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Қазақ хандығы
Kazak Hanlığı
Kazakh Khanate


Alleged flag of the Kazakh Khanate

Capital Hazrat-e Turkestan
Language(s) Kazakh
Religion Sunni Islam
Government Monarchy
 - 1465—1480 Janybek Khan and Kerey Khan (first)
 - Established 1456
 - Disestablished 1731

Kazakh Khanate (Kazakh: Қазақ хандығы, Qazaq xandığı; Russian: Казахское ханство, Kazakhskoye khanstvo; Turkish: Kazak Hanlığı) was a Kazakh state that existed in 1456-1731, located roughly on the territory of present-day Republic of Kazakhstan.



The Kazakh Khanate was founded in 1456-1465 by Janybek Khan and Kerey Khan, on the banks of Jetysu ("seven rivers") in the southeastern part of present-day Republic of Kazakhstan. The founding of the Kazakh Khanate triggered the ethnogenesis of the Kazakh nation. The foundation of the independent Kazakh Khanate started when several tribes under governance of Janybek and Kerey sultans at those times separated from Abulkhair's Khanate and escaped the territory of the Abukhair's Khanate. They leaded their people towards Mogolistan and settled Kazakh Khanate that became a kind of security border between those two countries.


Janybek Khan and Kerey Khan (1465-1480)

Although both Janybek Khan and Kerey Khan were considered the founding rulers of the Kazakh Khanate, it was Kerey Khan who initially wielded the most power. But after Kerey Khan's death in 1470, Janybek Khan became the sole khan. The early years of the Kazakh Khanate were marked with struggles for the control of the steppe against the Uzbek leader Muhammad Shaybani. In 1470, the Kazakhs defeated Muhammad Shaybani at Hazrat-e Turkestan, and the Uzbeks retreated south to Samarkand and Bukhara.

Buryndyq Khan (1480-1511)

In 1480, Kerey Khan's son Buryndyq became the khan of the Kazakh Khanate. During his reign, the Kazakhs were able to raise an army of 50,000. Under Buryndyq Khan, the Kazakhs fought several more times with the forces of Muhammad Shaybani along the Syr Darya river.

Kasym Khan (1511-1518)

During the reign of Kasym Khan, the territories of the Kazakh Khanate expanded considerably. As Mirza Muhammad Haidar Dughlat later wrote in his Tarikh-i-Rashidi, "Kasym Khan now brought the Dasht-i-Kipchak under his absolute control, in a manner that no one, with the exception of Jochi, had ever done before. His army exceeded a thousand thousand". Kasym Khan instituted the first Kazakh code of laws in 1520, called "Қасым ханның қасқа жолы" (transliterated, "Qasım xannıñ qazqa jolı" — "Bright Road of Kasym Khan").

Mamash Khan (1518-1523)

Taiyr Khan (1523-1529)

Buidash Khan (1529-1533)

Togym Khan (1533-1538)

Khak-Nazar Khan (1537-1580)

Under Khak-Nazar Khan, the Kazakh Khanate faced competition from several directions: the Nogai Horde in the west, the Khanate of Sibir in the north, Moghulistan in the east and the Khanate of Bukhara in the south. Initially, Khak-Nazar Khan led the Kazakhs into two major battles against Khanate of Bukhara at Tashkent, then against the Chagatai leader Abd ar-Rashid Khan I. In 1568, the Kazakhs successfully defeated the Nogai Horde at Emba River and reached Astrakhan, but were repelled by Russian forces.

Shygai Khan (1580-1582)

Tauekel Khan (1586-1598)

Tauekel Khan expanded the control of the Kazakh Khanate over Tashkent, Fergana, Andijan and Samarkand. In 1598, Kazakh forces approached Bukhara and sieged it for 12 days, but afterwards the Bukharian leader Pir-Muhammad and reinforcements under the command of his brother Baki-Muhammad pushed back the Kazakhs. In that battle, Tauekel Khan was wounded, and died during the retreat back to Tashkent.

