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Political history

The formation and development of the Kazakh state in the region of medieval Kazakhstan was essential for combination and consolidation, maintaining of the integrity of the Kazakh ethnic group on the long path of its development. Written sources contain accurate information about a large late medieval state, the Kazakh Khanate, which played a prominent role in Central Asia and in the system of the Eurasian countries. From the middle of the XV century and before the beginning of the XVI century, Kazakh Khanate was actually a single political body that was more or less stable. It survived the time of formation, growth and decline, and in the XVII century split into separate Khanates (within the territorial limits of jüzs). The area of the Khanate has repeatedly changed its shape under the influence of mainly foreign events, but almost always stayed within the settlement of the Kazakh ethnic group: from the Irtysh River and Karatal to the Syr Darya and the Ural (Yaik) and from the Altai and Tian Shan to Caspian Sea and the Aral Sea. Although, of course, in the Middle Ages ethnic and country’s territories of Kazakhs, as well as other peoples of the region were usually not the same.

The territory of the Kazakh Khanate in the XV-XVII centuries, according to the sources of that time, was at different stages of its development smaller than ethnic Kazakh territory, the territory of their settlement in settled areas, and within the boundaries of the main pasture and nomadic routes of Senior, Middle and Junior jüzs. Zayn al-Din Vasifi (XVI c.) in his "Baday Al-Wakay," as it was mentioned above, referred the term "Kazakhstan" to the land on the Chu and Talas in the South West Zhetysu, i.e., the area of ​​the placement of the Kazakhs that were under Zhanybek and Kerey Khans, the area of ​​occurrence of the Kazakh Khanate in its original boundaries. The author Mihman Nameyi Bukhara places the nomadic territories of Kazakhs far west thandoes Zayn al-Din Vasifi. He writes that the Kazakhs (during Burunduk and Kasim Khans reigns) migrated from the Itil (Volga) to the Syr Darya and located along it for the winter. Inhabitants of the vast steppe territory north of the Syr Darya and the Aral Sea, he also calls Mangits (Nogays) and Uzbeks Shaybanids. According to Russian source, the " Book of Big Drawings» (XVII c.), "nomadic territories of Kazakh Horde" located in the middle reaches of the Syr Darya and "600 miles" to the north of it, i.e., to Sarisu, in Ulutau, Kazakh Uplands.

Contradictory information of the sources on the lands of the Kazakh Khanate reflects the successes and failures of its rulers in the struggle to maintain power at different stages of the development of the State. The rulers of the khanate conducted an independent foreign policy; their lieges had peaceful contacts, economic and cultural relations with neighboring peoples and countries of Middle and Central Asia and with the Russian state. Often these relationships interrupted by brief forays and protracted wars. In the course of military actions and struggle for land borders, migrations of tribes and clans often changed, but in the end, national and ethnic territories of the peoples of the region formed. It is important to note that the Kazakh khans collected together area already prepared to be a state and to be united by long ethno-political and economic-cultural development.

The development of state of the local population in the XIV-XV centuries proceeded on the basis of the gradual recovery of the economy, cities and agriculture in southern Kazakhstan, in the conditions of particular development of feudal relations under the local ethnic basis, albeit under the auspices of Descent from Genghis Khan who held power in the vast territory of Kazakhstan for more than five centuries. But unlike the Mongol uluses that forcibly united many diverse ethnic and political organisms, tribes and nationalities, statehood that came had a certain ethnic basis, on the basis of evolving races. Formation of Ak-Orda (Kok Horde), Abulkhair Khanate, Mogulistan, the Nogay Horde was a significant step in the development of the mainly local population’s statehood in the long run - the Kazakh nation, but along with it other nations that were forming partly in the territory of these states. It contributed to a noticeable evolution of the economy in the region, strengthening of economic ties between the nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoral and settled agricultural population. This, in turn, facilitated the communication of close by language, material and spiritual culture ethnic groups. These states had much in common in matters of their life: ulus system of organization of the nomadic population, in the structures of the ruling (Khan) authorities, completion of armed forces, and tax system. Most of these forms and structures were taken from the Mongol times and remained at a later time in the Kazakh Khanate. Relatively stable existence within the political framework of these states created for separate ethnic collectives guarantee of the survival and development, the possibility, for example, of a long and stubborn opposition to external aggression - aggressive policy of Amir Timur, kalmak taishas, and ​​other pretenders of their territory.

