If a nation does not know its history, if the country loses its history, then its citizens have nowhere to go.
Mirzhakyp Dulatuly

Sultan Sultanbet

Sultan Sultanbet - e-history.kz
Pavlodar Irtysh Land is rich in a "constellation" of personalities: Shon bi, Musa Shormanov, Mashkhur-Zhusip Kopeyuly, Kanysh Satpayev, Grigory Potanin, Sultanmakhmut Toraigyrov, Temirgali Nurekenev

Each region is famous for its outstanding representatives, who played a significant role in its political, socio-economic and spiritual life. Pavlodar Irtysh Land is rich in such personalities - a whole constellation: Shon bi, Musa Shormanov, Mashkhur-Zhusip Kopeyuly, Kanysh Satpayev, Grigory Potanin, Sultanmakhmut Toraigyrov, Temirgali Nurekenev, Yermukhan Bekmakhanov...

The name of one of the outstanding people of the XVIII century - chingisid, influential Sultan Sultanbet, the famous ruler of the middle Irtysh region and a candidate for the Kazakh throne. He was age mate, ally and cousin of Khan Abylay. He participated in many battles with external enemies. He was one of the main contenders for the khan's throne after the death of the great Khan Abylay. And most importantly: he has the greatest merit in the return of the right bank of the Irtysh.

The country of the Great Steppe has always been full of outstanding personalities. One of the prominent statesmen of the Kazakh Khanate in the XVIII century was Sultanbet, who ruled numerous families in the Middle Irtysh region. The glorious name of this sultan is found in numerous Russian and Chinese documents of a diplomatic nature, as well as in the studies of officials and officers who served on the Irtysh line of military fortifications. So, did not ignore him and the famous explorer of the region as applied to the second half of the XVIII century, who was known to be his close friend, Captain I.G. Andreyev in his famous book "Description of the Middle Horde of Kirghiz-Kaisaks". In line of duty chiefs of the Siberian line I.I. Kraft, K.L. Frauendorf, I.I. Weimar, I.I. Springer, I.A. Decolong, A.D. Skalon, N.G. Ogarev and others were also familiar with Sultanbet and conducted active diplomatic correspondence with him.

The Irtysh Land ruler was the largest statesman of that difficult epoch, defending the front lines of the Kazakh Khanate from the colonial expansion of a number of states, as well as the militant nomads - the Dzungars and the Volga Kalmyks.

Sultanbet (full name Sultanmukhammed, known in Russian archival sources as Saltamamet, Sultan Mamet, Sultanmamet - auth.) - the ruler of Middle Irtysh, a descendant of Kazakh khans and sultans, was born in 1710 in the south of Kazakhstan. His relatives lived in Turkestan, the capital of the Kazakh Khanate. He was a son of Sultan Zhangir, a grandson of Sultan Abylay and great-grandson of Khan Zhangir.

Thanks to the patronage of Khan Abulmamet, who was the son-in-law of Sultanbet, he was elected sultan of the Kipchak ulus in the Irtysh Land, since the functions of political, administrative and socio-economic regulation at the level of supreme power in the Kazakh society were performed by the closest relatives of the khan. Abulmamet defined them rulers in various tribal units, which helped to overcome the possible regional separatism of nomadic communities in the conditions of vast steppe open spaces. By the way: during the reign of Khan Abulmamet, the political elite of the Chingisids were his close relatives: Sultan Abylay (Abilmansur) and his son Sultan Uali, Sultan Sultanbet and his son Sultan Urus, Sultan Barak and his son Sultan Dair, the son of Abulmamet Sultan Abulfeis and many others.

Sultanbet was known as a skilled diplomat, who took an active part in numerous negotiation processes with the Russian Empire, China and the Dzungar Khanate. So, as of August 27, 1742, he comes to the Orsk fortress to the head of the Orenburg commission I. Neplyuev for assistance in the liberation of Sultan Abylay (cousin of Sultanbet – auth.) from the Dzungar captivity, and on August 28 in Orsk "accepts" Russian citizenship. In the report of I. Neplyuev to the Collegium of Foreign Affairs as of September 27, 1742, he stressed: "When I was at Orsk fortress, from both its Imperial Majesty, the subjects of Kirghiz-Kaisak hordes came to me… Middle horde Saltanbet-saltan (have own ulus)". As we see, already at this time he was an authoritative ruler of the Kazakhs of the north-eastern part of the Kazakh Khanate.

As a skilful diplomat Sultanbet from the most excellent side proved himself in the Sino-Kazakh territorial disputes over the protection of primordially Kazakh lands in the Ili river basin, which were free after the destruction of the Dzungar Khanate by the Chinese empire. The latter side as a "main winner" did not want to return these territories to its former owners. To save part of the all-Kazakh territory Sultanbet, despite his high rank for those times, voluntarily becomes an amanat (hostage – auth.) of the Chinese Empire! This is evidenced by excerpts from the book of the famous orientalist K.Sh. Hafizova's "Chinese diplomacy in Central Asia (XIV-XIX centuries)": "In 1763, Ablay sent the father of his elder wife, the Kazakh from the clan of Naiman - Kinz-batyr with his relatives as amanats to China, Khan of the Middle Zhuz Abulmamet sent his father-in-law Sultan Sultanmamet, which allowed him to take up nomadic places in the Ili Valley."

Returning to the Irtysh Land and re-heading his ulus, Sultanbet devoted himself entirely to defending the interests of the Kazakh Khanate. Here, he met not only a calm old age, but also actively sought the return of the Kazakhs to the traditional right-bank of the Irtysh Land. Thus, as of March 6, 1755, the decree of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna from the Foreign Affairs Collegium was issued to Brigadier Kraft, "to prevent the Kirghiz-Kaisaks from migrating to the right side of the Irtysh, and the need to continue to demand instructions from him to this effect from the Orenburg Governor Neplyuev," where the vain attempts of Sultanbet to move to the right bank of the Irtysh were seen.

His requests sometimes turned to direct threats, when he remained "unheard" by serfs and regional authorities: "But even after that, cattle drive on the local side of the Irtysh, and with this, the Kirghiz-Kaisaks, are not diminished. And it is impossible to drive them out, because there are a lot of them all over the Irtysh line. And besides, many of the Kirghiz-Kaisaks with the cattle go to the local side (on the right bank of the Irtysh). And Abylay Sultan's brother Sultan Mamet threatened: if their herds continue to be driven, then they will not let anyone go out of the fortress, the hay will be burned, and they will not give water from the Irtysh."

Here is another of the many similar letters of Sultans Abylay and Sultanbet to the commander of the Siberian corps as of 1760, in which they also expressed a desire to get to the right bank of the Irtysh, even on a temporary basis: "At the same time, we ask humbly a permission to let us spend the winter on the Russian side of the river Irtysh. And we will have a lot of neighborhood and friendship between us. The commanders in the fortresses and at the far posts on the Irtysh line do not allow us to pass the winter at your side, and we are angry with them."

In the years that followed, there were many attempts at transitions. The Kazakhs began to use other ways of penetrating the "residential side": for example, by building private houses on the right bank of the Irtysh or on the left bank in the "ten-verst strip" zone. It was in this way that they attempted to cling to the land of their ancestors, gradually retreating in favor of the Russian Empire. For example, in the report of Major-General A. Skalon to the State Collegium of Foreign Affairs as of April 16, 1776, there are such lines: "Moreover, he (Abylay Khan) and Saltamamet sultan asked me about the transfer to another place because of lack of wood and winterfeed, and for a serene old age in the winters-houses. As a result of this, it is determined to construct Yamyshev station on the most linear track from the Koryakov outpost, where he annually has his nomadic pasture in the winters."

Thus, at the request of Sultanbet in 1776, a wooden house was built on the right bank of the Irtysh River 8 versts from the Koryakov outpost. Such "requests" of the Kazakh rulers in secret diplomatic language meant their vain attempts to defend and "re-settle" on the original lands of the Irtysh River basin especially after the Dzungarian state was defeated by the Chinese. By the way, later, even during Sultanbet's lifetime, largely thanks to his efforts, as well as the "harassment" of his numerous offspring, the steppe people managed to achieve "eternal migration" on the right bank of the Irtysh: Russian rulers issued decrees on the transfer of Kazakhs to the "inner side" in 1788-1798 for the so-called "eternal nomadic".

And in 1808 this was once again confirmed for other left-bank communities for temporary roaming already in the winter, but "with the capture of amanats and the obligation not to approach settlements and mining plants, moreover - without weapons." Later, more accurately in 1854, out of the relocated right-bank Kazakhs, governed by the grandsons and great-grandsons of Sultanbet, an extensive Semipalatinsk inner district was built, stretching from Omsk to Ust-Kamenogorsk fortress. In 1868, this district was disbanded and became part of the Pavlodar, Semipalatinsk and Ust-Kamenogorsk counties of the Semipalatinsk region.

Russian researcher Bardanes, a member of the scientific expedition led by I.G. Falk, visited Sultanbet's estate in 1771 and left the warmest memories of him, describing his life in detail: "On July 26, I went to the rate of Sultan, or Prince Mamet, foreman of small ulus of the Middle Kirghiz Horde and was awarded a supportive reception. His rate, or village (aul) consisted of 8 felt yurts, or nomad tents, of which three for his family were white felt and cleaner, while others were simple for his servants and herdsmen ... against the entrance behind the cauldron there was a Persian carpet with a pillow, on which cross-legged sat the sultan with his wife ... Sultan was 60 years old, was lean with a small black beard; he wore a silk dress and a gold-embroidered cap. He had a sharp look ... he asked about the health of the monarch."

Sultan was known as a warrior, and as the leader of the militia of this region, taking the most active part in many military campaigns significant for the state. So, Sultanbet's participation in the defeat of the Volga Kalmyks, who walked from the lower reaches of the Volga towards Dzungaria in 1771 ("Dusty Campaign"), is evidenced by records from the journal of Lieutenant ataman Voloshanin, published in the Ural Military Gazette: “Sultans Abulfeis, Saltamamet and other batyrs and sultans of the Middle Horde, having seen that the Torgouts (Volga Kalmyks - auth.) in most cases not possessing horses go to Ayaguz, pursued them. They inflicted heavy damage on the Kalmyks: 5 thousand were taken prisoner, 5 thousand were killed by weapons and 5 thousand died of hunger and thirst, so all the way around Balkhash was strewn with corpses of people and cattle”. By the way, our hero was already over 60 years old, but he was still on the saddle!

With the influential regional ruler even the Khan Abylay was considered, as the commandant of the Peter and Paul Fortress, Major-General Stanislavsky, told in his report addressed to I.A. Decolong as of November 16, 1772: "Abylay Sultan (Russian Empire did not recognize him as the Kazakh khan - author) recently left his ulus to the river Irtysh to Saltamamet-sultan for advice." We think that it was not just a meeting of close relatives. Issues of war and peace, the passing of death sentences and ensuring the territorial integrity of the state were discussed here.

Often, Sultanbet came to the Koryakov fortress in different cases: often on the settlement of conflict situations because of the cattle drive and capturing people. Thus, in March 1775, he arrived at the fortress to liberate two of his subjects, while giving his personal bail and commitment on behalf of his sons: "Sultamamet-Sultan remains with his children, two Kyrgyz men who are kept under the guards, to release by agreement." For the rulers of that era, every subject was on the account, under serious care and attention.

In the memory of the descendants, he remained as a man who was actively beginning haying, which in the steppe was not before, for that he urgently asked the commander of the Siberian Corps A.D. Skalon as of July 24, 1776 to send him skilful haymakers: "It is time for haymaking, so I ask you to send ten people who together with my working people will produce the supply of hay from the Koryakov outpost".

Sultanbet was also a supporter of teaching their children a Muslim literacy, for that as of January 15, 1778 he asked the local authorities for mullahs among the literate Bashkirs: "I asked your Excellency for sending me a mullah, Bashkirs’ elder Abley’s nephew."

After the death of Khan Abylay in 1781, on the quriltai of the Kazakh nobility Sultan Sultanbet amongst four candidates was offered the khan's throne over all three zhuzes, but he refused to accept the khan's dignity, referring to his advanced age. According to our information at this time he was already over 70 years. This fact once again testifies not only to the influence and authority of this steppe ruler, but also about his high decency, adherence to the steppe democracy.

The famous sultan died at the end of the 18th century, when he was over 80. There are two versions about where Sultanbet is buried: or his remains are in Turkestan in the mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, or his grave is in the territory of Pavlodar region. So far, the search for the burial site of Sultanbet in the Irtysh Land remains unsuccessful.

A special trace in the history of the region was left by his numerous descendants. According to numerous archival, written and folklore sources, Sultanbet had 17 sons, many of whom continued the glorious work of their father. As you know, Sultanbet ruled the subordinate Kazakhs through his batyrs and numerous sons. Behind each of his sons was a strictly defined Kazakh volost. The eldest son of Sultanbet - Urus took part in the ceremony of erecting the throne of Catherine II in St. Petersburg, where he received a gold medal from the hand of the newly empress. In 1759-1764 he was the head of the diplomatic mission of the Kazakh Khanate in Beijing, actively engaged in the settlement of Kazakh-Chinese border problems. And together with his father, khans Abylay and Nuraly, in 1771 he distinguished himself as a brave batyr in battles with Volga Kalmyks near Lake Balkhash, on the banks of the Moyynty River.

Of the other sons of Sultanbet, Sultan Shanshar (1758-1819) was no less famous. In 1802, the Russian government granted him land between the villages of Yamyshev and Podstepny. The struggle for upholding traditional pastures on the right bank of the Irtysh continued until the beginning of the nineteenth century by his descendants: they were held on the right side of the river and in such an interesting form: "the mosque and the house were built between the outposts of Semiyar and Krivoy by the command of the authorities of the Siberian line on the Irtysh River."

The leader of the Alash Orda government Alikhan Bukeikhan, who saw it personally in March 1908, on the road from Semipalatinsk to Pavlodar wrote about the mosque built at the request of Sultan Shanshar: "On the road from Semipalatinsk to Kerek I saw on the high bank of the Irtysh an ancient mosque built in honor of this famous sultan and named after him. Shanshar Sultan who died in 1819 ordered before his death to bury him on the western bank of the Irtysh. This mazar, although it has been destroyed by time, nevertheless has its appeal. The place of his burial is still popularly called Shanshar-tamy.

As the well-known Soviet historian N.G. Apollova, the grandson of Sultanbet Sultan Taten at the beginning of the XIX century, being in the tract Klyuchi, was the first to engage in arable farming. Great-grandson of Sultanbet Bopy Tatenov took part in the inauguration ceremony of Alexander I in St. Petersburg. Great-grandson of Sultanbet Hankozha Tatenuly in the middle of the XIX century was the head of the Kazakhs on the right bank of the Irtysh River, he was elected the senior sultan of the Bayan-Aul outer and senior sultan of the Kokpekty districts. Sultanbet's great-grandson Aryngazy Hankozhauly is known as a propagandist of the decorative and applied art of the Kazakh people: in 1867, his ornate yurts were shown at the exhibition at Moscow University.

After the introduction of administrative reforms in the Russian Empire in 1867-1868, virtually all Chingisids were removed from power. Further, the Soviet government engaged in the persecution of Chingisids, as a result of which some died of hunger or were exiled outside the region. The descendants of Sultanbet heroically fought on the battlefields during World War II, many of whom did not return from the battlefields. At present, the descendants of Sultanbet, who have returned from the war, are no longer alive. For example, the descendant of the sultan Mazhit Burahanuly grew up an orphan. He was brought up in an orphanage in Ekibastuz. He graduated from the Military Communications Academy. In the rank of colonel he came to Berlin. He died in Russia and was buried in 1974 in Moscow at the graveyard in Babushkino. Another descendant of Sultanbet Boranbai Katmaganbetuly before the war worked as chairman of the kolkhoz in Kachir district of the Pavlodar region. From the war he returned in 1946. In 1957, for his achievements in labor, he was awarded the Order of Lenin. Seytakhmet Magauiyauly at the front was a political instructor. For courage and heroism he was awarded a nominal revolver. He was seriously wounded, returned to his father's house with an amputated leg.

As an outstanding statesman of the Kazakh Khanate, Sultanbet will always remain of history. He is a participant in historical events that occurred in the XVIII century, therefore his name can be found in modern textbooks and teaching aids on the history of Kazakhstan. At present, the study of the life of the glorious Sultan is an actual topic for many researchers. We touched on only a few "pages" from the life and activity of Sultanbet and I think that his name will become known to a wider audience. The streets of many cities of Kazakhstan should be named after him.

In honor of the glorious Sultan on the eve of the "EXPO-2017" it is possible to restore his house, the drawings of which were found in the Omsk Regional Archives by the enthusiastic local historian V. Sirik. T. Smagulov, head of the Center for Archeological and Ethnological Research at the Pavlodar State Pedagogical Institute, is also researching Sultanbet. He is going to do archaeological excavations in the area where the Sultanbet house was located. There must necessarily be a book telling about his life and activities. Maybe the day will come when we will restore the Shanshar mosque? We are convinced that there will be multivolume textbooks of archival materials about the Sultan. Knowing the history of the life of the statesman of the Kazakh Khanate Sultan Sultanbet, we learn more about the history of our native state, and it is necessary for everyone to know it, because without history there are no people and history can be proud.



Translated by Raushan MAKHMETZHANOVA