Yaqub Beg

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Yaqub Beg
YakubBey.jpg
Born1820
Died(1877-05-30)May 30, 1877
OccupationAmir of Yettishar

Muhammad Yaqub Bek (محمد یعقوب بیگ; Uzbek: Яъқуб-бек, Ya’qub-bek; Chinese: 阿古柏; 1820 – 30 May 1877) was a Khoqandi ruler of Yettishar (Kashgaria) from 1865 to 1877.[1] He held the title of Atalik Ghazi ("Champion Father").[2][3]

Spelling variants[edit]

In English-language literature, the name Yaqub Beg has also been spelt as Yakub Beg (Encyclopædia Britannica), Yakoob Beg (Boulger, 1878) or Ya`qūb Beg (Kim Hodong, 2004). Authors using Russian sources have also used the spelling Yakub-bek (Paine, 1996).[4] A few publications in English written by Chinese authors spell his name Agubo, which is the Pinyin transcription of the Chinese transcription of his name, 阿古柏 (Chinese: 阿古柏帕夏; pinyin: Āgǔbó pàxià).

The first name, Muhammad, is subject to the usual variations in spelling as well. Ya`qūb is an Arabic analogue of Jacob, and Beg is a Turkic noble title.

Background[edit]

Beg's ethnic background is uncertain. According to his biographer, D. Boulger, Beg was a Tajik and a descendant of Timur, but the claim is self-contradictory: as a Tajik, Beg would have had to have a link on his mother's side in order to be considered Timur's offspring, but Timur was actually a Turco-Mongol from the Barlas tribe. Hodong Kim suggests the claim to be an unsupported fabrication intended to glorify Beg's genealogy by ascribing his descent to both Timur and Genghis Khan.[5]

According to H. Bellew, a member of the British embassy, Beg's physiognomy reflected a mixture of Mongol and Turkic features rather than Tajik ones:[5]

The face has the general outlines of the Tatar physiognomy, with its asperities softened and rounded by Uzbak blood, and presents a broad full countenance without wrinkle or a scam, and with less of commanding weight than of sensual passion in its expression.

— H. Bellew

Beg's forefathers had lived in the mountainous part of Karategin before moving to Dehbid, near Samarkand. Beg's father, Pur Muhhammad,[a] was born in Samarkand and completed his education in Khojent, later working as a qadi (a judge) at Piskent. He married a local qadi as his second wife. She bore his son Ya'qüb Beg in 1820.[5]

Life[edit]

Early life[edit]

Yakub Beg was born in the town of Pskente, in the Khanate of Kokand (now in Uzbekistan).[6]

Career[edit]

Beg's lax lifestyle worried his uncle who sent him to Tashkent to become a weaver. However, Beg quickly became bored and returned to Piskent where he obtained a minor job under the general Ghadai Bai.[5]: 78 

He later worked under the governor of Khojent, Muhhammad Karim Khaska. When Aziz Bacha was appointed as the governor of Tashkent, Muhhammad Karim Khaska was transferred to Khokand along with Beg, but Kashka was soon assassinated by Musulman Quli. This juncture caused Beg to seek service in cavalry under Bacha. Kilauchi's governor Nar Muhhammad married Beg's sister around this time. In 1847, Nar Muhhammad succeeded Kashka as governor of Tashkent, and Beg was appointed as Beg of Chinaz. Around 1849, he was transferred and appointed as commander of Ak-Mechet, primarily owing to his brother-in-law's influence.[5]: 79 Beg soon amassed a large fortune. He was involved in the complex factional shifts of the Khanate of Kokand. The internal rivalry between Musalman Quli who was the Mingbashi at the time and Nar Muhhammad led to a clash in 1852 where Quli fled, and one of Nar's allies Utambai became Mingbashi. Beg was subsequently recalled back to Tashkent where he was promoted to the rank of military officer with the title of Baturbashi.[5]: 80 

Qipchaq massacre[edit]

In late 1852, Khudayar Khan, taking advantage of the disunity between the nomadic Qipchaqs and wishing to end their interference in the politics of the Khanate, attempted a coup. The rival Qipchaqs, Nar Muhhammad and Quli were both captured and executed. According to Navlivkin, Beg conspired against the Nar and allied himself with Khudayar, however the veracity of this claim is doubtful. Many Qipchaqs were massacred, and this led to an end of the domination of the Qipchaqs over Khokand. There is some uncertainty as to the whereabouts of Beg between 1852 and 1864. In 1864, however, he helped defend Tashkent during the first Russian attack.[5]: 78–80 

Rule over Yettishar[edit]

Yakub Beg

Establishment of Yettishar (1865)[edit]

