A Multi-Ethnic Environment in the Karakhanid Khaganate in the 11th Century

Tyntchtykbek Tchoroev

A Multi-Ethnic Environment in the Karakhanid Khaganate in the 11th Century

(64th Meeting Budapest, 2022)

The so-called “Islamic Renaissance” period in the Muslim world was deeply connected with the multi-ethnic background in those countries which were involved in the international co-operation amongst the different civilization centres in Eurasia and North Africa in the Middle Age.

This is illuminated from the ethnic, cultural and scientific history of the Karakhanid khaganate, an Islamic Turkic country in eastern parts of Central Asia. The state with the initial capital cities of Balasagyn (Balasagun) and Kashghar, was a place where different ethnic groups of the Turkic peoples lived together with some Soghdians and other Iranian-speaking groups, the Nestorians (a branch of the Christianity) migrated from the Middle East who have been mixed with the local Turks, some migrant Arabs (both traders and scholars), and other representatives of the different Eurasian ethnicities involved in the trade during the successful development of the Great Silk Road between the East and the West.

The period of the 11th century witnessed at least two great contributions to the whole “Islamic Renaissance” development from the Muslim Turks of the Karakhanid khaganate, made by a poet and statesman Yusuf Balasaghuni (in modern Kyrgyz it is spelled as Balasagyn) with the title of Khass Khajib and a linguist, ethnographer and cartographer Mahmud Kashghari Barsqani.

Data from their works became excellent evidence for the multi-ethnic life of the citizens and the guests of the Karakhanid khaganate, the easternmost Muslim state which was also a place where groups of the different ethnic background with different religious beliefs lived in peaceful co-existence.

This multi-cultural peculiarity was also a main part of the successful connection of the population of the Karakhanid state to the western parts of the “Islamic Renaissance” regions.