Ak Orda (Kok-Orda), Abulkhair Khanate, Moghulistan and the Nogay Horde paved the way for the subsequent genesis of ethnically homogeneous feudal states in the region for a closer consolidation of ethnic communities - Kazakh, Nogay, Kyrgyz ethnic groups and, partly, Uzbek and Uighur.

However, the entry of individual parts of forming Kazakh nation to the number of states, as well as the constant warfare and strife of Juchids and feudal elite of clans and tribes, leading to the loss of productive forces, including manpower, to economic decline, dissociation of related ethnic groups, rupture of the political and economic ties, slowed the process of consolidating nation. With all its need, the task of overcoming the political disunity of ethnically related groups, the state association of Kazakh tribes and clans, in fact, already in formed in a nation stood out. The solution of this task contributed to the decision of actual formation of the Kazakh Khanate.

The emergence of the Kazakh Khanate was a natural result of the socio-economic and ethno-political processes in the vast territory of East Desht-i Qipchaq, Zhetysu, and Turkestan (southern Kazakhstan). Formation in the XIV-XV centuries of a single economic region on the basis of the natural integration of areas with a mixed economy, a nomadic pastoralist and sedentary agricultural, urban - trade-craft direction economy, prepared the way for the unification of all the land of the region to the political structure. Strengthening of economic, cultural, social and political relations of the nomadic and sedentary population contributed to ethnic unity of the Kazakh clans and tribes and to the actual completion of a long process of nationality’s formation. These circumstances were objective reasons and terms of the formation of the Kazakh state. The desire of formed large ethno-social community to create mono national state, to its socio-territorial and state organization, is typical not only for the late times, the time of formation of nations, but also to the Middle Ages, when the fromation of modern nations of Central Asia was mostly completed.

Overcoming of fragmentation, political disunity of parts of the Kazakh people in various states is associated with the names of Zhanybek and Kerey. Their dynastic interests, fight against other descent from Genghis Khan for power in the steppes coincide with the interests of different social groups of people, both from the nobility and ordinary laborers, pastoralists and farmers. They objectively reflected the desire of consolidate people to creat of an independent state.

According to the ancestry, placed in a number of sources (e.g., "Tavarih-i guzida-yi Nusrat-name"), Janibek and Kerey were close relatives. The sources that tell us about the actions of the first Kazakh co-rulers khans in the 50's and 70's of XV century, do not exactly explain of which of them was in charge, their names are written beside and not in order. Both of them had the right to rule, as a direct descendant of the Barak Khan (Janibek), and the other, as the eldest (Kerey). But since in the states of medieval Kazakhstan along with gradually establishing principle of the direct legacy of the Khan's power (from father to son), the old Turkic-Mongolian principle of pre-emptive rights to the khan's power of an elder in the genus maintained, the Kerey as Janibek could also lay claim to the title of Khan.

A specific course of formation of the Kazakh Khanate associated with political intra-state of two countries in Kazakhstan, Khanate of Abulkhair (State of Uzbek nomads) and Mogulistan, whose historical destinies in the second half of the XV century ended with the decline and collapse. In both countries, economic power of the nomadic elite increased, its centrifugal aspirations grew. The most influential leaders of clans and tribes of east Desht-i Qipchaq and Zhetysu sought political independence or looking for a patron in the person of any descent from Genghis Khan, who in the middle of the century continued to challenge the authority of the Abulkhair khan (in the State of nomadic Uzbeks) and Esen Boogie (in Mogulistane).

Actions of the first Kazakh khans aimed at creating and strengthening of unified state, were supported by the top of the Kazakh clans and tribes, as they reflected the interests of the ruling strata of the Kazakh society. Much of it has rallied around Kerey and Janibek in the 40-50's in the southern regions of Kazakhstan - in the foothills of the Karatau, in the lower reaches of the Syr Darya, and in the northern part of Turkestan. While Abulkhair Khan was busy fighting for the consolidation of his power in the steppe, the heirs of the Ak-Orda Khans provided a strong power in the south of Kazakhstan. Many disgruntled by Abulkhair leaders of clans and tribes flocked with their lieges to them.

In the hands of Janibek and Kerey were urban centers and fortress in the foothills of the Karatau and the Syr Darya, Suzak, Sygnak, Sauran and other smaller fortress. Nomadic clans and tribes who supported Janibek and Kerey have experienced significant difficulties because of the absence of the ability to make traditional seasonal migrations to the steppes of Kazakhstan, occupied by nomadic lieges of Abulkhair. The last ones, in turn, have been deprived of the opportunity to migrate to the usual wintering areas in Lower and Middle reaches of Syr Darya and conduct trade exchange.

