name given to the descendants of Čengīz Khan’s second son Čaḡatai, who reigned in Transoxania until ca. 771/1370 and in parts of Turkestan down to the 11th/17th century.


CHAGHATAYID DYNASTY, name given to the descendants of Čengīz Khan’s second son Čaḡatai, who reigned in Transoxania until ca. 771/1370 and in parts of Turkestan down to the 11th/17th century. Čaḡatai accompanied his father on his first campaigns against north China and subsequently on the great expedition to the West (616-22/1219-25). According to Jovaynī (ed. Qazvīnī, I, pp. 31, 226-27), when Čengīz Khan allotted an ulus, that is, pasturage and subject peoples, to each of his sons Čaḡatai’s share extended from the borders of the Uighur territory as far as Samarkand and Bukhara, and his seasonal residences lay on the river Ili, not far from Almalïḡ (Almālīḡ/q); though the fiscal administration of his lands was in the hands of civil officials directly responsible to the great khan. The same author (I, pp. 162, 227) depicts Čaḡatai as extremely zealous in enforcing Mongol customary law, the yasa; the Muslims especially suffered, since various prescriptions of the Šarīʿa, such as those for ritual ablution or for the slaughter of animals, ran counter to Mongol practice. It is difficult to imagine that this policy could be enforced among Muslims in general, and Jovaynī’s remarks in all probability apply mainly to those Muslims domiciled in the vicinity of Čaḡatai’s own encampments or at the great khan’s capital, Qaraqorum. Nevertheless, Čaḡatai certainly acquired a reputation for being no friend of the Muslims. According to one version given by Rašīd-al-­Dīn (Jāmeʿ al-tawārīḵ II, ed. Blochet, p. 184), he died seven months before his brother, the great khan Ögedei (Ūkatāy), in 638/1241, but Jovaynī’s statement that he outlived him (II, p. 227) is corroborated by the local chronicler Jamāl Qarši, who says that Čaḡatai died in 642/1244-45 (Barthold, Turkestan1 I: Teksty, St. Petersburg, 1898, p. 138).

After the death of the Great Khan Güyüg (Koyūk) in 646/1248, most of the Chaghatayid princes joined with their cousins, the descendants of Ögedei, in opposing the succession of Möngke (Mūnkkā; also Mengü/Mankū); and upon his enthronement in 649/1251 they were either executed or exiled. The ulus of Ögedei was practically dismembered, but that of Čaḡatai survived, though somewhat curtailed in size. On Möngke’s death in 657/1259 the succession was disputed once more, between his brothers Qubilai (Qūbīlāy) and Arïg Böke (Arīq Būkā): the former was victorious only after a five-year civil war in which numerous members of the imperial family were involved on both sides. One consequence of the crisis was that the civil administration in Central Asia was subordinated to the head of Čaḡatai’s ulus, Alḡu (Alḡū; 658-64/1260-­66), rather than to the great khan in the east, and it is from this point that we may legitimately speak of a Čaḡatai khanate. Its history has been surveyed in the secondary works listed in the bibliography, and detailed treatment here will be confined to the relations of the Chaghatayids with Iran.

We find the khans of Čaḡatai’s ulus encroaching on the territory south of the Oxus at an early date: for example, Körgüz (Kūrgūz; q.v.), the great khan’s governor of Khorasan, was executed by Čaḡatai’s widow in the early 640s/1240s, and her son Yesü Möngke (Yīsū Mūnkkā; 644-49/1246-51) intervened in the affairs of Herat (Sayf Heravī, pp. 127-28). At this time other members of the imperial family exercised important influence in parts of Iran, notably the descendants of Čengīz Khan’s eldest son Joči (Jūjī) who were headed by Batu (Bātū), khan of the so-called Golden Horde in the steppes of southern Russia. In 654/1256 the Great Khan Möngke sent to Persia under the overall command of his brother Hülegü (Hūlāgū) a fresh army including contingents supplied by both the Jochids and the Chaghatayids; the latter force was commanded by the prince Tegüder (Takūdār). Hülegü, however, subsequently took advantage of the civil war of 657-62/1259-64 to establish himself as a virtually autonomous ruler, which led to sixty years of hostilities between Hülegü and his suc­cessors, the Il-khans, on the one hand and the Golden Horde on the other. But the creation of a new ulus south of the Oxus also gave rise to tensions with the Chagha­tayids. Alḡu, according to Kirakos (pp. 236-37), allied with Hülegü in his struggle against the Golden Horde, but his successor Baraq (Barāq, ca. 664-70/ca. 1266-71) adopted a different policy and planned to invade Khorasan. In 666/1268 he induced Tegüder to rebel against the Il-khan Abaqa in the Caucasus region. The conspiracy was discovered: Tegüder’s rising was suppressed, and Baraq, who found the Il-khan’s forces prepared for him, had to abandon Khorasan after a brief occupation in the years 667-68/1269-70. Rašīd-al-­Dīn (Jāmeʿ al-tawārīḵ, Baku, p. 110) links Baraq’s expansionist designs with his resentment that his ter­ritories were now largely hemmed in by those of his relatives. This sense of constriction was doubtless further heightened by the emergence, as paramount ruler in Central Asia, of Ögedei’s grandson Qaidu (Qāydū, d. 702/1303), with whose fortunes those of the khans of Čaḡatai were to be closely intertwined.

