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Kara-Khitan Khanate

The Kara-Khitan Khanate (1124 or 1125-1220) was established by Yeluu Da Shi[?] (also known as Yeh-lü Ta-Shih) (耶律大石 ye1 luu4 da4 shi2) who led around 100,000 Khitan remnants after escaping Jurchen conquest of their native country, the Khitan dynasty.

This regime survived until the arrival of Genghis Khan's Mongolian cavalries and was referred to in Chinese sources as Kara-Kitai, Kara-Khitai, Kara-Khitay, Kara-Khitan, Western Liao, Xi Liao or similar variants. The Kitai or Khitai suffixes were quoted from Russian sources.

Its capital, Balasagun (in today's Kyrgyzstan) flourished to a cultural and economic centre.

Soveriegns of Kara-Khitan Khanate 1124 or 1125-1221
Temple Names ( Miao Hao 廟號 miao4 hao4) Posthumous Names ( Shi Hao 諡號 ) Born Names Convention Period of Reigns Era Names (Nian Hao 年號) and their according range of years
Convention: check each sovereign
De Zong (德宗 de2 zong1) Tian You Wu Lie Di|天祐武烈帝 tian1 you4 wu3 lie4 di4 Yeluu Da Shi|耶律大石 ye1 luu4 da4 shi2 or Yeluu Da Shi|耶律達實 ye1 luu4 da2 shi2 ("Da-Shi" might be the Chinese title "Tai-Shi", meaning "vizier"; Or it could mean "Stone" in Turkish, as the Chinese transliteration suggests) use born name 1124-1144 Yanqing (延慶 yan2 qing4) 1124 or 1125-1134
Kangguo (康國 kang1 guo2) 1134-1144
Did not exist Qian Tian Hou (感天后 gan3 tian1 hou4) Ta Bu Yan|塔不煙 ta3 bu4 yan1 "Xi Liao" + posthumous name 1144-1150 Xianqing (咸清 xian2 qing1) 1144-1150
Ren Zong (仁宗 ren2 zong1) Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Yeluu Yi Lie|耶律夷列 ye1 luu4 yi2 lie4 (Christian name: Elias) "Xi Liao" + temple name 1150-1164 Shaoxing (紹興 shao4 xing1) 1150-1164
Did not exist Cheng Tian Hou (承天后 cheng2 tian1 hou4) Yeluu Pu Su Wan|耶律普速完 pu3 su4 wan2 "Xi Liao" + posthumous name 1164-1178 Chongfu (崇福 chong2 fu2) 1164-1178
Did not exist Mo Zhu |末主 mo4 zhu3 or Mo Di |末帝 mo4 di4 Yeluu Zhi Lu Gu|耶律直魯古 ye1 luu4 zhi2 lu3 gu3 (Christian name: George) use born name 1178-1211 Tianxi (天禧 tian1 xi1) 1178-1211
Did not exist Did not exist Kuchlug[?] (Ch. 屈出律 qu1 chu1 luu4) use born name 1211-1221 Did not exist

The Islamized Qarluk princely clan, the Balasaghunlu Ashinalar (the Karakhanids) gravitated toward the Persian Islamic cultural zone after their political autonomy and suzereignty over Central Asia was secured during the 9-10th century.

As they became increasingly Persianized (to the point of adopting "Afrasiab", a Shahnameh mythical figure as the ancestor of their lineage), they settled in the more Indo-Iranian sedentary centers such as Qashgari, and became detached from the nomadic traditions of fellow Qarluqs, many of whom retained the Nestorian-Mahayana-Manichaean religious mixture of the former Uyghur Khanate.

When the Khitays came, along with Nestorian Naiman recruits, they solicited support among Qarluks from Semirechye to the Irtysh region.

Though largely Mahayana and Confucian in organizing principles, the nucleus of Khitay elites were wise to adopt elements of Nestorian identity, as reflected in the Christian names of the Kara-Khitay Gur-Khans.

The Khitay conquest of Central Asia, can thus be seen as internecine struggle within the Qarluk nomadic tribe, only played out as dynastic conflict between the conquering Khitay elites and the defending Kara-Khanid princes, resulting in the subjugation of the latter by the former, and in the subjugation of the Muslim Qarluks by their Nestorian kins and the Nestorian Naimans.


See also: Kara-Khanid Khanate



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