Adversarial relationship between the tribes of Shaybany Ulus and Hord’s Ulus have worsened after the occupation of Suzak, Signak, Arkuka, Uzgenda, Ak-Kurgan by Abulkhair in 1446. Lieges of Janibek and Kerey concentrated in the lower reaches of the Syr Darya and the eastern foothills of the Karatau. From this political fragmentation suffered both Lieges of Shaybany and Kazakh rulers, because the traditional economic and cultural relations, ethno-political mutual communication were broken. The position of the Kazakh clans and tribes subordinated by Kerey and Zhanibek became even more cramped, after the defeat of Abulkhair by Kalmaks (Oirat) in the late 50's.

Back in the 20's of XV century, Kalmaks began to attack Zhetysu in search of grazing, mining, entering shopping malls. Abulkhair Khan suffered a severe defeat from them in 1457. Making peace with Abulkhair in heavy conditions, Kalmaks went through Chu to their land, and Abulkhair began with brutal measures restoring order in his uluses, including the south of Kazakhstan, where he cracked down does not recognizing his authority Juchids. Actions of Abulkhair and the inability of Mogolistan Khan to protect the population of Zhetysu from kalmak hordes, had led to even more frustration of the masses.

Almost unstoppable strife and war seriously reflected on the situation of the masses. Military actions were torn ordinary nomads from productive labor, carrying them distress and desolation, sickness, and death. Indignation of the masses poured into the characteristic nomadic form of resistance of the medieval society: departure, carting away from the authority of their governor. From the late 50s of the XV century, within a decade, there was a mass shifting of the Kazakh population of East Desht-i Qipchaq, oases of Turkestan and the foothills of Karatau to the western part of the Zhetysu, the territory of Mogolistan.  Janibek and Kerey headed clans and tribes who went beyond the Abulkhair Khanate. The news of this first appeared in the "Tarikh-i Rashidi" written by Muhammad Haydarduglat. Mahmud ben Wali stresses that Janibek and Kerey refused to obey Abulkhair Khan and explained their refusal by the tradition of succession of power in the steppes by descent from Genghis Khan that ensured their rights as descendants of the Ak-Orda Khans to power in East Desht-i Qipchaq.

The fact that the flight of disaffected population was not an isolated act, but lasted for many years, has been confirmed by the number of sources. It is especially intensified after the death of Abulkhair in 1468 and the collapse of his government: "While they [the Kazakh khans] prosper there, Uzbek ulus after the death of Abulkhair Khan came to the disorder,and big troubles began [there]. Most of [his lieges] migrated to Kerey Khan and Janibek Khan, so the number [of the people] [gathered] aside them had reached two hundred thousand". This action of the masses was the beginning of the subsequent unification of disparate groups of Kazakhs, including ones from Zhetysu in one state.

Kazakh Khanate was originally occupied the territory of the West Zhetusy, Chu and Talas valley. It combined both moved from the Central and Southern Kazakhstan Kazakhs and local tribes. The governor of Mogulistan, Esen-Bug did not have real power to stop migrated there Kazakhs. He entered into an alliance with the Kazakh leaders, hoping by their help to secure the borders of Mogulistan territory from the claims of Abulkhair, Timurids, and  invasions of Kalmaks. After the death of Esen Bug in 1462, anarchy came to Mogolistan. In these circumstances, the emergence and consolidation of the Kazakh Khanate in Zhetusy was quite natural. Mohammed Haydar Dulati considers the formation of the Kazakh Khanate in 870 year of the Hijra (1465 – 1466 years).

In the following decades of the XV – beginning of the XVI century, Kazakh Khanate economically strengthened and expanded geographically. Its territory included a significant part of the territory of the ethnic Kazakhs. The strengthening of the Kazakh Khanate was happening in the challenging environment of recent decades of the XV century, filled with wars, strife, large and small migrations of population within Kazakhstan and Central Asian region. Shaybanid Abulkhair Khan’s Khanate got away from the scene in East Desht-i Qipchaq; At the end of XV and early XVI centuries, a military and political power of the Timurid state became the thing of the past as it  finally lost its power over Mawarannahr against the leader of the nomadic Uzbeks grandson of Abulkhair, Muhammad Shaybani. Mogolistan, actually, split out into several fiefdoms. As a result of the final collapse of the Golden Horde in the areas located north and west of the Kazakh steppes, new states carved out - Siberian, Kazan, and Astrakhan Khanates.

