Golden Horde

Golden Horde

Overview
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate
Khanate
Khanate, or Chanat, is a Turco-Mongol-originated word used to describe a political entity ruled by a Khan. In modern Turkish, the word used is kağanlık, and in modern Azeri of the republic of Azerbaijan, xanlıq. In Mongolian the word khanlig is used, as in "Khereidiin Khanlig" meaning the Khanate...

 that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

. Contemporarily, the khanate was known as the Kipchak Khanate or as the Ulus of Jochi
Jochi
Jochi was the eldest of the Mongol chieftain Genghis Khan's four sons by his principal wife Börte. An accomplished military leader, he participated in his father's conquest of Central Asia, along with his brothers and uncles.-Early life:...

.

After the death of Batu Khan
Batu Khan
Batu Khan was a Mongol ruler and founder of the Ulus of Jochi , the sub-khanate of the Mongol Empire. Batu was a son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. His ulus was the chief state of the Golden Horde , which ruled Rus and the Caucasus for around 250 years, after also destroying the armies...

 in 1255, the prosperity of his dynasty lasted for a full century until 1359, though the intrigues of Nogai
Nogai Khan
Nogai , also called Isa Nogai, was a general and de facto ruler of the Golden Horde and a great-great-grandson of Genghis Khan. His grandfather was Baul/Teval Khan, the 7th son of Jochi...

 did invoke a partial civil war in the late 1290s.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Golden Horde'
Start a new discussion about 'Golden Horde'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate
Khanate
Khanate, or Chanat, is a Turco-Mongol-originated word used to describe a political entity ruled by a Khan. In modern Turkish, the word used is kağanlık, and in modern Azeri of the republic of Azerbaijan, xanlıq. In Mongolian the word khanlig is used, as in "Khereidiin Khanlig" meaning the Khanate...

 that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

. Contemporarily, the khanate was known as the Kipchak Khanate or as the Ulus of Jochi
Jochi
Jochi was the eldest of the Mongol chieftain Genghis Khan's four sons by his principal wife Börte. An accomplished military leader, he participated in his father's conquest of Central Asia, along with his brothers and uncles.-Early life:...

.

After the death of Batu Khan
Batu Khan
Batu Khan was a Mongol ruler and founder of the Ulus of Jochi , the sub-khanate of the Mongol Empire. Batu was a son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. His ulus was the chief state of the Golden Horde , which ruled Rus and the Caucasus for around 250 years, after also destroying the armies...

 in 1255, the prosperity of his dynasty lasted for a full century until 1359, though the intrigues of Nogai
Nogai Khan
Nogai , also called Isa Nogai, was a general and de facto ruler of the Golden Horde and a great-great-grandson of Genghis Khan. His grandfather was Baul/Teval Khan, the 7th son of Jochi...

 did invoke a partial civil war in the late 1290s. The Horde's military power peaked during the reign of Uzbeg
Uzbeg Khan
Sultan Mohammed Öz-Beg, better known as Uzbeg or Ozbeg , was the longest-reigning khan of the Golden Horde, under whose rule the state reached its zenith...

 (1312–41), who adopted Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. The territory of the Golden Horde at its peak included most of Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 from the Urals to the right banks of the Danube River, extending east deep into Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

. On the south, the Golden Horde's lands bordered on the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

, the Caucasus Mountains
Caucasus Mountains
The Caucasus Mountains is a mountain system in Eurasia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in the Caucasus region .The Caucasus Mountains includes:* the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and* the Lesser Caucasus Mountains....

, and the territories of the Mongol dynasty known as the Ilkhanate
Ilkhanate
The Ilkhanate, also spelled Il-khanate , was a Mongol khanate established in Azerbaijan and Persia in the 13th century, considered a part of the Mongol Empire...

.

Beginning in 1359 the khanate had begun to experience violent internal political disorder before it was briefly reunited under Tokhtamysh
Tokhtamysh
Tokhtamysh was the prominent khan of the White Horde, who briefly unified the White Horde and Blue Horde subdivisions of the Golden Horde into a single state. He was a descendant of Genghis Khan's eldest grandson, Orda Khan or his brother Tuqa-Timur...

 in 1381. However, soon after the 1396 invasion of Tamerlane, it broke into smaller Tatar khanates that declined steadily in power. These internal struggles allowed the northern vassal state of Moscovy to rid itself of the "Tatar Yoke" at the Great stand on the Ugra river in 1480. The remnants of the khaganate, known as Great Horde
Great Horde
- Dissolution of the Golden Horde :The peripheral regions of the Golden Horde broke off as follows: 1438: Kazan Khanate, 1441: Crimean Khanate, 1466: Astrakhan Khanate The remnant, which became known as the Great Horde, was left with the steppe between the Dnieper and Yaik, the capital Sarai and a...

, persisted until 1502.

Name



The origin of the name Golden Horde is uncertain. But Yellow (Sarı/Saru) means Center/Central in Old Turkish and Mongolic languages. The term horde is in origin a Mongolic word for the palace, camp or headquarters., or Turkic
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

 "orta", which means side, section, tent or direction.
The "golden" may just have been applied by the Slavic tributaries to express the great wealth of the khaganate. But it has been suggested that it may also have been due to an actual golden tent used by Batu Khan
Batu Khan
Batu Khan was a Mongol ruler and founder of the Ulus of Jochi , the sub-khanate of the Mongol Empire. Batu was a son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. His ulus was the chief state of the Golden Horde , which ruled Rus and the Caucasus for around 250 years, after also destroying the armies...

 or Uzbek Khan. Not until the 16th century, did Russian chronicles begin explicitly using Golden Horde to designate this successor khanate of the Mongol Empire. The term "Golden Horde" (Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

: Золотая Орда) initially only designates the Ulus of Batu (Russian: Улуса Батыя) centered on Sarai when the terminology first appeared in the History of Kazan in 1565.
In Persian and Muslim contemporary sources, the Golden Horde was referred to as the "Ulus of Jochi", "Dahst-i-Qifchaq" (Qipchaq Steppe) or Khanate of the Qipchaq. The khanate was called the Ulus of Jochi (realm of Jochi in Mongolian language
Mongolian language
The Mongolian language is the official language of Mongolia and the best-known member of the Mongolic language family. The number of speakers across all its dialects may be 5.2 million, including the vast majority of the residents of Mongolia and many of the Mongolian residents of the Inner...

) in the records of the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries such as Yuanshi
Yuanshi
Yuanshi may refer to:*Yuanshi Era, in Han Dynasty*Yuanshi County, in Hebei, China*History of Yuan, official Chinese historical work for the Yuan Dynasty*Yuanshi Tianzun, one of the highest deities of religious Taoism...

 and Jami' al-tawarikh.

Its left wing or "left hand" (in official Mongolian-sponsored Persian sources) was called Blue Horde in Russian chronicles but White Horde in Timurid
Timurid
Timurid may refer to:* Timur , also known as Tamerlane in English, a fourteenth-century conqueror of Western, South and Central Asia, founder of the Timurid Empire and Timurid dynasty in Central Asia...

 sources (e.g. Zafar-Nameh
Zafar-Nameh
Zafar-Nameh, Zafar-Nameh, Zafar-Nameh, (Persian ظفرنامه, Zafar-nāmé, the Book of Victory is an epic poem written by the Persian poet Hamdollah Mostowfi (d. 1334). The epic history, compiled in 75,000 couplets, explores Iranian history from the Arab conquest to the Mongols....

). While western scholars favored the second to designate the left wing, the use of Blue Horde by Ötemish Hajji (fl.1550), a historian of Khwarezm familiar with oral traditions of the khanate, indicates the Russian usage is correct. Batu's house held control over the ulus and seated in Sarai, constituting right wing or White Horde. The designations, Golden Horde, Blue Horde, and White Horde are not encountered in the sources of the Mongol-period.

Mongol origins (1225-1241)


At his death, Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

 divided the Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

 amongst his four sons as appanage
Appanage
An apanage or appanage or is the grant of an estate, titles, offices, or other things of value to the younger male children of a sovereign, who would otherwise have no inheritance under the system of primogeniture...

s but the Empire remained united under the supreme khan. Jochi
Jochi
Jochi was the eldest of the Mongol chieftain Genghis Khan's four sons by his principal wife Börte. An accomplished military leader, he participated in his father's conquest of Central Asia, along with his brothers and uncles.-Early life:...

 was the eldest, but he died six months before Genghis. The westernmost lands occupied by the Mongols
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

, which included southern Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, were given to Jochi's eldest sons: Batu
Batu Khan
Batu Khan was a Mongol ruler and founder of the Ulus of Jochi , the sub-khanate of the Mongol Empire. Batu was a son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. His ulus was the chief state of the Golden Horde , which ruled Rus and the Caucasus for around 250 years, after also destroying the armies...

, who eventually became the ruler of the Blue Horde; and Orda
Orda Khan
Orda Ichen was a Mongol Khan and military strategist who ruled eastern part of the Ulus of Jochi during the 13th century.-First Khan of the Blue Horde:...

, who became the leader of the White Horde. In 1235, Batu with the great general Subedei began an invasion westwards, first conquering the Bashkirs
Bashkirs
The Bashkirs are a Turkic people indigenous to Bashkortostan extending on both parts of the Ural mountains, on the place where Europe meets Asia. Groups of Bashkirs also live in the republic of Tatarstan, Perm Krai, Chelyabinsk, Orenburg, Tyumen, Sverdlovsk, Kurgan, Samara and Saratov Oblasts of...

 and then moving on
Mongol invasion of Volga Bulgaria
The Mongol invasion of Volga Bulgaria lasted from 1223 to 1236.-The Mongol campaigns:In 1223, after defeating Russian and Cuman/Kipchak armies at the Battle of Kalka, a Mongol army under the generals Subutai and Jebe was sent to subdue Volga Bulgaria. At that point in history Genghis Khan's troops...

 to Volga Bulgaria
Volga Bulgaria
Volga Bulgaria, or Volga–Kama Bolghar, is a historic Bulgar state that existed between the seventh and thirteenth centuries around the confluence of the Volga and Kama rivers in what is now Russia.-Origin:...

 in 1236. From here, in 1237, he conquered some of the southern steppes of the Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, forcing the local Cumans
Cumans
The Cumans were Turkic nomadic people comprising the western branch of the Cuman-Kipchak confederation. After Mongol invasion , they decided to seek asylum in Hungary, and subsequently to Bulgaria...

 to retreat westward. The military campaign against Kypchaks and Cumans started under Jochi and Subedei in 1216-18 when the Merkits took shelter among them. By 1239 most of the Cumans were driven out of the peninsula and Crimea became one of the appanages of the Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

. The remnants of the Crimean Cumans survived in the Crimean mountains while most of the peninsula was resettled by the invading Mongols. Moving north, Batu began the Mongol invasion of Rus' and for three years subjugated the principalities of former Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

, whilst his cousins Möngke
Möngke Khan
Möngke Khan , born Möngke, , was the fourth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire from July 1, 1251 – August 11, 1259. He was the first Great Khan from the Toluid line, and made significant reforms to improve the administration of the Empire during his reign...

, Kadan
Kadan
Kadaň , is a city in the Ústí nad Labem Region of the Czech Republic.The city lies on the banks of the river Ohře. Although it is situated in an industrial part of the Czech Republic there is no major industry within the city and people usually work in offices or have to commute. There are two...

 and Guyuk
Güyük Khan
Güyük was the third Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. As the eldest son of Ögedei Khan and a grandson of Genghis Khan, he reigned from 1246 to 1248...

 moved southwards into Alania
Alania
Alania may refer to:*Alania, the medieval state of the Alans or Alani people in the North Caucasus*The short name of the modern North Ossetia-Alania, one of the Caucasian republics in the Russian Federation...

.

Using the migration of the Cumans as his casus belli
Casus belli
is a Latin expression meaning the justification for acts of war. means "incident", "rupture" or indeed "case", while means bellic...

