Muhammad Yaqub Beg, from the 1898 book by N.Veselovsky
Pskent, now Panjakent Khanate of Kokand
|Died||May 30, 1877|
|Occupation||Amir of Kashgaria|
In English-language literature, the name of Yaqub Beg has also been spelt as Yakub Beg (Encyclopædia Britannica), Yakoob Beg (Boulger, 1878), or Ya`qūb Beg (Kim Hodong, 2004). Authors using Russian sources have also used the spelling Yakub-bek (Paine, 1996). A few publications in English written by Chinese authors spell his name Agubo, which is the Pinyin transcription of the Chinese transcription of his name, 阿古柏. (Chinese: 阿古柏帕夏; pinyin: Āgǔbó pàxià)
The first name, Muhammad, is subject to the usual variations in spelling as well.
Yakub Beg was born in the town of Pskent, in the Khanate of Kokand (now Panjakent or Panjikent in Tajikistan). He rose rapidly through the ranks in the service of the Khanate of Kokand; by the year 1847 he was commander of the fort at Ak-Mechet until a few months before its fall to the Russian army under the command of General Vasily Alekseevich Perovsky in 1853. After the fall of the fort he fled to Bukhara.
By 1865 Yakub Beg had become the commander-in-chief of the army of Kokand. Taking advantage of the Hui uprising in China's Xinjiang province, he led his Andijani army to capture Kashgar and Yarkand from the Chinese and gradually took control of most of the region, including Aksu, Kucha, and other cities in 1867. He made himself the ruler of Kashgaria with its capital in Kashgar. At about this time he received the title of Atalik Ghazi ("Champion Father"), by which he is sometimes known.
He then deposed his former master, the Naqshbandi shaykh Buzurg Khan (Busurg Khan) (the only survived son of Jahangir Khoja) of the White Mountain Khoja, in 1867, and declared that he was the Amir. For the first few years, he was a vassal of the Khan of Kokand, but eventually declared independence.
Yakub Beg ruled at the height of The Great Game era when the British, Russian, and Chinese empires were all vying for Central Asia. Kashgaria extended from the capital Kashgar in south-western Xinjiang to Urumqi, Turpan, and Hami in central and eastern Xinjiang more than a thousand kilometers to the north-east, including a majority of what was known at the time as East Turkestan.
Yaqub Beg's Turkic Kokandi Andijani Uzbek forces declared a Jihad against Chinese Muslim rebels (Dungans) under T'o Ming (Tuo Ming a.k.a. Daud Khalifa) during the 1862–1877 Dungan revolt both due to the fear of them engaging in a land grab and because as followers of the Muslim Shafi'i school of thought, they could not be allies to Beg's Hanafi forces. Yaqub Beg enlisted non Muslim Han Chinese militia under Hsu Hsuehkung in order to fight against the Chinese Muslims in the Battle of Ürümqi (1870). T'o Ming's forces were defeated by Yaqub, who planned to conquer Dzungaria. Furthermore, Yaqub intended to seize all Dungan territory.
Poems were written about the victories of Yaqub Beg's forces over the Chinese and the Dungans (Chinese Muslims).
Yaqub Beg gave himself the title "Athalik Ghazi, Champion Father of the Faithful", and was known for his crushing of both non Muslim and Muslim Chinese alike.
Yaqub entered into relations and signed treaties with the Russian Empire and Great Britain, but when he tried to get their support against China, he failed.
Eventually, Qing forces led by Zuo Zongtang, including Chinese Muslims led by General Cui and General Hua, who spearheaded the attack on Yaqub Beg's forces in Xinjiang, defeated Yaqub Beg and destroyed his army.
The death of Yakub Beg
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His manner of death is unclear. The Times of London and the Russian Turkestan Gazette both reported that he had died after a short illness. The contemporaneous historian Musa Sayrami (1836–1917) states that he was poisoned on May 30, 1877 in Korla by the former hakim (local city ruler) of Yarkand, Niyaz Hakim Beg, after the latter concluded a conspiracy agreement with the Qing (Chinese) forces in Jungaria. However, Niyaz Beg himself, in a letter to the Qing authorities, denied his involvement in the death of Yakub Beg, and claimed that the Kashgarian ruler committed suicide. Some say (probably, without any basis in fact) that he was killed in battle with the Chinese. 
While contemporaneous Muslim writers usually explained Yakub Beg's death by poisoning, and the suicide theory was apparently the accepted truth among the Qing generals of the time, modern historians, according to Kim Hodong, think that natural death (of a stroke) is the most plausible explanation. Contemporaneous western sources say the Chinese got rid of him by poisoning him or some other sort of subversive act. Westerners also say he was assassinated.