As a result of the Dungan Revolt (1862–77), by 1864, the Chinese held only the citadels of Kashgar and a few other places. The Kyrgyz, or Kazakh Sadic Beg, entered Kashgar but was unable to take the citadel and was sent to Tashkent as a Khoja to become ruler. Burzug Khan, the only surviving son of Jahangir Khoja, left Tashkent with six men. He joined by Yakub Beg, left Kokand with 68 men, crossed the frontier in January 1865, gained more supporters was soon installed on the throne of his ancestors. Sadic Beg, defeated by Yakub Beg, was driven beyond the mountains. Yakub went southeast to Yarkand, the largest town in the region, and was driven out by an army from Kucha. He next besieged the Chinese at Yangi Hissar for 40 days and massacred the garrison. Sadic Beg reappeared, was defeated, and talked into becoming an ally. Invaders from Badakshan were also talked into an alliance. A Dungan force from Kucha and eastward arrived at Maralbeshi and was defeated with 1,000 of the Dungans joining Yakub Beg. Yarkand had decided to submit to Burzug Khan and his great vizier. In September 1865, the second in command and 3,000 men surrendered, converted to Islam, and joined Yakub Beg. The commander refused and blew himself up along with his family; the commanders of Yarkand and Kulja had done the same. An army of rebels from Kokand arrived and joined Yakub. Later in the year, Burzug Khan and Yakub went to Yarkand to deal with a disturbance. The Dungan faction suborned Yakub's Dungans and he was reduced to a few hundred men. Burzug drew off to a separate camp, Yakub defeated the Dungans, Burzug Khan fled to Kashgar and declared Yakub a traitor. The religious leaders supported Yakub, and Burzug was seized in his palace. He was confined for 18 months, exiled to Tibet, and later found his way to Kokand. In little more than a year, Yakub had become master of Kashgar, Yarkand, and Maralbashi, areas stretching roughly from the western end of the Tarim Basin to as far as the Yarkand River.

The Tarim Basin was conquered by Beg acting as a Khoqandi foreigner and not as a local separatist Uyghur.[7]

Yaqub Beg is located in Xinjiang
Kashgar
Kashgar
Maralbashi
Maralbashi
Uqturpan
Uqturpan
Aksu
Aksu
Kucha
Kucha
Lontai
Lontai
Korla
Korla
Karashar
Karashar
Toksun
Toksun
Turfan
Turfan
Hami
Hami
Jade Gate
Jade Gate
Yangi Hissar
Yangi Hissar
Yarkand
Yarkand
Khotan
Khotan
Tacheng
Tacheng
Kulja
Kulja
Manas
Manas
Urumchi
Urumchi
Gucheng
Gucheng
Jade Gate
Jade Gate
Kokand
Kokand
Map of places of Yakub Beg, about 800 miles wide.

Later reign[edit]

Yakub came to power after the Chinese were driven out. The Chinese only became important when they returned with an army. The Khan of Kokand had some claim over Barzug Khan as a subject, but did nothing in practice. Yaqub entered into relations and signed treaties with the Russian Empire and Great Britain, but failed in trying to get their support against China.[8]

Yaqub Beg was given the title of "Athalik Ghazi, Champion Father of the Faithful" by the Amir of Bokhara in 1866. The Ottoman Sultan also granted him the title of Amir.[9]

Popularity[edit]

Yaqub Beg's rule was unpopular among the natives, with one of the local Kashgaris, a warrior and a chieftain's son, commenting: "During the Chinese rule there was everything; there is nothing now." Trade also declined.[10] Yakub was disliked by his Turkic Muslim subjects, burdening them with heavy taxes and subjecting them to a harsh interpretation of Islamic Sharia law.[11][12]

Korean historian Kim Hodong points out the fact that his disastrous and inexact commands failed the locals and they, in turn, welcomed the return of Chinese troops.[13] Qing dynasty general Zuo Zongtang wrote that "The Andijanis are tyrannical to their people; government troops should comfort them with benevolence. The Andijanis are greedy in extorting from the people; government troops should rectify this by being generous."[14]

Death[edit]

Qing dynasty's campaign against Yaqub Beg and his allies

His precise manner of death is unclear. The Times of London and the Russian Turkestan Gazette both reported that he had died after a short illness.[15] Historian Musa Sayrami stated that he was poisoned on May 30, 1877, in Korla by the former hakim (local city ruler) of Yarkand, Niyaz Hakim Beg, as part of a conspiracy with Qing Dynasty forces in Jungaria.[15] However, in a letter to the Qing authorities, Niyaz denied any involvement in the death of Yakub, claiming that the Kashgarian ruler had committed suicide.[15] Other sources also state that he was killed in battle with the Chinese.[16]

