History Files


Far East Kingdoms

Central Asia




Khans of the Grey Horde (Shaibanid Empire)
AD 1500 - 1534

The Shaibanids were Özbegs (Uzbeks), a Turkic tribal people whose Mongol leaders were descended from Shiban, son of Jochi Khan of the Golden Horde. By the fifteenth century, they lived in the region of Turkestan, which covered eastern Scythia, Transoxiana, and Greater Khorasan. Today the heartland of this region is formed by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

In 1450, the Shaibanid (or Shaybanid) Uzbegs came to prominence when Mohammed Shaibani, grandson of their then-current leader, aided the Timurid prince, Abu Sa'id, to capture Samarkand and the Timurid crown. Following the further fracturing of Timurid territories in 1469, the Shaibanids became more and more of a threat. Just half a century after aiding the Timurids, Mohammed Shaibani overthrew the last of them, taking Samarkand in 1501 and Ferghana in 1505. Another branch of the clan captured Transoxianan Khwarazm in 1511. The latter region included a small Timurid principality, and its heir, Babur, was forced to move to Kabul and then India, where he founded the Moghul empire.

(Additional information from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, from History of the Mongols: From the 9th to the 19th Century, Henry H Howarth (1880), from A History of Inner Asia, Svat Soucek (2000), and from External Link: History of Khiva.)

1227 - ?

Shiban / Shayban / Xiban

Son of Jochi of the Golden Horde. Founder of the Shaibanids.


Shiban is too young when his father dies to gain any territories himself, despite being one of Juchi's sub-commanders of the White Horde. Instead, his descendants, the Shaibanids, carve out their own territory in the fifteenth century in Turkestan when they conquer Transoxiana and Southern Khorasan which is centred around Herat.


The election of Guyuk Khan as Great Khan confirms Batu Khan's fears, so he consolidates his territories to the north of the Caspian Sea and establishes a capital at Sarai Batu (Old Sarai). He converts his territories into a khanate (the equivalent of a kingdom) which becomes known as the Blue Horde. Batu's brothers, Orda and Shiban had also participated in his European campaign, and they now form their own khanates. Orda's khanate, located to the east of the Blue Horde, becomes known as the White Horde, while Shiban's khanate is the relatively obscure Shaibanids. Although both the Blue Horde and White Horde are in effect independent, they still acknowledge the suzerainty of the great khan.

1357 - 1405

Southern and eastern Persia and Iraq are controlled directly by the Jalayirids during a period of unrest in the Middle East and Central Asia. This lasts until 1401, when the former Persian empire is largely recreated by Timur - ostensively a servant of the Chaghatayids who dominate the eastern edges of the region conquers Baghdad but in fact an empire builder who ends up commanding the Chaghatayids and all others in the region. He creates the Timurid dynasty and his rise to power may be the trigger that sparks Shaibanid expansion.


Ibrahim Oghlan

Descendant of Shiban.



Brother and chieftain. Progenitor of the Arabsahid dynasty.


The two brothers, Ibrahim Oghlan and Arabshah, agree to divide their father's territories between them, thereby founding two main branches of the family or clan. Ibrahim and his descendants remain supreme chiefs of the Desht Kipchak - the divided groups - and Abu'l-Khayr Khan is one of the greatest of their number.

? - 1428/9


Son of Ibrahim.


Haji Tuli / Tughuluk Haji

Son of Arabshah. Shaibanid chieftain in the Shaibani Nameh.

1428/9 - 1468

Abu'l-Khayr Khan / Abulkhair

Grandson of Ibrahim. A bey of the White Horde.

1428 - 1430

Abu'l-Khayr Khan begins unifying the Central Asian tribes that formerly had been part of the Shaibani (Shaybani) ulus. The Grey Horde has splintered into several nomadic groups by this time, but Abu'l-Khayr Khan establishes himself as ruler of western Siberia.


Timur Shaykh

Son of Haji Tuli. Shaibanid chieftain. Killed fighting Kalmuks.


Timur Shaykh is killed by Kalmuks. His father, Haji Tuli, is maddened by this raid on his camp and he pursues the Kalmuks without waiting for his troops to assemble in sufficient numbers. He too is killed - without leaving any other heir or successor - and his followers, those of the half of the divided territories that had formerly been taken by Arabshah, are scattered without a leader. The Aksakals (or 'grey beards' of the Uighurs), who have been loyal to Haji Tuli, discover that they are six months away from the birth of their dead leader's son so they remain. Another tribe, the Naimans, halts its departure and pitches its tents, waiting for the birth. Upon the safe arrival of Yadegar Khan, the rest of his people return.