, the Mongols continued west, raiding Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 and culminating in the battles of Legnica
Battle of Legnica
The Battle of Legnica , also known as the Battle of Liegnitz or Battle of Wahlstatt , was a battle between the Mongol Empire and the combined defending forces of European fighters that took place at Legnickie Pole near the city of Legnica in Silesia on 9 April 1241.A combined force of Poles,...

 and Muhi
Battle of Mohi
The Battle of Mohi , or Battle of the Sajó River, was the main battle between the Mongol Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary during the Mongol invasion of Europe. It took place at Muhi, Southwest of the Sajó River. After the invasion, Hungary lay in ruins. Nearly half of the inhabited places had...

. In 1241, however, the Great Khan Ögedei
Ögedei Khan
Ögedei Khan, born Ögedei was the third son of Genghis Khan and second Great Khan of the Mongol Empire by succeeding his father...

 died in Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

. Batu turned back from his siege of Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 to take part in disputing the succession. The Mongol armies would never again travel so far west. In 1242, after retreating through Hungary (destroying Pest in the process), and subjugating Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

, Batu established his capital at Sarai
Sarai (city)
Sarai was the name of two cities, which were successively capital cities of the Golden Horde, the Mongol kingdom which ruled Russia and much of central Asia in the 13th and 14th centuries...

, commanding the lower stretch of the Volga River
Volga River
The Volga is the largest river in Europe in terms of length, discharge, and watershed. It flows through central Russia, and is widely viewed as the national river of Russia. Out of the twenty largest cities of Russia, eleven, including the capital Moscow, are situated in the Volga's drainage...

, on the site of the Khazarian capital of Atil
Atil
Atil , literally meaning "Big River", was the capital of Khazaria from the middle of the 8th century until the end of the 10th century. The word is also a Turkic name for the Volga River.-History:...

. Shortly before that, Batu and Orda's younger brother Shiban
Shiban
Shiban or Shayban was one of the Left Wing princes. He was Jöchi's fifth son and a grandson of Genghis Khan. Because he was too young when his father died in 1227, he did not receive any lands at that time....

 was given his own enormous ulus east of the Ural Mountains
Ural Mountains
The Ural Mountains , or simply the Urals, are a mountain range that runs approximately from north to south through western Russia, from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the Ural River and northwestern Kazakhstan. Their eastern side is usually considered the natural boundary between Europe and Asia...

 along the Ob
Ob River
The Ob River , also Obi, is a major river in western Siberia, Russia and is the world's seventh longest river. It is the westernmost of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean .The Gulf of Ob is the world's longest estuary.-Names:The Ob is known to the Khanty people as the...

 and Irtysh Rivers.

While there can be no doubt that in the mid-13th century at the court of Batu the Mongolian language
Mongolian language
The Mongolian language is the official language of Mongolia and the best-known member of the Mongolic language family. The number of speakers across all its dialects may be 5.2 million, including the vast majority of the residents of Mongolia and many of the Mongolian residents of the Inner...

 was in general use, few Mongol texts written in the territory of the Golden Horde have survived, perhaps because of the prevalent general illiteracy . According to Grigor'ev, yarliq or decrees of the Khans were written in Mongol, then translated into the Cuman language
Cuman language
Cuman was a Kipchak Turkic language spoken by the Cumans and Kipchaks; the language was similar to the today's Crimean Tatar language...

. The existence of Arabic-Mongol and Persian-Mongol dictionaries dating from the middle of the 14th century and prepared for the use of the Mamluks in Egypt suggests that there was a practical need for such works in the chancelleries handling correspondence with the Golden Horde. It is thus reasonable to conclude that letters received by the Mamluks - if not also written by them - must have been in Mongol.

Indeed, the linguistic and even socio-linguistic impacts were great, as the Russians borrowed thousands of words, phrases and other significant linguistic features from the Mongol and the Turkic languages that were united under the Mongol Empire.

Early rulers under the Great Khans (1241-1259)


Batu declined to attend a kurultai, thus delaying the succession for several years when the Great Khatun
Khatun
Khatun is a female title of nobility and alternative to male "khan" prominently used in the First Turkic Empire and in the subsequent Mongol Empire...

 Toregene invited him to elect the next Emperor of the Mongol Empire in 1242. Although Batu stated he was suffering from old age and illness and politely refused the invitation, it seems that he did not support the election of Guyuk Khan because Güyük and Büri
Büri
Buri was a son of Mutugen and a grandson of Chagatai khan. His name - Buri - means Wolf. According to Rashid-al-Din Hamadani, Buri's mother was a wife of Chagatai khan's one official. She was a beauty, and Mutuken was attracted by her while she served in Khan's ger. Mutuken made her pregnant...

, grandson of Chagatai Khan
Chagatai Khan
Chagatai Khan was the second son of Genghis Khan and first khan and origin of the names of the Chagatai Khanate, Chagatai language and Chagatai Turks....

, had quarreled violently with Batu at a victory banquet during the Mongol occupation of Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

. Finally, he sent his brothers to the kurultai, and the new Emperor of the Mongols was elected in 1246. All the senior Rus' princes, including Yaroslav II of Vladimir
Yaroslav II of Vladimir
Yaroslav II , Christian name Theodor was the Grand Prince of Vladimir who helped to restore his country and capital after the Mongol invasion of Russia.-Prince of Pereyaslav:...

, Danylo of Halych, Vladimir Constantine, Boris, Gleb, Vasili, Constatantine, Vladimir Constantinovich, Vassilko and Sviatoslav Vsevolodovich of Vladimir
Sviatoslav Vsevolodovich of Vladimir
Sviatoslav Vsevolodovich of Vladimir was the Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Vladimir-Suzdal ....

, acknowledged Batu's supremacy. However, the Mongol court exterminated some anti-Mongol princes such as Michael of Chernigov
Michael of Chernigov
Saint Michael of Chernigov or Mikhail Vsevolodovich was a Rus' prince...

 who had killed a Mongol envoy (1240)
Siege of Kiev (1240)
The Siege of Kiev by the Mongols took place between November 28th and December 6th, 1240, resulting in a Mongol victory. It was a heavy moral and military blow to Halych-Volhynia and allowed Batu Khan to proceed westward into Europe.- Background :...

.

After a short period of time, Guyuk called Batu to pay him homage several times. The latter sent Andrey and Alexander Nevsky
Alexander Nevsky
Alexander Nevsky was the Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Vladimir during some of the most trying times in the city's history. Commonly regarded as the key figure of medieval Rus, Alexander was the grandson of Vsevolod the Big Nest and rose to legendary status on account of his military...

 to Karakorum
Karakorum
Karakorum was the capital of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, and of the Northern Yuan in the 14-15th century. Its ruins lie in the northwestern corner of the Övörkhangai Province of Mongolia, near today's town of Kharkhorin, and adjacent to the Erdene Zuu monastery...

 in Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

 in 1247 after their father's death. Guyuk appointed Andrey Grand prince
Grand Prince
The title grand prince or great prince ranked in honour below emperor and tsar and above a sovereign prince .Grand duke is the usual and established, though not literal, translation of these terms in English and Romance languages, which do not normally use separate words for a "prince" who reigns...

 of Vladimir-Suzdal
Vladimir-Suzdal
The Vladimir-Suzdal Principality or Vladimir-Suzdal Rus’ was one of the major principalities which succeeded Kievan Rus' in the late 12th century and lasted until the late 14th century. For a long time the Principality was a vassal of the Mongolian Golden Horde...

 and Alexander prince of Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

. In 1248, he demanded Batu come eastward to meet him, a move that some contemporaries regarded as a pretext for Batu's arrest. In compliance with the order, Batu approached bringing a large army. When Güyük moved westwards, Tolui
Tolui
Tolui, was the youngest son of Genghis Khan by his chief khatun Börte...

's widow and a sister of Batu's stepmother Sorghaghtani warned Batu that the Jochids might be his target.

Güyük died en route, in what is now Xinjiang
Xinjiang
Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and spans over 1.6 million km2...

; he had succumbed at about the age of forty-two to the combined effects of alcoholism and gout
Gout
Gout is a medical condition usually characterized by recurrent attacks of acute inflammatory arthritis—a red, tender, hot, swollen joint. The metatarsal-phalangeal joint at the base of the big toe is the most commonly affected . However, it may also present as tophi, kidney stones, or urate...

, although he may have been poisoned. But some modern historians believe that he died of natural causes because of deteriorating health. According to William of Rubruck and a Muslim chronicle, Batu killed the imperial envoy and one of his brothers murdered the Great Khan Guyuk. But those claims are not completely corroborated by other major sources. Guyuk's widow Oghul Qaimish
Oghul Qaimish
Oghul Qaimish was the principal wife of Güyük Khan and ruled as regent over the Mongol empire after the death of her husband in 1248. She was a descendant from the Mergid tribe. However, H.H.Howorth believed that she was an Oirat.- Life :...

 took over as regent, but she would be unable to keep the succession within her branch of the family.

With the assistance of the Golden Horde, Möngke
Mongke
Mongke means "eternal" in Mongolian language and may refer to:-Medieval:* Möngke Khan , Great khan of the Mongol Empire* Yesü Möngke, khan of Chagatai khanate, 1247-1252* Mengu-Timur Mongke (also Mönkh, Monkh, Munkh) means "eternal" in Mongolian language and may refer to:-Medieval:* Möngke Khan...

 succeeded as Great Khan in 1251. Utilizing the discovery of a plot designed to remove Mongke, the new Great Khan began a purge of his opponents. Estimates of the deaths of aristocrats, officials and Mongol commanders range from 77-300. Batu became the most influential person after the Khagan and Möngke's friendliness with Batu ensured the unity of the empire. Batu, Mongke and other princely lines shared rule over the area from Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 to Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

.

Batu allowed Mongke's census takers to operate freely in his realm, though his prestige as kingmaker and elder Borjigin was at its height. In 1252-1259, Möngke conducted a census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

 of the Mongol Empire including Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 and North China
North China
thumb|250px|Northern [[People's Republic of China]] region.Northern China or North China is a geographical region of China. The heartland of North China is the North China Plain....

. While that of China was completed in 1252, Novgorod in the far northwest was not counted until winter 1258-59. There was an uprising in Novgorod against the Mongol census, but Alexander Nevsky
Alexander Nevsky
Alexander Nevsky was the Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Vladimir during some of the most trying times in the city's history. Commonly regarded as the key figure of medieval Rus, Alexander was the grandson of Vsevolod the Big Nest and rose to legendary status on account of his military...

 forced the city to submit to the census and taxation.

The Grand prince Andrey II gave umbrage to the Mongols. Batu sent a punitive expedition under Nevruy. On their approach, Andrey fled to Pskov, and thence to Sweden. The Mongols overran Vladimir and harshly punished the principality. The Livonian Knights stopped their advance to Novgorod and Pskov. Thanks to his friendship with Sartaq, Alexander was installed as the Grand Prince of Vladimir (i.e., the supreme Russian ruler) by Batu in 1252. In 1256 Andrey traveled to Sarai to ask pardon for his former infidelity and was shown mercy.

Mongke ordered the Jochid and Chagatayid
Chagatai Khans
The Chagatai Khans were the heads of the Chagatai ulus from Chagatai Khan's inheritance of the state in 1227 to their removal from power by the Dzungars and their vassals in 1687...

 families to join Hulegu's expedition to Iran. Berke
Berke
Berke Khan was the ruler of the Golden Horde who effectively consolidated the power of the Blue Horde and White Hordes from 1257 to 1266. He succeeded his brother Batu Khan of the Blue Horde and was responsible for the first official establishment of Islam in a khanate of the Mongol Empire...

's persuasion might have forced his brother Batu to postpone Hulegu's operation, little suspecting that it would result in eliminating the Jochid predominance there for several years. During the reign of Batu or his first two successors, the Golden Horde dispatched a large Jochid delegation to participate in Hulegu's expedition in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 in 1256/57.

After Batu died in 1256, his son Sartaq was appointed by Mongke. As soon as he returned from the court of the Great Khan in Mongolia, Sartaq died. After a brief reign of an infant Ulaghchi
Ulaghchi
Ulaghchi Khan was the third khan of the Blue Horde and Golden Horde, ruling for less than a year in 1257. It is not clear whether Ulaghchi was the son or the younger brother of Sartaq Khan. Mongke Khan granted him the title of Khan of the Jochid Ulus as soon as Sartaq died...

 under the regency of Boragchin Khatun
Khatun
Khatun is a female title of nobility and alternative to male "khan" prominently used in the First Turkic Empire and in the subsequent Mongol Empire...

