Abu al-Ghazi Bahadur

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Abu al-Ghazi Bahadur
Born(1603-08-24)August 24, 1603
Old Urgench, Khanate of Khiva
Father'Arab Muhammad Khan

Abu al-Ghazi Bahadur (Uzbek: Abulgʻozi Bahodirxon, Abulgazi, Ebulgazi, Abu-l-Ghazi, August 24, 1603 – 1663) was a khan of the Khanate of Khiva from 1643 to 1663. He spent ten years in Persia before becoming khan, and was very well educated, writing two historical works in the Khiva dialect of the Chagatai language.[1]

He was born in Urgench, Khanate of Khiva, the son of ruler 'Arab Muhammad Khan. He fled to the Safavid court in Isfahan after a power struggle arose among him and his brothers. He lived there in exile from 1629 until 1639 studying Persian and Arabic history. In 1644 or 1645 he acceded to the throne, a position he would hold for twenty years. He died in Khiva in 1663.

Abu al-Ghazi is known as the author of two historical works: "Genealogy of the Turkmen" Shajare-i Tarakime finished in 1661 and "Genealogy of the Turks" Shajare-i Türk finished in 1665. These are important sources for modern knowledge of Central Asian history.[2]

The Shajare-i Türk was Abu al-Ghazi's opus magnum, its title was variously translated as "Genealogy of the Turks" and "Genealogy of the Tatars", "shajare" being Turkic for "genealogy". According to Abu al-Ghazi, in Shajare-i Türk he used the work of Rashid-al-Din Hamadani, Sharaf ad-Din Ali Yazdi, and other writers, totalling 18 historical sources, and corrected them in accordance with Turkic oral traditions which he was taught as a Prince.[3] A manuscript of the Shajare-i Türk was purchased in Tobolsk from a Bukhara merchant by Swedish officers detained in Russian captivity in Siberia; using the local literate Tatars, the Swedish officers first translated the book into Russian, and then they retranslated it into various other languages. The French translation of the Shajare-i Türk was first published in Leiden in 1726, the French translation served as an original for a Russian translation published in 1768-1774, in 1780 it was published separately in German and English, and during the 18th century was widely read in Europe.

In the 19th and 20th centuries were published numerous critical translations of the Shajare-i Türk, which serve as historical sources for modern scholars. The first critical translation, performed by professional scholars, was published in Kazan in 1825. The Turkish translation of the text published in Kazan was done by philologist Vefik Ahmed Pasha and initially published in 1864. The most influential Western publication was Historie des Mogols et des Tatares par Aboul-Ghazi Behadour Khan, publiee, traduite et annotee par le baron Desmaisons, St.-Petersbourg 1871-1874.[4]

N.Ya. Bichurin was the first to notice that the biography of the epic ancestor of the Turkic people Oguz-Kagan by Abu al-Ghazi and the Turco-Persian manuscripts (Rashid al-Din, Hondemir, Abulgazi) has a striking similarity with the Maodun biography in the Chinese sources (feud between father and son and murder of the latter, the direction and sequence of conquests, etc.). That observation, confirmed by other scholars, associated in the scientific literature the name of Maodun with the epic personality of the Oguz-Kagan.[5] The similarity is even more remarkable because at the time of the writing, no Chinese annals were translated into either oriental or western languages, and Abu al-Ghazi could not have known about Eastern Huns or Maodun.

The literary significance of Shajare-i Türk is that Abu al-Ghazi openly spoke against Chaghatay literary language because it carried a strong Persian influence. Abu al-Ghazi language is easy, simple folk language of the Khiva Uzbeks and is quite different from the Chaghatay literary language. The style of Abu al-Ghazi, despite a scientific nature of his compositions, is distinguished by clarity and richness of vocabulary, and is interspersed with the falk Uzbek expressions and proverbs.[6]

Abu al-Ghazi's son, Abu al-Muzaffar Anusha Muhammad Bahadur, reassigned to complete the work of his father Shajare-i Türk to a certain Mahmud bin Mulla Muhammad Zaman Urgench. It was finalized in 1665. The work lists a Turkic genealogy starting from the biblical Adam and the primogenitor of the Turks, Oguz-Khan, and provides legendary details on their descendants including Chengiz Khan and the Shaybanid dynasty, providing a good picture of Mongol and Turkic historical understanding of the time.


  • Ebülgâzî Bahadir Han (Khan of Khorezm), Shejere-i Terākime, Simurg, 1996, ISBN 975-7172-09-X, ISBN 978-975-7172-09-3
  • Shajare-i Tarakime ("Genealogy of the Turkmen", 1659)
  • Shajare-i Türk ("Genealogy of the Türks" 1665)


16413 Abulghazi, an asteroid which was discovered on 28 January 1987 by Eric Walter Elst at La Silla Observatory, Chile, was named after him.


  1. ^ Bartold, Vasily V, Four Studies on the History of Central Asia, 1 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1956) p.65.
  2. ^ Sinor, Denis, Inner Asia: History, Civilization, Languages; A Syllabus (Bloomington: Indiana University, 1969) p.59.
  3. ^ Abu al-Ghazi, "Genealogical History of Tatars"//Translation from French, Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences, 1778, p. 16
  4. ^ Kononov A.N., "Abu al-Ghazi. Genealogy of the Turkmen. Editorial Introduction"//Oriental Literature "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2011-01-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) (in Russian)
  5. ^ Taskin V.S., Materials on the history of the Sünnu, transl., Moscow, Science, 1968, Vol. 1, p. 129
  6. ^ "Abu al-Ghazi"//Literary Encyclopedia "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-12-15. Retrieved 2011-01-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) (in Russian)

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