1450 - 1451

Sultan Abu Sa'id is one of the claimants for the Timurid crown. After failures in Samarkand and Bukhara, he conquers much of Shaibanid Turkestan in 1450, and in June 1451 takes Samarkand with the aid of the Shaibanid Uzbeks under Mohammed Shaibani (Abu'l-Khayr Khan's grandson), who remains allied to him for his lifetime. Mohammed is clearly not a ruler in his own right at this time. Instead he is probably acting in the name of his grandfather.

1468 - ?

Shah Budagh

Son of Abu'l-Khayr.

? - c.1467/8

Yadegar Khan

Son of Timur Shaykh. Shaibanid chieftain.

1468 - 1500

Following the death of the powerful Abu'l-Khayr Khan the clan appears to divide and struggle for control and supremacy. This serious factional split witnesses a westwards migration towards Transoxiana of one group where it adopts the name Uzbek (Özbeg) after its famous former Blue Horde ruler, Uzbeg Khan (1313-1341). The rise of another powerful leader from their ranks, Mohammed Shaibani, towards the end of the century witnesses the growing strength of these Shaibanid Uzbeks. The faction that remains behind in Siberia creates the khanate of Sibir.

1500 - 1510

Mohammed Shaibani / Shaybani

Son of Budagh. Former military supporter of the Timurids. Killed.


Buraka Khan / Bereke / Burka

Son of Yadegar Shaykh. Shaibanid chieftain.

1501 - 1507

Following the Shaibanid conquest of Transoxiana, Southern Khorasan centred around Herat is now threatened. Its ruler does nothing initially, although one of his princes, Babur of Ferghana, attempts to fight back. Finally deciding to mobilise in 1506, Husayn dies before he can achieve anything, and the crown is disputed between his sons. Babur withdraws to Kabul to continue the fight but without success until his supporter, the Safavid shah of Persia, takes Samarkand and adjoins it to his own Persian kingdom. The Shaibanids now hold much of former Khwarazm, effectively ending Timurid rule of Transoxiana.

Map of the Tartar Khanates AD 1500
The Mongol empire created by Chingiz Khan gradually broke up over the course of three hundred years until, by around AD 1500, it had fragmented into several more-or-less stable khanates that each vied with the others for power and influence, while having to fend off the growing power of the Ottoman empire to the south and Moscow Sate (Muscovy) to the north - in the end it was an unwinnable fight (click on map to show full sized)

1508 - 1510

Mohammed Shaibani carries out a number of raids to the north against the Kazakh khanate, but is killed on one of them in 1510, bringing the prominence of his short-lived empire to an end.

1510 - 1531


1510 - 1511

Upon the death of Mohammed Shaibani, Babur of Samarkand is able to retake much of his former territory with Safavid Persian help from his base in Kabul. However, he is unable to retain it. The Shaibanids in the form of Ibars Sultan and Balbars Sultan re-conquer the city just eight months later, shortly after capturing Old Urgench, and they assume control of its governance as the khanate of Khwarazm (Khiva).

They are the junior branch of the Shaibanid family, one that is known as the Arabxŕhida (Arabsahid) dynasty thanks to its descent from Arabshah, brother of Ibrahim Oghlan. Both Ibars and Balbars are the sons of Buraka, himself one of four sons of Yadegar Khan. The rest of the Shaibanid khanate is divided into fiefdoms by the princes of the royal clan. Janibeg Sultan receives Kermineh (Karmina) and Miankal.

1511 - 1518

Sultan lbars I

Son of Buraka Khan. Shaibanid chieftain. Captured Samarkand.

? - 1529

Janibeg Sultan

Governed Kermineh (Karmina) and Miankal.

1531 - 1534

Muzzaffaruddin Abu-Sa'id


The Shaibanid empire has already been divided into fiefdoms around 1510-1511, although the senior khan has retained at least nominal command over them. Muzzaffaruddin Abu-Sa'id is the last of them to have his capital elsewhere other than Bukhara or not to have a permanent capital at all. His successor, Abu'l-Ghazi Ubaidullah, very much favours Bukhara, and it can be said that during his reign the khanate of Bukhara truly is born.

