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Economy of Kipchaks

28 October 2014
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09 January 2015

The wealth of Kipchaks was measured not only by the territory, but also by herds. A horse was the most valuable animal in the conditions of nomadic life. Mobility and endurance of this animal served in the war and in hunting. Mare’s milk was used in production of curative drink — kumyz. The horse meat was preferable rather than beef and mutton among nomads as it was very healthy.

Kipchak racers were very demanded not only locally, but also in other states. So, the horses taken out from Desht-i Kipchak cost at least «hundred dinars of silver» for an ordinary horse, and from 500 and above for a good racer [1]. Depending on belonging to one of numerous breeding groups, horses differentiated by the original color. Sometimes named of these or those horses were determined by color of a horse (for example, the tribe of "bulanoloshadnik" (kulabaogly) was a part of Western Kipchak union).

As an example, the fact of donation in 1223 of Mongolian commander Dzhuchi to his father Genghis Khan of 20 thousand white Kipchak horses, from Desht-i Kipchak [2].

Nomads of that time bred not only horses, but also sheep, cows, bulls and camels. As the result of sheep breeding not only the reserves of meat and fat had been increased, but also winter clothes from wool and sheepskin both for soldiers and for population were sewed.

Moreover, poor people, who had no cattle, used to grew up grain and bean crops, mostly millet. The researcher of 12th century Petakhya, after his visit in Desht-i Kipchak wrote: "bread is not popular in this land, only rice and millet" [3].

One of sources of existence of Kipchak was fishing, also hunting with use of falcons, hawks, golden eagles and hounds of dogs. Along with individual hunting the type of hunting for large animal where it was expelled from its place was practiced. It was organized as a special training of military skills.

Furs of sables, foxes, martens and ermines (which according to Mahmoud Kashgaria called "idzhuk" at Turkic peoples, and on the Arab sources, "course") were the most valuable goods which were exported to other countries.

Despite continuous wars, trade ways between countries of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, the Volga Bulgaria, Byzantium, Central Asia and China had special value for Kipchak khans. In Old Russian chronicles the episode when merchants easily moved to the heat of military operations on Kipchak stays was recorded. Other sources also witness about big scales of international trade and stable transit through Desht-i Kypshak in the 11th-12th centuries.

Kipchaks used to wander during the summer on coast of Volga, the Urals, Tobol and Irtysh. During winter they used to stay on coast of Syr-Darya, the Aral and Caspian seas. These stable routes helped in creation of most various internal communications among Desht-i Kochak nomads, by promoting unity of language, traditions, political ideology, spiritual outlook and economic relations. Scientists worldwide recognize Kazakhs as linear descendants of Kipchaks.


Literature:

1. Ibn Battuta. Tuhfan-nuzzar fi garaib Al-amsar// Volume 1, page 287.
2. V. Bartold, Turkestan during an era of the Mongolian invasion, Composition 1, p. 522.
3. P. Margolin, Three Jewish travelers of 11th- 12th centuries, 1881, p. 4.

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