this information, especially for the Golden Horde proper, on the basis of The New Islamic Dynasties, by Clifford Edmund Bosworth [Edinburgh University Press, 1996, p.252-254]. The Blue Horde and White Horde are shown together above at right, ending with Toqtamsh who unites them. Below are the Khns of the Golden Horde. Some small differences of dates and names remain between the the genealogical diagrams and the tables of rulers above. I allow these to remain to indicate the certainties with the history — one uncertainty is exactly when the Blue Horde was absorbed by Toqtamsh, variously given as 1378 and 1380. It is noteworthy that, according to Bosworth, the founders of the Khnates of Kazan and Astrakhan were rival cousins in the two Golden Horde lines descended from the Khns of the White Horde. The Golden Horde itself, however, was ended by the unrelated Giray Khns of the Crimea.

The Khns of the Crimea
H.jj Giray I 1449-1456
H.aydar Giray 1456
Nr Dawlat Giray 1466-1467,
Mengli Giray 1467-1474,
Vassals of the
Ottoman Empire, 1475;
conquest of Golden
, 1502
Muh.ammad Giray I 1514-1523
Ghz Giray I 1523-1524
Sa’dat Giray I 1524-1532
Islm Giray I 1532
S.h.b Giray I 1532-1551
Dawlat Giray I 1551-1577
Muh.ammad Giray II 1577-1584
Islm Giray II 1584-1588
Ghz Giray II 1588-1596,
Fath. Giray I 1596
Toqtamsh Giray 1608
Salmat Giray I 1608-1610
Muh.ammad Giray III 1610,
Jn Beg Giray 1610-1623,
‘Inyat Giray 1635-1637
Bahdur Giray I 1637-1641
Muh.ammad Giray IV 1641-1644,
Islm Giray III 1644-1654
‘dil Giray 1666-1671
Salm Giray I 1671-1678,
Murd Giray 1678-1683
H.jj Giray II 1683-1684
Sa’dat Giray II 1691’ Giray 1691-1692
Dawlat Giray II 1699-1702,
Ghz Giray III 1704-1707
Qaplan Giray I 1707-1708,
Dawlat Giray III 1716-1717
Sa’dat Giray III 1717-1724
Mengli Giray II 1724-1730,
Fath. Giray II 1736-1737
Salmat Giray II 1740-1743
Salm Giray II 1743-1748
Arslan Giray 1748-1756,
H.alm Giray 1756-1758
Qrm Giray 1758-1764,
Salm Giray III 1764-1767,
Maqs.d Giray 1767-1768,
Dawlat Giray IV 1769,
Qaplan Giray II 1769-1770
S.h.b Giray II 1772-1775
Shhn Giray 1777-1782,
Bahdur II Giray 1782-1783
1783, Russian annexation
by Catharine II the Great

The Khns of Kazan
Ulugh Muh.ammad 1437-1445 1445-1462
Khall 1462-1467
Ibrhm 1467-1479
‘Al 1479-1484
Muh.ammad Amn 1484-1485
Siberian Khn
‘Abd alLat.f 1496-1502
Shh ‘Al
Khn of Qsimov
S.h.b Giray 1521-1524
1546’ Giray 1524-1531,
Jn ‘Al 1531-1533
temish 1549-1551
Ydigr Muh.ammad 1552
1552, Russian conquest
by Ivan IV

The breakup of the Golden Horde resulted in a number of successor states, most importantly the Khnates of Kazan, the Crimea, and Astrakhan. The remnant domain of the Golden Horde was itself annexed by the Crimea in 1502. Otherwise, all would be faced with, and ultimately fall to, the growing power of Russia. The fall of Kazan and Astrakhan motivated Ivan IV to proclaim himself “Tsar of all the Russias.” The Crimea would endure longer, becoming indeed the last of any of the Mongol Khnates. Its durability, however, was only due to the protection of the Ottomans. Before Russia could take the Crimea, it would have to defeat the Turks. That would not come until the 18th Century. Catherine the Great, not Ivan the Terrible, would finish off the last of the Mongols.

These lists are derived entirely from The New Islamic Dynasties, by Clifford Edmund Bosworth [Edinburgh University Press, 1996, pp.252-260].