, Batu's younger brother Berke was enthroned as khan of the Jochids in 1257.

In 1257, Danylo repelled Mongol assaults led by the prince Kuremsa on Ponyzia and Volhynia and dispatched an expedition with the aim of taking Kiev. Despite initial successes, in 1259, a Mongol force under Boroldai entered Galicia and Volhynia and offered an ultimatum: Danylo was to destroy his fortifications or Boroldai would assault the towns. Danylo complied and pulled down the city walls. In 1259 Berke launched savage attacks on Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

 and Poland, and demanded the submission of Bela IV, the Hungarian monarch, and the French King
Kingdom of France
The Kingdom of France was one of the most powerful states to exist in Europe during the second millennium.It originated from the Western portion of the Frankish empire, and consolidated significant power and influence over the next thousand years. Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King, developed a...

 Louis IX
Louis IX
Louis IX may refer to:* Louis IX of France .* Louis IX, Duke of Bavaria "the Rich" * Louis IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt ....

 in 1259 and 1260. His assault on Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 in 1259/60 inflicted heavy losses on the Teutonic Order. The Lithuanians were probably tributary in the 1260s, when reports reached the Curia
Curia
A curia in early Roman times was a subdivision of the people, i.e. more or less a tribe, and with a metonymy it came to mean also the meeting place where the tribe discussed its affairs...

 that they were in league with the Mongols.

Civil war of the Mongols (1260-1280)




After Möngke Khan died in 1259, a war of succession between Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan , born Kublai and also known by the temple name Shizu , was the fifth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire from 1260 to 1294 and the founder of the Yuan Dynasty in China...

 and Ariq Böke
Ariq Boke
Ariq Böke , the components of his name also spelled Arigh, Arik, Bukha, Buka , was the youngest son of Tolui , a son of Genghis Khan. After the death of his brother the Great Khan Mongke, Ariq Boke briefly took power while his brothers Kublai and Hulagu were absent...

 began. While Hulegu supported Kublai, Berke threw his allegiance to Ariq Böke. He also minted coins in Ariq Böke's name. Berke was at first neutral
Neutrality (international relations)
A neutral power in a particular war is a sovereign state which declares itself to be neutral towards the belligerents. A non-belligerent state does not need to be neutral. The rights and duties of a neutral power are defined in Sections 5 and 13 of the Hague Convention of 1907...

 in the struggle between Kublai and Ariq Böke, but after the defeat of the latter, freely acceded to Kublai's enthronement. However, some elites of the White Horde joined Ariq Böke's resistance.

One of the Jochid princes who joined Hulegu's army was accused of witchcraft and sorcery against Hulegu. After receiving permission from Berke, Hulegu executed him. After that two more Jochid princes died suspiciously. According to some Muslim sources, Hulegu refused to share his war booty with Berke in accordance with Genghis Khan's wish. Berke was a devoted Muslim who had close relationship with the Abbasid
Abbasid
The Abbasid Caliphate or, more simply, the Abbasids , was the third of the Islamic caliphates. It was ruled by the Abbasid dynasty of caliphs, who built their capital in Baghdad after overthrowing the Umayyad caliphate from all but the al-Andalus region....

 Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 Al-Musta'sim
Al-Musta'sim
Al-Musta'sim Billah was the last Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad; he ruled from 1242 until his death.-Biography:...

 who was killed by Hulegu in 1258. The Jochids believed that Hulegu's state eliminated their presence in the Transcaucasus. Those events increased the anger of Berke and the war between the Golden Horde and the Ilkhanate
Ilkhanate
The Ilkhanate, also spelled Il-khanate , was a Mongol khanate established in Azerbaijan and Persia in the 13th century, considered a part of the Mongol Empire...

 soon broke out in 1262.

In 1262 a rebellion erupted in Suzdal
Suzdal
Suzdal is a town in Vladimir Oblast, Russia, situated northeast of Moscow, from the city of Vladimir, on the Kamenka River. Population: -History:...

, killing Mongol darughachi
Darughachi
Darughachi, which originally designated officials in the Mongol Empire in charge of taxes and administration in a certain province, is the plural form of the Mongolian word darugha. They were sometimes referred to as governors...

s and tax-collectors. Only after Alexander Nevsky begged Berke not to punish the Russian people and the Vladimir-Suzdal
Vladimir-Suzdal
The Vladimir-Suzdal Principality or Vladimir-Suzdal Rus’ was one of the major principalities which succeeded Kievan Rus' in the late 12th century and lasted until the late 14th century. For a long time the Principality was a vassal of the Mongolian Golden Horde...

 cities agreed to send large sum of payments, did the Golden Horde abort its punitive expedition.

The increasing tension between Berke and Hulegu was a warning to the contingents belonging to the Golden Horde which had marched with Hulegu that they had better escape. One section reached the Kipchak Steppe, another traversed Khorasan
Negudar
Negudar was a Mongol general under Berke, and a Golden Horde Noyan. With many other Golden Horde generals, he embraced Islam in the late 13th century. He subsequently took the Muslim name of Ahmad Khan....

 and a third body took refuge in Mamluk
Mamluk
A Mamluk was a soldier of slave origin, who were predominantly Cumans/Kipchaks The "mamluk phenomenon", as David Ayalon dubbed the creation of the specific warrior...

 ruled Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 where they were well received by Sultan Baybars (1260–77). Hulegu harshly punished the rest of the Golden Horde army in Iran. Berke sought a joint attack with Baybars and forged an alliance with the Mamluks against Hulegu. The Golden Horde dispatched Nogai
Nogai Khan
Nogai , also called Isa Nogai, was a general and de facto ruler of the Golden Horde and a great-great-grandson of Genghis Khan. His grandfather was Baul/Teval Khan, the 7th son of Jochi...

 to invade the Ilkhanate but Hulegu forced him back in 1262. The Ilkhanids then crossed the Terek River, capturing an empty Jochid encampment, only to be routed in a surprise attack by Nogai's forces. Many of them were drowned as the ice broke on the frozen Terek River.

When the former Seljuk Sultan
Sultanate of Rûm
The Sultanate of Rum , also known as the Anatolian Seljuk State , was a Turkic state centered in in Anatolia, with capitals first at İznik and then at Konya. Since the court of the sultanate was highly mobile, cities like Kayseri and Sivas also functioned at times as capitals...

 Kaykaus II
Kaykaus II
Kaykaus II or Kayka'us II was the eldest of three sons of Kaykhusraw II. He was a youth at the time of his father’s death in 1246 and could do little to prevent the Mongol subjugation of Anatolia. For most of his tenure as the Seljuq Sultan of Rûm, he shared the throne with one or both of his...

 was arrested in the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, his younger brother Kayqubad II
Kayqubad II
Kayqubad II was the youngest of the three sons of the Seljuq Sultan of Rûm Kaykhusraw II. As son of the sultan’s favorite wife, the Georgian princess Tamar, he was designated heir. He had a weak constitution and was likely seven years old at the time of his father’s death in 1246, being born ca...

 appealed to Berke. An Egyptian envoy was also detained there. With the assistance of the Kingdom of Bulgaria
Second Bulgarian Empire
The Second Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state which existed between 1185 and 1396 . A successor of the First Bulgarian Empire, it reached the peak of its power under Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II before gradually being conquered by the Ottomans in the late 14th-early 15th century...

 (Berke's vassal) Nogai invaded the Empire in 1264 and released Kaykaus and his men. Berke gave Kaykaus appanage in Crimea and had him marry a Mongol woman. Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos
Michael VIII Palaiologos
Michael VIII Palaiologos or Palaeologus reigned as Byzantine Emperor 1259–1282. Michael VIII was the founder of the Palaiologan dynasty that would rule the Byzantine Empire until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453...

 signed a peace treaty with Berke Khan and was obliged to send tributes, and he married one of his daughters, Euphrosyne Palaiologina, to Nogai.

Ariq Böke had earlier placed Chagatai's grandson Alghu
Alghu
Alghu was a khan of the Chagatai Khanate . He was the son of Baidar and the grandson of Chagatai Khan.In 1260 he was appointed as head of the ulus of the Chagatai Khanate by the Great Khan claimant Ariq Böke, in opposition to the child khan Mubarak Shah and his mother Orghina...

 in charge of Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

. He took control of Samarkand
Samarkand
Although a Persian-speaking region, it was not united politically with Iran most of the times between the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire and the Arab conquest . In the 6th century it was within the domain of the Turkic kingdom of the Göktürks.At the start of the 8th century Samarkand came...

 and Bukhara. When the Muslim elites and the Jochid retainers in Bukhara
Bukhara
Bukhara , from the Soghdian βuxārak , is the capital of the Bukhara Province of Uzbekistan. The nation's fifth-largest city, it has a population of 263,400 . The region around Bukhara has been inhabited for at least five millennia, and the city has existed for half that time...

 declared their loyalty to Berke, Alghu smashed the Golden Horde appanages in Khorazm. The Chagatayid Khan Alghu insisted Hulegu attack Berke’s realm because he accused Berke of purging of his family in 1252. In Bukhara, he and Hulegu slaughtered all the retainers of the Golden Horde and reduced their families into slavery, leaving only the Great Khan Kublai’s men alive. After he threw his allegiance to Kublai, Alghu then declared war on Berke Khan, seizing Otrar
Otrar
Otrar or Utrar is a Central Asian ghost town that was a city located along the Silk Road near the current town of Karatau in Kazakhstan. Otrar was an important town in the history of Central Asia, situated on the borders of settled and agricultural civilizations...

 and Khorazm. Whilst the left bank of Khorazm would eventually be retaken, Berke had lost control over Transoxiana. In 1264 Berke marched to cross near Tiflis to fight against Hulegu's successor Abagha, but he died en route.

Batu's grandson Mengu-Timur
Mengu-Timur
Mengu-Timur or Möngke Temür , Son of Toqoqan Khan and Buka Ujin of Oirat and the grandson of Batu Khan. He was a khan of the Golden Horde in 1266-1280.His name literally means "Eternal Iron" in the Mongolian language....

 was nominated by Kublai and succeeded his uncle Berke. However, Mengu-Timur secretly supported the Ogedeid prince Kaidu
Kaidu
Kaidu was the leader of the House of Ogedei and the de facto khan of the Chagatai Khanate. He ruled part of modern-day Xinjiang and Central Asia during the 13th century, and actively opposed his uncle, Kublai Khan, who established the Yuan Dynasty in China until his death in 1301...

 against Kublai and the Ilkhanate. After the defeat of Baraq (Chagatai Khan)
Baraq (Chagatai Khan)
Baraq was a khan of the Chagatai Khanate. He was the son of Yesünto'a, and a grandson of Chagatai Khan. A convert to Islam, he took the name Ghiyas-ud-din.-Background:...

, a peace treaty was made among Mengu-Timur, Kaidu and him in c.1267. One-third of Transoxiana
Transoxiana
Transoxiana is the ancient name used for the portion of Central Asia corresponding approximately with modern-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, southern Kyrgystan and southwest Kazakhstan. Geographically, it is the region between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers...

 was granted to Kaidu and Mengu-Timur according to this peace treaty. In 1268, when a group of princes operating in Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 on Kublai's behalf mutinied and arrested two sons of the Qaghan (Great Khan), they sent them to Mengu-Timur. One of them, Nomoghan, favorite of Kublai, was located in the Crimea. Mengu-Timur might have struggled with Hulegu's successor Abagha for a brief period of time, but the Great Khan Kublai forced them to sign a peace treaty. He was allowed to take his share in Persia. Independently from the Khan, Nogai expressed his desire to ally with Baybars in 1271. Despite the fact that he was proposing a joint attack on Iran with the Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo)
Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo)
The Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt was the final independent Egyptian state prior to the establishment of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in 1805. It lasted from the overthrow of the Ayyubid Dynasty until the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517. The sultanate's ruling caste was composed of Mamluks, Arabised...

, Mengu-Timur congratulated Abagha when Baraq was defeated by the Ilkhan in 1270.