The exact date of Yakub Beg's death is also somewhat uncertain. Although Sayrami claimed that he died on April 28, 1877, modern historians think that this is impossible, as Przewalski met him on May 9. The Chinese sources usually give May 22 as the date of his death, while Aleksey Kuropatkin thought it to be May 29. Late May, 1877 is therefore thought to be the most likely time period.
Yaqub Beg and his son Ishana Beg's corpses were "burned to cinders" in public. This angered the population in Kashgar, but Chinese troops quashed a rebellious plot by Hakim Khan to rebel. Four of his sons and two grandsons were captured by the Chinese; one son was beheaded, one grandson died, and the rest were castrated and enslaved to soldiers. Surviving members of Yaqub Beg's family included his 4 sons, 4 grandchildren (2 grandsons and 2 granddaughters) and 4 wives. They either died in prison in Lanzhou, Gansu, or were killed by the Chinese. His sons Yima Kuli, K'ati Kuli, Maiti Kuli, and grandson Aisan Ahung were the only survivors in 1879. They were all underage children, and put on trial, sentenced to an agonizing death if they were complicit in their father's rebellious "sedition", or if they were innocent of their father's crimes, were to be sentenced to castration and serving as a eunuch slave to Chinese troops, when they reached 11 years old. In 1879, it was confirmed that the sentence of castration was carried out, Yaqub Beg's son and grandsons were castrated by the Chinese court in 1879 and turned into eunuchs to work in the Imperial Palace.
Yaqub Beg makes a notable appearance in the second half of George Macdonald Fraser's novel Flashman at the Charge.
One source says that his tomb was at Kashgar but was razed by the Chinese in 1878.
- This article incorporates text from A Chinese biographical dictionary, Volume 2, by Herbert Allen Giles, a publication from 1898 now in the public domain in the United States.
- This article incorporates text from China revolutionized, by John Stuart Thomson, a publication from 1913 now in the public domain in the United States.
- This article incorporates text from Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events, Volume 4, a publication from 1880 now in the public domain in the United States.
- This article incorporates text from Translations of the Peking Gazette, by 1880, a publication from now in the public domain in the United States.
- This article incorporates text from The American annual cyclopedia and register of important events of the year ..., Volume 4, a publication from 1888 now in the public domain in the United States.
- This article incorporates text from Appletons' annual cyclopedia and register of important events: Embracing political, military, and ecclesiastical affairs; public documents; biography, statistics, commerce, finance, literature, science, agriculture, and mechanical industry, Volume 19, a publication from 1886 now in the public domain in the United States.
- This article incorporates text from Johnson's new general cyclopaedia and copperplate hand-atlas of the world: combined and illustrated: being specially adapted for daily use in the family, school, and office, Volume 2, by Frederick Augustus Porter Barnard, a publication from 1885 now in the public domain in the United States.
- This article incorporates text from Accounts and papers of the House of Commons, by Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons, a publication from 1871 now in the public domain in the United States.
- This article incorporates text from A Chinese biographical dictionary, Volume 2, a publication from 1898 now in the public domain in the United States.
- "Imperial Rivals: China, Russia, and Their Disputed Frontier", by Sarah C. M. Paine (1996) ISBN 1-56324-723-2
- Soucek, Svat, A History of Inner Asia, (Cambridge University Press:2000), p. 265.
- Shaw, Robert. Visits to High Tartary, Yarkand and Kashgar. John Murray, London. (1871). Reprint with new introduction (1984): Oxford University Press, pp. 53-56. ISBN 0-19-583830-0.
- "Atalik". Encyclopaedia of Islam: Supplement 12. 1980. p. 98. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
- Frederick Augustus Porter Barnard (1885). Johnson's new general cyclopaedia and copperplate hand-atlas of the world: combined and illustrated: being specially adapted for daily use in the family, school, and office, Volume 2. NEW YORK: A. J. Johnson. p. 1397. Retrieved 2011-05-08.(Original from the New York Public Library)
- John King Fairbank, Kwang-ching Liu, Denis Crispin Twitchett (1980). Late Ch'ing, 1800-1911. Cambridge University Press. p. 223. ISBN 0-521-22029-7. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
- John King Fairbank, Kwang-ching Liu, Denis Crispin Twitchett (1980). Late Ch'ing. Cambridge University Press. p. 224. ISBN 0-521-22029-7. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
- Cyril E. Black, Louis Dupree, Elizabeth Endicott-West, Eden Naby (1991). The Modernization of Inner Asia. M.E. Sharpe. p. 45. ISBN 0-87332-779-9. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
- Ildikó Bellér-Hann (2008). Community matters in Xinjiang, 1880-1949: towards a historical anthropology of the Uyghur. BRILL. p. 74. ISBN 90-04-16675-0. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
- Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons (1871). Accounts and papers of the House of Commons. Ordered to be printed. p. 34. Retrieved 2010-12-28.(Original from Oxford University)
- The Spectator, Volume 51. LONDON : JOHN CAMPBELL, 1 WELLINGTON STREET, STRAND. 1878. p. 1607. Retrieved 2012-01-18.