The Khns of Astrakhan
Qsim 1466-1490
‘Abd alKarm 1490-1504
Qasay 1504-1532
Aq Kbek 1532-1534
‘Abd 1534-1538
Shaykh H.aydar 1538-1541
Yaghmurchi 1544-1554
1554, Russian conquest
by Ivan IV
Darwsh ‘Al Russian vassal,

The connection of the Crimea to Turkey led to a significant moment in linguistic history. The Imperial Ambassador to Constantinople, Bubecq (1560-1562), took down sixty words in an unusual language spoken by informants from the Crimea. The language turned out to be Gothic. Goths had been in the Crimea since the 3rd Century AD. It is fortunate that Bubecq was curious about the language, because there is otherwise no surviving evidence of it, and there are no Crimean Goths left now.

There are surviving Crimean Tartars. Stalin became suspicious that they had collaborated with the Germans in World War II, so he deported all of them to Siberia. They are back now, but still rather out of place in the area. They are thus as much living fossils of history as the 16th century Gothic speakers.

The Il Khns
Hleg/Hlg 1256-1265
Middle East invaded,
conquered, 1255-1260;
Abbasid Caliph killed, 1258;
defeat by Mamlks,
‘Ain Jalut, 1260
Abaqa 1265-1282
Ah.mad Tegder 1282-1284
Arghn 1284-1291
Gaykhatu 1291-1295
Baydu 1295 Ghzn 1295-1304
Khudbanda ljeyt
Ab Sa’d
‘Al’ adDuny wa dDn
Arpa Ke’n 1335-1336
Ms 1336-1337
Muh.ammad 1337-1338
1338-1353, period of
several rival successor states,
like the Jalyirids,
followed by the Timurids

The amount of harm that the Mongol conquest did to the Middle East cannot be calculated. It was bad enough for Islm that the Caliphate in Baghdad was destroyed, but at least a form of the Caliphate was soon continued in Cairo. The physical damage and neglect to Iraq, however, may have ruined foundations of civilization and prosperity that went back to the Sumerians. The capital of the lkhns became Tabrz. Iraq would never again be a center of great power, influence, or culture. Until the Fall of Constantinople, Cairo became the center of Islm.
It may be that a serious effort to conquer Egypt was never launched by the lkhns because the military resources of Mongolia, which had in part been directed at Europe under the Great Khn gedei and at the Middle East under Mngke (Hleg’s brother), were entirely drawn off by Qubilai (Hleg’s other brother) for the conquest of China. Certainly, the kind of sustained and punishing campaign that the Song had to face in China was never directed against the Mamlks.

The Jalyirids
Shaykh H.asan-i Buzurg Tj ad-Dn 1340-1356
Shaykh Uways 1356-1374
H.usayn I Jall ad-Dn 1374-1382
Sult.n Ah.mad Ghiyth ad-Dn 1382-1410
Shh Walad 1410-1411 1411,
Uways II 1411-1421
Muh.ammad 1421
H.usayn II 1425-1532
Conquest by Qara Qoyunlu, 1432

The Qara Qoyunlu, or Black Sheep Turks
Bayram Khja Vassal of Jalayirids,
Qara Muh.ammad 1380-1389
Independent, 1382
Qara Ysuf c.1390-1400,
Occupation by Tmr, 1400-1406
Iskandar 1420-1438
Jahn Shh 1439-1467
Timurid Vassal until 1449
H.asan ‘Al 1467-1469
Ab Ysuf 1469
Conquest by Aq Qoyunlu, 1469

When the great traveller Ibn Battuta (d.1368/69) visited the Ilkhnate in 1326-1327, its power seemed well founded and unassailable. When he returned from China, between 1346 and 1349, the Khnate had already collapsed! This abrupt and astonishing revolution left a number of successor states. The Jalyirid Sult.ns held Tabrz, western Irn and lower Mesopotamia. The Black Sheep (Qara Qoyunlu) Turks lay just to the west, in Armenia and upper Mesopotamia. In between their domain and Trebizond were the White Sheep (Aq Qoyunlu) Turks. All were swept over, but not eliminated, by Tamerlane. As the Timurid hegemony receded, the Black Sheep Turks overthrew the Jalyirids. It wasn’t much longer, however, before the White Sheep Turks became the ultimate winner, assembling a state that stretched even into eastern Irn, the most successful of the Ilkhn successors. When they fell, it would be to an altogether new force, the Safavids, who, although Turks themselves, ushered in an Irnian, and a Shi’ite, revival.