Khanate of Bukhara (Bukhoro)
AD 1534 - 1598

The Turkic Shaibanids were Özbegs (Uzbeks). By the fifteenth century this particular branch had only recently migrated from western Siberia to what would become the region of Turkestan (covering eastern Scythia, Transoxiana, and Greater Khorasan). Today the heartland of this region is formed by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

The Shaibanid (or Shaybanid) Uzbegs quickly formed an empire in the lands that they settled, especially when they captured Samarkand and the Timurid crown in 1501. Another branch of the clan captured Transoxianan Khwarazm in 1511, but their great leader, Mohammed Shaibani, was now dead, and the empire began to fracture into fiefdoms that could not always be controlled by one khan. In fact, the khanate was more of a federation that contained a number of minor khanates. The supreme khans listed below had theoretical power over the entire region but in fact they were largely limited to their own immediate domain and depended upon the solidarity of other clan members to support them, which usually only became manifest in cases of extreme emergency. That factionalism lead to the occasional civil war.

There is no set date for the end of the Shaibanid empire and the beginning of the khanate of Bukhara. It was a gradual transition, with the empire fading and fragmenting following the death of Mohammed Shaibani, and Abu'l-Ghazi Ubaidullah shifting the capital of the empire's core holdings to Bukhara (or Bukhoro, or Bokhara), his favoured city. There it stayed, with the city blossoming under his rule and surviving as a stronghold under the reigns of his successors. The city was ancient, having formed part of the heartland of the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex, or Oxus Civilisation, of Bactria and Margiana about 2200-1700 BC into which the more sedentary Indo-European tribes had become integrated. Since then its fortunes had waxed and waned, but it had formed a key town in the old emirate of Khwarazm from the eleventh century, before being conquered by the Shaibanids.

(Additional information from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, from History of the Mongols: From the 9th to the 19th Century, Henry H Howarth (1880), from A History of Inner Asia, Svat Soucek (2000), and from External Link: History of Khiva.)

1534 - 1539

Abu'l-Ghazi Ubaidullah / Ubaydullah

Shifted the capital to Bukhara. First effective 'Khan of Bukhara'.

1539 - 1540

Abdullah I

1540 - 1552


1552 - 1556

Nawruz Ahmad

1556 - 1561

Pir Mohammed I

1561 - 1583


Son of Janibeg Sultan.

1564 - 1566

Uzbek princes who had been part of the Timurid forces which had invaded India with Babur and who are descended from Mohammed Shaibani himself, support a rival claimant to the Moghul throne and as a result are defeated and killed.

1583 - 1598

Abdullah II


1588 - 1598

In the name of Abdullah, his son, Abdul-Mu'min, leads his Uzbek forces in an attack on the important Persian city of Mashhad (Maixhad). After four months of being besieged, the city surrenders and the systematic looting that follows does not spare the sacred tombs. The Uzbek Shaibanids retain the city for almost a full decade, but Abbas II regains it for the Safavids upon Abdullah's death in Samarkand.

1593 - 1596

Abdullah launches an attack on Khwarazm and captures the khanate in two swift campaigns. The second takes place in 1595 when Abdullah has a much greater force at his disposal. However, the region is in a near-constant state of to-and-fro battles and victories, and Haji Muhammad recovers his domains by 1596.


Abdul-Mu'min / Abd al-Mumin



Pir Mohammed II


The Shaibanid empire of Samarkand has effectively come to an end, but the khanate created by them at Bukhara continues under the Janid dynasty.


The Kazakhs can be divided into three clans, or hordes, and each of these has its own territory. Now the Kazakh Lesser Horde begins acting independently of the others within its main base of operations in western Kazakhstan. Its leaders are descendants of Sultan Uziak, brother to Yadik Khan, and they are mentioned for the first time in 1717 when, together with Kaip Khan, they asked for help against the Russian Kalmuks. Having consolidated the Lesser Horde, Tiavka Khan is now dead. Abu l-Khayr (son of Adia, who is probably to be identified with Atiak, a contemporary of Tiavka Khan) fights for supremacy with Kaip Khan and wins. Abu l-Khayr becomes the first independent khan of the Lesser Horde.


Khiva is occupied by Afsharid ruler Nadir Shah and Bukhara is forced to submit. For Khiva, Bukharan dominance is replaced by even greater Iranian dominance. Nadir Shah appoints his own ruler for the khanate but he is almost immediately sidelined by the Kazakh Lesser Horde which gains the support of Uzbeks and Aralians in the khanate.