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Chughtai or Chagatai (Turkish: Çağatay, Urdu: چغتائی‎) is a family name originated in Chaghataite Khanate and later taken by successors of Chaghatai Khan all over the world.

Origin of Chughtai People[edit]

One theory about Chughtai People are believed to be Turko Mongol ethnicity of Central Asian Tartar Turkic who were under Chagatai Khan's Army, who was son of Genghis Khan. Chagatai Khan's army conquered many parts of Central Asia. Timurid Empire was originated from Chagatai Khanate by Amir Timur. Later Babur formed Mughal Empire and conquered parts of South Asia. Another theory about Chughtai People is believed to be descendants of Afghan Millitants who served the Mughal Empire. Historian Pir Ahmad Chishti noted that most Chughtai Khan Mughals were strictly following Persio-Afghan Culture and looked more like Afghans. Today, most dominant number of Khan Chughtais are found in Azad Kashmir and they still practice many Afghan Cultures like wearing Black Turbans and celebrating Nowruz.

Chughtais as Conquerors[edit]

According to Zaheer-ud-Babur's cousin Mirza Muhammad Hayder: […] at that time the Chaghatái (successors of Chagatai Khan who was son of Genghis Khan) were very rude and uncultured (bázári), and not refined (buzurg) as they are now. Chughtais were followers of Sunni Islam and gave very much respect to Ahly-Bayt and Sayyids but were fond of killing Shias in the lands they conquered. Most powerful Shia Dynasty Safavid Persia were brutally defeated by the Hands of Chughtais under the leadership of Amir Timur and formed the Timurid Dynasty.


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]

Origin of the Surname[edit]

The origin of Chughtai as surname is claimed to be arisen in Chaghataite Khanate as taken up by the descendents and successors of Chaghatai Khan. For instance, Mughal King Babur claimed lineage to Chaghatai Khan.[3] Accordingly, some of the other descendents of the successors of Chaghatai Khan in South and Central Asia use variants such as Mirza, Baig & Khan.[4][5]

Linguistic Significance[edit]

Some descendents of Chaghatai Khan developed a new language[citation needed], often known as Chagatai Turkic[citation needed]. This language was once widely spoken in and around Chaghataite Khanate and got extinct in the 19th century[citation needed]. The seminal Mughal text Baburnama of King Babur is written in Chagatai. The influence of Chughtai language is also evident in other languages such as English and Urdu. For instance, the Chagatai language word orda is the root of the word horde in English. The same word is also the etymological source of the name of the Urdu language.

Place Names[edit]


In Afghanistan, Babur established a city in Kunar and named it Chughtai Sara[citation needed], pronounced as "Chegah Sarai." It was later renamed to Asa'ad Abad. Babur 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[citation needed].

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. ^ John F. Richards (1995). The Mughal Empire: Volume 5 of New Cambridge history of India: The Mughals and their contemporaries. pp. 19, 60, 110. ISBN 0521566037. Full text at Google Books
  4. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica
  5. ^ Past present: Emperor’s new names