In 1267, Mengu-Timur issued a diploma -jarliq
Jarliq
In the Mongol Empire, Jarlig was one of three types of non-fundamental law pronouncements that had the effect of a regulation or ordinance, the other two being debter and bilig In the Mongol Empire, Jarlig (Mongolian: зарлиг; Russian: iarlyk, also transliterated yarlyk and the Tartar: yarligh)...

 to exempt Rus' clergy
Rus' Orthodox Church
Rus' Orthodox Church or Ruthenian Orthodox Church - the Ukrainian Orthodox Church during the existence of states: Kievan Rus', Kingdom of Rus' , Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Rus' and Samogitia. From name of Rus' or Ruthenia...

 from any taxation and gave to the Genoese
Republic of Genoa
The Most Serene Republic of Genoa |Ligurian]]: Repúbrica de Zêna) was an independent state from 1005 to 1797 in Liguria on the northwestern Italian coast, as well as Corsica from 1347 to 1768, and numerous other territories throughout the Mediterranean....

 and Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 exclusive rights to hold Caffa and Azov
Azov
-External links:** *...

. Some of Mengu-Timur's relatives converted to Christianity at the same time and settled among the Rus' people. Even though Nogai invaded the Orthodox Christian Byzantine Empire in 1271, the Khan sent his envoys to maintain friendly relationship with Michael VIII Palaiologos. He ordered the Grand prince of Rus to allow German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 merchants free travel through his lands. This gramota says:

"Mengu-Timur's word to Prince Yaroslav: give the German merchants way into your lands. From Prince Yaroslav to the people of Riga, to the great and the young, and to all: your way is clear through my lands; and who comes to fight, with them I do as I know; but for the merchant the way is clear."

This decree also allowed Novgorod's merchants travel throughout the Suzdal lands without restraint. Mengu-Timur was good as his words, when the Danes
Danes
Danish people or Danes are the nation and ethnic group that is native to Denmark, and who speak Danish.The first mention of Danes within the Danish territory is on the Jelling Rune Stone which mentions how Harald Bluetooth converted the Danes to Christianity in the 10th century...

 and the Livonian Knights attacked the north-western lands of the Rus
Rus' (region)
Rus' is an ethno-cultural region in Eastern Europe inhabited by Eastern Slavs. Historically, it comprises the northern part of Ukraine, the north-western part of Russia, Belarus and some eastern parts of Poland and Slovakia.The name comes from Old East Slavic , and remains the same in modern...

 in 1269, the Khan's great basqaq (darugachi), Amraghan, and many Mongols assisted the Russian army assembled by the Grand duke Yaroslav. The Germans
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 and the Danes were so cowed that they sent gifts to the Mongols and abandoned the region of Narva
Narva
Narva is the third largest city in Estonia. It is located at the eastern extreme point of Estonia, by the Russian border, on the Narva River which drains Lake Peipus.-Early history:...

. The Mongol Khan's authority extended to all Russian principalities and, in 1274-75, the census took place in all Rus' cities including Smolensk
Smolensk
Smolensk is a city and the administrative center of Smolensk Oblast, Russia, located on the Dnieper River. Situated west-southwest of Moscow, this walled city was destroyed several times throughout its long history since it was on the invasion routes of both Napoleon and Hitler. Today, Smolensk...

 and Vitebsk
Vitebsk
Vitebsk, also known as Viciebsk or Vitsyebsk , is a city in Belarus, near the border with Russia. The capital of the Vitebsk Oblast, in 2004 it had 342,381 inhabitants, making it the country's fourth largest city...

.

Dual khanship (1281-1299)


Mengu-Timur was succeeded in 1281 by his brother Töde Möngke, who was a Muslim. He made his peace with Kublai, returned his sons to him, and acknowledged his supremacy. Nogai and Köchü
Köchü
Köchü was the Khan of the White Horde between c.1280-1302. He was the eldest son of Sartaqtay and Qujiyan of the Qongirat and a grandson of Orda Khan....

, Khan of the White Horde and son of Orda Khan, also made peace with the Yuan Dynasty
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

 and the Ilkhanate. According to Mamluk historians, Töde Möngke sent the Mamluks a letter proposing to fight against their common enemy the unbelieving Ilkhanate. This indicates that he might have had an interest in Azerbaijan and Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 both of which were ruled by the Ilkhans.
At the same time, the influence of Nogai greatly increased in the Golden Horde. Backed by him, some of Rus' princes, such as Dmitry of Pereslavl
Dmitry of Pereslavl
Dmitry Alexandrovich was Grand Prince of Vladimir-Suzdal from 1276 until 1281 and then from 1283 until 1293.Dmitry was the second son of Alexander Nevsky. When his elder brother Vasily died young, Dmitry remained the chief heir to his illustrious father. As early as 1259, he was left by Alexander...

, refused to come to the court of the Khan in Sarai while Dmitry's brother Andrey of Gorodets
Andrey of Gorodets
Andrey III Alexandrovich was a Russian prince, son of Alexander Nevsky, who received from his father the town of Gorodets on the Volga. In 1276, he added Kostroma to his possessions and joined the struggle for Grand Duchy of Vladimir-Suzdal.In 1281 Andrey, joining the Mongol army, expelled his...

 sought assistance from Töde Möngke.

Nogai savagely raided Bulgaria and Lithuania in the 1270s. He blockaded Michael Asen II inside Drăstăr in 1279, executed the rebel emperor Ivailo in 1280, and forced George Terter I to seek refuge in the Byzantine Empire in 1292. In 1284 Saqchi
Isaccea
Isaccea is a small town in Tulcea County, in Dobruja, Romania, on the right bank of the Danube, 35 km north-west of Tulcea. According to the 2002 census, it has a population 5,374....

 came under the Mongol rule during the major invasion of Bulgaria and coins were struck in the Khan's name. Smilec became emperor of Bulgaria according to the wishes of Nogai Khan who helped his allies the Byzantines. Accordingly, the reign of Smilec has been considered the height of Mongol over-lordship in Bulgaria. Nogai compelled Stephen Uroš II Milutin of Serbia to accept the Mongol supremacy, and received his son, Dečanski, as hostage in 1287. Under his rule, the Vlachs
Vlachs
Vlach is a blanket term covering several modern Latin peoples descending from the Latinised population in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. English variations on the name include: Walla, Wlachs, Wallachs, Vlahs, Olahs or Ulahs...

, the Slavs and the Alans
Alans
The Alans, or the Alani, occasionally termed Alauni or Halani, were a group of Sarmatian tribes, nomadic pastoralists of the 1st millennium AD who spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian.-Name:The various forms of Alan —...

 and the Turco-Mongol
Turco-Mongol
Turko-Mongol is a modern designation for various nomads who were subjects of the Mongol Empire. Being progressively Turkicized in terms of language and identity following the Mongol conquests, they derived their ethnic and cultural origins from steppes of Central Asia...

s lived in what is modern day Moldavia
Moldavia
Moldavia is a geographic and historical region and former principality in Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester river...

.

After their failed but devastating invasion of Hungary in 1285, Nogai, Talabuga
Talabuga
Talabuga, Tulabuga, Talubuga or Telubuga was the khan of Golden Horde between 1287 and 1291. He was the son of Tartu and great-grandson of Batu Khan.He assumed the power in Golden Horde in 1287 with the help of Nogai Khan, but was dethroned 4 years later by the same, replaced by Tokhta.- European...

 and other noyan
Noyan
Noyan, noyon was a title of authority in the Mongol Empire and later periods...

s overthrew Töde Möngke because he was not an active Khan who was surrounded by clerics and sheikhs. Talabuga was elected as Khan and Töde Möngke was left to live in peace. In addition to his attack on Poland in 1287, Talabuga's army made unsuccessful attempts to invade the Ilkhanate in 1288 and 1290.

Nogai vowed to support Dmitry in his struggle for the grand ducal throne. On hearing about this, Andrey renounced his claims to Vladimir and Novgorod and returned to Gorodets
Gorodets
Gorodets is a town and the administrative center of Gorodetsky District of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russia, located on the left bank of the Volga River, northwest of Nizhny Novgorod...

. In 1285 Andrey again led a Mongol army under the Borjigin
Borjigin
Borjigin , also known as the Altan urug , were the imperial clan of Genghis Khan and his successors....

 prince to Russia, however, Dmitry expelled them. Under Nogai, the western part of the Horde and its vassals became de facto independent. During the punitive expedition against the Circassians, the Khan's suspicion of Nogai increased. When Talabuga challenged Nogai, who had established a de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

 independent ulus (district) in the westernmost part of the Horde, Nogai organized a coup, and replaced him with Toqta
Toqta
Tokhta was a khan of the Golden Horde, son of Mengu-Timur and great grandson of Batu Khan.His name "Tokhtokh" means "hold/holding" in the Mongolian language....

 in 1291.

Simultaneous with Dmitry's action, Mikhail Yaroslavich
Mikhail Yaroslavich
Mikhail Yaroslavich , also known as Michael of Tver or Michael the Saint, was a Prince of Tver who ruled as Grand Prince of Vladimir from 1304 until 1314 and again from 1315-1318...

 was summoned to appear before Nogai who was called Khan at the time instead of the legitimate Khan, Toqta, in Sarai, and Daniel of Moscow
Daniel of Moscow
Daniil Aleksandrovich was the youngest son of Alexander Nevsky and forefather of all the Grand Princes of Moscow....

 declined to come to Sarai. In 1293 Toqta sent a punitive expedition led by his brother, Tudaun (Dyeden in Russian chronicles), to Russia and Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

 to punish those stubborn subjects. The latter sacked fourteen major cities, finally forcing Dmitry to abdicate.
When the Bulgarian czar was expelled by a local boyar c.1295, the Mongols launched another invasion of Bulgaria to protect their protege.

Nogai's daughter married a son of Kublai's niece, Kelmish, who was wife of a Qongirat general of the Golden Horde. Nogai was angry with Kelmish's family when her Buddhist son despised his Muslim daughter. For this reason, he demanded Toqta send Kelmish's husband to him. Before that, Nogai's independent actions related to Rus' princes and foreign merchants had already annoyed the Khan. The Khan refused and declared war on Nogai. Toqta was defeated at the first battle between them. When the legitimate Khan Toqta tried for a second time, Nogai was killed in battle in 1299 at the Kagamlik, near the Dnieper. Toqta had his son stationed in Saqchi and along the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 as far as the Iron Gate. Nogai's son Chaka
Chaka of Bulgaria
Chaka reigned as emperor of Bulgaria from 1299 to 1300. The date of his birth is unknown.Chaka was the son of the Mongol leader Nogai Khan by a wife named Alaka. Sometime after 1285 Chaka married an unnamed daughter of George Terter I of Bulgaria...

 who had briefly made himself Emperor of Bulgaria was murdered by Theodore Svetoslav on the orders of Toqta.

After Mengu-Timur had passed away, rulers of the Golden Horde withdrew their support from Kaidu, the head of the House of Ogedei
House of Ogedei
The House of Ogedei, sometimes called the Ogedeids were an influential family of Mongol Borjigin from the 12th to 14th centuries. They were descended from Ogedei Khan , a son of Genghis Khan who had become his father's successor, second Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. Ogedei continued the...

. Kaidu tried to restore his influence in the Golden Horde by sponsoring his own candidate Kobeleg against Bayan (r.1299-1304), Khan of the White Horde. After taking military support from Toqta, Bayan asked help from the Great Khan and the Ilkhanate to organize a unified attack on the Mongol Khanates of Kaidu and his number two Duwa
Duwa
Duwa , also known as Du'a, was khan of the Chagatai Khanate . He was the second son of Baraq. He was the longest reigning monarch of the Chagatayid Khanate and accepted the Great Khan's supremacy...

. However, the Yuan court was unable to send quick military support.

General peace (1299-1312)



From 1300 to 1303 a very severe drought occurred in the areas surrounding the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

. Toqta allowed the remnants
Nogai Horde
The Nogai Horde was a confederation of about eighteen Turkic and Mongol tribes that occupied the Pontic-Caspian steppe from about 1500 until they were pushed west by the Kalmyks and south by the Russians in the 17th century. The Mongol tribe called the Manghits constituted a core of the Horde...

 of Nogai's followers to live in his lands. He demanded that the Ilkhan Ghazan and his successor Oljeitu give Azerbaijan back but was refused. Then he sought assistance from Egypt against the Ilkhanate. And Toqta made his man ruler in Ghazna, but he was expelled by its people. But thanks to Toqta's peace mission dispatched to the Ilkhan Gaykhatu
Gaykhatu
Gaykhatu was the fifth Ilkhanate ruler in Iran. He reigned from 1291 to 1295. During his reign, Gaykhatu was a noted dissolute who was addicted to wine, women, and sodomy...

 earlier in 1294, the period of peace inaugurated was to last mostly uninterruptedly, until 1318.