Qaidu was elected Great Khan in opposition to Qubilai at an assembly (quriltai) in Central Asia ca. 670/1271 and exercised a stranglehold upon Čaḡatai’s ulus for over three decades. He and his confederacy of nomadic princes formed a barrier between the two Toluid allies, the Il-khan and Qubilai, ruling over primarily sedentary societies in Persia and China respectively. The Il-khan Abaqa dispatched an army to sack Bukhara and other towns in Transoxania in 671/1273 at a time when Chaghatayid rule in this area was weak. But it recovered during the reign of Baraq’s son Du’a (Dovā, Tovā, ca. 681-706/1282-306), when cooperation between Qaidu and the Chaghatayids was at its height. Du’a loyally seconded his attacks upon Qubilai’s supporters and outposts in Mongolia and eastern Turkestan and with Qaidu’s backing launched a series of invasions of the Il-khanid empire, in 687/1288, 690/1291 and 695/1295-96. According to Rašīd-al-Dīn (Jāmeʿ al-tawārīḵ, Baku, p. 578, and Tārīḵ-eḡāzānī, p. 26), Qaidu’s son Sarban (Sārbān) was already in possession of the Bādḡīs and Šabūrḡān territories as early as 690/1291. This forward policy served as a constant incitement to disaffected Il-khanid generals to throw off their allegiance. One of them was the celebrated Amir Nowrūz (q.v.), who from 688/1289 to 694/1294, when he reentered the service of the future Il-­khan Ḡazan (Ḡāzān), commanded an army which served as a bridgehead on behalf of Qaidu’s forces, and we later find his brothers and another commander, Uiḡurtai (Ūyḡūrtāy, Īḡūrtāy), collaborating with Du’a.

If the campaigns mentioned above had established the rule of the Central Asian Mongols over the pasture­lands immediately south of the Oxus, a development of equal importance was the definitive assertion of their control over the Negüderis (Negūdārīān/Nīkūdārīān q.v.; sometimes called Qarāʾūnās/Qarāvona, Qarā­vonā, Qarāvonās), a hitherto independent Mongol grouping based on Ḡazna and occupying a large part of present-day Afghanistan. Alḡu had made a short-lived attempt to dominate this region ca. 660/1262, but in ca. 671/1272-73 the Il-khan Abaqa installed around Ḡazna the fugitive Chaghatayid prince Mobārakšāh, who renewed his submission at the time of Abaqa’s Herat campaign in 678/1279 (Rašīd-al-Dīn, Jāmeʿ al-tawārīḵ II, tr. J. A. Boyle, The Successors of Genghis Khan, London and New York, 1971, p. 154, n. 40; cf. Baku ed., p. 252). While in Qaidu’s service Nowrūz is de­scribed by Waṣṣāf (Tārīḵ-eWaṣṣāf, p. 253; cf. also p. 314) as commander of the Negüderis, and his defec­tion to the il-khan was presumably a severe blow to the interests of the Central Asian Mongols in this region. Early in the 960s/1290s some of the Negüderis were led by a Chaghatayid prince named ʿAbd-Allāh, though it is doubtful whether he owed allegiance to Du’a rather than to the il-khan, if indeed to any outside power. Not long before 698/1298-99, however, he was supplanted by Du’a’s son Qutluḡ Qoča (Qotloḡ Ḵᵛāja), who from his bases in Ḡūr and Ḡazna worked in concert with Sarban further west. Rašīd-al-Dīn (Jāmeʿ al-tawārīḵ, tr. O. I. Smirnova, Sbornik letopiseĭ I, ii, Moscow and Leningrad, 1952, p. 69) describes Qutluḡ Qoča as joint ruler of Čaḡatai’s ulus with his father, and Waṣṣāf (pp. 367-68) lists among the areas under his rule Ḡazna, “Sīstān” (i.e., Ḡūr and Ḡaṛčestān), Balḵ and its depen­dencies, Šabūrḡān, Badaḵšān, Marv, Andḵūy, and Ṭālaqān. The occupation of Afghanistan enabled the Čaḡatai khanate both to assume direction of the Negüderi pressure on India and to intensify its war against the Mongols in Persia. Nor was the expansionist policy terminated by Qutluḡ Qoča’s death on the return march from an invasion of India in ca. 699/1299. During the absence of the Il-khan Ḡazan on campaign against the Mamluks in 700/1301, Qutluḡ Qoča’s forces mounted a major raid on Fārs and Kermān: their commander was killed in an encounter with the viceroy of Khorasan, the il-khan Ḡazan’s brother Ḵarbanda (later Moḥammad Ḵodā-banda). In the winter of 702/1302-03 Sarban invaded western Khorasan: he was routed by Ḵarbanda, however, and was prevented by adverse climatic conditions from making a junction with Qutluḡ Qoča’s forces, with the result that he was compelled to withdraw. In 705/1305 Du’a conferred Qutluḡ Qoča’s command on another son, Esen Buqa (Īsenbūqā, Īsenboqā; Tārīḵ-eWaṣṣāf, p. 510), but by this time the Central Asian Mongols were locked in internecine strife.

