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Chagatai, Chughtai, or Çağatay (Persian: چغتائی‎) is a family name in portions of South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East. Chughtai's are originally Caucasoid Turks of Central Asia with some Mongoloid mixture.


Chughtai's were Turkic or Tatar nomads of Central Asia. The origin of Chughtai's is considered to be from East Uzbekistan somewhere near Samarkand. The Chughtai's not only campaigned Chagatai Khan, but also served Hulagu Khan and Kublai Khan. Chughtai's were very strong and fierce Tartars who helped the Mongols in conquering almost the whole of Asia. The Middle East and Indian Subcontinent were conquered by Chughtai Tartars or Turco-Mongols. During the reign of Tiimur, Islam was embraced by all Chughtai's. In Afghanistan, Babur established a city in eastern Afghanistan and named it Chughtai Sara, In Kunar, and is pronounced by people as "Chegah Sarai." Later on, the government changed it to Asa'ad Abad. Baber settled many households of Chughtai descent to eastern Afghanistan from Kunar to Laghman to ensure the security of his logistical routes from Central Asia to India. Later on, to strengthen this route, Mughal-i-Azam, Jalaludin Akbar, established another city in the area and named it Jalalabad. Therefore, one can easily say that most of the inhabitants of eastern Afghanistan have a central Asian descent from the Chughtai tribe and other Persian speaking people.

Origin of the name, Surnames & Language[edit]

Chughtai is a distorted form of Chaghadai which is a version of Chagan (white) formed using the –dai suffix as described in "On the Documentation and Construction of Period Mongolian Names" by Baras-aghur Naran;[1] it defines Chaghadai as he who is white.[2]

In South Asia and Central Asia, Chughtais also use Mirza, Baig and Khan as a surname.[3][4] Chughtais had their own language, which was Chagatai Turkic, also known as Middle Turkic. This language was once widely spoken in Central Asia but became extinct in the 19th century. Chagatai Turkic is known by Babur as Turki. The word Urdu is itself a Chagatai Turkic word which means "A Group". Urdu, Punjabi and Sindhi are greatly influenced by Chagatai Turkic Language.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Period Mongolian Names - On the Documentation and Construction of Period Mongolian Names
  2. ^ Chaghadai - Æthelmearc Internal Letter of Intent Æ72
  3. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica
  4. ^ Past present: Emperor’s new names, title Mirza