ABU’L-ḠĀZĪ BAHĀDOR KHAN, khan of Ḵīva (r. 1054-74/1644 to 1663-64) and Čaḡatāy historian. The son of ʿArab Moḥammad Khan, Uzbek ruler of the Shaibanid dynasty (q.v.) and a princess of the same royal house, he was probably born 16 Rabīʿ I 1012/24 August 1603. He spent his youth at his father’s court in Organǰ and then in Kāṯ, where he was his father’s deputy from 1029/1619 onwards. When his father was assassinated and his brothers asserted their claim to the throne, he fled to Samarqand. After the rebellious brothers were ousted by Abu’l-Ḡāzī and another brother Esfandīār, the latter appointed him his own lieutenant in Organǰ in 1033/1623. But three years later, as a result of a feud, he fled to Tashkent and in 1039/1629 to Isfahan. There he stayed for ten years under the protection of the Safavids, studying Persian and Arabic sources in addition to the traditional versions of the history of his people that he had brought from home. Not until 1054/1644, after the death of one of his brothers, did he become ruler of Ḵīva, where he devoted himself to fostering the well-being of his people and to encouraging the art of historiography. He also led five expeditions against the Turkomen between 1054/1644 and 1064/1654, until some of the tribes in the Qara Qom desert and on the Manqıšlaq peninsula acknowledged Sīstān suzerainty. He mounted three campaigns against the Kalmuks between 1059/1649 and 1067/1657 and two expeditions against Bokhara, the first in 1066/1656 and the second in 1073/1662-63. Shortly before his death he abdicated in favor of his son Anūša Moḥammad.

Drawing on his knowledge of the traditions of his people and of diverse Persian and Arabic sources, Abu’l-Ḡāzī wrote in Central Asian Turkish (Čaḡatāy): 1. Šaǰara-ye terākema (written 1070/1659-60), a genealogy of the Turkomen, derived primarily from Rašīd-al-dīn and the Oḡoz-nāma, with additional material of varying significance (original text published in Ankara, 1937, by the Türk Dil Kurumu; Russian tr. by A. Tumanskiĭ, Ashkhabad, 1892). 2. Šaǰarat al-atrāk (or Šaǰara-ye tork), in nine books, a genealogy of the Turks which, at the time of his death, he had completed as far as the year 1054/1644 and which was continued by his son Abu’l-Moẓaffar Anūša Moḥammad Bahādor up to 1076/1655. It was mostly written from memory without direct recourse to secondary sources. The information about Čengīz Khan and his successors is for the most part unreliable; yet the book has its significance for the history of the Shaibanids from about 1450. The work soon became known in Europe, through the mediation of two Swedes who had been prisoners of war of the Russians (after Poltava in 1709) and who prepared a German translation of the book; it long influenced European ideas about the history of the Mongols and Turks of Central Asia. It was published in Leiden as early as 1726 under the title Histoire généalogique des Tartars; by 1825 it had been translated into Russian, German, and Latin. The original Čaḡatāy text was published with a French translation by J. J. P. Baron Desmaisons in 1871-74 as Hostoire des Mongols et des Tartars. Though this was reprinted in 1970, a new, modern edition is needed.


A. Strindberg, Notice sur le ms. de la première traduction de la chronique d’Abul-ghasi-Behader, Stockholm, 1889.

Ahmed Zeki Velidi Togan in İA IV, pp. 79-83.

B. Spuler in EI2 I, pp. 120-21.

Idem in Geschichte Mittelasiens (HO I, V, 5), Leiden, 1966, p. 262.

S. I. Ivanov, Rodoslovnoe drevo tyurok Abu-l-Gazi-Khana: Grammaticheskiĭ ocherk, Tashkent, 1969.

(B. Spuler)

Originally Published: December 15, 1983

Last Updated: July 21, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 3, pp. 292-293

Cite this entry:

B. Spuler, “ABU’L-ḠĀZĪ BAHĀDOR KHAN,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/3, pp. 292-293; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abul-gazi-bahador-khan-khan-of-kiva (accessed on 31 January 2014).