Dörbet Oirat

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Regions with significant populations
Tibetan Buddhism, Mongolian Shamanism, Atheism
Related ethnic groups
Mongols, especially Oirats

The Dörbet (Kalmyk: Дөрвд, Dörwd; Mongolian: Дөрвөд, Dörwöd, lit. "the Fours"; Chinese: 杜尔伯特部; pinyin: Dù'ěrbótè Bù; also known in English as the Derbet) is the second largest subgroup of Mongol people in modern Mongolia and was formerly one of the major tribes of the Four Oirat confederation in the 15th-18th centuries. In early times, the Dörbets and the Dzungars were ruled by collateral branches of the Choros lineage. The Dörbets are distributed among the western provinces of Mongolia, Kalmykia and in a small portion in Heilongjiang, China. In modern-day Mongolia, the Dörbets are centered in Uvs Province.


A Dörben clan of Duwa Sohor's four sons existed within the Khamag Mongol confederation in the 12th century; but their relation with the Dörbets is unclear. However, the Dörbets appeared in the early 15th century as part of the Four Oirats. The name probably means "döröv"; "four" (Middle Mongolian: dörbe).

The Dörbet tribe as a whole were of diverse origin, modern counts among the Dörbet tribe, for example have found 40 to 60 such different yasu, or patrilineages, of the most diverse origins.

In the 17th century, the leader of Dörbets was Dalai Taishi (d.1637). In order to unite the Oirats, Dalai Taishi used the method of marriage of convenience; Dalai Taishi and Khoshut leader Güshi Khan married the Torghut leader Kho Orluk sisters.[2] During the Dalai Taishi period (circa 1625), the Oirat tribes lived in harmony.

In 1616, Dalai Taishi established diplomatic relations with the Tsardom of Russia. The next year Dalai Taishi's son Solom Tseren joined the Kalmyks on the Volga with 4,000 households. In 1699 a body of the Dörbets joined the Don Cossacks, eventually becoming the Buzava Kalmyks. Trapped west of the Volga, the Do'rbets could not join the 1771 flight of the Torguds, and hence dominated the remaining Kalmyks. In the early 19th century, they had split into the Lesser Dörbets, living in northern Kalmykia and the Greater Dörbets, living around Lake Manych-Gudilo.

Meanwhile, the Dörbets in the Oirat homeland remained a major tribe of the Dzungars. In 1753 three of their chiefs submitted to the Qing dynasty. They were resettled first in Bayankhongor Province, and then in Uvs Province in 1759. They formed into 16 banners of the Sain Zayaatu Leagues. The Dörbets nobility's 15,000 subjects included Bayids and a small number of Khotongs.

From the 1880s, the Khalkha influenced Dörbet socio-economic trends. The Kalmyk Dambijantsan headed the anti-communist disturbances; and separatist feeling remained strong until the 1930s.


The Dörbets in Mongolia numbered 55,200 in 1989. In 2000 - 66,706.[3]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ National Census 2010 Archived September 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Nashun Dalai, 那顺达来 (Baarin Right Banner) (2004). The Study on the Oyirad Durbet Tribe (M.A. thesis). Inner Mongolia University. CNKI:CDMD:2.2004.105920. Archived from the original on 2013-02-21.
  3. ^ Хойт С.К. Последние данные по локализации и численности ойрат // Проблемы этногенеза и этнической культуры тюрко-монгольских народов. Вып. 2. Элиста: Изд-во КГУ, 2008. с. 136-157. - in russian.

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