Zeki Velidi Togan

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Zeki Velidi Togan
Born(1890-12-10)December 10, 1890
DiedJuly 26, 1970(1970-07-26) (aged 79)

Zeki Velidi Togan (Bashkir: Әхмәтзәки Әхмәтшаһ улы Вәлиди; Russian: Ахмет-Заки Ахметшахович Валидов, sometimes spelled as Validi) (1890–1970 Istanbul), Bashkir, was a Turkic historian,[1] Turkologist,[2] and leader of the Bashkir revolutionary and liberation movement.


The Zeki Velidi Togan National Library of the Republic of Bashkortostan in Ufa

He was born in Kuzyanovo (Bashkir: Көҙән) village of Sterlitamak uyezd, Ufa Governorate (in present-day Ishimbaysky District, Bashkortostan).

From 1912–1915 Velidi taught in the madrassa (school) in Kazan (Qasímiä), and from 1915 to 1917 he was a member of bureau, supporting Muslim deputies at the State Duma. In 1917 he was elected to the Millät Mäclese, and with Şerif Manatov he organized the Bashkir Shura (Council). During the Bashkir Congress in Orenburg from December 1917, he declared Bashkortostan's autonomy. However, he was arrested 3 February 1918 by the Soviet forces.In April 1918 he managed to escape and joined the forces confronting the Bolsheviks.

In 1918 and 1919 Velidi's Bashkir troops first fought under Ataman Alexander Dutov, then under Admiral Kolchak against Bolshevik forces. After the RSFSR promised autonomy to Bashkirs, Velidi switched allegiance, fighting with the Bolsheviks.[3]

From February 1919 to June 1920, he was chairman of the Bashrevkom (Bashkir Revolutionary Committee). He attended the Congress of the Peoples of the East held in Baku in September 1920, where he became involved in drawing up the statutes of ERK, a Muslim Socialist organisation. However, feeling the Bolsheviks had broken their promises, he became more critical of them when he moved to Central Asia.

In Turkistan, Velidi became a leader of the Basmachi Movement (Paksoy 1992). From 1920 to 1923 he was chairman of the "National Union of Turkistan". In 1923 Validi emigrated, after discovering original manuscripts of Ahmad ibn Fadlan in Iran.

From 1925 Velidi lived in Turkey and was appointed Chair of Turkish History at the Istanbul University in 1927.[4] However, his controversial views criticizing the Turkish History Thesis forced him to seek refuge in Vienna,[5]where he gained a doctor of philosophy at the University of Vienna in 1935. Following he became a professor at Bonn University (1935–1937) and Göttingen University (1938–1939).[3]In 1953 he became organizer of the İslam Tetkikleri Enstitüsü (Institute for Islamic Studies) at Istanbul University. In 1967, he was given an honorary doctorate from the University of Manchester. At the same time he contributed to the Encyclopedia of Turkic Peoples. His articles about culture, language and history of Turkic peoples have been translated into many languages.


  1. ^ Censorship and History:1914-1945:Historiography in the Service of Dictatorships, Antoon De Baets,The Oxford History of Historical Writing: Volume 4: 1800-1945, ed. Stuart Macintyre, Juan Maiguashca and Attila Pók, (Oxford University Press, 2011), 138, 147.
  2. ^ Literary History: Towards a Global Perspective: Notions of Literature Across Times and Cultures, Vol.1, ed. Anders Pettersson, (Gmbh & Co., 2006), 299.
  3. ^ a b "Togan, Ahmed Zeki Validov | Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2019-10-01.
  4. ^ Landau, Jacob M. (1981). Pan-Turkism in Turkey. London: C. Hurst & Company. p. 76. ISBN 0905838572.
  5. ^ Late Ottoman and Early Republican Turkish Historical Writing, Cemal Kadafar and Hakan T. Karateke,The Oxford History of Historical Writing: Volume 4: 1800-1945, 574.

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