Esim Khan (1598-1628)

Esim Khan established peace with the Khanate of Bukhara and returned to them control of Samarkand. However, Bukhara was still bitter about the loss of Tashkent, and that led to additional conflicts. Starting with 1607, Khanate of Bukhara engaged in several battles and eventually obtained control of Tashkent.

Salqam-Jangir Khan (1629-1680)

During Salqam-Jangir Khan's reign, a new powerful rival for the Kazakhs appeared in the east — the Dzungar Khanate. In 1652, the Dzungar leader Erdeni Batur sent an army 50,000 strong against the Kazakhs, which Salqam-Jangir Khan's forces defeated after a fierce battle. However, in 1680, Salqam-Jangir Khan himself died in a battle with the Dzungars.

Tauke Khan (1680-1718)

Tauke Khan's time saw the continuing struggle of Kazakhs against the Dzungar Khanate. In 1680, Dzungars defeated Kazakhs at Sayram, and took control of several cities. In 1687, Dzungars sieged Hazrat-e Turkestan, but could not take it. In 1697, Tsewang Rabtan became the leader of the Dzungar Khanate, and several major wars followed between the Dzungars and the Kazakh Khanate (1709, 1711—1712, 1714, 1718). With Tauke Khan's death in 1718, the Kazakh Khanate splintered into three "jüzes" — the Great jüz, the Middle jüz and the Little jüz. Each jüz had its own khan from this time forward.

Tauke Khan is also known for refining the Kazakh code of laws, and reissuing it under the title "Жеті Жарғі" (transliterated, "Jeti Jarği" —"Seven Charters").

Ablai Khan (1771-1781)

Ablai Khan was a khan of the Middle jüz who managed to extend his control over the other two jüzes to include all of the Kazakhs. Before he became khan, Ablai participated in the wars against the Dzungars and proved himself a talented organizer and commander. During his actual reign, Ablai Khan did his best to keep Kazakhstan as independent as possible from the encroaching Russian Empire and the Chinese Qing Dynasty. He employed multi-vector foreign policy to protect the tribes from Chinese, Tatar and Zhongar aggressors.

Kenesary Khan (1841-1847)

Kenesary Khan was proclaimed khan of the Kazakhs when the Russian Empire was already fully in control of Kazakhstan, and in fact the Kazakhs were prohibited (by Russian law) from selecting their leader after 1822. Kenesary Khan's popular rise was in defiance of Russian control of Kazakhstan, and his time as khan was spent on continuous fighting with the Russian imperial forces until his death in 1847. Widely regarded as a freedom figher and popular as a leading voice against the increasively aggressive and forceful policies of the Russian Empire, Kenesary was ruthless in his actions and unpredictable as a military strategist. By 1846, however, his resistance movement has lost momentum as some of his rich associates had defected to the Russian Empire, having been promised great riches. Betrayed, Kenesary Khan grew increasingly suspicious of the remaining members of the Resistance, possibly further alienating them. In 1847, the Khan of the Kazakhs found his death in Kyrgyz lands while his assault on northern Kyrgyz tribes. He was executed by Ormon Khan, the sarybagysh tribe leader who was subsequently rewarded by the Russians with a larger estate and an official administrative role, but was still widely regarded as a traitor by most nomadic tribes. Kenesary Khan's head was cut off and sent to the Russians.

During the last decade, Kenesary Khan is increasingly regarded as a hero in Kazakh literature and press. This, however, is a relatively recent trend since more outspoken views were not possible until Kazakhstan was no longer part of USSR. Today, a monument to Kenesary Khan can be seen on the shore of the river Esil in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana.


Kazakh Khanate is described in historical texts such as the Tarikh-i-Rashidi (1541-1545) by Muhammad Haidar Dughlat, and Zhamigi-at-Tavarikh (1598-1599) by Kadyrgali Kosynuli Zhalayir.

See also


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