Kazakh khans immediately intervened in the struggle for power in the stepp eafter the death of Abulkhair Khan. Their main opponents were the heirs of Abulkhair Khan - his son Shaykh - Haidar and grandchildren Muhammad Shaibani and Mahmud - sultan. Their allies were long-time supporters Ahmad Khan (a descendant of Tuk-Timur), Shaybanid Ibak Khan who in the 60's seized power in most of the Western Siberia, mangyt (Nogay) Mirzs. After the death of Shaykh - Haydar, Abulkhair’s grandchildren escaped to Turkestan, where they received help from the Timurid governor Mazid-tarkhan. The main events in the history of the Kazakh Khanate in the last third of the XV century played out in this region; they determined the fate of the young state, and also determined the possibility of political union of numerous tribal groups, that entered in the Kazakh nationality, and its ethnic territory in the same state.

Syr Darya and Karatau district were the closest to the possessions of the Kazakh khans in West Zhetysu. Janibek and Kerey Khan primarily sought to have a right to these lands as they owned them by inheritance, including the city of Suzak, Sygnak, etc. But the main reason of Khans-Juchids fight for power over East Desht-i Qipchaq waged not so much in the steppe, but in Turkestan, was the economic and strategic importance of the region.

Towns near Syr Darya were important centers of trade and economic ties to the population of the steppe areas; were also important for their fortresses that were excellent for their time and could withstand a long siege. Traditionally, they were the administrative and political centers of the previous state formations on the territory of Kazakhstan. Lands located in the lower and middle reaches of the Syr Darya were necessary for Kazakh nomadic tribes as a valuable winter grazing. However, use of these pastures could only be possible unless the key points of this territory, the fortress city of Turkestan and Karatau are owned by you.

Previously mentioned reasons that prompted Kazakh khans in the first years after the establishment of the Khanate to fight for the towns near Syr Darya and Turkestan as a whole, are also fully applied to their opponent, Muhammad Shaybani, when he was trying to restore Shaybanyd’s power in East Desht-i Qipchaq. In turn, the Timurids of Maverannahr defended once captured by them Ak Orda city’s that they turned into a fortresses against the nomads of the steppe regions. Mogul khan,Yunus, and his son Sultan Mahmud also intervened in the fight; they tried to get cities in the south of Kazakhstan under the decadence of Mogulistan and leaving of the Kazakh Zhetysu and Kyrgyz districts in front of the Tien Shan from their government.

Kazakh khans in the ensuing three decades of struggle had a doubtless real force, the large masses of nomads rallied around them, they had a strong rear in Zhetysu, and they were often supported by the local authorities and population of Turkestan. Steps, in attracting allies of the other contenders for power in the steppes, have also been successful in Turkestan. They managed to win over the Emir of the Nogay Horde, Mirza Musa, who has promised beforehand to make Muhammad Shaybani the "Khan of Desht-i Qipchaq".

There were several major battles - under Sauran, Suzak, near the Sogunluk pass in the mountains Karatau, and among other places in the 70-ies. Yasa (Turkestan), Sygnak was captured by Kazakh khans, then by Muhammad Shaybani; victories and defeats were fallen to both of the warring parties. In one of the battles, Sultan Mahmud son of the Janibek Khan died. He was the ruler of Suzak, while his brother, Irenchi held Sauran. One of the prominent leaders of Kazakh troops in this period was the Kerey Khan’s son, Burunduk who ruled until about 1473/74year). Some sources call him Khan in about the mid 70s, the other - from year 1480. During the reign of Burundul, Kasim, the son of  Janibek Khan became known. He was born somewhere in 1455. He was a successful military leader, Chief man of the cavalry, and participated in many battles.

In the 80th - 90th years struggle for cities of Syr Dariya and their oases continued with varying success. Kazakhs as Uzbeks-shaybanids repeatedly besieged Sygnak and Yasa, Arkuk and Sauran, and often the siege lasted for several months. One of the episodes of the struggle ended with the surrender of Sygnak in which Muhammad Shaybani left his troops. The residents of Sygnak justified their actions by saying that "before this vilayet belonged to Burunduk Khan". Another time, Sauran was given to Burunduk Khan by its inhabitants; Kazakhs has also been issued by brother of Muhammad Shaibani with all its surroundings located in the city. The siege of Otyrar in the late 90's ended in a truce between Muhammad Shaibani and Burunduk Khan.