Yakoob Beg, calling all true Mussulmans to his standard, and avowing himself then, as always, Athalik Ghazi, Champion Father of the Faithful, defeated the remnants of the Buddhist Chinese ; crushed the Mahommedan Chinese
- Herbert Allen Giles (1898). A Chinese biographical dictionary, Volume 2. London: B. Quaritch. p. 894. Retrieved 2011-07-13.(STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARY)
- Garnaut, Anthony. "From Yunnan to Xinjiang:Governor Yang Zengxin and his Dungan Generals". Pacific and Asian History, Australian National University). Retrieved 2010-07-14.
- Wolfram Eberhard (1966). A history of China. Plain Label Books. p. 449. ISBN 1-60303-420-X. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
- Linda Benson, Ingvar Svanberg (1998). China's last Nomads: the history and culture of China's Kazaks. M.E. Sharpe. p. 19. ISBN 1-56324-782-8. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
- Kim (2004), pp. 167-169
- "Central and North Asia, 1800-1900 A.D.". metmuseum.org. 2006. Retrieved December 14, 2006.
- The stroke (Russian: удар) version e.g. here: N. Veselovsky (Н. Веселовский), Badaulet Yaqun Beg, Ataliq of Kashgar (Бадаулет Якуб-бек, Аталык Кашгарский), in «Записки Восточного отделения Русского археологического общества», No. 11 (1899).
- George Curzon Curzon (2010). Problems of the Far East - Japan-Korea-China. READ BOOKS. p. 328. ISBN 1-4460-2557-8. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
- John Stuart Thomson (1913). China revolutionized. INDIANAPOLIS: The Bobbs-Merrill company. p. 310. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
American Commissioner Cushing, Daniel Webster's son Fletcher, etc., arrive at Canton 1844 Manchu yellow instead of Chinese blue adopted as official color 1855 Famous Empress Dowager Tse Hsi and Viceroy Li Hung Chang arise to power 1856 Non-fulfilment of Nanking treaty with Britain causes war again 1856 Coolie slave trade for Peru, Cuba, California, etc., opens at Macao 1860 Britain and France war with China 1860 Taiping rebellion, beginning at Canton, sweeps to Nanking; opposed by the American, Ward; Chinese Gordon, etc., on behalf of Manchus.... 1863 Yung Wing brings first Chinese students to America (Hartford) 1872 Terrific Mohammedan rebellion in Shensi, Kansu, Yunnan provinces and Turkestan, suppressed by ferocious General Tso Tsung-tang, Mohammedan leader, Yakub Beg, being assassinated in Turkestan May, 1877 Sir Robert Hart establishes Chinese national customs, first guarantee for foreign loans 1886 China-Japan war over Korea; Formosa lost; indemnity also paid 1894 Emperor Kwang Hsu's reform edicts, influenced by Kang Yu Wei 1898 Siege of Peking by allies 1900 Russia-Japan war over Manchuria 1904 America, Britain and China at Shanghai agree to end opium curse I909 Death of Emperor Kwang Hsu and Empress Dowager Tse Hsi together 1909
- Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events, Volume 4. NEW YORK: TD. Appleton and company. 1880. p. 145. Retrieved 2011-05-12.
In May, Hakim Khan Tufi, the pretender to the Kashgar throne, quitted his exile on Russian territory, and, entering Kashgar with a large number of followers through the Pamir, endeavored to raise a rebellion against the Chinese. This step was taken by Hakim Khan in order to profit by the angry excitement then reigning among the Mussulmans of Kashgar on account of the burning of the remains of Yakoob Beg, their late ruler, by order of the Chinese. In consequence of the rebellious attitude of the Mussulmans of Kashgar, and their openly expressed regrets at the loss of their beloved Yakoob Beg, the Chinese authorities ordered the bodies of Yakoob Beg and of his son, Ishana Beg, to be disinterred and publicly burned to cinders. The ashes of Yakoob were, moreover', sent to Peking. Such a proceeding only served to give new force to the existing discontent, and a conspiracy among the Mohammedans was the result. Hakim Khan endeavored to take advantage of this conspiracy, but the Chinese troops put a speedy end to the troubles.