The Aq Qoyunlu, or White Sheep Turks
Qutlugh Fakhr ad-Dn c.1360-1389
Ah.mad 1389-1403
Qara Yoluq ‘Uthmn Fakhr ad-Dn 1403-1435
‘Al Jall ad-Dn 1435-1438
H.amza Nr ad-Dn 1438-1444
Jahngr Mu’izz ad-Dn 1444-1457
Uzun H.asan 1457-1478
Sult.n Khall 1478
Ya’qb 1478-1490
Baysonqur 1490-1493
Rustam 1493-1497
Ah.mad Gvde 1497
Alwand Diyr Bakr
& Azerbaijan,
Muh.ammad Iraq & Persia,
Sult.n Murd Persia,
Zayn al-‘bidn Diyr Bakr,
S.afawid conquest, 1508

The Timurids
Tmr-i Lang
Defeats, captures & imprisons
Byezd, battle of Ankara, 1402
Pr Muh.ammad 1405-1407
in Kandahar
Khall Sult.n 1405-1409
in Samarkand,
Shh Rukh 1505-1409
in Khorasn,
in Transoxania
East & West Iran
Ulugh Beg 1447-1449
in Transoxania
& Khurasan
Bbur I 1449-1457
in Khorasn
‘Abd alLat.f 1449-1450
in Transoxania
‘Abdallh 1450-1451
Ab Sa’d 1451-1469
in Transoxania
& Iran 1457-1459
in Khorasn
Ab Sa’d 1459-1469
in Khorasn
H.usayn Byqar 1469-1506
in Khorasn
Sult.n Ah.mad 1469-1494
in Transoxania 1494-1495
in Transoxania
Baysonqur 1495-1497
in Transoxania
Bbur II, the Great Moghul 1498-1500,
in Transoxania,
‘Al 1498-1500
in Transoxania
zbeg conquest of Transoxania
& Farghna, 1501
Bad’ al-Zamn 1506-1507
in Khorasn
zbeg/Uzbek conquest
of Khorasn, 1507

Tamerlane was only partly Mongol and never claimed to be one. But he tended to use Mongol puppet figureheads and did create the last serious nomadic empire. A devoted Moslem, his conquests and massacres were nevertheless almost entirely directed against fellow Moslems. Poor little Georgia had to bear most of his wrath against Christians.

Despite what must seem the superfluous slaughter and pointless terror of Tamerlane’s campaigns, his was the only historic empire actually founded on the region of Transoxania and cities like Samarkand and Bukhara. This brought a period of higher culture and architecture to the area. The style of architecture, indeed, passed to the Moghuls. The splendor of the Taj Mahl thus owes more than a little to the ferocious Tamerlane.

The region of Farghna included a small Timurid principality. The zbeg conquest of the region (1501) sent the heir, Bbur, heading for Kabul (1514) and India (1526), where he founded the Moghul Empire.

Shibnid zbegs/Uzbeks
Abu’l-Khayr 1438-1468
killed by Kazakhs,
disintegration, 1468-1500
Muh.ammad Shbni Shah Beg zbeg 1500-1512
Kchkunju Muh.ammad 1512-1531
Ab Sa’d Muz.affar ad-Dn 1531-1534
‘Ubaydallh Ab’l-Ghz 1534-1539
‘Abdallh I 1539-1540
‘Abd al-Lat.f 1540-1552
Nawrz Ah.mad, Baraq 1552-1556
Pr Muh.ammad I 1556-1561
Iskandar 1561-1583
‘Abdallh II 1583-1598
‘Abd al-Mu’min 1598
Pr Muh.ammad II 1598-1599
succession of Toqay Temrids

If the Timurids had been more Turkish than Mongol, they were succeeded by rulers who were at least of Mongol patrimony, the Shibnid Khns of the zbegs or Uzbeks — Turkish tribes, but perhaps named after the Khn of the Blue Horde, Muh.ammad zbeg (1313-1341). Moving first south into the lands of the old White Horde, they then displaced the Timurids in Transoxania and northern Afghanistan, in part under the pressure of the Kazakhs. Although often fragemented, the Khnate and its successors, with the Kazakhs, dominate Central Asia until the arrival of the Russian Empire. Uzbekistan, of course, is one of the successor Republics to the Soviet Union.

Koirijaq Oglun c.1394-1422
Borrak/Boraq 1422-1428
Golden Horde,
killed by Abu’l-Khayr of the Uzbeks
Girai/Karai c.1428-1440
Jani Beg 1440-1480
independent of Uzbeks, 1456
Muryndyk 1480/88-1509/11
Qasim/Kasim 1509/11-1518
Mimash 1518-1523
Tahir 1523-1530/33
Boydas East, 1526/38
Togim South, 1526/38
Uziaq Ahmad North, 1526/35
Haqq Nazar/Aq Nazak unites horde, 1538-1575/80
Shigai 1575/80-1582
Tawakkul/Tawekel 1575/86-1598;
1586, all Kazakhs
Yesim 1598-1628
Jahangir Khan 1628-1652
Ablaigirim 1628-36; d.c.1650
vacant, 1652-1680
Tawke 1680-1715/18
Kaip 1715-1718
Bulat 1698-1731
Abu-i-Hayr 1717/28-1748