Qaidu died in 702/1303, and Du’a prevailed upon the princes to pass over his designated heir, Orus (Orūs), in favor of another son, Čapar (Čāpār), in whom he discerned a more malleable overlord. At Du’a’s instiga­tion Čapar then submitted to the great khan, Qubilai’s grandson and successor Temür, so that for the first time since 658/1260 the Mongol world was united. In 704/1304 a friendly embassy from Čapar and the Chaghatayids accompanied the great khan’s envoys to Persia, where Ḡazan had died and Ḵarbanda had succeeded him as the Il-khan Öljeitü (Ūljāytū, q.v.). As a result of this general reconciliation, Persia enjoyed a respite from attacks by the Central Asian Mongols for almost ten years. But within Central Asia the peace was short-lived. In 705/1305 Du’a, in collaboration with the great khan’s troops, engineered a treacherous attack upon Čapar’s supporters, and by 709/1309 the empire founded by Qaidu had disintegrated, most of its territories passing to the Chaghatayids. One result of these upheavals in Transoxania was that various princes of both Čaḡatai’s and Ögedei’s line, including Sarban, crossed over the Oxus with their followers to seek refuge in the il-khan’s dominions. Peace was temporarily restored under Esen Buqa, who had now become khan (709-ca. 720/1309-ca. 20), but Chaghatayid authority in the territories south of the Oxus was soon threatened again. First, in 712/1312, Dāwūd Qoča, the son of Qutluḡ Qoča, was expelled from Afghanistan by some local chiefs acting in alliance with Öljeitü, and Esen Buqa’s own retaliatory invasion of Khorasan was a failure. Then, in 716/1316, another Chaghatayid prince, Yasaδur (Yāsāʾūr, Yasāvor, Yasūr, q.v.), quarreled with Esen Buqa and moved across the Oxus to submit to the il-­khan, who issued a diploma granting him the pasture­lands of Šabūrḡān. Following Öljeitü’s death, however, Yasaδur occupied much of Afghanistan, rose in revolt against his young son Abū Saʿīd in 718/1318, and advanced westwards through Māzandarān, possibly with the aim of making himself il-khan. He was eventually compelled to retreat and was slain in 720/1320 in battle against the army of Esen Buqa’s brother and successor Köpek (Kobek, ca. 720-26/ca.1320-26), which had entered Afghanistan by arrangement with Abū Saʿīd’s frontier commanders. But the principal beneficiaries of Yasaδur’s removal were his Chaghatayid kinsmen, not the il-khan, for Afghanistan remained in Chaghatayid hands. Although in 726/1326 Ḡazna was sacked by Abū Saʿīd’s army (Ḥāfeẓ-e Abrū, pp. 166-68), the Moroccan traveler Ebn Baṭṭūṭa, who passed through the region seven years later, found the tract from Ḡazna to Qondūz under the rule of the Čaḡatai khan Tarmaširin (Tarmašīrīn, ca. 727-35/ca. 1327-35), Köpek’s brother (Ebn Baṭṭūṭa, tr. Gibb, pp. 561, 589); and ʿOmarī’s informants too regarded Ḡazna at this time as part of the ulus of Čaḡatai.