The outcome of the fight by the end of the XV century was the inclusion in the Kazakh Khanate Suzak, Signak, Sauran cities. Mohammed Shaibani kept in his hands Otyrar, Yasi, Uzgend, Arkuk relying on which, as well as supported him Uzbek tribes of Desht-i Qipchaq, he was able to win over the Timurids of Maverannahr. Muhammad Shaybani did not have real strength to struggle for power in steppe, in fact, he was forced to limit the struggle only for the territory of the Syr Darya, as in the first years lost any opportunity to assert his authority in the former possessions of his grandfather, Abulkhair, in the steppes of Kazakhstan.

Joining of the oases near Syr Darya to the Kazakh Khanate was the key to the success in the unification of the country by the Kazakh khans. By the end of the XV century, the original boundaries of the state expanded. It includes in addition to West Zhetysu and the above-mentioned cities in South Kazakhstan region, Karatau with surrounding steppe areas, the lower reaches of the Syr Darya and Northern Aral Sea, a large part of central Kazakhstan. Many Juchids retired from Kazakhstan to seek fortune in Astrakhan, Siberia, and Kazan Khanates. Under the authority of the Kazakh khans passed more and more Kazakh clans and tribes, and the Nogays entered in close alliance with them. In fact, in the beginning of the XVI century, Kazakh khanate occupied the territory of its predecessor, Ak-Orda (Kok Horde) and part of Mogulistan. Muhammad Haidar, wrote that "during the whole time until the 940's (1533-34 years), Kazakhs completely reigned in most of Uzbekistan [i.e. Eastern Desht-i Qipchaq]".

Kazakh Khanate reached its greatest power in the first quarter of the XVI century, especially under the rule of Kasym Khan (1512 - 1521 years). In fact, he started to govern while Burunduk was still a Khan.

Since the beginning of his reign, power passed to the descendants of Janibek. Even in the period of confrontation of Burunduk and Kasim, Muhammad Shaybani made ​​several trips to the territory of the Kazakhs. Kazakh sultans also raided the southern part of the city of Turkestan and Maverannahr. Fazlallah ibn Ruzbikhan Isfahani who was the member of one of the campaigns of Muhammad Shaybani (1509), informed about the huge number and diversity of captured loot from plundered Ulus of Dzhanysh Sultan. More than ten thousand Kazakh yurts on carts with household goods, property, clothing and a variety of goods, riding horses, cows, camels, sheep, whose number is "impossible to count” was captured. This information provides insights not only about the economic power of the Kazakhs, but also about large losses that they incur in endless war. As a result, the three campaigns of Shaibani against the Kazakhs managed him to temporarily displace the Kazakh rulers outside the oases of Turkestan.

In the next 1510 year, Muhammad Shaibani again came to Sygnak, but suffered a crushing defeat of the troops of the sultan Kasym; the remains of Uzbeks escaped to Samarkand. At the end of that year, Muhammad Shaybani died in Khorasan under the Merv, in a battle with the Shah of Iran.

Kasym Khan did not fail to take advantage of these circumstances to consolidate his power in southern Kazakhstan. The fight of the descendants of Muhammad Shaybani with the Timurid Zahir al-Din Muhammad Babur diverted attention of Shaybanidovs from Turkestan. A number of its southern cities recognized the power of Babur. In Sairam and its neighborhood, Babur appointed Katta-Beck as the governor. But then, in 1512, Shaybanid Ubaydallah-Sultan defeated Babur; the governors of the last were expelled from their possessions. Besieged in Sairam Katta Bek managed to resist the Uzbeks; he stayed in the fort through the winter and in early spring of 1513 called Kasim Khan for help, who was wintering at Karatal and promised to hand over to him the fortress. Kasim accepted the offer; Katta-Bey persuaded Kasim Khan to oppose Shaybanid Suyundzh Hodja, who ruled at the time in Tashkent. Sacking neighborhood of the city, Kazakhs returned to Sairam.

Kasim maintained friendly relations with Mogulistan’s Khan, Sultan Said. Mogulistan’s Khan offered Kasim to organize a joint campaign to Tashkent at the end of the summer of the same year, but Kasim declined the offer, citing the need to "think about the wintering grounds, since [collection] and the construction of the troops are not feasible at this time."

Kasim Khan asserted his dominance over the vast steppes of Kazakh territory. Leaving of Said Sultan in 1514 to the East Turkestan, has led to the strengthening of the power of the Kazakh Khan in Zhetysu. Under his authority in the West migrated group from of clans and tribes of going through a crisis Nogay Horde. The boundaries of the Khanate extended to basin of Yaik. In the south, the ownership of Kasim Khan reached Syr Darya, including Sairam vilayet. In the north and north-east, Kasim’s ownership extended far beyond Ulutau and Balkhash Lake.

