The peripheral regions of the Golden Horde broke off as follows: 1438: Kazan Khanate, 1441: Crimean Khanate, 1466: Astrakhan Khanate. The remnant, which became known as the Great Horde, was left with the steppe between the Dnieper and Yaik, the capital Sarai and a claim to represent the tradition of the Golden Horde. By the 1470s the Nogais north of the Caspian were hostile to the Great Horde and, in the west, and Poland-Lithuania was expanding along the Dnieper.
In 1480 Muscovy and Crimea formed an alliance against the Great Horde which in turn allied with Lithuania. In 1480 the Great Horde's attempt to invade Muscovy failed. In 1481, its ruler Akhmat Khan was killed by the Nogais. He was succeeded by his son Shaikh 'Ali. After this, the Horde was weakened by conflicts among Akhmat's sons.
In the spring of 1491 the Crimean Khan suggested that Moscow send troops to finish off the Great Horde since he had ‘seized all the Horde’s horses’. Moscow sent some Tatar and Russian cavalry and the Ottomans sent 2,000 Janissaries. By November part of the Horde had seceded and the remainder had been routed by the Nogais. By 1500 it was reported near the Kuban and in very bad shape after having been beaten by the Kabardinians. In 1501 Sheikh Ahmad Khan and 20,000 of his people moved north of the Don. Many of his people deserted.
In 1502 the Crimean Khan seized most of the Horde’s people and herds and moved them to the Crimea (sometime before July 3 and somewhere near the Sula River). Sheikh Ahmad fled. He was next reported near Kazan with 4,000 horsemen negotiating with Muscovy. He then went to Astrakhan from which he was expelled by the Nogais (1504). He then moved to Kiev to deal with the Polish king and then to Akkerman to deal with the Ottomans. He was last reported as a Lithuanian prisoner at Vilna.
Khodarkovsky, Michael, Russia's Steppe Frontier, 2002