In 2019, it was the 750th anniversary of the establishing of the great state – the Golden Horde. In Talass Kurultai, in 1269, the descendants of Genghis Khan (Genghis Khan), the rulers of the three uluses divided the spheres of influence, and also swore that their nomadic subjects would not ruin cities and settled settlements, as it was before. Since that day, the Ulus of Jochi (Zhoshy), named after the eldest son of Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire, has acquired the status of an independent state.
The Ulus of Jochi in the part of the Mongol Empire (1206-1269)
The first ruler of the Ulus of Jochi was the eldest son of Genghis Khan. The Mongol Empire led by Genghis Khan was established in 1206. At the same Kurultai, Genghis Khan alloted a separate ulus of 9 thousand families to his son Jochi. The next year, Jochi went on a campaign against the Kyrgyz and other forest tribes of Siberia, which were part of his ulus. The Ulus of Jochi was small until the Mongol Empire began expanding to the West.
In 1225, after the army of Genghis Khan conquered the territory of Kazakhstan and Central Asia, the ulus was re-alloted and the Ulus of Jochi received new borders, and Jochi himself was appointed as the ruler of the Kipchaks. The new borders covered the entire territory of Kazakhstan, as well as part of the territory of modern Turkmenistan and, to a lesser extent, Uzbekistan (the territory of Khorezm and the Aral sea region). In the East, the borders of the Ulus of Jochi started from the city of Kayalyk (near modern Taldykorgan), and in the West, the border was the city of Saksin (near modern Astrakhan).
In 1227, Jochi died and was succeeded by two co-rulers (his sons) Batu and Orda Ejen. Batu became the ruler of the Western part, and the Orda Ejen of the Eastern part.
In 1235, the great Western campaign began. The main goal of this campaign was to implement the "Covenant of Genghis Khan" on the conquest of the Western part of the Eurasian steppe and the vassalage of Eastern European States. The military campaign of the Chingisids is to conquer Eastern Europe ended in early 1242 due to the death of the great Khan Ogedei. The most likely successor was Guyuk, who had a very bad relationship with Batu.
Batu subdued vast territories in Eastern Europe, and turned many local peoples into tributaries. For convenience and fearing a military clash with Guyuk, Batu decided to place the center of his ulus on the banks of the Volga, where the construction of a new city, called Sarai, began. Batu made a reform of the administrative and territorial structure of the Ulus of Jochi. After the Western campaign, Batu made a number of changes in the administrative and territorial structure of the Ulus of Jochi, related to territorial acquisitions as a result of conquests during the Western campaign.
At this time, the civil war of Guyuk and Batu was planned in the Mongol Empire. But it ended with Guyuk's death, making Batu the most powerful political player in the Empire. He put his cousin and friend Mengu on the throne.
Despite his formal subordination to the High Mongol khans, Batu (who did not bear the title of Khan), but because of his authority, was actually a completely independent ruler of his ulus, while strongly influencing over neighboring ulus. After the death of Batu in 1255 and his son Sartak, the Ulus of Jochi actually became completely dependent on the center of the Mongol Empire. A young Ulagchi child, convenient for the Central government, was appointed to the throne of the Ulus of Jochi.
The simultaneous death in 1259 of Mengu Khan and Ulagchi, the ruler of the Ulus of Jochi, led the Ulus of Jochi to the first serious political crisis, as a result of which Berke came to power, who ruled the Ulus of Jochi, but did not accept the Khan's title (about 1261-1266).
In 1262, a civil war began in the Mongol Empire. Hulagu, Berke's cousin attacked the Golden Horde. In Rus, a rebellion was rising against the power of Berke. Berke mobilized even teenagers into the army and at the cost of incredible efforts defeated the army of Hulagu. Realizing his "geopolitical loneliness", Berke established diplomatic relations with Egypt in 1263. After the defeat of Arig bugi in 1264, Berke began printing coins with the name of the Caliph of Baghdad, thereby showing his independence from Kubilai.
Thus, the Ulus of Jochi actually gained independence from the Mongol Empire in 1263-1264 thanks to the efforts of Berke, who prepared the ground for the formal collapse of the Mongol Empire at the Talas Kurultai in 1269.
