Karakhanid State

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Karakhanid State


an early feudal state which formed in the 990’s in eastern Turkestan, Semirech’e, and southern Cis-Tien-Shan.

The Karakhanid state was formed from a number of Turkic tribes, including the Karluks, Chigils, and Iagma. The dynasty of the Karakhanids came from the Iagma. Islam spread among these tribes at about the middle of the tenth century. The campaign of conquest of the Turks toward Transoxiana led to the rapid fall of the Samanid state. In 992 the head of the Karakhanid state, bogra-khan Harun, seized Bukhara. Between 996 and 999 his successor Nasr I took possession of all of Transoxiana. The Karakhanid state was divided into appanages ruled by members of the Karakhanid line, the ilek-khans; central authority was weak. The capitals of the state were Kashgar, then Balasagun, Uzgen, and finally Kashgar again. The iqta was the chief form of feudal landowning. During the 1060’s and 1070’s, the state began to clash with the Seljuks. Weakened by decentralization and internal feuding, the state came under Seljuk domination, especially during the reign of the Seljuk sultan Sanjar (1118–57). Incursions by the Karakitai in the 1130’s and early 1140’s left the Karakhanid state under their rule. In 1212 the state was liquidated by the shah of Khorezm, Muhammad.

The culture of the Karakhanid state produced such literary works as the Kudatkubilik of Yusuf of Balasagun and the Divan of Turkish Dialects of Mahmud of Kashgar. In the field of architecture and the decorative arts, the portal mausoleums of Uzgen with their ornamental elegance are noteworthy.


Istoriia Uzbekskoi SSR, vol. 1. Tashkent, 1967.
Valitova, A. A. “K voprosu o klassovoi prirode Karakhanidskogo gosudarstva.”Trudy Kirgizskogo filiala AN SSSR, vol.1, no. 1. 1943.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.