International relationship of the Golden Horde: between the East and the West (XIII-XV centuries)

Project: Monitored by Research Administration

Project Details

Grant Program

Faculty Development Competitive Research Grant Program 2018-2020

Project Description

The project will highlight the most important stages in the history of the Golden Horde-Foreign relationship in XIII-XV centuries. The purpose of this project is to reassess the Persian-Arabic-Turkic and Chinese historical documents of the Golden Horde during the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, and, using archival and historical, etymological methods to examine the relationship between Golden Horde and Yuan, Golden Horde and Ming, Golden Horde and Ottoman Empire, Golden Horde and others. This project will study the historical and political relations between the the Golden Horde, Ming dynasty, the Qazaq Khanate, the Shaybanid dynasty, Rum (Ottoman Empire) and Moghulistan (AKA East Chagatai)—which coexisted in Central Asia during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries—as told through Chinese historical sources. This project also analyzes Ming shilu in order to understand the character of Chinese knowledge about the Jūchīd Ulūs during their years of contact between 1394 and 1456. Additional sources like geographic accounts and maps will help define the extent of Chinese knowledge about the khanate, clarify the kinds of information that the Chinese sought and why, and measure the influence of cross-cultural contact on Ming Chinese understanding of the Jūchīd Ulūs. We will base this study on the records of Tuohuma, Özbek-Qazaq, the Shaybanid, Rum and Moghulistan in Chinese historical literature, including the Da Ming huidian (Collected statutes of the Ming dynasty), Yin Shouheng’s Ming shiqie, Yan Song’s Nangong zouyi (The South Palace memorials) and Yan Congjian’s Shuyu zhou zilu (Informative records on countries far away), as well as key sources like the Ming shilu (Veritable records of the Ming dynasty), the Ming shi (History of the Ming) and the Ming huiyao.
Our principal source, Ming shilu (Veritable records of the Ming dynasty), is a book that has required much time to read through. The information in the Ming shilu is central for the study and research on the history of Central and Western Asia; and it can shed light on the important interactions that took place between the Central-Western Asian polities and the Ming court. Therefore, in order to understand the relationships among the countries, I will begin with an analysis of the Ming shilu, a fundamental source for my study.
Scientific novelty and significance, the impact of the results on the development of science and technology and the expected social and economic impacts
The recent publication of a series of Yuan (Yuan shi, History of Yuan) and Ming historical-archival documents (Ming shilu) concerning the Eurasian countries is particularly noteworthy. Although they include only a fraction of the correspondence sent by Golden Horde side, previous research has rarely dealt with documents from the Golden Horde to the Ming dynasty.
The Kings Table (Zhu wang biao) of Yuan shi provided us detailed information of Golden Horde khans during the Yuan period, and their relationship with Yuan dynasty.
This project has a clear-cut aim: to provide a new perspective on relations between these six countries—Ming China, the Qazaq khanate, the Golden Horde, the Shaybanid dynasty, Rum and Moghulistan—by making use of underutilized Chinese sources and Persian-Chagatai sources. Scholars have achieved much progress in developing a history of the relations between Ming China and the Timurids, Ming China and the Early Shaybanid dynasty, and Ming China and the Mongols. Regarding to the Tuqmaq-Ming, Qazaq-Ming and the later Shaybanid-Ming, Ottoman-Ming relations research based on Chinese historical materials, however, has been absent until now, though these relations and the history of these kingdoms have been crucial in the shaping of modern Central Asia. This project aims to fill that void.
The four Central Asian kingdoms—the Tuqmaq, the Qazaq khanate, the Shaybanid dynasty and Moghulistan—shared a common origin in their Turkic descent. Being neighbors and descendants of Turkic clans, the four khanates enjoyed close political, economical, marital relations. The political and social systems of the Tatars in Tuqmaq, the Uzbeks in Shaybanid dynasty, and the Qazaqs in Qazaq khanate had common origins in the nomadic Turko-Mongol tradition, although by the mid- sixteenth century they had evolved divergently and each had developed its own distinctive characteristics.
Academic studies of this history currently create a vague understanding of this relationship, however. References to them in Chinese and Islamic (Turkic–Persian) sources are inconsistent. This situation, in the end, has resulted in many erroneous viewpoints.

