Kazakh Khanate

The Kazakh Khanate was a successor of the Golden Horde existing from the 15th to 19th century, located roughly on the territory of the present-day Kazakhstan. At its height, the khanate ruled from eastern Cumania (modern-day West Kazakhstan) to most of UzbekistanKarakalpakstan and the Syr Darya River with military confrontation as far as Astrakhan and Khorasan Province, which are now in Russia and Iran, respectively.

Astrakhan is a city on the Volga River in southern Russia. It’s known for the Astrakhan Kremlin, an expansive fortress built in the 1500s.

Khorasan was a province in north eastern Iran, but historically referred to a much larger area east and north-east of the Persian Empire. The name Khorasan is Persian and means “where the sun arrives from.” The name was given to the eastern province of Persia during the Sassanid Empire.

Slaves were also captured by frequent Kazakh raids into the lands of Russia,   Central Asia, and Western Siberia (Bashkortostan) during the Kazakh Khanate.  The Khanate was later weakened by a series of Oirat and Dzungar invasions, devastating raids and warfare.

Oirats are the westernmost group of the Mongols whose ancestral home is in the Altai region of western Mongolia.  Historically, the Oirats were composed of four major tribes: Dzungar (Choros or Olots), Torghut, Dörbet, and Khoshut.  The Kalmyks ( are the Oirats in Russia, whose ancestors migrated from Dzungaria in 1607. They created the Kalmyk Khanate in 1630–1771 in Russia’s North Caucasus territory. Today they form a majority in the Republic of Kalmykia located in the Kalmyk Steppe, on the western shore of the Caspian Sea.

Warfare with the Oirats and Dzungars  resulted in a decline and further disintegration of the Kazakh Khanate  into three Jüz-es, which gradually lost their sovereignty and were incorporated to the expanding Russian Empire.  (See my post – Russian Conquest of Central Asia)  Its establishment marked the beginning of Kazakh statehood whose 550th anniversary was celebrated in 2015.


  • Sozaq (c. 1465–1469)
  • Syghanaq (1469–1511)
  • Saraishyq (1511–1521)
  • Syghanaq (1521–1599)
  • Turkistan (1599–1729)
  • Tashkent (1729–1781)

The earliest mention of the Kazakh zhuz (júz (Kazakh: жүз, translit. júz pronounced [ʒʉz], also translated as  “union”, “horde” or “hundred”) dates to the 17th century, the division may have arose as a result of the capture of the important cities of Tashkent, Yasi, and Sayram in 1598.

A zhuz  is one of the three main territorial and tribal divisions in the Kypchak Plain area that covers much of the contemporary Kazakhstan, and represents the main tribal division within the ethnic group of the Kazakhs.

  • The Senior Zhuz  or Uly Zhuz covers territories of southern and southeastern Kazakhstan, northwestern China (Xinjiang) and parts of .
  • The Middle zhuz or Orta zhuz consists of six tribes, covering central and eastern Kazakhstan
  • The Junior zhuz  or Kishi zhuz consists of three tribes, covering western Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan

Researchers argue that the zhuz  originally corresponded to tribal, military alliances of steppe nomads that emerged around mid-16th century after the disintegration of the Kazakh Khanate and their territorial division comprises three ecological or topographic zones, the Senior zhuz of the southern and southeastern steppe being set apart from the two other zones by Lake Balkhash.

According some researchers, Kazakhs was separated in the first civil war in the Kazakh Khanate. Tribes that recognized Buidash Khan formed Senior juz. Tribes that recognized Togim Khan formed Middle juz. Tribes that recognized Akhmed Khan formed Junior juz.

According to Kazakh legends,  the three júz were the territorial inheritances of the three sons of the mythical founder father of the Kazakhs.

The helmet of legendary Bolek batyr was given to the museum’s collection by his descendants. It has preserved in the original form. It is inlaid with precious stones and weighs approximately three kilograms. Bolek batyr was a warrior of the legendary Nauryzbay batyr. In spring 1729 a great battle occurred between 60,000-strong Dzhunghar army and 30,000 Kazakh batyrs of three Kazakh hordes. As it is known, the battle lasted 44 days and started with the match between Dzhunghar Khan Anyrak and 29-year-old courageous Bolek batyr. But the Kazakh warrior was stronger and more skillful. He defeated the Dzhunghar Khan and struck off his head.

The Kazakh Khanate was founded in 1456-1465 by Janibek Khan and Kerei Khan, on the banks of Jetsu (“seven rivers”) in the southeastern part of the present-day Kazakhstan.,  the ethnogenesis of the Kazakh nation. The formation of the independent Kazakh Khanate began when several tribes under the rule of sultans Janybek and Kerey departed from the Uzbek Khanate of Abu’l-Khayr Khan. The sultans led their people toward Mogolistan, eventually settling and founding an independent state. The new Khanate soon became a buffer state between the Mongolians and the Khanate of Abu’l-Khayr. From the sixteenth through the early nineteenth century, the most powerful nomadic people were the Kazakhs and the Oirats

Learn More

Historic Kazakh Khanate Movie Draws Int’l, Social Media Attention   
by Yerbolat Uatkhanov Astana Times Jan 18 2017  The BBC compared “Kazakh Khanate” to the American fantasy series “Game of Thrones.”  The action takes place in the 15th century, when key events occurred in the formation of Kazakh statehood. The main characters are Kerey and Zhanibek khans (kings) and their sons Kasym and Burunduk.




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