Bayanchur Khan

From Kazakhstan Encyclopedia

Template:Infobox monarch Bayanchur KhanTemplate:Citation needed (known also as Moyanchur Khan[1]) (Template:Zh),[2] was an Uyghur khagan from 747 to 759 AD. His official titles were "Ay Tengrida Qut Bolmish" and "El Etmish Bilge Qaghan" ("born with glory on Moon Heaven" and "state settled wise ruler"). His Tang Dynasty-invested title was Yingwuweiyuanpiqiejuo Khan (英武威遠毗伽闕可汗) or Yingwu Khan (英武可汗) in short. He was succeeded in the Uyghur Khaganate by his son Bogu Tekin (759-779 AD)


Bayanchur succeeded his father, Guli Peilo,[3] who had headed the rebellion against the Göktürks, annihilated them and had established in 744 the Uyghur Khaganate ( known as third uyghur " El " or khaganate ).

Bayanchur Khan belonged to the ruling Yaglakar tribe of the on-uyghur confederation of ten tribes ( known as northern alliance ) and toquz-oghuz confederation of nine tribes ( known as southern alliance ). At that time both allied confederations adopted a name, Uyghur, which composed of two elements: Uy or Uymak ("to bond") and Ghur ("the people"), i.e. " United people " or " free confederation of people (Erkin Budun), voluntarily bound into an alliance ".[4]

In 751, Bayanchur established the new capital in the Orkhon Valley and named it Ordu-Baliq. It was built with help of the invited Chinese and Sogdian builders at the foot of the sacred Otukan. The city had city walls made of brown bricks and was probably ringed with a rectangular moat. There was a detached citadel fortified by walls with two gates and watch towers, where the Khagan and his nobles lived with their families.

About seven years later, Ordu-Baliq was followed by Bai-Balik ("rich city"), a trading and administrative nexus on the Selenge River. Its construction and strategic location was a result of the empire's expansion north to Lake Baikal ("rich lake").

In October 756 Bayanchur Khan came to Tang China to rescue Tang Dynasty from collapse during the An Lushan Rebellion and to quell the rebels. This military expedition was preceded by the Treaty of Peace and Alliance enacted with the newly ascended Emperor Suzong of Tang, who took a Uyghur princess in marriage while Bayanchur himself was given a Chinese princess, Ninguo, as his bride. In December 756 Bayanchur combined 4,000 of his selected cavalry with Tang forces and launched military operations against the rebels. These operations were successful and in 757 the joint forces liberated the Tang Dynasty capital Chang'An from rebel control. In recompense for their assistance, the Uyghurs received tribute from China in the form of 10,000 rolls of silk. A later (762 CE) treaty included the annual exchange of horses from the Uyghur Khaganate for rolls of silk cloth from Tang China; each horse being the equivalent of 40 rolls of silk. In exchange for 20,000 rolls of silk, the Uyghurs were obliged to supply 500 selected horses. This type of concealed annual tribute amounted to reparations for saving the Tang Dynasty from annihilation.

Bayanchur Khan erected a number of Bitig Tash (stone steles) during his lifetime bearing Runic Turkic inscriptions to preserve the memory of Uyghur Els for future generations. The most famous such stele is the granite stele inserted into a tortoise-shaped plinth (Tariat inscriptions), on which Bayanchur Khan had described not only current events, but also made references to the previous Uyghur Els (the First and Second Uyghur Khaganates). The First Uyghur El was ruled by three prominent Uyghur khagans and lasted for about 200 years. After an interregnum of about a century, another foreign power ruled the Uyghurs on the Orkhon River( "Qalmisi Budun On-Uyghur, Tokuz-Oghuz uza yuz yil olurups "- Remaining people of On-Uyghur, Tokuz-Oghuz they 100 years ruled"). The Uyghurs then rebelled and the Second Uyghur El was founded by the Yaghlaqar clan around 605 CE, establishing the beginning of the Yaghlaqar Dynasty which remained in power for about 400 years (the last Yaghlaqar Khagan of the Uyghur Ganzhou Kingdom in Gansu was killed by the Tanguts in 1028 CE). This polity existed for about 80 years and collapsed when the ruling Bazh Khagan was killed by the Gokturks in 688 CE which inaugurated a period of about 50 years of Gokturk rule over the Uyghurs. A rebellion was launched against the Gokturks in 742 CE by the Yaghlaqars who fled to Ganzhou in Gansu after the Bazh Khagan's death and then returned to the Orkhon Valley a half-century later, this time united with other Tokuz-Oghuz tribes and overthrew all their enemies.

Bayanchur Khan died soon after ending his successful expedition against hostile tribes in the Sayan Mountains in the summer of 759 CE, during a feast devoted to this victory. Por-Bazhyn (Kasar Korug in Uyghur runic inscriptions, summer residence of Bayanchur Khan) was among seventeen brick forts that had been erected during that and the previous khagan's expeditions (751, 756, 758) in Tuva with permanently stationed garrisons to guard the sources of the Yenisei River and the northern borders of the Khaganate. Most forts were connected with one other by stone defensive walls stretching for hundreds of kilometers. This feature was later known as Chengiz Khan's wall. Remnants of 14 forts, known as the Shagonar cities, were discovered in the 1950s, but were not investigated and were engulfed in the 1970s by the reservoir of the Sayano-Shushenskaya Dam on the Yenisei River in Khakassia. The purpose of these expeditions was neutralization of the emergent and rapidly growing threat from the North, e.g., the Kyrgyz tribes, a treat which proved to be fatal in 840 CE, when the Uyghur Empire finally collapsed.

See also




Lev Gumilev. Ancient Turks. Kyzyl, 2004.
Turghun Almas. The Uyghurs ("Uyghurlar"). Almaty, Kazakhstan, 1992 (In the Uyghur language. Published originally in China, then banned with all issues being seized. Republished in Almaty)

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