Yukuk Shad

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Yukuk Shad (Chinese: 欲谷設/欲谷设; ?- 653) was a Turkic ruler reigned in the final days of the Western Turkic Khanate. His name Yukuk means Snow Leopard (Panthera Uncia)[citation needed] and title Shad means prince.

Early days[edit]

He was a member of Ashina royal clan of the Turkic khanate. He was Illig Qaghan's son and spent his early years in the Eastern Khanate where his father reigned. In 627, he was assigned to suppress a rebellion around Tien shan but was defeated. Three years later, his father was also defeated and the Eastern Turkic Khanate dissolved.

Invitation from the West[edit]

After the death of Tong of the Western Turkic Khanate in 628 (?), the central authority of the khagans among the West Turks was challenged by the leaders of the ten tribes collectively known as Onok.[1] However there was also a competition between the two wings of Onok; i.e., the Tulo and the Nushibi . Ishbara Tolis who became the khagan in 634 tried to increase his authority by the support of Nushibi. But his camp was raided and he had to escape to Fergana (in modern Uzbekistan).[2] But even after his escape, the leaders of the ten tribes preferred a khagan from the Ashina house to maintain the delicate balance between the two wings. Yukuk’s name was proposed by a certain Tun Tudun. Yukuk whose father’s territory had long been lost readily accepted the invitation. But it soon turned out that although he was welcome by Tulo, Nushibi tribes opposed him.

Yukuk as a khagan[edit]

After a civil war between the two wings of the Onok, Ili River became the border line between the Nushibi (the south of the river) and the Tulo (north of the river ) by the Ili river treaty in 638. Yukuk assumed the title Ilig Beg Tughluk Khagan and became the khagan of the north side. By 641, Yukuk consolidated most tribes between the Ili River and Siberia (including those not a part of Onok group) under his rule. In 642 he raided Samarkand (in modern Uzbekistan) one of the wealthiest cities of the silk road. But the distribution of loot between the tribes caused problems, and he lost the support of Tulo tribes. Nushibi tribes, supported by Tang China, saw this as a chance to overthrow Yukuk. They elected Irbis Seguy (Ilig Beg Shekuei Qaghan) as they khagan. This election meant the end of Onok union. Initially they attacked Yukuk and forced him to escape to Isfijab (Sayram in modern Kazakhstan). They further laid a siege on Istijab . But although Yukuk got no help from Tulo tribes he managed to defeat them. After this victory, Yukuk tried to regain Tulo support. But Tulo leaders rejected his proposal. Yukuk, feeling insecure without tribal support, escaped to Kunduz (in modern Afghanistan) in 642[3]

Later years[edit]

Yukuk spent the rest of his life in Kunduz and died in 653. His heir was Inan (Jenchu). Inan was one of the last representatives of the family. But his authority was limited to a single city.


  1. ^ Sina Akşin (ed.)-Ümit Hassan: Osmanlı Devletine kadar Türkler Cem Yayınevi, İstanbul, 2009 ISBN 975-406-563-2 p.634 (Turkish)
  2. ^ S.G.Klyashtorny-TI.Sultanov:Türkün Üçbin yılı (trans Ahsen Batur) Selenge Yayınları, İstanbul2003, ISBN 975-8839-03-9 p 104 (Turkish)
  3. ^ Lev Nikolayeviç Gumilev: Eski Türkler (trans:D.Ahsen Batur), Selenge Yayınları, İstanbul, 2002, ISBN 975-7856-39-8 pp.273-275 (Turkish)
Yukuk Shad
Preceded by
Ishbara Tolis
Khagan of the Western Turkic Khaganate
Succeeded by
Irbis Seguy