in the 17th and 18th centuries, the feudal kingdom of the Oirats in Dzungaria (part of present-day northwestern China); often referred to in the literature as the Dzun-garian Khanate. The khanate was established in the 1630’s as a result of the unification of the Oirat principalities by Hara-Hula, the ruler of one of the principalities, and his son Batur-Hun-taiji.
Under Batur-Hun-taiji (ruled 1635-c. 1660) the Oirat Khanate was strengthened internally. In 1640, on the initiative of Batur-Hun-taiji, a congress of the khans, princes, and Lamaist religious representatives of all the Oirat, Mongol, and Kalmyk lands was held in Dzungaria. The congress approved the Mon-gol-Oirat Laws (Tsaadjiin Bichig), whose purpose was to join forces in order to ward off external threats—mainly on the part of the Manchu conquerors, who had embarked upon a policy of expansion against Mongolia and China—and strengthen the supremacy of the feudal lords over the working people.
The Oirat Khanate carried on peaceful trade with Russia; the Russian government had also taken an interest in the growth of trade. Batur-Hun-taiji’s successors—Galdan, or Galdan Bo-shugtu-khan (ruled 1671–97); Tsewangrabdan (ruled 1697–1727); and Galdan-Tsering (ruled 1727–45)—encouraged the development of farming and industries based on serf labor and promoted trade. Relations with the Manchu feudal lords, who established their supremacy in China in 1644, became most strained under Galdan Boshugtu-khan and Galdan-Tsering, whose reigns were marked by bitter wars with the feudal lords.
The death of Galdan-Tsering in 1745 marked the beginning of prolonged feudal strife, which weakened the Oirat Khanate. Taking advantage of this, the Manchu rulers of China sent huge armies to Dzungaria on three occasions (in 1755, 1756, and 1757) and finally destroyed the Oirat Khanate in 1757–58 after overcoming the resistance of the people, who had rebelled against the conquerors under the leadership of Amursana. This resulted in the annihilation of hundreds of thousands of Oirats.
REFERENCESZlatkin, I. Ia. Istoriia Dzhungarskogo khanstva (1635–1758). Moscow, 1964.
Ishzhamts, N. Mongolyn ard tumnii 1755–1758 ony tusgaar togtnolyn zevsegt temtsel. Ulan Bator, 1962.
I. IA. ZLATKIN