Wali Khan (khoja)

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For other uses, see Wali Khan (disambiguation).

Wali Khan (sometimes spelled Vālī-khan[1]) was a member of the Ak Taghliq clan of East Turkestan Khojas, who invaded Kashgaria from Kokand on several occasions in the 1850s, and succeeded in ruling Kashgar for a short while.

Although Ak Taghliks had been expelled from Kashgaria by the Qing in the 1760s, they had not abandoned their hopes of reconquering the region, and regularly invaded it from their base in Khanate of Kokand. Wali Khan followed in the footsteps of his father, Jahangir Khoja, his uncle Yusuf, and cousin Katti Torah, who had all invaded Kashgaria with various success through the first half of the 19th century.

He invaded Kashgaria in 1852 (with Divan Quli), 1855 (with Husayn Ishan Khoja), and most famously in 1857.

In the West Wali Khan is mostly known for his execution of the German explorer Adolf Schlagintweit in 1857, but his cruelty found many other reflections in the local legends. It is said that he killed so many innocent Muslims that four or six minarets were built from the skulls of the victims ( kala minara ); or that once, when an artisan made a sabre for him, he instantly tested the weapon with the words, "Well, I'll try it now," by cutting off the artisan's son head, who had come with his father and was standing nearby. Then, with the words, "Yes, it's a really good sabre," he presented artisan with a gift. This treatment did not make Kashgarians miss the khoja too much when he was defeated by the Chinese troops after ruling the city for four months.

In 1865, after Kokand Khanate had been successfully invaded by the Russian and its ruler Alimqul killed, Wali Khan joined a large group of Kokandian officials who decided to try their luck in Kashgaria. They appeared in Kashgar in September 1865, but had to submit to the fellow Kokandian Yaqub Beg, who had already firmly established himself as the ruler of the city. Wali Khan's followers attempts to bring him to power again very easily foiled by Yaqub Beg, who had Wali Khan arrested and sent to Yangihissar under armed guard, where he was later poisoned.


  1. ^ L Newby, ""'Us and Them'...," in Bellér-Hann et al., Situating the Uyghurs..., p. 19.
  • Kim Hodong, "Holy War in China: The Muslim Rebellion and State in Chinese Central Asia, 1864-1877". Stanford University Press (March 2004). ISBN 0-8047-4884-5. (Searchable text available on Amazon.com)
  • Mayo Williamson Hazeltine, Demetrius Charles Boulger. "China". Full text available at Google Books.