The Khns of the Kazakhs are curiously missing from Bosworth’s The New Islamic Dynasties. There seems to be much obscurity in their history, and the details here are from the German Wikipedia website. While the Kazakhs seem to originate as vassals of the zbegs, their Khns are initially derived from the Golden Horde. When the zbeg Abu’l-Khayr kills the Golden Khn Boraq, his sons, after an exile in Mughulistn (Sinkiang), return to avenge themselves. This shatters the zbegs (1468), from which the Kazakhs emerge as an independent Khnate. The dating is unclear, but the zbegs are pushed south to the Oxus (Amu Dar’ya) valley and the mountains to the south-east, and the Kazakhs come to dominate the steppe, the valley of the Jaxartes (Syr Dar’ya), and the mountains to the south-east of there. This is reflected in the modern map of the region, with an independent Kazakhstan north of Uzbekistan. The modern caital, Alma Ata, is far to the south-east, near the border of Kirghizia. One complication of Kazakh history seems to be that the Horde periodically, and then permanently, splits into Lesser (west), Middle (north, east), and Elder (south) Hordes — and evidently the Kirgiz also. These were all, of course, Turkish peoples, with initially the Mongol derived rulers. Today the Turks of the region are distinguished, with the modern states, into Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Kirgiz (in Kirghizia), and Turkmen (in Turkmenistan, south of the Oxus, an area that is mostly desert, though with the historic city of Merv, now Mary). The whole area, of course, has been characterized with the geographical expression Turkistan. In the 18th century, the Lesser and Middle Horde came under Russian influence. They were conquered by 1824. The Elder Horde and Kirgiz were conquered in 1854.

Toqay Temrids, Jnids
Jn Muh.ammad 1599-1603
Bq Muh.ammad 1603-1605
Wal Muh.ammad 1605-1611
Imm Qul 1611-1641
Nadhr Muh.ammad 1641-1645
Balkh only,
‘Abd al-‘Azz 1645-1681
S.ubh.n Qul 1681-1702
‘Ubaydallh 1702-1711
Abu’l-Fayd. 1711-1747
figureheads of Mangts, 1747
‘Abd al-Mu’min 1747-c.1750
‘Ubaydallh 1751-1752
Abu’l-Ghz c.1758-1789

The Toqay Temrids or Jnids (from Jn Muh.ammad) were actually from the house of Astrakhan and so, again, were more Mongol than Turkish. They simply displace the Uzbek Shibnids. The domain, again, is sometimes fragmented, especially with a “lesser” Khn in Balkh (in Afghanistan). In the end, Jnids were figureheads for the Mangts.

Mangts of Bukhara
Muh.ammad Rah.m Atalq 1747-1758
Dniyl Biy Atalq 1758-1785
Shh Murd Amr-i-Ma’s.m 1785-1800
Sayyid H.aydar Tora 1800-1826
Sayyid H.usayn 1826-1827
‘Umar 1827
Nas.r Allh 1827-1860
Muz.affar ad-Dn 1860-1886
Russian conquest, 1868
‘Abd 1886-1910
Sayyid ‘lim Khn 1910-1920
overthown by Bosheviks, 1920

The Mangts were from an Uzbek tribe who became chief ministers, Atalqs, to the Jnids. Like many other such arrangements, the power of the ministers overwhelmed and then overthrew that of their masters. The domain became the Khnate of Bukhara (Bokhara). The arrival of the Russians reduced the power and the domain of the Khns, but their rule, or misrule, actually continued. Nothing fundamentally changed until the Russian Revolution. A “People’s Republic of Bukhara” overthrew the Khn, who went into exile in Afghanistan. Rather than tolerating local self-determination, of course, the Bolsheviks forcibly reconstituted as much of the Russian Empire as possible. Today, however, Bukhara finds itself in an independent Uzbekistan (whose capital is Tashkent). Two other Uzbek Khntes, Khiva and Khoqand (around Tashkent), shared space with Bokhara, until similarly attached to Russia. Khoqand was abolished in 1876, while Khiva survived, like Bukhara, until 1920.

These lists (except for the Kazakh Khns) are derived from The New Islamic Dynasties, by Clifford Edmund Bosworth [Edinburgh University Press, 1996] and the Oxford Dynasties of the World, by John E. Morby [Oxford University Press, 1898, 2002, pp.270-276 & pp.288-292].

Copyright (c) 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved