AKNAZAR (Khaknazar, Khakk-Nazar — in Russian sources) (around 1510/20 — 80) (reigned in 1538-1580) — statesman, military leader, khan. Son of Kasym Khan. Aknazar’s sons were Din-Mukhammad, Mungytai, Bozgyl. For some time Din-Mukhammad ruled Tashkent and Khiva .
Strengthening of the Kazakh Khanate which began in the 1540s was connected with the name of Aknazar.
In the end of the 1550s Aknazar was proclaimed the Khan in compliance with ancient custom. White felt melt was carried in his yurt (traditional type of dwellings) and spread it on the ground; mullah read khotba (prayer). Four noble people hold four edges of the felt melt and lifted the new Khan up.
During 20-years rule of Aknazar the Kazakh Khanate became powerful and redoubtable state which expanded its borders thanks to military campaigns and diplomatic relations with neighboring states.
Aknazar struck the Oirats (1554). After defeating Sultan Abd al-Latif, the son of Moghulistan’s Khan Abd ar-Rashid in 1555 he dominated most clans of the Senior Zhuz.
Some Kyrgyz recognized Aknazar as the Khan. The Kazakh-Kyrgyz alliance activated the struggle of the Kazakh Khanate against the rulers of Moghulistan. When the Khan of Moghulistan Abd-ur-Rashid tried to dislodge Kazakh people from the country Aknazar protected them. In one of the battles in 1560 Aknazar totally defeated Moghulistan’s forces.
In a short time Aknazar inflicted a series of defeats on the rulers of Mawarannahr.
Aknazar’s troops threatened Tashkent and imposed fees on all passing caravans. In 1535 Russian envoy Danila Gubin gave a report to his capital: “My Lord, it is said that the Kazakhs are very strong and they struggled against Tashkent which princes told that in two battles the Kazakhs defeated them”.
In spring of 1577 Aknazar was at the downstream of the Volga making attacks on the Nogais. After the fall of the Astrakhan Khanate in 1557 Nogai ruler Yusuf gathered his sons and their uluses to go behind the Ural River under the protection of the Kazakhs. In turn they obtained powerful reinforcement. Aknazar united the Nogai Horde and the Kazakh Khanate. The Kazakh Khanate again occupied prominent position among Central Asian countries.
Aknazar’s military campaign against Siberian Khan Kuchum (Koshim) compelled the latter to seek allies among Russian rulers and Central Asian Khans.
The Bashkirs also accepted the authority of Aknazar. Based on the data obtained from the Bashkirs, Rynkov wrote the following: “After becoming a Khan Aknazar extended his power and controlled the Nogais, Bashkiria, Kazan, Siberian and Astrakhan states, Bukharia, Khiva, Tashkent and many other cities and imposed fees on them...”. In the time of Aknazar the borders of the Kazakh Khanate extended from the Volga to the Ural (Zhaiyk).
Beginning from the 1550s Aknazar struggled for the lands near Tashkent. In 1555-1558 Kazakh army attacked Tashkent. During the rule of Aknazar the cities of Turkestan, Syganak, Sauran, Sairam and Taraz joined the Kazakh Khanate.
In the 1570s after the formation of alliance with Abdullah-Khan he fought against Baba-Sultan, ruler of Tashkent. Aknazar aspired to seize Tashkent using the conflict between Bukharian Khan Abdullah and emir of Taskent province Baba-Sultan but died during the campaign. Another version is that in April 1580 Baba-Sultan met representatives of Aknazar sent to conduct negotiations on the Sherabkhane River. Aknazar’s sons and other Kazakh sultans were among them. As a result of negotiations they decided to go to Aknazar together. On the way people of Baba-Sultan drew swords and hacked to death all the Kazakhs. In addition Baba-Sultan sent his soldiers to Aknazar. Kazakh Khan was caught unawares and killed by the sword of his ally.
After 1580 there were no any words about Aknazar.
There is a scientific version (hypothesis) that, probably, at the time of Aknazar the Kazakhs started calling themselves by the name “Alash”. People used the aphorism “Alash alash bolganda, Alasha Khan bolganda”, which means “The Alashs — Kazakhs were the first nation and Alasha Khan was the first ruler”. In his work “Materials on the History of Kyrgyz-Kazakh Nation” M. Tynyshpayev introduced a hypothesis that the names of Aknazar and Alash were ceremonial and asserted that Aknazar was the person who became gatherer of Kazakh lands. It is possible that the mausoleum of Alasha-Khan in the Karaganda region was constructed in his honor.
Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible recognized Aknazar as a great ruler and often sent his ambassadors to him. In 1537 Ivan the Terrible sent his first ambassador to Aknazar. However, the envoy didn’t reach Kazakhstan as he was captured by the troops of Kuchum.
In 1574 Ivan IV permitted merchants Stroganovs to trade with the Kazakhs without taxes. Establishment of trade ties was followed by political contacts between Moscow and Kazakhstan.
1. Kazakhstan. Natsionalnaya entsiklopediya. Ed. B.G. Ayagan. Almaty: Chief Editorial Board of the “Kazakh Encyclopedia”, 2004. p. 147
2. Akmola: Entsiklopediya. Almaty: Atamura, 1995. p. 286
3. Illyustrirovannaya istoriya Kazakhstana: S drevneyshikh vremen do nashikh dney: in 4 Volumes. Almaty, 2004. V.2: Kazakhstan s epokhi Zolotoy Ordyi do serediny devyatnadtsatogo stoletiya. 2004. pp. 68-70
4. Istoriya Kazakhskoy SSR s drevneyshikh vremen do nashikh dney. 3rd Edition. Almaty, 2011. pp. 153-157
 Literature: Khafiz-I Tanysh Buri. Sharaf-nama-yi-shahi. Moscow, 1983; Abuseitova M.Kh. Kazakhskoe khanstvo vo vtoroy polovine XVI veka. Almaty, 1985; Mirza Mukhammed Khaidar Tarikhi Rashidi. Tashkent, 1996.