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Kebek (died 1325/1326) was khan of the Chagatai Khanate from 1309 until 1310, and again from c. 1318 until his death.

First Reign[edit]

Kebek was the son of Duwa, who was khan from 1282 until 1307. During his father's reign Kebek participated in the Mongol invasions of India, leading a punitive expedition against the Sultanate of Delhi in 1305 in retaliation for the destruction of a Mongol army the previous year. He devastated the Punjab region, especially around Multan, but on the return journey his army was attacked on the banks of the Indus River by a force sent from Delhi and suffered a high number of losses (Battle of Amroha). This was one of the last Chagatayid campaigns against India to take place before a temporary cessation of the Mongol raids (1307−1327, when they were resumed under Khan Tarmashirin).[1]

The situation in the Chagatai Khanate following the death of Duwa in 1307 turned volatile, with two of his successors reigning within one year and with the sons of Kaidu still hoping to regain control over the khans. By 1308 Taliqu was in charge of the khanate but his rule was quickly contested. His enemies rallied among Kebek, and they defeated and overthrew Taliqu in 1308 or 1309. As a result Kebek became khan of the ulus.[2]

At this point the sons of Kaidu decided to make their move against the Chagatayids. Having recently come off his war with Taliqu, Kebek found himself facing an invasion by Yangichar, Orus, Chapar and Tügme. The two sides met near Almaliq, where Kebek's forces ultimately won a pitched battle. Following this, Chapar decided to surrender to the Yuan emperor Khayisan (Emperor Wuzong), permanently ending the threat against the Chagatayids by Kaidu's sons.[2]

With Yangichar and his brothers defeated, Kebek held a quriltai to decide on a future of the khanate. At the quriltai the Mongol princes agreed to recognize Kebek's brother Esen Buqa as khan. Esen Buqa was summoned to take control of the Chagatai Khanate, and Kebek stepped down in his favor.[3]

Under Esen Buqa[edit]

In 1314 Esen Buqa put Kebek in charge of an army that was to invade the Ilkhanate. In January Kebek, together with allied Neguderi forces, crossed the Amu Darya into Ilkhanid territory and defeated an enemy army on the Murghab. The Chagatayid army then advanced as far as Herat, but then Kebek received an urgent summons from Esen Buqa, who needed help in repelling an invasion from the east by the Yuan Mongols. Soon afterwards a Chagatayid prince, Yasa'ur, defected from Kebek's side and assisted the Ilkhans in defeating the Chagatayids. As a reward Yasa'ur was given lands in Afghanistan by the Ilkhan Öljeitü.[4]

Second Reign[edit]

Esen Buqa died some time around 1320 and Kebek succeeded him as khan. One of first acts was to move against Yasa'ur, who had unsuccessfully rebelled against the Ilkhans and was therefore in a weak position; Kebek's forces defeated and killed him in June 1320.[5]

Kebek is known to have married two princesses from the court of the Khagan.[6] He also sent annual tributes to the latter from 1323 onwards. Unlike his brother, Esen Buqa, Kebek avoided any conflict with Khagan and surrendered to Gegeen Khan, Emperor Yingzong of Yuan when the border skirmish broke out in 1323.

Aside from this early conflict, Kebek's second reign was largely peaceful. The adoption of a standard coinage for the entire khanate started at the latest under Kebek; in any case he supported its use.[7] He was also interested in establishing a capital for himself, something his nomadic predecessors had seldom done. Qarshi became the capital city of the khanate during his lifetime.[8]

In around 1326 Kebek died and was succeeded by his brother Eljigidey.


  • Biran, Michal. Qaidu and the Rise of the Independent Mongol State in Central Asia. Richmond, Great Britain: Curzon Press, 1997. ISBN 0-7007-0631-3
  • Boyle, J.A. "Dynastic and Political History of the Il-Khans." The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 5: The Saljuq and Mongol Periods. Edited by J.A. Boyle. Great Britain: Cambridge University Press, 1968. ISBN 0-521-06936-X
  • Grousset, René. The Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia. Trans. Naomi Walford. New Jersey: Rutgers, 1970. ISBN 0-8135-1304-9


  1. ^ Grousset, pp. 339-40
  2. ^ a b Biran, p. 77; Grousset, p. 338
  3. ^ Grousset, p. 338
  4. ^ Boyle, p. 405
  5. ^ Boyle, p. 408; Grousset, p. 340
  6. ^ Reuven Amitai, Michal Biran - Mongols, Turks, and others: Eurasian nomads and the sedentary world, p.353
  7. ^ Biran, p. 101
  8. ^ Biran, p. 174 n. 203
Preceded by
Chagatai Khan
Succeeded by
Esen Buqa
Preceded by
Esen Buqa
Chagatai Khan
Succeeded by