Apart from the few episodes mentioned above, the il-khans failed to take any military initiatives against the Chaghatayid menace. One effect of the pressure from Central Asia was that it acted on occasion as a brake upon the il-khan’s own external policy of war against the Mamluks. Like the khans of the Golden Horde, Qaidu corresponded with the Egyptian sultans (Yūnīnī, fol. 135v; von Tiesenhausen, pp. 67, 81), as did the Čaḡatai khan Tarmaširin later (Mofażżal, pp. 63-64, 90, tr. pp. 179, 234). Towards the very end of Öljeitü’s reign, it was alleged that Esen Buqa was in league with the Golden Horde and with the Egyptians to invade Persia from three directions (Kāšānī, p. 212). There is little evidence that the Central Asian Mongols were actually involved in such plans of encirclement; but certainly their raids tended to coincide with the il-khan’s absence from Iran, as for example in the devastation of Fārs in 700/1301. And in 1303, according to Hayton (Latin text, p. 321, variant reading), Ḡazan was obliged to withdraw most of his army from a Syrian campaign on the news of the incursion by Qaidu’s forces.

When the Il-khanid dynasty collapsed upon Abū Saʿīd’s death (736/1335), the Čaḡatai khanate was itself a prey to renewed internal chaos. It seems that this stemmed from conflict between the sedentarizing and centralizing aspirations of certain khans, such as Tar­maširin, and the more traditionalist nomadic elements and possibly also from the antipathy of the latter towards Islam, since unlike some of his successors Tarmaširin was a devout Muslim and that faith effec­tively took hold of the Čaḡatai ulus in his reign (ʿOmarī, text pp. 38-39, tr. p. 117 with incorrect date). In any case, from the 740s/1340s the Čaḡatai khanate appears to have divided into two. The western portion, centered on Transoxania, was dominated by tribal amirs, who maintained scions of Čaḡatai’s (and sometimes Ögedei’s) line as puppet sovereigns to legitimize their own authority. The most important of these amirs, Qazaḡan (d. 759/1358), waged war upon the Kartid (see āl-e kart) ruler of Herat, who had taken advantage of Chaghatayid weakness to proclaim his own sovereign­ty. After Qazaḡan’s death Transoxania was invaded by the eastern Chaghatayid khan Tuḡluq Temür, under whose patronage Tīmūr (q.v.) of the Barlas tribe first attained prominence. Subsequently, Tīmūr cooperated with Qazaḡan’s grandson Ḥosayn against the invaders, and then destroyed his new ally in turn. By 771/1370 he was the virtual ruler of the western khanate and was able to harness the energies of the amirs and their nomad followers (still called Čaḡatais in the sources) to campaigns of conquest in those very regions, Persia and the Delhi Sultanate, which had attracted his Chaghatayid predecessors. He and his dynasty continued to appoint nominal khans from Ögedei’s family down into the 9th/15th century, though none is mentioned after 852/1448 and the Timurids had long held the real sovereignty in Transoxania.

Neither Tīmūr nor his successors, however, were able to overcome the eastern half of the Čaḡatai khanate, known as “Moḡalestān,” where a more vigorous line of khans reigned initially from Almaliḡ, then from Kāšḡar, and finally, after Kāšḡar had been appropriated by the powerful Doḡlāt amirs, from Āqsū. Of these later Chaghatayids particular mention should be made of Vays Khan (d. ca. 832/1428-29), in whose reign the Oïrat (Ūyrāt) or Qalmaqs first began their inroads into the Čaḡatai khanate, and his sons Esen Buqa II (d. 866/1462) and Yūnos (d. 892/1487) who divided the territory between them. Yūnos, whose daughter Qutluq Negār Ḵānom married the Timurid prince ʿOmar Shaikh and became the mother of Bābor, had been educated in Persia by the chronicler Šaraf-al-Dīn ʿAlī Yazdī and is described as having the physical features of a Tajik rather than a Mongol (Ḥaydar Doḡlāt, pp. 84-85, 97-98). He wrested Tashkent from the Timurids and reunited the khanate. But under his two sons, Solṭān-Aḥmad and Maḥmūd, the western­most territories, including Tashkent, were lost at the beginning of the 10th/16th century to the Shaibanid Uzbeks (See central asia vi). Solṭān-Aḥmad was defeated by their leader Moḥammad Šaybānī (Šïbānī) Khan and died of chagrin in 909/1503, whereupon the khanate fell into confusion. The eastern regions were eventually governed from Ṭūrfān by his son Manṣūr (d. 950/1543). It was left to one of Solṭān-Aḥmad’s numerous other sons, Saʿīd (d. 939/1533), the contemporary and friend of Bābor, to take Kāšḡar from its Doḡlāt ruler in 920/1514 and to found a new state in this region. Under his descendants, however, this khanate in turn under­went fragmentation, with different princes ruling in Kāšḡar, Yārkand, Āqsū, etc. In 1089/1678, with Qalmaq support, power in Kashgharia passed to local religious leaders, the Khojas (See chinese turkestan vi), and the Chaghatayid dynasty was extinguished.