While contemporaneous Muslim writers usually explained Yakub Beg's death by poisoning, and the suicide theory was the accepted truth among the Qing generals of the time, modern historians, according to Kim Hodong, think that natural death (of a stroke) is the most plausible explanation.[15][17] Contemporary Western sources claim that the Chinese had him poisoned or killed via some other subversive act.[18] Westerners also say he was assassinated.[19]

The exact date of Yakub's death is uncertain. Although Sayrami claimed that he died on April 28, 1877, modern historians think that this is impossible, as Przewalski met him on May 9. Chinese sources usually give May 22 as the date of his death, while Aleksey Kuropatkin thought it to be May 29. Late May, 1877 is therefore thought to be the most likely time period.[15]

Yaqub and his son Ishana Beg's corpses were "burned to cinders" in public, which angered the population in Kashgar, and Chinese troops had to quell an attempted rebellion by Hakim Khan.[20] Four of his sons and two grandsons were captured by the Chinese; one son was beheaded, one grandson died, and the rest were sentenced to be castrated and enslaved to soldiers.[21] Surviving members of Yaqub's family included his four sons, four grandchildren (two grandsons and two granddaughters) and four wives. They either died in prison in Lanzhou, Gansu, or were killed by the Chinese. His sons Yima Kuli, K'ati Kuli, Maiti Kuli, and grandson Aisan Ahung were the only survivors by 1879; they were all underage children put on trial and sentenced to an agonizing death if they were complicit in their father's rebellious "sedition", or if they were innocent of their father's crimes, were to be sentenced to castration and serving as a eunuch slave to Chinese troops when they became 11 years old.[22][23] Although some sources assert that the sentence of castration was carried out, official sources from the US State Department and activists involved in the incident state that Yaqub's sons and grandson had their sentences commuted to life imprisonment with a fund provided for their support.[24][25][26]

Legacy[edit]

Night interview with Yakub Beg, King of Kashgaria, 1868

Rebiya Kadeer claimed Yakub Beg was a "Uyghur hero".[27]

Tributes[edit]

One source says that his tomb was at Kashgar but was razed by the Chinese in 1878.[28][29]

A son of general and politician Yulbars Khan was named after Yaqub Beg.[30]

In media[edit]

Poems were written about the victories of Yaqub's forces over the Chinese and the Dungans (Chinese Muslims).[31]

Yaqub makes an appearance in the second half of George Macdonald Fraser's novel Flashman at the Charge.

Al Qaeda[edit]

Al-Qaeda ideologue Mustafa Setmariam Nasar praised Yaqub and his establishment of educational institutions for Islam, and mosques called him "Attalik Ghazi" and a "good man" for his war against Buddhists and the Chinese.[32]

