Jahangir Khoja

From Kazakhstan Encyclopedia


File:Battle at the River Honbasi.jpg
Battle at the River Honbasi near Aksu, 1828

Jahanghir Khoja,[1] Jāhangīr Khwāja,[2] or Jihangir Khoja (Template:Lang-ug , جهانگير خوجة , Template:Zh; 1788 – 1828) was a member of the influential East Turkestan Afaqi khoja clan, who managed to wrest Kashgaria from the Qing Empire's power for a few years in the 1820s.


Template:Main article Burhan ad-Din, a Khoja of the White Mountain faction, was the grandfather of Jahangir.[3] Before rebellion broke out in May 1826 and during a fortuitously timed earthquake that destroyed most towns in the Ferghana Valley, Jahangir Khoja managed to flee to Kashgar from Kokand where he had been held in prison in accordance with a secret agreement concluded between the Khanate of Kokand and Qing dynasty China concerning descendants of Appak khoja.[4] Among Jahangir's followers were Kirghiz, Tajiks, and White Mountain fighters. After appearing in Kashgar with only several hundred of his followers, he quickly increased his force with volunteers, and within several months had collected about 200,000 troops under his banner.[5] With these he overthrew Qing power in Kashgar, Yarkand, Khotan, and Yangihissar, having Qing garrisons annihilated in these cities. This led to an increase in slavery in China due to Jahangir enslaving captives. His forces captured several hundred Chinese Muslims (Dungan or Hui) who were taken to Kokand. Tajiks bought two Chinese slaves from Shaanxi that they enslaved for a year before Tajik Beg Ku-bu-te returned them to China.Template:Sfn All Chinese captured, both merchants and the 300 soldiers Janhangir captured in Kashgar had their queues cut off when brought to Kokand and Central Asia as prisoners.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn It was reported that many of the Chinese Muslim merchant captives became slaves with accounts of Chinese Muslim slavery in Central Asia increasing.[6][7] The queues were removed from Chinese Muslim prisoners and then sold or given to various owners, one of them, Nian, ended up as a slave to Prince Batur Khan of Bukhara, Omar Khan ended up possessing Liu Qifeng and Wu Erqi. The others, Zhu, Tian Li, and Ma Tianxi ended up with various owners but plotted an escape.Template:Sfn The Russians record an incident where they rescued the Chinese Muslim merchants who had escaped after they were sold by Jahangir's Army in Central Asia and sent them back to China.Template:Sfn

Nevertheless, the Qing Daoguang Emperor managed to mobilize "all forces of Empire, that were put into motion" and by SeptemberTemplate:Nbsp1827 had assembled an army of 70,000 in Aksu under the command of General of Ili Chang Ling (zh:长龄). In January 1828, this army moved against Jahangir Khoja. Other sources say that the Chinese Governor led 80,000 Chinese Muslim troops against Jahangir.[8] Jahingir's forces were defeated within one month at a decisive battle on the banks of the Tuman River north of Kashgar. Although his forces during the battle outnumbered those of the Qing, the latter were much better organized being a regular state army. Jahangir had not created a regular army and had disbanded his voluntary army after gaining control of Western Kashgaria and taking the Gulbagh Qing Fortress in Kashgar at the beginning of 1827 when he had slaughtered all its defenders (about 12,000 Manchu and Chinese troops and members of their families). After receiving word that a Qing army was on its way to Kashgar, Jahangir again mustered voluntary troops. This army had no artillery units, despite having captured the six large cannons of the Gulbagh fortress, which were not brought and used in the battle. In contrast, Qing troops applied well-organized intense cannon fire across the Tuman River on Jahangir's positions, sending them into confusion. Mercenaries from Badakhshan, Kokand, Kunduz fled first, then the Kashgarians lost ground. Qing troops rushed to Kashgar and upon entering the city embarked on the wholesale massacre of the local population of about 20,000 civilians. On JanuaryTemplate:Nbsp29, 1828, Jahangir managed to escape and hide in the mountainous Alai valley among the Kyrgyzs. Daoguang was dissatisfied with this turn of events and wrote to Chang Ling: "I sent an army to eliminate the evil, you were at the lair of the beast, but let him to escape, now all previous victories have no value, because he is still alive, the germ of future rebellions". Jahangir's capture resulted from the treachery of the former Kyrgyz[9] Hakim of Kashgar, Ishak Khoja, who sent a misleading letter to Jahangir telling him that the main body of Qing troops had departed and invited him to Kashgar to regain power. When Jahangir heard the news, he hurried back to Kashgar but was ambushed by Qing troops under the General of Ili,[10] captured and delivered to Beijing. There he was exposed to the attention of China's capital's population, being carried for several weeks in a mobile iron cage through the main streets of Beijing. Finally he was brought to the Daoguang Emperor for interrogation, but, having gone mad due to bad treatment, he was unable to answer any questions. Immediately after the interrogation was completed he was executed. Jahangir Khoja's body was cut into numerous pieces and his bones thrown to the local dogs. His portrait was buried in the hill near Beijing. He was forty years old at the time of his death.


With Jahangir dead, the Chinese decided to punish the Khokandians for their sympathy with the Khojas and imposed restrictions on their exports to Kashgar. In retaliation, at the behest of Muhammad Ali Khan, the Khan of Kokand, Yusuf Khoja (Template:Nastaliq) became ruler of what was at that time known in the west as Chinese Turkestan.[10] Jahangir's invasion led to a change in policy and Han settlement was allowed in the Tarim Basin after his invasion whereas before the invasion, Han were not allowed to permanently settle in the Tarim Basin.

See also



  • Kutlukov, M. (1982) Relations between Khanate of Kokand and Qing China. Moscow, Nauka,
  • Template:Cite book

See also

Further reading

Template:Xinjiang topics
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