Primary sources: Abu’l-ʿAbbās Aḥmad b. Yaḥyā ʿOmarī, Masālek al-abṣār fī mamālek al-amṣār, ed. and tr. K. Lech, Das mon­golische Weltreich, Wiesbaden, 1968, text pp. 35-66, tr. pp. 115-35.

The main source for the later Chagha­tayids is Mīrzā Ḥaydar Doḡlāt, Tārīḵ-erašidī, tr. N. Elias and E. Denison Ross, A History of the Moghuls of Central Asia2, London, 1898.

Kirakos Ganjakecʿi, Patmuṭʿiwn Hayocʿ, tr. L. A. Khanlaryan, Istoriya Armenii, Moscow, 1976.

Ḥāfeẓ-e Abrū, Ḏayl-e Jāmeʿ al-tawārīḵ-e rašīdī, ed. Ḵ. Bayānī, Tehran, 1350 Š./1971.

Mofażżal b. Abi’l-Fażāʾel, Nahj al-sadīd wa’l-dorr al-farīd fī mā baʿd taʾrīḵ Ebn al-ʿAmīd, ed. and tr. S. Kortantamer, Ägypten und Syrien zwischen 1317 and 1341, Freiburg im Breisgau, 1973.

Sayf b. Moḥammad b. Yaʿqūb Heravī, Tārīḵ-nāma-ye Herāt, ed. M. L. Ṣeddīqī, Calcutta, 1362/1944, repr. Tehran, 1352 Š./1973.

Yūnīnī, al-Ḏayl ʿalā Merʾāt al-zamān, Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi, Istanbul, ms. III Ahmet 2907/e. 4.

V. G. Frhr. von Tiesenhausen, Sbornik materialov otnosyashchikhsya k istorii Zolotoĭ Ordy I, St. Petersburg, 1884.

Hayton, La flor des estoires, in Recueil des historiens des Croisades. Documents arméniens II, Paris, 1906.

Abu’l-Qāsem ʿAbd-Allāh Kāšānī, Tārīḵ-eŪljāytū, ed. M. Hambly, Tehran, 1348 Š./1969.

Secondary sources: G. Hambly, ed., Central Asia, London, 1969, chap. 9.

W. Barthold, Turkestan3, chap. V.

Idem, Four Studies on the History of Central Asia, tr. V. and T. Minorsky, Leiden, 1956-62, I, pp. 110-58, and II, passim.

Idem, Zwölf Vorlesungen über die Geschichte der Türken Mittelasiens, tr. Th. Menzel, Berlin, 1935, repr. Hildesheim, 1962, pp. 180-247.

W. Barthold and J. A. Boyle, “Čagha­tay khanate,” in EI2.

J. A. Boyle, “Kaydu,” ibid. B. Spuler, “Čapar,” ibid.

Idem, “Čingizids,” secs. II and III, ibid. J. Aubin, “L’ethnogénèse des Qaraunas,” Turcica 1, 1969, pp. 82-94.

Idem, “Le khanat de Čaġatai et le Khorassan (1334-1380),” Turcica 8, 1976, pp. 16-60.

P. Jackson, “The Mongols and India, 1221-1351,” Ph.D. thesis, Cambridge University, 1977, Chap. 4.

(Peter Jackson)

Originally Published: December 15, 1991

Last Updated: October 13, 2011

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Vol. V, Fasc. 4, pp. 343-346