The Doğu Türkistan Haber Ajansı (East Turkestan News Agency) published an article from Al-Qaeda branch Al-Nusra Front's English language Al-Risalah magazine (مجلة الرسالة), second issue (العدد الثاني), translated from English into Turkish and titled Al Risale: "Türkistan Dağları" 2. Bölüm (The Message: "Turkistan Mountains" Part 2), which praised the Sharia implemented by Yaqub and cited him as an upholder of Jihad, attacking the Qing.[33][34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Olivieri, Chiara (2018). "Religious Independence of Chinese Muslim East Turkestan "Uyghur"". In Dingley, James; Mollica, Marcello (eds.). Understanding Religious Violence: Radicalism and Terrorism in Religion Explored Via Six Case Studies. ISBN 9783030002848.
  2. ^ "Atalik". Encyclopaedia of Islam: Supplement. Vol. 12. 1980. p. 98. ISBN 9004061673. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  3. ^ "Yakub Beg". Encyclopædia Britannica. 15 September 2019. Retrieved 15 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Imperial Rivals: China, Russia, and Their Disputed Frontier", by Sarah C. M. Paine (1996) ISBN 1-56324-723-2
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Kim, Hodong (February 25, 2004). Holy War in China: The Muslim Rebellion and State in Chinese Central Asia, 1864-1877. Stanford University Press. p. 77. ISBN 9780804767231 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ "Yakub Beg: Tajik adventurer". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  7. ^ James A. Millward (2007). Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang. Columbia University Press. pp. 117–. ISBN 978-0-231-13924-3.
  8. ^ Herbert Allen Giles (1898). A Chinese biographical dictionary, Volume 2. London: B. Quaritch. p. 894. Retrieved 2011-07-13.(STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARY)
  9. ^ Boulger, page 118 and 220
  10. ^ Demetrius Charles de Kavanagh Boulger (1878). The life of Yakoob Beg: Athalik ghazi, and Badaulet; Ameer of Kashgar. London: W. H. Allen. p. 152. Retrieved 2012-01-18.
  11. ^ Wolfram Eberhard (1966). A history of China. Plain Label Books. p. 449. ISBN 1-60303-420-X. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
  12. ^ Linda Benson; Ingvar Svanberg (1998). China's last Nomads: the history and culture of China's Kazaks. M.E. Sharpe. p. 19. ISBN 1-56324-782-8. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
  13. ^ Kim, Hodong (2004). Holy War in China: The Muslim Rebellion and State in Chinese Central Asia, 1864–1877. Stanford University Press. p. 172. ISBN 9780804767231.
  14. ^ John King Fairbank (1978). The Cambridge History of China: Late Chʻing, 1800–1911, pt. 2. Cambridge University Press. pp. 221–. ISBN 978-0-521-22029-3.
  15. ^ a b c d e Kim (2004), pp. 167–169
  16. ^ "Central and North Asia, 1800–1900 A.D." metmuseum.org. 2006. Archived from the original on December 14, 2006. Retrieved December 14, 2006.
  17. ^ The stroke (Russian: удар) version e.g. here: N. Veselovsky (Н. Веселовский), Badaulet Yaqun Beg, Ataliq of Kashgar (Бадаулет Якуб-бек, Аталык Кашгарский), in «Записки Восточного отделения Русского археологического общества», No. 11 (1899).
  18. ^ George Curzon Curzon (2010). Problems of the Far East – Japan-Korea-China. READ BOOKS. p. 328. ISBN 978-1-4460-2557-4. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  19. ^ John Stuart Thomson (1913). China revolutionized. INDIANAPOLIS: The Bobbs-Merrill company. p. 310. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  20. ^ {{cite book|url=https://archive.org/stream/appletonsannualc04newy#page/144/mode/2up |title=Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events, Volume 4|year=1880|publisher=TD. Appleton and company|location=NEW YORK|page=145|access-date=2011-05-12|
  21. ^ Herbert Allen Giles (1898). A Chinese biographical dictionary, Volume 2. London: B. Quaritch. p. 894. Retrieved 2011-07-13.(STANFORD UNIVERSITY LIBRARY)[1]
  22. ^ Translations of the Peking Gazette. SHANGHAI. 1880. p. 83. Retrieved 2011-05-12.(Original from the University of California)REPRINTED FROM THE "NORTH-CHINA HERALD AND SUPREME COURT AND CONSULAR GAZETTE."
  23. ^ {{cite book|url=https://archive.org/stream/appletonsannualc04newy#page/144/mode/2up |title=Appletons' annual cyclopaedia and register of important events, Volume 4|year=1888|publisher=D. Appleton and Company|location=NEW YORK|page=145|access-date=2011-05-12
  24. ^ James D. Hague (1904). Clarence King Memoirs: The Helmet of Mambrino. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. p. 50. Retrieved 2016-09-19. Cruelty to Children Yakoob Beg.
  25. ^ "THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN.; CASE OF THE KINGMA CHILDREN--LETTER FROM THE STATE DEPARTMENT". The New York Times. New York. 1880-03-20. Retrieved 2016-09-19.
  26. ^ Jung Chang (2014). Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China. New York: Anchor. p. 131. ISBN 978-0-385-35037-2. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  27. ^ Rebiya Kadeer; Alexandra Cavelius (2009). Dragon Fighter: One Woman's Epic Struggle for Peace with China. Kales Press. pp. 6–. ISBN 978-0-9798456-1-1.
  28. ^ Thwaites, Richard (1986). "Real Life China 1978–1983". Rich Communications, Canberra, Australia. 0-00-217547-9. Retrieved December 14, 2006.
  29. ^ Michael Dillon (1 August 2014). Xinjiang and the Expansion of Chinese Communist Power: Kashgar in the Early Twentieth Century. Routledge. pp. 11–. ISBN 978-1-317-64721-8.
  30. ^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (9 October 1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: A Political History of Republican Sinkiang 1911-1949. CUP Archive. pp. 225–. ISBN 978-0-521-25514-1.
  31. ^ Ildikó Bellér-Hann (2008). Community matters in Xinjiang, 1880–1949: towards a historical anthropology of the Uyghur. BRILL. p. 74. ISBN 978-90-04-16675-2. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  32. ^ Mustafa Setmariam Nasar (aliases Abu Musab al-Suri and Umar Abd al-Hakim) (1999). "Muslims in Central Asia and The Coming Battle of Islam".
  33. ^ *"Al Risale : "Türkistan Dağları " 2. Bölüm". Doğu Türkistan Bülteni Haber Ajansı. Bahar Yeşil. 29 October 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  34. ^ Zelin, Aaron Y. (October 25, 2015). "New issue of the magazine: "al-Risālah #2"". JIHADOLOGY: A clearinghouse for jihādī primary source material, original analysis, and translation service.
  1. ^ he was also known as Muhhammad Lațit

Sources[edit]

In literature[edit]

External links[edit]