In 1266, Berke died and his great-nephew Mengu-Timur became Khan, who assumed the title of Khan and began printing coins with his name, and also encouraged the Ulus of Jochi to declare legal independence from the Mongol Empire in 1269.
The first Khan of Ulus of Jochi was Mengu-Timur, Batu's grandson. The Turkic subjects called him Kelek Khan. He was already considered Berke's rightful heir during his lifetime. Mengu-Timur, having ascended to the throne, took the title of Khan (before him, the rulers of the Ulus of Jochi did not bear this title), began to issue yarlyks and independently mint coins in his own name, which was a sign of the ruler of an independent state. Since the beginning of his reign, a new title of the ruler of the Golden Horde stamped on juchid coins – "Khan the highest" and Tamga of the house (clan) of Batu (the name of Tamga bosaga), which confirmed his independence.
After the Talas Kurultai of 1269, the Ulus of Jochi was officially recognized as an independent state by the former "fraternal" uluses. With independence in 1269, the Ulus of Jochi began an economic recovery. Mengu-Timur himself immediately after enthronement marched against the rebels. Under Mengu-Timur, power was consolidated throughout the territory of the Ulus of Jochi. Because of this, the economy of the Golden Horde received a great boost for development. International trade grew strongly, new cities began to appear and old ones were restored, Genoese trading posts appeared in the Crimea.
In the 1269 agreement on the Talas Kurultai, the rulers of the three uluses swore that their nomadic subjects would not ravage cities and settled settlements as they had previously done. Since 1268, diplomatic relations between the Ulus of Jochi and Egypt were strengthened. In the 1280s Mengu-Timur even recognized the legitimacy of the demands of the Mamluk sultans of Egypt on the Ilkhans ' possessions.
In 1275, Mengu-Timur conducted a census of the population of the Ulus of Jochi (in order to clarify the quantitative indicators of taxes from vassal and subordinate territories), including in the Russian principalities.
During the reign of Mengu-Timur, the ruler of the right wing Nogai, who was the great-grandson of Jochi, became stronger. His genealogy is as follows: Nogai, son of Tartar, son of Buval, son of Jochi. In the winter of 1277, Mengu-Timur called on Russian troops to conquer the Alans and Circassians who lived in the Caucasus mountains. The reign of Mengu-Timur can be called the time of the emergence of the Ulus of Jochi (Golden Horde) as an independent state. Mengu-Timur died in 1282 from an abscess in his throat.
After the death of Mengu-Timur, there was a weakening of the central power and his younger brother named Tuda-Mengu was proclaimed Khan. His accession to the throne was possible due to the Nogai and Jijek-Hatun, who was a widow as Berke and Mengu-Timur. Tuda-Mengu was a Muslim, considered himself a Sufi. The sultans of Egypt rejoiced at this fact, and in March 1284 the Sultan of Egypt sent ambassadors to Tuda-Mengu with large gifts and congratulations on his accession to the throne. During the reign of Tuda-Mengu, the slow Islamization of the Golden Horde elite continued.
According to some reports, Tuda-Mengu voluntarily abdicated. A new generation of Juchids became the head of the Ulus of Jochi. At the same time, Tula-Buka and his brother Konchek (sons of Tarbu, Tuda-Mengu's brother), as well as Mengu-Timur's children, Algu and Togrul, became khans.
In 1291, they were overthrown by a coalition of Nogai and Tokhta (Mengu-Timur's son). After his accession to the throne, Tokhta continued the policy of his predecessors and confirmed the privileges of the Orthodox Church, freeing it from taxes and fees. Tokhta himself adhered to Buddhism, as did his maternal grandparents and uncles. Nogai was a Muslim by religion. Initially, this did not create problems. But later Nogai and Tokhta quarreled and a civil war broke out.
In 1299 he began his attack on the possession of Nogai. The decisive battle took place in the area of Kukanlyk, on the left bank of the Dnieper, where the ancient yurt of Nogai was located. The battle lasted all day and ended with the defeat of Nogai. The elderly Nogai was abandoned to his fate and died at the hands of a common soldier. After that, Tokhta returned victoriously to the capital.