In 1304 ambassadors from Mongol rulers of Central Asia and the Yuan announced to Toqta their general peace proposal. Toqta immediately accepted Yuan emperor Temür Öljeytü's supremacy and all yams (postal relays)
Yam (route)
Yam is a supply point route messenger system employed and extensively used and expanded by Genghis Khan and used by subsequent Great Khans and Khans.Relay stations were used to give food, shelter and spare horses for Mongol armies messengers...

 and commercial networks across the Mongol khanates reopened. Toqta introduced the general peace among the Mongol khanates to Rus' princes at the assembly in Pereyaslavl
Principality of Pereyaslavl
The Principality of Pereslavl was a regional principality of Kievan Rus from the end of 9th to 1302 based on the city of Pereyaslavl on the Trubezh river. It was usually administrated by younger sons of the Grand Prince of Kiev...

. The Yuan influence seemed to have increased in Golden Horde as some of Toqta's coins carried 'Phags-pa script in addition to Mongolian script and Persian characters.

The Khan arrested the Italian residents of Sarai, and besieged Caffa in 1307. The cause was apparently Toqta's displeasure at the Genoese trade in his subjects who were mostly sold for soldiers to Egypt. The Genoese resisted for a year, but in 1308 set fire to their city and abandoned it. Relations between the Italians and the Golden Horde remained tense until Toqta's death.

The Khan was married to Mary, illegitimate daughter of the Byzantine Emperor, securing the Byzantine-Mongol alliance
Byzantine-Mongol alliance
A Byzantine–Mongol alliance occurred during the end of the 13th and the beginning of the 14th century between the Byzantine Empire and the Mongol Empire. Byzantium actually tried to maintain friendly relations with both the Golden Horde and the Ilkhanate realms, who were often at war with each other...

 after the defeat of Nogai. A report reached Western Europe that Toqta was highly favourable to the Christians. According to Muslim observers, however, Toqta remained an idol-worshiper (Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 and Tengerism) and showed favour to religious men of all faiths, though he preferred Muslims.

During the late reign of Toqta, tensions between princes of Tver and Moscow became violent. Toqta might have considered eliminating the special status of the Grand principality of Vladimir, placing all the Rus princes on the same level. Toqta decided to personally visit northern Russia, however he died while crossing the Volga in 1313.

Political evolution (1312-1359)


After Uzbeg
Uzbeg Khan
Sultan Mohammed Öz-Beg, better known as Uzbeg or Ozbeg , was the longest-reigning khan of the Golden Horde, under whose rule the state reached its zenith...

 (Öz-Beg) mounted the throne in 1313, he adopted Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 as the state religion
State religion
A state religion is a religious body or creed officially endorsed by the state...

. He proscribed Buddhism and Shamanism among the Mongols in Russia, thus reversing the spread of the Yuan culture. By 1315, Uzbeg had successfully Islamicized the Horde, killing Jochid princes and Buddhist lama
Lama
Lama is a title for a Tibetan teacher of the Dharma. The name is similar to the Sanskrit term guru .Historically, the term was used for venerated spiritual masters or heads of monasteries...

s who opposed his religious policy and succession of the throne.

Mohammed Uzbeg Khan continued the alliance with the Mamluks which Berke and his predecessors had begun. He kept a friendly relationship with the Mamluk Sultan and his shadow Caliph in Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

. After a long delay and much discussion, he married a princess of the blood to Al-Nasir Muhammad
Al-Nasir Muhammad
Al-Nasir Muhammad b. Cairo 1285, d...

, Sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

 of Egypt.

The Mongol rulers' Rus' policy was one of constantly switching alliances in an attempt to keep Russia and Eastern Europe weak and divided. With the assistance of Sarai, the Grand duke Mikhail Yaroslavich
Mikhail Yaroslavich
Mikhail Yaroslavich , also known as Michael of Tver or Michael the Saint, was a Prince of Tver who ruled as Grand Prince of Vladimir from 1304 until 1314 and again from 1315-1318...

 won the battle against the party in Novgorod in 1316. While Michael was asserting his authority, his rival Yury of Moscow
Yury of Moscow
Yuriy Danilovich, also known as Georgiy Danilovich was Prince of Moscow and Grand Prince of Vladimir ....

 ingratiated himself into the favor of Uzbeg so that he appointed him chief of the Rus' princes, and gave him his sister, Konchak, in marriage. Having been three years at Uzbeg's court, Yury returned with an army of Mongols and Mordvins. After he ravaged the villages of Tver
Tver
Tver is a city and the administrative center of Tver Oblast, Russia. Population: 403,726 ; 408,903 ;...

, Yury was defeated by Mikhail in December 1318, and his new wife and the Mongol general, Kawgady, were captured. While she stayed in Tver, Konchak, who converted to Christianity and adopted the name Agatha, died. Mikhail's rivals suggested to Uzbeg Khan that he had poisoned the Khan's sister and revolted against his rule. Mikahil was summoned to Sarai and executed on November 22, 1318. In 1322, Mikhail's son, Dmitry, seeking revenge for his father's murder, went to Sarai and persuaded the Khan that Yury had appropriated a large portion of the tribute due to the Horde. Yury was summoned to the Horde for a trial but, before any formal investigation, was killed by Dmitry. Eight months later, Dmitry was also executed in the Horde for his crime.

At first Uzbeg did not want to empower Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

. In 1327, Shevkal, the cousin of Uzbeg, arrived in Tver from the Horde, with a large retinue. They took up residence at Aleksander's palace. Rumors spread that Shevkal wanted to occupy the throne for himself and introduce Islam to the city. When, on 15 August 1327, the Mongols tried to take a horse from a deacon named Dyudko, he cried for help and a mob of furious people fell on the Tatars and killed them all. Shevkal and his remaining guards
Kheshig
Kheshig were the imperial guard for Mongol royalty in the Mongol Empire, particularly for the rulers like the Genghis Khan and his wife Borte. Their primary purpose was as a body guard for the emperors and rulers and to protect them during the day and night...

 were burnt alive. Thus Uzbeg Khan began backing Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 as the leading Russian state. Ivan I Kalita
Ivan I of Russia
Ivan I Danilovich Kalita was Prince of Moscow from 1325 and Grand Prince of Vladimir from 1328.-Biography:Ivan was the son of Prince of Moscow Daniil Aleksandrovich....

 was granted the title of grand prince
Grand Prince
The title grand prince or great prince ranked in honour below emperor and tsar and above a sovereign prince .Grand duke is the usual and established, though not literal, translation of these terms in English and Romance languages, which do not normally use separate words for a "prince" who reigns...

 and given the right to collect taxes from other Russian potentates. The Khan also sent Ivan at the head of an army of 50,000 soldiers to punish Tver. Aleksander was shown mercy in 1335, however, when Moscow requested that he and his son Feoder be quartered in Sarai by orders of the Khan on October 29, 1339.

Uzbeg whose total army exceeded 300,000 repeatedly raided Thrace, partly in service of Bulgaria's war against both Byzantium and Serbia from 1319 on. The Byzantine Empire of Andronikos II Palaiologos
Andronikos II Palaiologos
Andronikos II Palaiologos , Latinized as Andronicus II Palaeologus, was Byzantine emperor from 1282 to 1328. He was the eldest surviving son of Michael VIII Palaiologos and Theodora Doukaina Vatatzina, grandniece of John III Doukas Vatatzes...

 was raided by the Golden Horde between 1320 and 1341, until the Byzantine port of Vicina Macaria was occupied, though Uzbeg married his daughter who had fled later. His armies pillaged Thrace for forty days in 1324 and for fifteen days in 1337,taking 300,000 captives. However, his attempt to reassert Mongol control over Serbia was unsuccessful in 1330. Backed by Uzbeg, Basarab I of Wallachia
Basarab I of Wallachia
Basarab I the Founder was voivode or prince of Wallachia . His rise seems to have taken place in the context of the war between the Kingdom of Hungary and the Orthodox states in the north of the Balkan Peninsula...

 declared an independent state from the Hungarian crown in 1330.

Uzbeg allowed the Genoese to settle in Crimea after his accession. But the Mongols sacked Sudak
Sudak
Sudak or Sudaq is a small historic town located in Crimea, Ukraine situated to the west of Feodosiya and to the east of Simferopol, the capital of Crimea...

 under the Khan in 1322 when the Christians defied the Muslims in the city. The Genoese merchants in the other towns were not molested. Pope John XXII
Pope John XXII
Pope John XXII , born Jacques Duèze , was pope from 1316 to 1334. He was the second Pope of the Avignon Papacy , elected by a conclave in Lyon assembled by Philip V of France...

 requested Uzbeg to restore Roman Catholic churches destroyed in the region. Thus, the Khan signed a new trade treaty with the Genoese in 1339 and allowed them to rebuild the walls of Kaffa. In 1332 he had allowed the Venetians to establish a colony at Tanais on the Don
Don River (Russia)
The Don River is one of the major rivers of Russia. It rises in the town of Novomoskovsk 60 kilometres southeast from Tula, southeast of Moscow, and flows for a distance of about 1,950 kilometres to the Sea of Azov....

. A decree, issued probably by Mengu-Timur, allowing the Franciscans to proselytize, was renewed by Uzbeg in 1314.
The Golden Horde invaded the Ilkhanate under Abu Sa'id
Abu Sa'id (Ilkhanid dynasty)
Abu Sa'id also Abusaid Bahador Khan, Abu Sayed Behauder , was the ninth ruler of the Ilkhanate state in Iran ....

 in 1318, 1324 and 1335, during his reign. His ally Al-Nasir refused to attack Abu Sa'id because the Ilkhan and the Mamluk Sultan signed a peace treaty in 1323. In 1326 Uzbeg reopened friendly relations with the Empire of the Great Khan and began to send tributes thereafter. From 1339 he received annually 24,000 ding in Yuan paper currency from the Jochid appanage
Appanage
An apanage or appanage or is the grant of an estate, titles, offices, or other things of value to the younger male children of a sovereign, who would otherwise have no inheritance under the system of primogeniture...

s in China. When the Ilkhanate collapsed after Abu Sa'id's death, its senior-bey
Bey
Bey is a title for chieftain, traditionally applied to the leaders of small tribal groups. Accoding to some sources, the word "Bey" is of Turkish language In historical accounts, many Turkish, other Turkic and Persian leaders are titled Bey, Beg, Bek, Bay, Baig or Beigh. They are all the same word...

s approached Uzbeg in their desperation to find a leader, but the latter declined after consulting with his senior emir, Qutluq Timür.

When in 1323 Gediminas also gained control of Kiev and installed there as prince his brother Fedor
Fiodor of Kiev
Fiodor of Kiev , was a prince of Kiev. He was the son of Butvydas, and a younger brother of Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania. Only a couple of short notes survive regarding Fiodor's life....

, there was no question of discontinuing the principality's tribute to the Khan. The Lithuanians under Fedor on a campaign a few years later included the Khan's basqaq in their entourage.

Under Uzbeg and his successor Janibeg (1342–1357), Islam, which among some of the Turks in Eurasia had deep roots going back into pre-Mongol times, gained general acceptance, though its adherents remained tolerant of other beliefs. In order to successfully expand Islam, he built a mosque and other "elaborate places;" requiring baths—an important element of Muslim culture. Sarai attracted merchants from other countries. The slave trade flourished due to strengthening ties with the Mamluk Sultanate. Growth of wealth and increasing need of products always produce population growth, and so it was with Sarai. Housing in the region increased. This transformed the capital into the center of a large Muslim Sultanate.

Janibek sponsored the joint Mongol-Rus military expeditions against Lithuania and Poland. In 1344 his army marched
once more against Poland with auxiliaries from Galicia–Volhynia, as Volhynia was part of Lithuania. However, in 1349, after the occupation of Galicia–Volhynia by the Polish-Hungarian force, the Kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia was finally conquered and incorporated in Poland. This act put an end to the relationship of vassalage between Galicia–Volhynia Rus' and the Golden Horde. All khanates of the Mongol Empire faced an serious disaster at that time like the rest of the old world.

The Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 of the 1340s was a major factor contributing to the Golden Horde's economic downfall. Janibeg abandoned his father's Balkan ambitions, and backed Moscow against Lithuania and Poland. He also asserted Jochid dominance over the Chagatai Khanate, and conquered Tabriz
Tabriz
Tabriz is the fourth largest city and one of the historical capitals of Iran and the capital of East Azerbaijan Province. Situated at an altitude of 1,350 meters at the junction of the Quri River and Aji River, it was the second largest city in Iran until the late 1960s, one of its former...

, ending the Chobanid
Chupanids
The Chobanids or the Chupanids , were descendants of a Mongol family of the Suldus clan that came to prominence in 14th century Persia. At first serving under the Ilkhans, they took de facto control of the territory after the fall of the Ilkhanate...

 rule there in 1356. After accepting the surrender of the Jalayirids
Jalayirids
The Jalayirids were a Mongol Jalayir dynasty which ruled over Iraq and western Persia after the breakup of the Mongol Khanate of Persia in the 1330s....

, Janibeg boasted that three uluses of the Mongol Empire were under his control. The Polish King, Casimir III the Great, submitted to the Horde and undertook to pay tribute in order to avoid more conflicts. The seven Mongol princes were sent by Janibeg to assist Poland. Following his subsequent assassination, the Golden Horde quickly lost Azerbaijan to the Jalayir king Shaikh Uvais
Shaikh Uvais
Shaikh Uvais, also known as Uways or Oways , was a Jalayirid ruler of Iraq and Azerbaijan . He was the son of Hasan Buzurg and the Chobanid Delsad Katun.-Life:...

 in 1357.

Great troubles (1359-1381)


Following the assassination of Berdibek by his brother in 1359, the Khanate sank into prolonged internecine war, in which sometimes as many as four Khans vied for recognition by the emir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

s and for possession of major cities like Sarai, Qirim, and Azaq. After the overthrow of their nominal suzerain Yuan
Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty , or Great Yuan Empire was a ruling dynasty founded by the Mongol leader Kublai Khan, who ruled most of present-day China, all of modern Mongolia and its surrounding areas, lasting officially from 1271 to 1368. It is considered both as a division of the Mongol Empire and as an...

 Emperor Toghan Temur, the Golden Horde lost touch with Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

 and China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. White Horde descendants of Orda and Tuqa-Timur carried on generally free from trouble until the late 1370s. Urus Khan
Urus Khan
Urus Khan was the eighth Khan of the White Horde, and a disputable Khan of the Blue Horde, he was a direct descendant of Genghis Khan. Urus himself is the direct ancestor of khans of the Kazakh Khanate.- Ancestor of Urus :...

 of the White Horde took Sarai and reunited most of the Horde from Khorazm to Desht-i-Kipchak in 1375.
By the 1380s, Shaybanids
Shaybanids
The Shaybanids were a Persianized dynasty of Mongolian origin in central Asia. They were the patrilineal descendants of Shiban, the fifth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. Until the mid-14th century, they acknowledged the authority of the descendants of Batu Khan and Orda Khan, such as...

, Muscovites
Grand Duchy of Moscow
The Grand Duchy of Moscow or Grand Principality of Moscow, also known in English simply as Muscovy , was a late medieval Rus' principality centered on Moscow, and the predecessor state of the early modern Tsardom of Russia....

, and Qashan attempted to break free of the Khan's power. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a European state from the 12th /13th century until 1569 and then as a constituent part of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1791 when Constitution of May 3, 1791 abolished it in favor of unitary state. It was founded by the Lithuanians, one of the polytheistic...

 profited from this situation and pushed deeper into the Golden Horde territory than any previous expedition and the Grand Duke Algirdas
Algirdas
Algirdas was a monarch of medieval Lithuania. Algirdas ruled the Grand Duchy of Lithuania from 1345 to 1377, which chiefly meant monarch of Lithuanians and Ruthenians...

 defeated forces of Murad Khan at the battle of Blue Waters
Battle of Blue Waters
The Battle of Blue Waters was a medieval battle fought at some time between 24 September and 25 December 1362 near the Syni Vody of the Southern Bug between the armies of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Golden Horde....

 c.1362.

In western Pontic steppe, Mamai
Mamai
Mamai of Borjigin kin, was a powerful military commander of the Blue Horde in the 1370s which is now the Southern Ukrainian Steppes and the Crimean Peninsula....

, a Tatar general who was a king-maker, attempted to reassert Tatar authority over Russia. His army was defeated by the Grand prince Dmitri Donskoi
Dmitri Donskoi
Saint Dmitry Ivanovich Donskoy , or Dmitry of the Don, sometimes referred to as Dmitry I , son of Ivan II the Meek of Moscow , reigned as the Prince of Moscow from 1359 and Grand Prince of Vladimir from 1363 to his death. He was the first prince of Moscow to openly challenge Mongol authority in...

 at the battle of Kulikovo
Battle of Kulikovo
The Battle of Kulikovo was a battle between Tatar Mamai and Muscovy Dmitriy and portrayed by Russian historiography as a stand-off between Russians and the Golden Horde. However, the political situation at the time was much more complicated and concerned the politics of the Northeastern Rus'...

 in his second consecutive victory over the Tatars in 1380. While preparing another invasion of Moscow, Mamai faced a greater challenge from the east. In 1379, Tokhtamysh
Tokhtamysh
Tokhtamysh was the prominent khan of the White Horde, who briefly unified the White Horde and Blue Horde subdivisions of the Golden Horde into a single state. He was a descendant of Genghis Khan's eldest grandson, Orda Khan or his brother Tuqa-Timur...

, a kinsman of Urus Khan, won leadership of the White Horde with the assistance of Tamerlane. After that he defeated Mamai, and annexed the territory of the Blue Horde, briefly reestablishing the Golden Horde as a dominant regional power in 1381.

A brief reunion (1381-1419)



After Mamai's defeat, Tokhtamysh restored the dominance of the Golden Horde over Russia by attacking Russian lands in 1382. He besieged Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 on August 23, but Muscovites beat off his attack, using firearm
Firearm
A firearm is a weapon that launches one, or many, projectile at high velocity through confined burning of a propellant. This subsonic burning process is technically known as deflagration, as opposed to supersonic combustion known as a detonation. In older firearms, the propellant was typically...

s for the first time in Russian history. On August 26, two sons of Tokhtamysh's supporter Dmitry of Suzdal
Dmitry of Suzdal
Dmitri Konstantinovich of Suzdal was a powerful Prince of Suzdal and Nizhny Novgorod who dominated Russian politics during the minority of his son-in-law, Dmitri Donskoi...

, dukes of Suzdal and Nizhny Novgorod Vasily and Semyon, who were present in Tokhtamysh's forces, persuaded the Muscovites to open the city gates
City Gates
-Track listing:# "Mingus Metamorphosis" 13:20# "Samba For Now" – 8:31# "Thank You Very Much Mr. Monk" – 7:57# "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" – 5:18# "City Gates" – 7:56...

, promising that their forces would not harm the city. This allowed Tokhtamysh's troops to burst in and destroy Moscow, killing 24,000 people. He also crushed the army of the Lithuanians at Poltava
Poltava
Poltava is a city in located on the Vorskla River in central Ukraine. It is the administrative center of the Poltava Oblast , as well as the surrounding Poltava Raion of the oblast. Poltava's estimated population is 298,652 ....

 in the next year. Władysław II Jagiełło, Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland, accepted his supremacy and agreed to pay tribute in turn for a grant of Rus' territory. For another century, Russia was forced back under the Tatar yoke.

Elated by his success, Tokhtamysh invaded Azerbaijan, Khorazm, and Transoxiana, parts of Tamerlane's empire. War was declared against him by the Timurids. A fatal blow to the Horde was dealt by Tamerlane, who annihilated Tokhtamysh's army, destroyed his capital, looted the Crimean trade centers, and deported the most skillful craftsmen to his own capital in Samarkand
Samarkand
Although a Persian-speaking region, it was not united politically with Iran most of the times between the disintegration of the Seleucid Empire and the Arab conquest . In the 6th century it was within the domain of the Turkic kingdom of the Göktürks.At the start of the 8th century Samarkand came...

 in 1395-96.
When Tokhtamysh fled, Urus Khan's grandson, Temur Qutlugh
Temur Qutlugh
Temür Qutlugh was a khan of Golden Horde in 1397–1399. He was a son of Timur-Malik, khan of the White Horde, who struggled against Toqtamysh. After the death of Temur Malik in 1379 Qutlugh was reared at Toqtamysh's court. After an unsuccessful revolt against Toqtamysh in 1388, he, along with...

, was chosen Khan in Sarai, and Koirijak was appointed sovereign of the White Horde by Timur.

Tokhtamysh escaped to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and asked Vytautas for assistance in retaking the Horde in exchange for surrendering his suzerainity over Rus' lands. The alliance of Tokhtamysh and Vytautas was defeated by the Khan Temur Qutlugh and his emir Edigu
Edigu
Edigu was a Mongol emir of the White Horde who founded the new political entity, which came to be known as the Nogai Horde....

 at the battle of the Vorskla River
Battle of the Vorskla River
The Battle of the Vorskla River was a great battle in the medieval history of Eastern Europe. It was fought on August 12, 1399, between the Tatars, under Edigu and Temur Qutlugh, and the armies of Tokhtamysh and Grand Duke Vytautas of Lithuania...

 in 1399. The trade routes never recovered from Timur's destruction, and Toqtamish died in obscurity in 1405.

Edigu forced the Grand Prince of Moscow
Grand Prince of Moscow
This is a list of Princes and Grand Princes of Russian Grand Duchy of Moscow.Note: the first 3 Princes are not members of the family of Daniel of Russia and their ownership of Moscow is disputed.- Princes of Moscow :* Vladimir Yuryevich This is a list of Princes and Grand Princes of Russian Grand...

 to accept the Khan's supremacy in 1408. Seeing Tatar commoners selling their children into slavery as damaging to both the manpower and the prestige of the Golden Horde's army, Edigu and his puppet Khan prohibited the slave trade at a kurultai. Despite some rebellions of Genghisid princes, he could keep the Horde united until 1410 when he was expelled to Central Asia. While he was absent, Jalal ad-Din khan
Jalal ad-Din khan
Jalal ad-Din was the khan of the Golden Horde in 1411–1412. He was the son of Tokhtamysh Khan. He is also famous for his written history of the Mongol Empire....

 briefly took the throne after he participated in the battle of Grunwald
Battle of Grunwald
The Battle of Grunwald or 1st Battle of Tannenberg was fought on 15 July 1410, during the Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War. The alliance of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, led respectively by King Jogaila and Grand Duke Vytautas , decisively defeated the Teutonic Knights, led...

. Edigu returned to the Horde and set up his ordo in Crimea, challenging the sons of Tokhtamysh before his murder in 1419.

Disintegration (1420-1480)


After 1419, Olug Moxammat became Khan of the Golden Horde. However, his authority was limited to the lower banks of the Volga where Tokhtamysh's other son Kepek reigned. Together with the Khan claimant Dawlat Berdi
Dawlat Berdi
Dawlat Berdi , also known as Devlet Berdi, was a Khan of the Golden Horde who reigned from 1419 to 1421, and again from 1428 to his death in 1432. He was the son of Jabbar Berdi and a descendant of Berke Khan....

, they were beaten by Baraq
Baraq (Khan of Golden Horde)
Baraq was Khan of the Golden Horde from 1422 to 1427. His father was Koirichak, grandson of Urus Khan who was also descendant of Genghis Khan. He took support from Ulugh Beg, the Timurid khan, and in 1422 he dethroned Kepek, Olugh Mokhammad as well as Dawlat Berdi, khans of the Golden Horde. And...

 of the Uzbeks in 1421. The latter was assassinated in 1427 and Olug Moxammat reenthroned. The Lithuanian monarch Svitrigaila
Švitrigaila
Švitrigaila Švitrigaila Švitrigaila (ca 1370 – 10 February 1452; was the Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1430 to 1432. He spent most of his life in largely unsuccessful dynastic struggles against his cousins Vytautas and Sigismund Kęstutaitis.-Struggle against Vytautas:...

 supported Olugh Moxammat's rival Sayid Ahmad I
Sayid Ahmad I
Sayid Ahmad I was a khan of the Golden Horde from 1427 or 1433 until his death in 1435. Unlike the last five of six khans, Ahmad was not a descendant of Tokhtamysh but Timur-Malik, a cousin of Tokhtamysh.-Breakup of the Horde:...