For the first time after the Mongol conquest of the territory of Kazakhstan almost all Kazakh clans and tribes, including Zhetusy have been merged into a single state. The number of lieges of Kasim Khan admitted by his contemporaries (Mirza Muhammad Haidar) was a million people. Under his rule western countries learned about Kazakh state. Embassy contacts of Kazakh Khanate with Moscow state began. Crimean Khan in correspondence with the Turkish authorities expressed concern over the expansion of Kazakh lands to the west.

In the 20-ies, after the death of Kasim, feuding of sultans Juchids weakened the Kazakh Khanate for a while. In the internecine fighting successor of Kasim Khan, Mamash has been killed. Another unfavorable factor was the alliance of Moghul and Uzbek khans against the rulers of the Kazakh Khanate. Towns near Syr Darya were lost, Turkestan vilayet was subordinate by Shaybanid Ubaydallah-Sultan. Kazakh Khan. Tahir (1523-1533) suffered a setback in the fight against the Nogay Horde; he unsuccessfully tried to recapture cities of Syr Darya. Strifes forced Tahir to flee in Zhetysu, where in alliance with the Kyrgyzs he reflected the attempts of Mogul Khan, Said Sultan to regain power in that area. Under the rule of Buydashe Khan, who was the brother of Tahir, Kazakhs were defeated by Mogul Khan, Abdur-Rashid in 1537.

According to other sources he was killed in battle with the Uzbeks under Sairam in 1559; another 20 Kazakh sultans were killed with him. Kadyrgali Dzhalairy noted that the Uzbeks in this battle had been led by Dervish Khan, son of the ruler of Turkestan and Tashkent, Shaybanid Barack (Nauruz Ahmed Khan). Almost until the end of the XVI century, towns near Syr Darya, Sygnakm Sauranm Otyrar, and Turkestan (Yasi city was called so from the XVI century) and others were part of the state of Shaybanids of Maverannahr. In that period of the history, Kazakh Khanate’s territory was limited from the south through the lower reaches of the Syr Darya and Karatau mountains.

The main areas of political activity of Kazakh khans in second third of the XVI century were south-east, where in alliance with the Kyrgyz they fought the Moghuls and Oirats, as well as the west and north, where the Kazakhs came into complex relationships with Nogays, Bashkirs, and Tatars. First steps in these areas of a prominent Kazakh Khan, Hak-Nazar 1538-1580) have been successful. Hak-Nazar Khan battled Oirats and Abdur-Rashid Khan of Mogulistan, and had stood, for a while, the Kazakh lands to the east and south of Zhetysu. To counter the hostile actions of Siberian Khan, Kuchum, Hak Nazar established allied relations with the Uzbek Khan Abdallah.

Hakk Nazar Khan tried to restore the land of the Kazakhs that formed the vast territory of the Kazakh Khanate under the rule of his father, Kasim. But in the face of severe foreign policy situation this task as a whole has become impossible. In his time, Russian state after the conquest of Kazan, Astrakhan, and then the Siberian Khanates approached to the borders of the Kazakh steppes. Nogays, Bashkirs, Siberian Tatars flooded to the Kazakh steppe, Karakalpaks appeared on the Syr Darya. In Zhetysu, meanwhile, oirats (Dzhungars) occupied the land, ousting the Kazakhs of the Great Juz. At some point, the Kazakh authorities controlled only areas on the south of the Ulutau on Sarisu in the Northern Aral Sea, in Karatau, in West Zhetysu, about the limits shown in the "Book of Big Drawings." The boundaries of the Khanate changed not only in terms of military and diplomatic abilities, won or defeat of the Khans, but mainly under the foreign circumstances. At the same time, some Kazakhs remained in their places of residence and fell under the authority of the neighboring states and rulers. Kazakhs living on the territory of Turkestan became lieges of the Uzbek Barak Khan ad his son, Baba Sultan. Very often under the authority of the other rulers of the steppe, passed pastoral people of nomadic spaces, for example, the Kazakh clans roamed the Siberian Khanate, went out to Baraba steppes, inhabited at that time by Chat Tatars. Nomadic territories in East Kazakhstan and Dzhungar inhibited by Kazakhs and Oirats mixed, depending on the military successes of leaders of those or other nations. And under the power of Hak Nazar Khan passed the part of the Nogays living from Emba River, to the Aral Sea and the Syr Darya; subsequently they vanished in the Junior Juz.