In the last years of his reign, Tokhta was able to consolidate the elite under his leadership. In the Ulus of Jochi, centralization increased, there appeared political stability and order. According to the chroniclers: "in the days of his reign, those countries reached extreme prosperity and his entire ulus became rich and satisfied." In the last years of Tokhta's reign, his loyal colleague and brother Burlyuk died, and a year before Tokhta's death, Ilbasar, his son and heir, died.
After Tokhta, Uzbek, the son of his brother, became Khan. Togrul the Uzbek's father was killed by Tokhta himself in 1291, and Uzbek himself escaped death, since his stepmother Bayalun (Togrul's wife) saved him by sending to the Circassian Julat ulus (Western Caucasus). Having matured, Uzbek after the death of Tokhta began to fight for the Khan's throne.
In 1312, Tokhta, leaving Prince Uzbek at the head of the army bordering on the Hulaguids, returned to Sarai. He died in the Kurnu area. In Kurultai, the second son of Tokhta Tuk-Buka with the Emir Maji (Bajir) of the Uigurs challenged the rights of Isan-Buka and became the top contender for electing as Khan. At this time, Uzbek was traveling to Kurultai to participate in it. Kutluk-Timur, his cousin, who was already present at the Kurultai, gave the Uzbek information about the planned murder of Uzbek. Arriving at Kurultai, Uzbek and Isatai kiyat killed Tuk-Buga and Maji (Bajir) Uigur. The official narrative of events that Tuk-Buka and his Emir Maji planned to kill Uzbek. Whether there was actually a plot against Uzbek, historians probably did not find out, because various sources got the official version about the reasons for the murder of Tok-Buga and Maji Uigur. After this bloodshed, Bayalun, the wife of Tokhta, was able to get Uzbek Khan elected in Kurultai with the help of bribes. Only after accession to the throne, Uzbek converted to Islam and after a while began to fight against non-Muslims, and also began to carry out his own administrative reform, which deprived all Juchids, the descendants of 16 sons of Jochi (except for the Batu and Horde lines, as well as Shibanids), of their inheritance.
The administrative reform of Uzbek Khan can be called the act that marked the beginning of the classical period in the Golden Horde. The neutralization of the "nomadic bandits" (the seizure of ulus from the Juchids) led to the growth of the economy of the Golden Horde and the establishment of an order throughout its territory. During the reign of Tokhta, most of the ulus were integrated into the Batu ulus, by appointing close relatives of Tokhta to the posts of ulus heads. But the political system itself did not change, new institutions were not created. Thus, the power of Tokhta was structurally similar to the power of Batu: Batu and Tokhta ruled not on the basis of political institutions that depended on the central government institutionally, but on the basis of personal charisma, when he could influence all owners of the uluses with the power of authority and the troops of close relatives.
In 1323, Uzbek Khan sent his troops to help the Bulgarian Tsar. Around this time, he married the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor Bayalun-Khatun (she bore the same name as the stepmother of Uzbek Khan). In 1330, the troops of Uzbek Khan, in alliance with the troops of the Romanian ruler Besarab (he was a distant relative of Uzbek Khan and a descendant of Shiban, son of Jochi) and the troops of the Byzantine Emperor attacked the troops of Stephen III, king of Serbia, but were defeated. In 1324 and 1337, Uzbek Khan's troops attacked the Lithuanian Principality. The struggle with the Lithuanian principality became the primary task of the Uzbek Khan, because of the Lithuanians the Horde lost control over Volynia and Kiev, under Uzbek Khan over Smolensk.
In 1332, Uzbek Khan moved the capital from Old Sarai to New Sarai (Sarai al-Jedid).
After the death of Uzbek Khan, his eldest son Tynybek briefly ruled, who was killed by his half-brother Janibek. Apart from Tynybek, he executed another brother Herbek, who also pretended to the throne.
Under Janibek, the trend laid down by Uzbek Khan, aimed at strengthening the intellectual potential, continued. Many educated people came to the Golden Horde, at that time there was a brain drain from the Muslim world to the Ulus of Jochi. Janibek Khan (1342-1357), son of Uzbek Khan, continued the policy of his father, strengthened the central power of Khan. Janibek is known in Kazakh folklore as Az-Janibek (wise Janibek), during his reign the economy and culture flourished in the Golden Horde. Az-Janibek appears in many fairy tales, legends, epics and songs as a wise ruler of the Golden era of Kazakh nation-building. Russian Chronicles also describe Janibek as a "good Tsar", because unlike his father, there was no invasion of the territory of Russian principalities under him. In 1357, Berdibek, the son of Janibek, became Khan, but he died in 1359.
