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This article refers to the Mongol state in what is now Russia. For the Irish rock band, see The Golden Horde (band).
The Golden Horde (also known as Kipchak or Qipchaq Khanate) was a Tatar state established in present day Russia by unification of Blue Horde and White Horde around 1378. It was one of the four Mongol successor kingdoms in the wake of the Mongol Empire, the others being the Ilkhanate Dynasty of Persia, the Chagatai Khanate in Central Asia, and the Yuan Dynasty of China.
At his death, Genghis Khan divided his empire amongst his four sons. Jochi was the eldest, but he was already dead and his paternity was in doubt, so the most distant lands trodden by the Mongol hoof, then southern Ruthenia, were divided among his sons, Batu leader of the Blue Horde (East), and Orda , leader of the White Horde (West). Chagatai was next eldest son of Genghis, but he was considered a hothead, and so was given central Asia and northern Iran. Ogedei, third oldest was made Great Khan and given China. Tolui, the youngest, was given the Mongol homeland.
Batu commenced the Mongol invasion of Russia in 1237. The Mongols quickly gained control of the steppe regions incorporating the local Turkic people into their army. There he overran much of Kievan Rus', the Ruthenian state. He sacked its capital Kiev in 1240, ending its prosperity. All of Kievan Rus except Novgorod was captured, and even Novgorod under Alexander Nevsky acknowledged the Khan's supremacy. Unlike the central Asian steppe Ruthenia was not incorporated into the Golden Horde, but was an independent vassal state paying tribute to the Khan. The Horde regarded Ruthenia as a peripheral area of little interest as long as it continued to pay tribute.
Batu's Blue Horde continued west, raiding Poland and Hungary. In 1241, however, the Great Khan Ogedei died, and Batu turned back from his siege of Vienna to take part in disputing the succession. In the same year, the Blue Horde split when Batu's younger brother Shayban left Batu's army to establish his own horde east of the Ural Mountains along the Ob and Irtish Rivers. The Mongol armies would never again travel so far west.
In 1242, Batu established his capital at Sarai. In 1255 Batu died and passed the Horde on to his heir Sartak . The Horde quickly lost its Mongol identity. Most of its population were Turks, Uzbeks and other indigenous nomads. It became a settled rather than nomadic culture, with Sarai becoming a large and prosperous metropolis. The Horde also quickly adopted Islam, abandoning the animist Mongol beliefs.
The Horde's Ruthenian policy was one of constantly switching alliances in an attempt to keep Ruthenia weak and divided. In the 14th century the rise of Lithuania in North East Europe posed a challenge to Tatar control over Ruthenia. Thus the Khan began backing Moscow as the leading Ruthenian state. Ivan I Kalita was granted the title of grand prince and given the right to collect taxes from the other Ruthenian princes.
In 1357, the Khan Jani Beg was assassinated and the empire fell into a long civil war, averaging one new Khan per annum for the next few decades. During this time Dmitri Donskoi of Moscow attempted to break free of the Horde's power. Mamai, the Tatar general who did not formally hold the throne, attempted to reassert Tatar authority over Ruthenia. His army was defeated by Dmitri at the Battle of Kulikovo in the second Ruthenian victory over the Tatars. Mamai soon fell from power, and in 1378, Tokhtamysh, a descendant of Orda Khan and ruler of the White Horde, invaded and annexed the territory of the Blue Horde, establishing the Golden Horde. He sacked Moscow as punishment for its insubordination in 1382.
In the 1440s, the Horde was again racked by civil war. This time it broke up into five separate Khanates: Siberia Khanante, Khanate of Kazan, Khanate of Astrakhan, and Khanate of the Crimea all seceding from what remained of the Golden Horde (Great or Big Horde).
None of these new Khanates were stronger than Muscovy, which finally broke free of Tatar control about 1480 (see Great standing on the Ugra river). Each Khanate was eventually annexed by it. Both Kazan and Astrakhan were annexed by Ivan the Terrible, who renamed the state Russia, in the 1550s. By the end of the century the Siberia Khanate was also part of Russia. The Khanate of the Crimea became a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire in 1475 and in 1502 it conquered and annexed what remained of the Golden Horde. Under the protection of the Ottomans, the Khanate of Crimea continued its existence until annexed by Russia on April 8 1783 under the reign of Catherine the Great. They were by far the longest-lived of the successor states to the Mongol Empire.
The name Golden is believed to come from the steppe color-direction system: black — north, blue — east, red — south, white — west, and yellow (or gold) — center. There are no known written records dated prior to 17th century (well after the destruction) that refer to the state as Golden Horde. There only records of Ulus of Jochi and various derivatives of Kipchak.
Khans of the Golden Horde
- Nogai Khan (d.1299)
- Toqtamish (1378-1395)
- Edigu (1395-1419) not a khan, but Vizir or Murza , who wielded power greater than formal khans.
- Temur Qutlugh (1395-1401)
- Shadi Beg (1401-1407)
- Pulad Khan (1407-1410)
- Temur (1410-1412)
- Jalal ad-Din (1412)
- Karim Berdi (1412-1414)
- Kebek (1414-1417)
- Yeremferden (1417-1419)
- Olug Moxammat (1419-1421, 1428-1433)
- Dawlat Berdi (1419-1421)
- Baraq (1422-1427)
- Sayid Ahmad I (1433-1435)
- Kuchuk Muhammad (1435-1465)
- Akhmat (1465-1481)
- Shayk Ahmad (1481-1498, 1499-1502)
- Murtada (1481-1499)
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