The process of incorporation of the western lands that were part of the Nogay Horde (the part of the collapsed Golden Horde) into the Kazakh state was a complex and lengthy. In the middle of the XVI century, in Emba, Altaulsk Horde freed from the Noga Horde, which was in decline and disarray; in fact, Altaulsk Horde was independent until the beginning of XVII century. Hak-Nazar Khan managed to take control of the land from the Syr Darya to the Aral Sea and along the left bank of Emba and Yaik, taking under his own power part of the Nogay uluses. Afterwards, he wanted to move further to the west. However, in the western, as well as the northern borders of the Kazakh Khanate obstacle to their expansion was the Russian state.

In the Southern Kazakhstan, Hak Nazar Khan tried to push the vicious circle of his possessions that did not have access to the trade, craft and farming centers. By supporting of Shaybanid Abdallah, in his struggle with the rebel Baba Sultan, he received a promise from Abdallah Khan to own several cities in the Turkistan governorate. Baba Sultan also sought for help from the Kazakh khan and also promised to give as a suyurgal "vilayets of Yasi and Sauran," but instead killed Kazakh sultans who came to negotiate, including two sons of Haqq Nazar. Haqq Nazar soon died too.

Shigay (1580-1582), a descendant of the Zhanybek Khan became the next Khan. He and his sons also supported the Uzbek Khan against Baba Sultan, in particular participated in the famous march of Abdallah in 1582 through Turkestan, where the last one was besieging the fortresses of  Sairam, Sauran, and Turkestan. On the way back, Baba Sultan was killed by Kazakh sultan Tawakkul (Tevekkel), the son of Shigay. Cities of Syr Darya were surrendered by Abdullah Khan, where he put his governors. Kazakh rulers as a reward for their help got the lands in Central Asia. Other ways of holding in Syr Darya region were needed, and that meant Khanate had to become stronger.

In 1586, Tavakkul captured a number of cities in Turkestan and was trying to take Tashkent. In the period from 1586 to 1594, he had to assert his right to be a khan in the long struggle with other Kazakh sultans, sons of Hak Nazar. Establishing relations with Moscow, in which he saw the possibility of a military alliance to deal with the Uzbek Khan, Tavakkul Khan in 1598 undertook a new campaign to Central Asia. In one of the battles he defeated the army of Abdullah and returned to Turkestan. In the same year, using peaceful environment in the north-western borders of the state and civil strife of Shaybanids in Central Asia, the replacement of this dynasty by the new dynasty of Ashtarkhanids, he successfully completes a long struggle for the cities of Syr Darya. By taking a new expedition to Central Asia, Tavakkul Khan took Ahsi, Andijan, Tashkent cities, but in one of the battles was seriously wounded and died in the same year in Tashkent.

According to the agreement of the new Kazakh Khan, Esim (1598-1628), the son of Shigay Khan,  with the representative of Ashtarkhanids Turkestan with its cities was included to the Kazakh Khanate, as well as Tashkent with its vilayet, and for a while Fergana . But sovereignty of Ashtarkhanids was spread in Tashkent (mention of the name of the Khan of the dynasty in the khutba and in the coins minted in Tashkent, sending him part of the taxes collected in the governorate, and etc.). Kazakh rulers violated these terms, which caused a long struggle in the beginning of the XVII century between Kazakh and Uzbek khans.

And this is who ended the long struggle of Kazakh Khans for settled agricultural areas in southern Kazakhstan and towns in the middle Syr Darya. Since then, this region forever entered the territory of the Kazakh state and, also, Tashkent but only for two hundred years.

Decades of war near Syr Darya cities led to the ruin of the local population, urban decay, destruction of irrigation systems, and reduce of farming. Military actions, foray of opponents violated trade and adversely affected the economic situation in the pastoral areas of the steppe. With the entry of southern Kazakhstan as a developed economic and cultural region in the single state an opportunity to overcome these negative phenomena finally appeared.

In the XVII century, internal political life in Kazakhstan was not stable. Kazakh Khanate increasingly disintegrated into pieces, feudal strife became stronger. Different groups of nomadic elite competed with each other. In the south, two Khans proclaimed themselves as Khans. Esim, successor of Tawakkul Khan made his capital city in Turkestan. In Tashkent, Turzun Muhammad Khan, son of Sultan Zhalim (pedigree is unknown) declared himself as an independent khan. Gradually, in each of the three juzs independent Khans appeared. The external position of the Kazakh Khanate, on all its borders, particularly in the south and east become complicated. Bukhara Imamkuli Khan tried to take Tashkent away, and supported the separatism of individual sultans. In 1612, in response to the attacks of Kazakh troops in the vicinity of Bukhara, Imamkuli Khan marched on the Kazakh land, passed Turkestan "to the extremes of Ashpar and Karatau", sacking several towns and villages. In Tashkent, he put his son as the governor, who was soon overthrown and killed. In response, Imamkuli arranged a massacre in the city. In his claim to Tashkent, he used enmity of two Kazakh khans. In 1627, Tursun-Muhammad was killed by Esim Khan. Esim died a year later. Bukharan troops reoccupied Tashkent. However, the heir of Esim Khan, his son Jangir was able to convince the ruler of Bukhara in need of a military alliance to reflect the common danger from the east - the invasion of Oirats.