The era from the beginning of the reign of Uzbek Khan to the death of his grandson Berdibek is considered the Golden Age of the Golden Horde, when the economy grew, there was political stability, and the classical Golden Horde culture flourished.
In 1359, Berdibek Khan died and a dynastic crisis began. Berdibek Khan cancelled most of his relatives, descendants of Batu. And after his death, the line of Batu stopped. As a result, various representatives of the side branches of the Juchids began to claim power. At the same time, the importance of the tribal aristocracy has greatly increased. Such tribes as Kiyat, Kungrat, and Kipchak became the main participants in the first civil war in the Ulus of Jochi. After the death of Berdibek Khan, his grandmother Taidulla Khatun of the Kipchak family began to put various Juchids on the throne in order to rule in their name. One of their henchmen killed Nangula from Kungirat family. Children of Nagada ruled in Khorezm. After hearing about his father's death, they supported the ambitions of Khizir Khan and were together against Taidully and Mogul-buki (her relative). A little earlier, representatives of the Kiyat family left the capital of the Ulus Jochi. Mamai kiyat migrated to the West, and his uncle Jir-Kutlu lived in the area of modern southern Kazakhstan. After Kungirats defeated the Kipchaks, the Kiyats joined the struggle for the Khan's throne. Mamai kiyat raised to the throne his henchman Abdullah, from the descendants of Tuk-Timur, the son of Jochi. At this time, in southern Kazakhstan, a juchid named Urus (the great-grandfather of the founders of the Kazakh khanate Janibek and Kerei) killed Jir-Kutla and soon became Khan. Jir-Kutlu's son, Tengiz-Buka, tried to put his henchmen on the throne, but was overthrown by a group of Juchids. At the same time, Mengu-Timur was declared Khan in Western Siberia. After his death, his children and grandchildren began fighting for the Khan's throne.
As a result, after the beginning of the civil war, the following alignment of forces developed. In the West of the Ulus of Jochi, the Kiyat party of Mamai and his henchmen from the Tuka-Timurid family dominated. In the center of the Ulus of Jochi, the power was seized by the Shibanid of Khyzyr Khan dynasty with the support of the Khorezm Kungirats. In the northeast, the Siberian Shibanids (descendants of Mengu-Timur) seized the power. In southern Kazakhstan, Kara-Nogay and his relatives from the branch of the Timurids seized the power. And in the South-East itself, Tuka-Timurid Urus seized the power.
The alignment of forces was always changing and all the khans of the Ulus of Jochi were called as marching emirs by their contemporaries, meaning the nature of their reign.
As a result, during the 20 years of turmoil, at least 20 khans sat on the throne of the Ulus of Jochi. "Game of thrones" in the Golden Horde led to a severe socio-economic crisis. There was a temporary decline in trade and urban life, compounded by a worldwide plague epidemic.
As a result, at the end of the first civil war, Tokhtamysh began to come to power. He was the son of the ruler of Mangyshlak. Urus-khan executed his father Tui-Khoja. Tokhtamysh fled to Tamerlane and, having received support from there, was able to defeat all the khans of the Ulus of Jochi in a short time and become the only Khan of the Ulus of Jochi.
In 1380, Mamai kiyat was defeated in the battle of Kulikovo field. This led to the fall of his authority and in the same year Tokhtamysh was able to capture the possessions of Mamai kiyat relatively bloodlessly. In the battle of Kalka in 1380, some of Mamai's troops defected to the side of Tokhtamysh, who was the legitimate ruler (he was a descendant of Genghis Khan, unlike Mamai, who came from the kiyat family).
In 1382, Tokhtamysh made a campaign against Moscow, in order to ensure that the Russian princes resumed paying tribute to the Golden Horde.
