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Inalchuq (or Inalchuk) (died 1219) was governor of Otrar in the Khwarezmian Empire in the early 13th century, known mainly for helping to provoke the successful and catastrophic invasion of Khwarezmia by Genghis Khan.

Inalchuq was an uncle of Sultan Muhammad II of Khwarezmia. His name meant "little Inal" in his native Turkic, and he held the title Ghayir-Khan.[1]

In 1218, a Mongolian trade caravan of around 450 men arrived in Otrar, including an ambassador of Genghis Khan. Inalchuq accused them of being Mongolian spies and arrested them.[2] There may, in fact, have been spies in the caravan;[1] however Inalchuq may have also been provoked by having been called Inalchuq rather than the less familiar Ghayir-Khan by one of the members of the caravan,[1] or perhaps was motivated by simply wanting to seize the caravan's riches.[2] With the assent of Sultan Muhammed, he executed the entire caravan, and its goods were sold in Bukhara.[2] A camel driver escaped this massacre to report back to Genghis Khan, who responded by sending a delegation of two Mongol and one Muslim diplomats to Sultan Muhammad demanding Inalchuq be punished. Muhammad responded by beheading the Muslim ambassador and shaving off the beards of his two Mongol companions, provoking Genghis Khan's retaliatory invasion.[2]

Genghis Khan besieged Otrar for five months in 1219, eventually breaching its walls. Inalchuq barricaded himself in its inner citadel, and as the Mongols wished to capture him alive in order to publicly execute him, he managed to hold out another month. Eventually, he was trapped with his last remaining bodyguards on the upper floors of the citadel, resorting to throwing bricks down on the Mongols, he was captured, and executed by means of having molten silver poured into his eyes and ears, though the method of execution might be apocryphal.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Svat Soucek (2002). A History of Inner Asia. Cambridge University Press. p. 106. ISBN 0-521-65704-0. 
  2. ^ a b c d Leo de Hartog (2004). Genghis Khan: Conqueror of the World. Tauris Parke. pp. 86–87. ISBN 1-86064-972-6. 
  3. ^ John Man (2007). Genghis Khan: Life, Death, and Resurrection. Macmillan. p. 163. ISBN 0-312-36624-8.