With the formation in 1635 of Dzhungar Khanate increased risk of seizure of Kazakh lands in Irtysh and Zhetysu by Oirats. Pressed by the Qing Empire, in search of pasture and access to trade and craft center of the south Kazakhstan and Central Asia, they do not weaken the pressure on the Kazakh land. Already in the 20's. XVII, large masses of Oirats roamed Omi, Tobol, Ishim, and Irtysh. Oirats located on the wintering grounds in Ili and Talas. Kazakhs were pushed back to the south and west, where clashed with living on their lands Uzbeks, Karakalpaks, Nogays, and Bashkirs. In 1644, Jangir Khan, who spoke with Samarkand army led by Zhalantos-batyr, defeated one of Dzungarian units. In the 80-ies of XVII century, Dzhungar army under the command of huntayshi Galdan invaded Zhetysu and Southern Kazakhstan. Several Kazakh uluses were defeated, captured nine cities, including, mentioned by sources Sairam, Mankent, Karasman, Shymkent, Tashkent and others. Residents of Sairam adequately resisted; left by Galdan governor was killed which caused the re-invasion of the Oirat army in South Kazakhstan . Sairam was taken and destroyed, part of its inhabitants were taken away to Dzungaria and East Turkestan.

Strengthening of the Kazakh Khanate during the reign of Tauke Khan (1680-1718), an alliance with the Kyrgyz and Kazakhs Karakalpaks weakened for a while the onslaught of Dzhungars on Kazakh lands. During their attack in 1680 on the South Kazakhstan , only Turkestan was not sacked by Dzhungars as there were  troops of Tauke Khan. Dzungarian riots were one of the major reasons of the gradual extinction of life in the cities in the south of Kazakhstan. Dzhungarian raids cut the important trade routes, causing great damage to civilian economy.

The difficult economic and political situation in Kazakhstan was caused by incessant strife, unstable relations with the rulers of Central Asia. Fragmentation condition and weakening of the Kazakh Khanate affected the integrity of not only on the state’s territory under the rule of Khans but also on ethnicity territory. Contentions of lieges, competing for power in the pasture lands, and khans, sultans, tribal factions of the aristocracy for the power over the cities slowed the pace of socio-cultural development, prevented the creation of conditions for the consolidation of statehood on the territory of Kazakhstan, effective protection of indigenous people's land. Tauke Khan managed to somehow normalize the political situation in the tottering Khanate. He undertook a number of measures to raise the prestige of the Khan's power, to overcome the separatism of the nobility, and the consolidation of the people. Under his rule, it was drawn up a set of rules of customary law "Jeti Zhargy", which established the basic principles of law and government. Tauke Khan looked for unions and peaceful relations with neighboring states.

But the relative calm did not last long. Dzhungars raids on Kazakh lands took place in 1710/11, 1713, 1718 years. In 1724/25 years, Dzhungars defeated the city of Turkestan and Tashkent, and in 1723 - the year of the "Great Disaster" swept away part of the Kazakh people outside their ethnic territory. Many people fled to Central Asia, which could not aggravate relations with the local population; while others migrated to west, to Emba, Yaik, Or and Yui, squeezing out Nogays, Bashkirs, Kalmyks of the Volga, and their own relatives, the Kazakhs of Junior juz from its neighborhoods. Each of these people tried to defend their land, unwittingly taking the pressure of the migrants, who, in turn, were affected by a stronger opponent. Kazakh tribes and clans of the Middle Juz were under the increasing pressure, economic and political, of Russian authorities, settled in southern Siberia, in the Irtysh area, on the grounds of the Altai. The massive lost of livestock and pasture has led to a significant worsening of the economic crisis in the Senior and Middle Juzs. The reduction of land and lieges weakened the position of the Khans, intensified enmity and discord. In a difficult economic and political environment, arose the question of applying for Russian citizenship. Further stages of the political, economic and ethno-cultural history of the Kazakhs are associated with the time of Russian colonization of Kazakh lands.


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