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Türgesh Khaganate

Türgesh Kagans 
o 699-706
Üch Elig
Historical era7th-8th centuries
o Established
o Disestablished

The Türgesh, Turgish or Türgish (Old Turkic? - Türügesh,[4] /, Pinyin: t?qísh?, Wade-Giles: t'u-ch'i-shih) were a Turkic tribal confederation of Dulu Turks believed to have descended from the Turuhe tribe situated along the banks of the Tuul River. They emerged as an independent power after the demise of the Western Turkic Khaganate and established a khaganate in 699. The Turgesh Khaganate lasted until 766 when the Karluks defeated them. According to Baskakov The Türgesh survive as an ethnonym in the name of Tirgesh tribe among Altaians.[5]


Among the Dulu Turks were the Chebishi (), who were related to the Qibi tribe. The Qibi were dispersed shortly after the defeat of chief Gelang. In the east they were put under the rule of a tudun () named Ashina Hubo (), who became known as the Chebi Khagan. According to the epigraphy of Qibi Song (), a Tiele mercenary in the service of the Tang dynasty (730), the origins of the Qibi can be traced to the Khangai Mountains prior to their presence in the Bogda Mountains during the 6th century. They were related to the Jiepi () of Gaoche, who were situated east of the Fufuluo.[6]


Foundation of the Turgesh Khaganate

Prior to independence, the Turgesh were ruled by a tutuk subordinate to Western Turkic Khaganate, a commander of the Talas district and the town of Balu, the name of which symbolizes some sacred relation to a divine or heavenly sphere. The first Turgesh Kaghan Wuzhile (Chinese transcription means "black substance") was a leader of a Manichaean consortium known as yüz er "hundred men". He established the Turgesh Khaganate in 699. In 703, the Turgesh captured Suyab from the Tang dynasty.[7] In 706 his son Saqal succeeded him. Both khagans had a church rank of Yuzlik according to Yuri Zuev.[8]

Saqal attacked the Tang city of Qiuci (Kucha) in 708 and inflicted a defeat on the Tang in 709. However Saqal's younger brother Zhenu rebelled and sought military support from Qapagan Khaghan of the Second Turkic Khaganate in 708. Qapaghan Khagan defeated the Turgesh in 711 in Battle of Bolchu and killed both Saqal and Zhenu.[9] The defeated Turgesh fled to Zhetysu. In 714 the Turgesh elected Suluk as their khagan.

Timeline of Suluk

Map of Transoxiana in the 8th century

In 720 Turgesh forces led by Kül-chor defeated Umayyad forces led by Sa'id ibn Abdu'l-Aziz near Samarkand.[10]

In 722 Suluk married the Tang Princess Jiaohe.[10]

In 724 Caliph Hisham sent a new governor to Khorasan, Muslim ibn Sa'id, with orders to crush the "Turks" once and for all, but, confronted by Suluk on the so-called "Day of Thirst", Muslim hardly managed to reach Samarkand with a handful of survivors, as the Turgesh raided freely.[11]

In 726 the Turgesh attacked Qiuci (Kucha).[7]

In 727 the Turgesh and the Tibetan Empire attacked Qiuci (Kucha).[7]

In 728 Suluk defeated Umayyad forces while aiding the Sogdians in rebellion and took Bukhara.[11]

In 731 the Turgesh defeated the Umayyads again in the Battle of the Defile.[12]

In 735 the Turgesh attacked Ting Prefecture (Jimsar County).[13]

In the winter 737 Suluk, along with his allies al-Harith, Gurak (a Turco-Sogdian leader) and men from Usrushana, Tashkent and Khuttal attacked the Umayyads. He entered Jowzjan but was defeated by the Umayyad governor Asad at the Battle of Kharistan.[7]


Following his defeat Suluk was murdered by his relative Kül-chor. When Suluk was killed the Kara and Sary (Black and Yellow) Turgesh began a civil war. Kül-chor of the Sary Turgesh vanquished his rival Tumoche of the Kara Turgesh. In 740 Kül-chor submitted to the Tang dynasty but rebelled anyway when he killed the Turgesh puppet sent by the Tang court in 742. He was then defeated and executed by the Tang in 744. The last Turgesh ruler declared himself a vassal of the recently established Uyghur Khaganate. In 766 the Karluks conquered Zhetysu and ended the Turgesh Khaganate.[14]


  1. Wuzhile (699-706)
  2. Suoge (706-711)
  3. Suluk (716-738)
  4. Kut Chor (738-739)
  5. Kül Chor (739-744)
  6. El Etmish Kutluk Bilge (744-749)
  7. Yibo Kutluk Bilge Juzhi (749-751)
  8. Tengri Ermish (753-755)
  9. Ata Boyla (750s - 766)


  1. ^ Marshall Cavendish Corporation (2006). Peoples of Western Asia. p. 364.
  2. ^ Bosworth, Clifford Edmund (2007). Historic Cities of the Islamic World. p. 280.
  3. ^ Borrero, Mauricio (2009). Russia: A Reference Guide from the Renaissance to the Present. p. 162.
  4. ^ Bilge kagan's Memorial Complex, TÜRIK BITIK
  5. ^ Baskakov N.A., "Dialects of Taiga Tatars, Taba-kishi. Texts and translations", Moscow, 1965, p.9
  6. ^ Xue, "A History of Turks", p. 641-642.
  7. ^ a b c d Bregel 2003, p. 18.
  8. ^ A., Zuev, I?U?. (2002). Rannie ti?u?rki : ocherki istorii i ideologii. Almaty: "Da?k-Press". ISBN 978-9985-441-52-7. OCLC 52976103.
  9. ^ Yu. Zuev, "Early Türks: Essays on history and ideology", Almaty, Daik-Press, 2002, p. 207, 209, 239, ISBN 9985-4-4152-9
  10. ^ a b Golden 1992, p. 140.
  11. ^ a b Asimov 1998, p. 25.
  12. ^ Shaban 1979, p. 113.
  13. ^ Bregel 2003, p. 19.
  14. ^ Asimov 1998, p. 33.


  • Asimov, M.S. (1998), History of civilizations of Central Asia Volume IV The age of achievement: A.D. 750 to the end of the fifteenth century Part One The historical, social and economic setting, UNESCO Publishing
  • Barfield, Thomas (1989), The Perilous Frontier: Nomadic Empires and China, Basil Blackwell
  • Bregel, Yuri (2003), An Historical Atlas of Central Asia, Brill
  • Golden, Peter B. (1992), An Introduction to the History of the Turkic Peoples: Ethnogenesis and State-Formation in Medieval and Early Modern Eurasia and the Middle East, OTTO HARRASSOWITZ · WIESBADEN
  • Millward, James (2009), Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang, Columbia University Press
  • Shaban, M. A. (1979), The ?Abb?sid Revolution, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-29534-5
  • Stark, Sören (2016). "Türgesh Khaganate". In McKenzie, John M.; Dalziel, Nigel R.; Charney, Michael W.; Doumanis, Nicholas (eds.). Encyclopedia of Empire, Volume IV: S-Z. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell. pp. 2122-2127.
  • Xiong, Victor (2008), Historical Dictionary of Medieval China, United States of America: Scarecrow Press, Inc., ISBN 978-0810860537, ASIN 0810860538
  • Xue, Zongzheng (). (1992). Turkic peoples (). Beijing: . ISBN 978-7-5004-0432-3; OCLC 28622013

External links

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