On August 24, 1382, Tokhtamysh approached the city. On August 26, Moscow surrendered. In 1385 Tokhtamysh launched an invasion of the Caucasus, where he acted against his former ally of Tamerlane for the first time. Later, Tokhtamysh's troops made a series of raids on Tamerlane's possessions.
In 1391, Tamerlane made a great campaign against Tokhtamysh. He marched through the territory of Kazakhstan, installed his epitaph in Ulytau, and then led his troops through the steppes of Kazakhstan. The nomads knew about the invasion, and Tamerlane's army did not meet the nomadic population along the way.
Two armies collided at the Kondurcha river, the army of Tokhtamysh and the army of Tamerlane. The battle was stubborn and ended in a "Pyrrhic victory» for Tamerlane, who after the victory did not develop his success, but retreated back to his possessions. Yedige from the Ak Mangyt family, a former nobleman of Tokhtamysh, was present in his troops. He promised Tamerlane that he would gather people and bring them to Tamerlane. Having received the firman from the hands of Tamerlane, Yedige began to gather the civilian population around him. But instead of taking him to Tamerlane, as promised, Yedige did something else: with the help of new subjects, he raised to the throne his nephew Timur-Kutluk, who belonged to the descendants of Tuk-Timur, Jochi's son.
Learnt by bitter experience, Tamerlane decided to make his new campaign to the Golden Horde not through the lifeless spaces of Kazakhstan, but through the Caucasus. In 1395, he met with Tokhtamysh's army on the Terek river. Tamerlane completely defeated Tokhtamysh and began looting the Golden Horde. Most of the cities suffered from the invasion of Tamerlane. After passing of Tamerlane, Tokhtamysh had to fight with Yedige and his henchman. Weakened Tokhtamysh entered into an alliance with the Lithuanian state, in exchange for support, gave them possession of all Russian lands, and after that the allies opposed Yedige. In the battle of the Vorksla river in 1399, Yedige and Timur-Kutluk defeated the troops of Tokhtamysh and Vytautas (ruler of Lithuania). After that, Yedige finally strengthened his position.
From 1399 to 1419, Yedige was the main political actor in the Golden Horde "game of thrones". He was exalted and deposed as Khan, entered into alliances and made attacks on neighboring countries. In 1406, Tokhtamysh Khan died in Siberia. Until 1411, Yedige's power was undisputed, but from 1411 to 1419, he fought new political players. In 1419, Yedige was killed in a battle with the last son of Tokhtamysh. After his death, the Ulus of Jochi finally broke up into various possessions, which later became different khanates.
After the deaths of Yedige and Kadyrberdy (the youngest son of Tokhtamysh) in the battle of 1419, a new round of civil war appeared in the Ulus of Jochi. Tokhtamysh's supporters elevated Ulugh Muhammad, a distant relative of Tokhtamysh, to the throne. And the supporters of Yedige elevated Haji Muhammad to the throne, from the descendants of Shiban, Jochi's son. Other parts of the Ulus of Jochi have their own khans. Prince Barak (grandson of Urus Khan) fled to the Timurids and with their support became the Khan of the Ulus of Jochi, defeating Haji Muhammad and Ulugh Muhammad.
After that, Yedige's children, led by Mansur, who was also Barak's female nephew, submitted to him. In the end, Barak killed Mansur and Yedige's children started a war against him. In 1428, Sultan Mahmud, Kazi, and Nauruz (Yedige's children), led by Kuchuk Muhammad (from the descendants of Tuka-Timur, Jochi's son), defeated the troops of Barak and his cousin Pulad on the border with Moghulistan. Barak and Pulad were killed. Their children Janibek and Kerey were caught in the territory of Moghulistan, where they later grew up and founded the Kazakh khanate a few decades later.
After the victory, Yedige's children quarreled among themselves. First Sultan Mahmud was killed, and after a while Kazi was killed. As a result of all these vicissitudes, Abulkhair Khan came to power in 1430 on the territory of the Eastern part of the Ulus of Jochi. He had been ruling for almost 40 years until 1468.
Abulkhair Khan during the years of his governing greatly expanded his possessions and strengthened his power. If in the 1430s he was mainly based on the territory of Western Siberia, then over time he began to expand his territory. In the 1440s, the cities of southern Kazakhstan were added to his possessions.