, who in 1433 gained the Golden Horde throne. Vasili II of Russia also supported Sayid Ahmad in order to weaken Olugh Moxammat who established the Khanate of Kazan
Khanate of Kazan
The Khanate of Kazan was a medieval Tatar state which occupied the territory of former Volga Bulgaria between 1438 and 1552. Its khans were the patrilineal descendants of Toqa Temür, the thirteenth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. The khanate covered contemporary Tatarstan, Mari El,...

 and made Moscow a tributary. Sayid supported Švitrigaila
Švitrigaila
Švitrigaila Švitrigaila Švitrigaila (ca 1370 – 10 February 1452; was the Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1430 to 1432. He spent most of his life in largely unsuccessful dynastic struggles against his cousins Vytautas and Sigismund Kęstutaitis.-Struggle against Vytautas:...

 during the Lithuanian Civil War (1431–1435).

The Horde (Great Horde
Great Horde
- Dissolution of the Golden Horde :The peripheral regions of the Golden Horde broke off as follows: 1438: Kazan Khanate, 1441: Crimean Khanate, 1466: Astrakhan Khanate The remnant, which became known as the Great Horde, was left with the steppe between the Dnieper and Yaik, the capital Sarai and a...

) broke up into separate Khanate
Khanate
Khanate, or Chanat, is a Turco-Mongol-originated word used to describe a political entity ruled by a Khan. In modern Turkish, the word used is kağanlık, and in modern Azeri of the republic of Azerbaijan, xanlıq. In Mongolian the word khanlig is used, as in "Khereidiin Khanlig" meaning the Khanate...

s:
  1. Qasim Khanate
    Qasim Khanate
    Qasim Khanate or Kingdom of Qasim was a Tatar territorial formation , vassal of Russia, which existed from 1452 till 1681 in the territory of modern Ryazan Oblast in Russia with its capital Kasimov, in the middle stream of the Oka River...

    ,
  2. Khanate of Kazan
    Khanate of Kazan
    The Khanate of Kazan was a medieval Tatar state which occupied the territory of former Volga Bulgaria between 1438 and 1552. Its khans were the patrilineal descendants of Toqa Temür, the thirteenth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. The khanate covered contemporary Tatarstan, Mari El,...

    ,
  3. Khanate of Astrakhan,
  4. Kazakh Khanate
    Kazakh Khanate
    Kazakh Khanate was a Kazakh state that existed in 1456-1847, located roughly on the territory of present-day Republic of Kazakhstan.-History:...

    ,
  5. Uzbek Khanate,
  6. Khanate of Crimea,
  7. Siberia Khanate
    Siberia Khanate
    The Khanate of Sibir were the patrilineal descendants of Shayban , the fifth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. The Khanate had an ethnically diverse population of Siberian Tatars, Khanty, Mansi, Nenets and Selkup people. Along with the Khanate of Kazan it was the northernmost Muslim state....

    ,
  8. Nogai Horde
    Nogai Horde
    The Nogai Horde was a confederation of about eighteen Turkic and Mongol tribes that occupied the Pontic-Caspian steppe from about 1500 until they were pushed west by the Kalmyks and south by the Russians in the 17th century. The Mongol tribe called the Manghits constituted a core of the Horde...

    .

In the summer of 1470 (other sources give 1469), the last prominent Khan, Ahmed, organized an attack against Moldavia
Moldavia
Moldavia is a geographic and historical region and former principality in Eastern Europe, corresponding to the territory between the Eastern Carpathians and the Dniester river...

, the Kingdom of Poland
Kingdom of Poland (1385–1569)
The Kingdom of Poland of the Jagiellons was the Polish state created by the accession of Jogaila , Grand Duke of Lithuania, to the Polish throne in 1386. The Union of Krewo or Krėva Act, united Poland and Lithuania under the rule of a single monarch...

, and Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

. By August 20, the Moldavian forces under Stephen the Great defeated the Tatars at the battle of Lipnic
Battle of Lipnic
The Battle of Lipnic was a battle between the Moldavian forces under Stephen the Great, and the Volga Tatars of the Golden Horde led by Khan Mamak, and which took place on the August 20, 1470.-The battle:...

.

In 1474 and 1476, Ahmed insisted that Ivan III should recognize Russia's vassal dependence on the Horde. However, the correlation of forces was not in the Horde's favor. In 1480, Ahmed organized another military campaign against Moscow, which would result in the Horde's failure
Great standing on the Ugra river
The Great Standoff on the Ugra river The Great Standoff on the Ugra river The Great Standoff on the Ugra river ( in Russian, also (Ugorschina in English, derived from Ugra) was a standoff between the forces of Akhmat, Khan of the Great Horde, and the Grand Prince Ivan III of Russia in 1480, which...

. Russia finally freed itself from the Horde, thus ending over 250 years of Tatar-Mongol control. On 6 January 1481, the Khan was killed by Ibak Khan
Ibak Khan
Ibak Khan was a Shaybanid khan of Sibir about whom the sources are contradictory. He is also called Abak, Ivak, Ibaq, Khan of Tyumen, and Said Ibrakhim Khan....

, the prince of Tyumen, and Nogays at the mouth of the Donets River.

Fall (1480-1502)



The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
Grand Duchy of Lithuania
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania was a European state from the 12th /13th century until 1569 and then as a constituent part of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth until 1791 when Constitution of May 3, 1791 abolished it in favor of unitary state. It was founded by the Lithuanians, one of the polytheistic...

 (which possessed much of the Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 at the time) were attacked in 1487-1491 by the remains of the Golden Horde. They reached as far as Lublin
Lublin
Lublin is the ninth largest city in Poland. It is the capital of Lublin Voivodeship with a population of 350,392 . Lublin is also the largest Polish city east of the Vistula river...

 in eastern Poland before being decisively beaten at Zaslavl.

The Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate
Crimean Khanate, or Khanate of Crimea , was a state ruled by Crimean Tatars from 1441 to 1783. Its native name was . Its khans were the patrilineal descendants of Toqa Temür, the thirteenth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan...

 became a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in 1475 and subjugated what remained of the Great Horde, sacking Sarai in 1502. After seeking refuge in Lithuania, Sheikh Ahmed, last Khan of the Horde, died in prison in Kovno some time after 1504.

The Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars
Crimean Tatars or Crimeans are a Turkic ethnic group that originally resided in Crimea. They speak the Crimean Tatar language...

 wreaked havoc in southern Russia, Ukraine and even Poland in the course of the 16th and early 17th centuries, but they were not able to defeat Russia or take Moscow. Under Ottoman protection, the Khanate of Crimea continued its precarious existence until Catherine the Great
Catherine II of Russia
Catherine II, also known as Catherine the Great , Empress of Russia, was born in Stettin, Pomerania, Prussia on as Sophie Friederike Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst-Dornburg...

 annexed it on April 8, 1783. It was by far the longest-lived of the successor states to the Golden Horde.

Geography and society



Genghis Khan assigned four Mongol mingghans: the Sanchi'ud (or Salji'ud), Keniges, Uushin, and Je'ured clans to Jochi. By the beginning of the 14-th century, noyan
Noyan
Noyan, noyon was a title of authority in the Mongol Empire and later periods...

s from the Sanchi'ud, Hongirat
Onggirat
The Hongirat , also known as Qongirat is a Central Asian tribe, one of the major divisions of the Mongols. Variations on the name include Onggirat, Wangjila , Yongjilie , and Guangjila in Chinese sources and Ongrat or Kungrat in Turkish.The original pastures of the Hongirats were in eastern...

, Ongud
Ongud
The Öngüd, or Öngüt, or Ongot were a Mongolic tribe, active in Mongolia around the time of Genghis Khan . Many members were Nestorian Christians. They lived in an area lining the Chinese Great Wall, in the northern part of the Ordos and territories to the northeast of it...

 (Arghun), Keniges, Jajirad, Besud, Oirat, and Je'ured clans held importants positions at the court or elsewehere. There existed four mingghans (4,000) of the Jalayir
Jalayir
Jalayir is one of the Darliqin Mongol tribes according to Rashid-al-Din Hamadani's Jami' al-tawarikh. After the Mongol conquest in the 13th century many Jalayirs spread over Central Asia and the Middle East. Jalayirs are one of the founding tribes of Mongolia's largest ethnic group Khalkha....

 in the left wing of the Ulus of Jochi (Golden Horde).

The population of the Golden Horde were largely a mixture of Turks
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 and Mongols
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

 who adopted Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 later. Most of the Horde's population was Turkic: Kypchaks, Volga Tatars
Volga Tatars
The Volga Tatars are the largest subgroup of the Tatars, native to the Volga region.They account for roughly six out of seven million Tatars worldwide....

, Khwarezm
Khwarezm
Khwarezm, or Chorasmia, is a large oasis region on the Amu Darya river delta in western Central Asia, which borders to the north the Aral Sea, to the east the Kyzylkum desert, to the south the Karakum desert and to the west the Ustyurt Plateau...

ians, and others. The Horde was gradually Turkified and lost its Mongol identity, while the descendants of Batu's original Mongol warriors constituted the upper class. They were commonly named the Tatars
Tatars
Tatars are a Turkic speaking ethnic group , numbering roughly 7 million.The majority of Tatars live in the Russian Federation, with a population of around 5.5 million, about 2 million of which in the republic of Tatarstan.Significant minority populations are found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,...

by the Russians and Europeans. Russians preserved this common name for this group down to the 20th century. Whereas most members of this group identified themselves by their ethnic or tribal names, some also considered themselves to be Muslims. Most of the population, both agricultural and nomadic, adopted the Kypchak language
Kipchak language
The Kipchak language is an extinct Turkic language of the Kipchak group.The descendants of the Kipchak language include the majority of Turkic languages spoken in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus today, as Kipchak was used as a lingua franca in Golden Horde–ruled lands.Kazakhs are remnants of...

, which developed into the regional languages of Kypchak groups after the Horde disintegrated.

The descendants of Batu ruled the Golden Horde from Sarai Batu and later Sarai Berke, controlling an area ranging from the Volga River
Volga River
The Volga is the largest river in Europe in terms of length, discharge, and watershed. It flows through central Russia, and is widely viewed as the national river of Russia. Out of the twenty largest cities of Russia, eleven, including the capital Moscow, are situated in the Volga's drainage...

 and the Carpathian mountains
Carpathian Mountains
The Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians are a range of mountains forming an arc roughly long across Central and Eastern Europe, making them the second-longest mountain range in Europe...

 to the mouth of the Danube River. The descendants of Orda ruled the area from the Ural River
Ural River
The Ural or Jayıq/Zhayyq , known as Yaik before 1775, is a river flowing through Russia and Kazakhstan. It arises in the southern Ural Mountains and ends at the Caspian Sea. Its total length is 1,511 mi making it the third longest river in Europe after the Volga and the Danube...

 to Lake Balkhash
Lake Balkhash
Lake Balkhash is one of the largest lakes in Asia and 12th largest continental lake in the world. It is located in southeastern Kazakhstan, in Central Asia, and belongs to an endorheic basin shared by Kazakhstan and China, with a small part in Kyrgyzstan. The basin drains into the lake via seven...

. Censuses recorded Chinese
Chinese people
The term Chinese people may refer to any of the following:*People with Han Chinese ethnicity ....

 living quarters in the Tatar parts of Novgorod, Tver
Tver
Tver is a city and the administrative center of Tver Oblast, Russia. Population: 403,726 ; 408,903 ;...

 and Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

.

Internal organization


The Golden Horde's elites were descended from four Mongol clans, Qiyat, Manghut, Sicivut and Qonqirat. Their supreme ruler was the Khan
Khan (title)
Khan is an originally Altaic and subsequently Central Asian title for a sovereign or military ruler, widely used by medieval nomadic Turko-Mongol tribes living to the north of China. 'Khan' is also seen as a title in the Xianbei confederation for their chief between 283 and 289...