Diplomatic relationship between Golden Horde and Ming China in the XIV-XV centuries, there is no significant work that has been scientifically detailed and thoroughly studied unless there are a few dissertations and separate articles about certain issues of this topic. Thus, as our first steppe, we think it useful to assess this ‘documentation’ of the Golden Horde through research on documents from the Golden Horde to the Russian empire.
As our second step, we look at how the documents from the Golden Horde to the Ming were analyzed. With the exception of the above-mentioned publications, the main body of documents addressed to the Ming dynasty remains, unexamined in the Ming shilu within the collection of the Taiwan, although not many Persian documents are available.
For reference, there is also some research on the cases of the Timurid Dynasty, which sent envoys to the Ming court as well.
Nurlan Kenzheakhmet, won a scholarship grant for foreign scholars from Taiwan in China in 2018 (four months of studying at the China Research Center in Taiwan) and gained the opportunity to collect historical documents Golden Horde for that project.
The first reports on envoys to and from the Golden Horde found in Ming official documents from around 1394, when the Ming dynasty send envoys to the Timurid. Thereafter, the Golden Horde began dispatching envoys with documents addressed to the Ming dynasty. Significantly, after this, the Golden Hordes’ diplomatic relations with the Ming dynasty, which contained negotiations, correspondences, tributes, and the title bestowals, increased.
It is necessary to define some of the ethnic terms in use in the Jūchīd Ulūs. By the mid-thirteenth century when the partition of the newly conquered territories was made among Chingīz’s Khans sons, the Dasht-i Qipchāq was divided among the sons of Chingīz Khan’s eldest son, Jūchī. The eastern territories of the Ulūs which can be called Eastern Dasht-i Qipchāq or the Left Wing (Sol qol) of Jūchīd’s Ulūs, were originally allotted to Jūchī’s eldest son Orda or Orda Ichen, while the western half or the Right Wing (Ong Qol) of the Dasht-i Qipchāq formed an integral part of the patrimony of the Jūchī’s second son Batu. In contemporary Persian, Armenian and Muslim writings, and in the records of the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries such as the Jami' al-tawarikh, the khanate was called the ‘ulūs-i Jūchī’ (‘realm of Jūchī’ in Mongolian), Dasht-i Qipchāq (Qipchaq Steppe in Persian) or Qipchāq Bashi (Head of Qipchāq in Turkic). The designation Jūchīd Ulūs (ulūs-i Jūchī), which literally means the people of Jūchī, encompassed the nomadic population of Central Eurasia that had been brought under Jūchīd, governance in the first half of the thirteenth century.
The Turkic historians and the early Ming China historians used the term Sarāy or Salai to refer to the Golden Horde. The Eastern Dasht-i Qipchāq ruled by Orda was formally subjected to the khans Sarāy or Ulūs of Batu but practically enjoyed total independence in matters in inner affairs. The fourteenth century Ming China chroniclers employed the term Salai for the Jūchīd Ulūs. For instance, Ming shilu refers to Jūchīd Ulūs as Salai. Jūchīd Ulūs also became known as the Özbek Ulūs after Özbek Khan’s reign. The designation Yuezubo (Özbek) was also used in the Chinese sources and the Chinese maps to refer to the Jūchīd Ulūs of the fourteenth century.
The Central Asian historians, Mongolian chroniclers and Ming China historians used the term Tūqmāq and Tuohuma to refer to the Jūchīd Ulūs.
As we see from the above passage, the Jūchīd Ulūs was recorded in Ming shilu as Salai, on the day gengchen of the fourth month of the twenty seventh year of the reign of Hongwu (11 May 1394). The first record of Tūqmāq was recorded in Ming shilu as Tuohuma, on the day of kuisi in the tenth Chinese lunar month in the thirteenth year of Yongle (30 November 1415). After 1456, Tuohuma disappearred from Ming shilu. The Eastern Tūqmāq began to spilt into three parts: "Özbek Shībān," " Özbek Qazaq," and" Özbek Mangit."
Ming shilu suggests that at least by the end of the fourteenth and the early years of the fifteenth century Salai (Saray) had become an integral (and possibly the most important) element in the name that the Ming court used for the country of the Jūchīd Ulūs. The Persian and the Mongol historians used the term Tūqmāq and Togmog to refer to the Jūchīd Ulūs, while the Ming China historians used the term Tuohema to refer to the Jūchīd Ulūs or the whole Dasht-i Qipchāq in post Mongol Central Eurasia. The diplomatic contact between Ming China and the Tuohuma occurred through the Chinese system of tribute trade during the mid-fifteenth century. Under the reign of Yongle (1402-24), Zhengtong (1435-49) and Jingtai (1449-57), the foundations for a flourishing relationship between Ming China and the Jūchīd Ulūs were established. At that time, the Chinese knew the Jūchīd Ulūs by the name Salai (Saray) and Tuohuma (Tūqmāq). Despite the political turmoil that erupted after the fall of the Jūchīd Ulūs, Chinese gleaned new information about the Jūchīd Ulūs from envoys who arrived from Central Asia.

