Utigurs

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Europe in 600 AD, showing the Utigurs and their neighbors.

Utigur or Bulgar Vund (vh'ndur, Vanand) is the name used by historians and geographers like Moses Horenaci, Procopius Caesariensis and his continuators, Agathias of Mirena, Menander Protector, and Theophylact Simocatta in the 6th century to refer to those Bulgars of the Eurasian steppes north-east of the Black Sea and east the Don river in Patria Onoguria who had come under the control of the Western Turkic Kaghanate to be also known as Unogundur.[1]

The Bulgar ancestors of the Utigurs represented the Pontic-Kuban part of the Hun Empire, and were ruled by descendants of Attila through his son, Ernakh. The Utigurs may also be viewed among members of the Sarmatian union.[2]

By 567CE some northern Kutrigur groups came under the control of the Eurasian Avars in their push towards Pannonia, while the south-easternmost Bulgar groups became known as Utigurs when the Western Turkic Kaghanate (who were violently opposed to the Eurasian Avars) conquered them and installed Sandilch as their leader. He ruled under the dominion of the Western Turkic Kaghanate as Sulifa (from Pyn. Xielifa 苏李发) to designate the Turkic title Elteber (Baltavar).[citation needed] Under Sandilch, the Utigurs allied with the Byzantine Empire against their Avar-controlled Bulgar relatives - the Kutrigurs.

In the early 7th century, the Utigur Khan Kubrat "ruler of the Unogundurs",[3] being from the Dulo clan, defeated the Avars in alliance with Byzantium and reunited the Utigurs and Kutrigurs into a single Crimean Bulgar confederation in Patria Onoguria renamed as "Old Great Bulgaria". After Kubrat's death, his empire was divided when his appointed heir Batbayan submitted to the Khazars. At this, some Kutrigurs, led by Kubrat’s second son Kotrag, migrated to the confluence of the Volga and Kama rivers and founded a Khanate known as Volga Bulgaria. The other sons however carried the Utigur name to the Balkans and Pannonian Sirmium (modern Syrmia) by April 677. The majority submitted to a restored Avar Kaghan, though some rebelled moving west into Italy and south to the Pelagonian plain under the leadership of Kuber. Thereafter Kuber's Utigur Bulgars displaced some of the populations that had already settled in the region of Macedonia, and intermingled with the populations that remained. Meanwhile, the Utigur Khan Asparukh had led a portion of the Bulgars into Moesia, to establish the state which would become modern Bulgaria. In the 8th century, the Kuber Bulgars merged with Asparuh's Bulgars who had by the late 7th century already taken both sides of the Danube River.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Browning, Robert (2003). Justinian and Theodora. Gorgias Press LLC. ISBN 1-59333-053-7. 
  2. ^ O. Karatay, In Search of the Lost Tribe: The Origins and Making of the Croation Nation, 2003, p. 11.
  3. ^ Nisephorus Patriarcha. Breviarium. Ed. C. de Boor, p. 24

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