, chosen by the kurultai
Kurultai
Kurultai is a political and military council of ancient Mongol and Turkic chiefs and khans. The root of the word "Khural" means political "meeting" or "assembly" in the Mongolian language, it is also a verb for "to be established"...

among Batu Khan
Batu Khan
Batu Khan was a Mongol ruler and founder of the Ulus of Jochi , the sub-khanate of the Mongol Empire. Batu was a son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. His ulus was the chief state of the Golden Horde , which ruled Rus and the Caucasus for around 250 years, after also destroying the armies...

's descendants. The prime minister, also ethnically Mongol, was known as "prince of princes", or beklare-bek. The ministers were called vizier
Vizier
A vizier or in Arabic script ; ; sometimes spelled vazir, vizir, vasir, wazir, vesir, or vezir) is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in a Muslim government....

s
. Local governors, or basqaqs, were responsible for levying taxes and dealing with popular discontent. Civil and military administration, as a rule, were not separate.

The Horde developed as a sedentary rather than nomadic culture, with Sarai evolving into a large, prosperous metropolis. In the early 14th century, the capital was moved considerably upstream to Sarai Berqe, which became one of the largest cities of the medieval world, with 600,000 inhabitants.

Despite Russian efforts at proselytizing in Sarai
Krutitsy
Krutitsy Metochion , full name: Krutitsy Patriarchal Metochion is an operating ecclesiastical estate of Russian Orthodox Church, located in Tagansky District of Moscow, Russia, 3 kilometers south-east from the Kremlin. The name Krutitsy , i.e. steep river banks, originally meant the hills...

, the Mongols clung to their traditional animist
Animism
Animism refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle....

 or shamanist beliefs until Uzbeg Khan
Uzbeg Khan
Sultan Mohammed Öz-Beg, better known as Uzbeg or Ozbeg , was the longest-reigning khan of the Golden Horde, under whose rule the state reached its zenith...

 (1312–41) adopted Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 as a state religion. Several rulers of Kievan Rus - Mikhail of Chernigov and Mikhail of Tver among them - were reportedly assassinated in Sarai, but the Khans were generally tolerant and even released the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 from paying taxes.

Vassals and allies



The Horde exacted tax payments from its subject peoples - Rus' people, Armenians
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

, Georgians
Georgians
The Georgians are an ethnic group that have originated in Georgia, where they constitute a majority of the population. Large Georgian communities are also present throughout Russia, European Union, United States, and South America....

, Circassians, Alans
Alans
The Alans, or the Alani, occasionally termed Alauni or Halani, were a group of Sarmatian tribes, nomadic pastoralists of the 1st millennium AD who spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian.-Name:The various forms of Alan —...

, Crimea
Crimea
Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

n Greeks
Pontic Greeks
The Pontians are an ethnic group traditionally living in the Pontus region, the shores of Turkey's Black Sea...

, Crimean Goths
Crimean Goths
Crimean Goths were those Gothic tribes who remained in the lands around the Black Sea, especially in Crimea. They were the least-powerful, least-known, and almost paradoxically, the longest-lasting of the Gothic communities...

, and others (Bulgarians
Bulgarians
The Bulgarians are a South Slavic nation and ethnic group native to Bulgaria and neighbouring regions. Emigration has resulted in immigrant communities in a number of other countries.-History and ethnogenesis:...

, Vlachs
Vlachs
Vlach is a blanket term covering several modern Latin peoples descending from the Latinised population in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. English variations on the name include: Walla, Wlachs, Wallachs, Vlahs, Olahs or Ulahs...

 and Serbs
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

). The territories of Christian subjects were regarded as peripheral areas of little interest as long as they continued to pay taxes. These vassal states were never fully incorporated into the Horde, and Russian rulers early obtained the privilege of collecting the Tatar tax themselves. To maintain control over Rus and Eastern Europe, the Tatar warlords carried out regular punitive raids on their tributaries. At its height, the Golden Horde controlled the areas from Central Siberia and Khorazm to the Danube and Narva.

There is a point of view, much propagated by Lev Gumilev
Lev Gumilev
Lev Nikolayevich Gumilev , was a Soviet historian, ethnologist and anthropologist. His unorthodox ideas on the birth and death of ethnic groups have given rise to the political and cultural movement known as "Neo-Eurasianism".-Life:His parents were two prominent poets Nikolay Gumilev and Anna...

, that the Horde and Russian polities entered into a defensive alliance against the Teutonic knights
Teutonic Knights
The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem , commonly the Teutonic Order , is a German medieval military order, in modern times a purely religious Catholic order...

 and pagan Lithuanians
Lithuanians
Lithuanians are the Baltic ethnic group native to Lithuania, where they number around 2,765,600 people. Another million or more make up the Lithuanian diaspora, largely found in countries such as the United States, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Russia, United Kingdom and Ireland. Their native language...

. Proponents point to the fact that the Mongol court was frequented by Russian princes, notably Yaroslavl
Yaroslavl
Yaroslavl is a city and the administrative center of Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, located northeast of Moscow. The historical part of the city, a World Heritage Site, is located at the confluence of the Volga and the Kotorosl Rivers. It is one of the Golden Ring cities, a group of historic cities...

's Feodor the Black, who boasted his own ulus near Sarai, and Novgorod's Alexander Nevsky
Alexander Nevsky
Alexander Nevsky was the Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Vladimir during some of the most trying times in the city's history. Commonly regarded as the key figure of medieval Rus, Alexander was the grandson of Vsevolod the Big Nest and rose to legendary status on account of his military...

, the sworn brother (or anda) of Batu's successor Sartaq Khan
Sartaq Khan
Sartaq Khan was the son of Batu Khan and Regent Dowager Khatun Boraqcin of Alchi Tatar. Sartaq succeeded Batu as khan of the Ulus of Jochi ....

. A Mongol contingent supported the Novgorodians in the Battle of the Ice
Battle of the Ice
The Battle of the Ice , also known as the Battle of Lake Peipus , was a battle between the Republic of Novgorod and the Livonian branch of the Teutonic Knights on April 5, 1242, at Lake Peipus...

 and Novgorodians paid taxes to the Horde.

Sarai carried on a brisk trade with the Genoese
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

 trade emporiums on the coast of the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 - Soldaia
Sudak
Sudak or Sudaq is a small historic town located in Crimea, Ukraine situated to the west of Feodosiya and to the east of Simferopol, the capital of Crimea...

, Caffa, and Azak. Mamluk
Mamluk
A Mamluk was a soldier of slave origin, who were predominantly Cumans/Kipchaks The "mamluk phenomenon", as David Ayalon dubbed the creation of the specific warrior...

 Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 was the Khans' long-standing trade partner and ally in the Mediterranean. Berke, the Khan of Kipchak had drawn up an alliance with the Mamluk Sultan Baibars
Baibars
Baibars or Baybars , nicknamed Abu l-Futuh , was a Mamluk Sultan of Egypt. He was one of the commanders of the forces which inflicted a devastating defeat on the Seventh Crusade of King Louis IX of France and he led the vanguard of the Egyptian army at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, which marked...

 against the Ilkhanate
Ilkhanate
The Ilkhanate, also spelled Il-khanate , was a Mongol khanate established in Azerbaijan and Persia in the 13th century, considered a part of the Mongol Empire...

 in 1261.

Provinces



The Mongols favored decimal organization which was inherited from Genghis Khan. It is said that there were a total of 10 political divisions within the Golden Horde.
  • Khorazm,
  • Desht-i-Kipchak
    Pontic-Caspian steppe
    The Pontic-Caspian steppe is the vast steppeland stretching from the north of the Black Sea as far as the east of the Caspian Sea, from western Ukraine across the Southern Federal District and the Volga Federal District of Russia to western Kazakhstan,...

    ,
  • Khazaria,
  • Crimea
    Crimea
    Crimea , or the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , is a sub-national unit, an autonomous republic, of Ukraine. It is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea, occupying a peninsula of the same name...

     (center at Qırım
    Staryi Krym
    Staryi Krym is a small historical town in the Eastern Crimea, approximately 25 km west of Theodosia. The population of Staryi Krym in 2001 was 9,960 people.-History:...

    ). After the Mongol conquest in 1238, the port cities in Crimea paid the Jochids custom duties and the revenues were divided among all Chingisid princes of the Mongol Empire accordance with the appanage system.,
  • the banks of Azov
    Azov
    -External links:** *...

    ,
  • the country of Circassians,
  • Bulgar land
    Volga Bulgaria
    Volga Bulgaria, or Volga–Kama Bolghar, is a historic Bulgar state that existed between the seventh and thirteenth centuries around the confluence of the Volga and Kama rivers in what is now Russia.-Origin:...

    ,
  • Walachia,
  • Alania
    Alania
    Alania may refer to:*Alania, the medieval state of the Alans or Alani people in the North Caucasus*The short name of the modern North Ossetia-Alania, one of the Caucasian republics in the Russian Federation...

    ,
  • Russian lands
    Rus' (region)
    Rus' is an ethno-cultural region in Eastern Europe inhabited by Eastern Slavs. Historically, it comprises the northern part of Ukraine, the north-western part of Russia, Belarus and some eastern parts of Poland and Slovakia.The name comes from Old East Slavic , and remains the same in modern...

    .

See also


  • Berke-Hulagu war
    Berke-Hulagu war
    The Berke-Hulagu war was a civil war in the Mongol Empire which fought between two Mongol leaders: Berke Khan of the Golden Horde, and Hulagu Khan of the Ilkhanate. It was fought mostly in the Caucasus mountains area in the 1260s after the destruction of Baghdad in 1258...

  • Black Death
    Black Death
    The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

  • Cossacks
  • Cumans
    Cumans
    The Cumans were Turkic nomadic people comprising the western branch of the Cuman-Kipchak confederation. After Mongol invasion , they decided to seek asylum in Hungary, and subsequently to Bulgaria...

  • Daily Life in the Mongol Empire
    Daily Life in the Mongol Empire
    -Food in the Mongol Empire:During the Mongol Empire there were two different groups of food, "white foods" and "brown foods". "White foods" were usually dairy products and were the main food source during the summer. The main part of their diet was "airag" or fermented mare’s milk, a food which is...

  • Eurasians
    Eurasian (mixed ancestry)
    The word Eurasian refers to people of mixed Asian and European ancestry. It was originally coined in 19th-century British India to refer to Anglo-Indians of mixed British and Indian descent....

  • Islam in Europe
    Islam in Europe
    This article deals with the history and evolution of the presence of Islam in Europe. According to the German , the total number of Muslims in Europe in 2007 was about 53 million , excluding Turkey. The total number of Muslims in the European Union in 2007 was about 16 million .-Early history:Islam...

  • List of Khans of the Golden Horde
  • Mongol invasion of Rus'
  • Nomadic people
    Nomad
    Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

  • Russo-Kazan Wars
    Russo-Kazan Wars
    thumb|300px|[[St. Basil's Cathedral]] is a monument to the Russian conquest of Kazan in 1552.The Russo-Kazan Wars was a series of wars fought between the Khanate of Kazan and Muscovite Russia from 1438, until Kazan was finally captured by Ivan the Terrible and absorbed into Russia in 1552.- Wars of...

  • Tatar invasions
    Tatar invasions
    The Mongol invasion of Europe from the east took place over the course of three centuries, from the Middle Ages to the early modern period.The terms Tatars or Tartars are applied to nomadic Turkic peoples who, themselves, were conquered by Mongols and incorporated into their horde...

  • Timeline of the Tataro-Mongol Yoke in Russia
  • Tokhtamysh-Tamerlane war

Further reading

  • Boris Grekov
    Boris Grekov
    Boris Dmitrievich Grekov was a Soviet historian noted for his comprehensive studies of Kievan Rus and the Golden Horde...

     and Alexander Yakubovski, The Golden Horde and its Downfall
  • George Vernadsky
    George Vernadsky
    George Vernadsky , Russian: Гео́ргий Влади́мирович Верна́дский) was a Russian-American historian and an author of numerous books on Russian history.- European years :...

    , The Mongols and Russia

External links