The majority of early Yuan, Ming maps were produced for military and administrative purposes. They were kept in local archives, regional library, the central national library and the First Historical Archives of China and Taiwan. By focusing on maps and texts that are relatively unknown to scholars outside the history of cartography, this research will contribute materially and theoretically to the Central Asian studies, historical geography and studies of colonialism. Historians may use toponym research to reveal historical movements of peoples, or get a hint of cultural exchange patterns in forgotten ages.
As is demonstrated in this project, the study place names of the historical maps will make active contributions for the Nurly Zhol and the spiritual revival of Nursultan Nazarbayev. Furthermore, interestingly, the study of the old maps 2-3 hundred years ago may be important not only for historians, but also for researchers of current Sino-Central Asian-European conditions. In recent years China’s attention has turned to Central Asia again, attempting to create friendly relationship with the countries there. These active political efforts by contemporary China and Kazakhstan may have promoted modern research on historical maps.
Many place or country names of Central Asia also appear in the Kunyu wanguo quantu map (1602). In this map, Baiying (White Camp= Āq Orda) is situated between Dasigengdi 大厮耕諦 (Tashkent), Sama’erhan 撒馬兒罕 (Samarqand) and Tu’erkesitan 土兒客私堂 (Turkestan). Unfortunately there is a substantial confusion concerning these terms also in the scholarly literature, the terms Āq Orda (White Horde) and Kök Orda (Blue Horde) have been much misused causing enormous confusion due to modern sources. In modern secondary sources their meanings are generally reversed, the term Āq Orda being applied to the ulus of Orda and Kök Orda to the ulus of Batu. To make matters worse, some authors refer to the ulus of Shībān as either the White Horde or the Blue Horde, while others define the Āq Orda as the combined uluses of Orda and Shībān. Both authors Abū al-Ghāzī Bahādur Khan and Maḥmūd b. Amīr Walī Balkhī’ locate the Āq Orda on the East Dasht-i Qipchāq territory.
According to Prof. Uli Schamiloglu, Aq Orda (White Horde) refers to the western ulus of Batu, while Kök Orda refers to the eastern ulus of Orda.
According to Qazaq scholars, the division into Āq Orda and Kök Orda relates only to the eastern part of the Jūchī Ulus. Since 1368, the Eastern Dasht-i Qipchāq was held by Urūs Khan’s (1361–1377) house seated in Siɣnāq. Through the paternal line, Jānībek and Girāy, the first Qazaq khans of the Qazaq Khanate, were related to Urūs Khan. Under the Āq Orda of the beginning of the fourteenth-fifteenth centuries should be understood a huge territory of the Qazaq steppes from the Ural River to the West Siberian Lowland, including the lower and middle reaches of the Syr Darya, that was the lands of Orda Ichen and Shībān's uluses. After the death of Barāq Khan, his son Jānībek and Girāy probably became the rulers in Siɣnāq, who had acquired the new name Uzbek-Qazaq (Ejibie-Haxin in the Ming shilu) in the first half of the fifteenth century.
Dakuangye 大壙野 (means the Great Plain or the Great Wild in Chinese) of the Kunyu wanguo quantu, perhaps refers to Dasht-i Qipchāq. The map show Chagatai Khanate as Chawatai 察瓦泰 (indeed refers to Timurid Dynasty) and Māwarā’an-nahr as Maolinanke’er 貌力南客儿. To the east of the Wu’erwa 勿尔瓦 River (Volga), also called as Yide (Itil), is situated a city called Dumona 杜沒那, evidently refers to Tyumen. The Xiyu tudi renwutu, a Ming Chinese map of fifteenth century, Tyumen occurs under Turkic name Tula (Tura). Also known as Chimgi-Tura, it was a medieval city that belonged to the Abū’l-Khayr Khanate, and served as the first capital of Abū’l-Khayr Khan. According to the Tarih-i Abū’l-Khayr Khani, Abū’l-Khayr Khan, the founder of his self-named Abū’l-Khayr Khanate, proclaimed himself khan in Tura in 1428–1429. The Asia map of Abraham Ortelius, based on his early wall map printed in 1567, displays a city called Teron, situated southwest of the city of Sibir. In 1586, Russians built the fort of Tyumen on the ruins of Chimgi-Tura. It can also be found in Gerard Mercator’s Atlas, which very clearly marked a place called Tyumen, here named Weliki Tumen (Great Tyumen), located in Hondius Tartary. However, some centuries later, inhabitants of Sibir also refered to Tyumen as Chimgi-Tura. According to Gerhard Friedrich Müller, who visited the city in 1741, the Tatars there called the city Chimgi-Tura, not Tyumen, but Chimgi-Tura. On an eighteenth-century map of the river system flowing into Lake Zaisang in the Xiyu shuidao ji 西域水道記 (Waterways of the Western Regions), completed by Xu Song 徐松 (1781–1848), the city of Tura is named as Dola 多拉.
Effective start/end date3/20/1812/31/21


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.