- Herbert Allen Giles (1898). A Chinese biographical dictionary, Volume 2. London: B. Quaritch. p. 894. Retrieved 2011-07-13.(STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARY)
- Translations of the Peking Gazette. SHANGHAI. 1880. p. 83. Retrieved 2011-05-12.(Original from the University of California)REPRINTED FROM THE "NORTH-CHINA HERALD AND SUPREME COURT AND CONSULAR GAZETTE."
- Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events, Volume 4. NEW YORK: D. Appleton and Company. 1888. p. 145. Retrieved 2011-05-12 At the time that Eastern Turkistan again passed into the hands of China, there were taken prisoners four sons, two grandsons, two granddaughters, and four wives of Yakoob Beg. Some of these were executed and others died; but in 1870 there remained in prison at Lanchanfoo, the capital of Kan-suh, Maiti Kuli, aged fourteen ; Yima Kuli, aged ten ; K'ati Kuli, aged six, sons of Yakoob Beg; and Aisan Ahung, aged five, his grandson. These wretched little boys were treated like state criminals. They arrived in Kan-suh in February, 1879, and were sent on to the provincial capital to be tried and sentenced by the Judicial Commissioner there for the awful crime of being sons of their father. In the course of time the Commissioner made a report of the trial, which he concluded as follows : In cases of sedition, where the law condemns the malefactors to death by the slow and paintul process, the children and grandchildren, if it be shown that they were not privv to the treasonable designs of their parents, shall be delivered, no matter whether they have attained full age or not, into the hands of the imperial household to be made eunuchs of, and shall be forwarded to Turkistan and given over as slaves to the soldiery. If under the ase of ten, they shall be confined in prison until they shall have reached the age of eleven, wliereupon they shall he handed to the imperial household to oe dealt with according to law. In the present case, Yakoob Beg's sons Maiti Kuli, Yima Kuli, and K'ati Kuli, and the rebel chief Beg Kuli's son, Aisan Ahung, are all under age, and were not, it has been proved, privy to the treasonable designs of their parents. They have, therefore, to be handed to the imperial household to he dealt with in accordance with the law, which prescribes that, in cases of sedition, the Sons and grandsons of malefactors condemned to deatli by the'slow and painful process, if it be shown that they were not privy to the treasonable designs of their parents, shall, whether they have attained full age or not, be delivered into the hands of the imperial household to be made eimuchs of, and shall be sent to Turkistan to be given as slaves to the soldiery. But, as these are rebels from Turkistan, it is requested that they may, instead, be sent to the Amoor region, to be given as slaves to the soldiery there. As Maiti Kuli is fourteen, it is requested that he may be delivered over to the imperial household as soon as the reply of the Board is received. Yima Kuli is just ten , K'ati Kuli and Aisan Ahung are under ten: they have, therefore, to be confined In prison until they attain the age of eleven, when thev will be delivered over to the imperial household to "be dealt with according to law.. Check date values in:
- Peter Tompkins (1963). The eunuch and the virgin: a study of curious customs. C. N. Potter. p. 32. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
- Thwaites, Richard (1986). "Real Life China 1978-1983". Rich Communications, Canberra, Australia. 0-00-217547-9. Retrieved December 14, 2006.
- Boulger, Demetrius Charles (1878). The Life of Yakoob Beg, Athalik Ghazi and Badaulet, Ameer of Kashgar. London: W. H. Allen. (Full text is available on Internet Archive; a recent reprint is available as e.g. ISBN 0-7661-8845-0)
- Kim Hodong (2004). Holy War in China: The Muslim Rebellion and State in Chinese Central Asia, 1864-1877. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-4884-5.
- Yakub Beg in Encyclopædia Britannica
- Yakub Beg Invasion (At Kashgar City official website - quite detailed, although, admittedly, not in very grammatical English)
- Yakub Beg is a secondary character in the novel Flashman at the Charge, published in 1973.
- Demetrius Charles Boulger, The life of Yakoob Beg; Athalik Ghazi, and Badaulet; Ameer of Kashgar, London: Wm.H. Allen & Co., 1878 (From the Open Library)
- A fictionalization of Yakub Beg's life appears in the novel Tales of Inner Asia by Todd Gibson
- Copper coins of the Rebels- Rashiddin and Yakub Beg
- Verin Noravank Gospels, dating from 1487, includes a rare mention of Yakub Beg