At the beginning of his career, Abulkhair Khan was supported by Vakkas, Yedige's grandson, and with his help, he was able to consolidate his power, but later in the second half of the 1440s, Abulkhair Khan quarreled with Vakkas and deprived him of power. It came to military clashes between Abulkhair Khan and the henchman of Vakkas.
In the 1450s and 1460s, Abulkhair Khan temporarily occupied the territories of Khorezm, Western Kazakhstan, and the Lower Volga region.
At the same time, in the West of the Ulus of Jochi, Syed Ahmed, Ulugh Muhammad and Kuchuk Muhammad ruled, who periodically fought against each other.
Syed-Ahmed was the son of Bek-Sufi, and was also a distant relative of Tokhtamysh. His possessions occupied the steppes of modern Ukraine and southern Russia. In the 1440s and 1450s, Syed Ahmed's Horde was defeated and he lost power.
Ulugh Muhammed was periodically controlled the Crimea and the territories near it. Later, after a series of defeats, he was forced to retreat North, closer to the territory of the North-Eastern Russian principalities and the territory of the Bulgars. Later, his children began to rule in these lands.
After defeating of Barak, Kuchuk Muhammad returned to his native Yurt in the Lower Volga region. Here, having received the support of Nauruz, he strengthened his power and expanded it in the Northern and Western directions.
The possessions of these khans later outlined the borders of the new khanates that emerged on the territory of the Ulus of Jochi.
In the 1440s and 1480s, stable territorial formations with clear dynastic branches of rulers actually began to appear. All the post-Horde khanates emerged during this period, some of which retained their independence until the 18th and even 19th centuries.
In 1445, Ulugh Muhammad and his son Makhmutek captured Kazan and effectively established the Kazan khanate. Soon Makhmutek overthrew his father and became Khan of Kazan khanate. The Kazan khanate had been existing until 1552.
Another son of Ulugh Muhammad named Qasim, with the support of the Muscovite Prince, founded the Qasim khanate in 1452, which was a vassal state within the Moscow Principality. The Qasim khanate had been existing until 1681.
In 1441, in the Crimea, the nobles of the Shirin, Baryn, Argyn and Kipchak families elevated Haji Giray, a distant relative of Tokhtamysh, to the throne. He became the founder of the Crimean khanate, which had been existing until 1783.
In the center of the former Ulus of Jochi, the Astrakhan khanate sprang up, where the descendants of Kuchuk Muhammad ruled. In 1556, it squeezed of its existence.
After the death of Abulkhair Khan, three States were established on the fragments of his Empire: the Nogai Horde, the Siberian khanate and the Kazakh khanate.
The Nogai Horde has its own political tradition. Formally, the khans in the Nogai Horde were descendants of Jochi, but the actual rulers of the Nogai Horde were descendants of Yedige. The Nogai Horde in the middle of the 16th century experienced a certain political crisis, splitting into several parts. The largest part of it, the Greater Nogai Horde, had been existing until 1634, when the population of this state was forced to flee from the Kalmyks to the West to their relatives, the lesser Nogai. In 1598, the Karakalpaks were separated from the great Nogai Horde, who are also one of the peoples who inherited the Ulus of Jochi.
The Siberian khanate emerged in 1468 after the death of Abulkhair Khan. Until 1495, it was ruled by descendants of Shiban, Jochi's son. Further, the power had been intercepted by a local dynasty Taibugids. But 70 years later, the Shibanids were able to regain the power. In 1598, Kuchum, the last Siberian Khan, was killed, but his children fought against the Moscow authorities for many decades.
The Kazakh khanate, which emerged in the 1460s, existed for a very long time. The last all-Kazakh Khan was Kenesary Khan, who had been ruling until 1847. But even after that, for two more decades, there were regional small khans from among the Kazakh Juchids.
It is also worth noting that the natives of the khanate of Abulkhair Khan, later conquered possessions in Central Asia and founded Bukhara and Khiva. And later the Kokand khanate, which had been existing until the second half of the 19th century. In general, the Ulus of Jochi had a huge impact on the entire ethnopolitical history of the Central Eurasia region.
Thank you for the preparation of material PhD, Vice-President of JSC NCSSTE Zhaksylyk Sabitov of Muratovic.