The Kankali, Qanqli, or Kangly (Kanglı/Qangli) were a Turkic people of Eurasia. They were supposedly related or part of the Pechenegs.[1] They may instead have been Kipchaks, or closely related to them.[2][3] They may have been a separate nomadic people earlier but the Turkic peoples on the Pontic-Steppe became assimilated into each other by the 13th century.

They appear to have been connected in some way to the non-Turkic, Eastern Iranian state of Kangju (康居) in Sogdia, first documented by Chinese scholars during the 2nd century BCE. During the first half of the 1st millennium CE, Kangju was conquered by various invaders including the Xyōn (Xionites) and Kidara (Kidarites) and I-ta (Hepthalites). By about 600 a Kangari people were apparently allies of the Eastern Turkic Khaganate (against the Western Turkic Khaganate). The Kangari and a city of named Kangu Tarban (Otrar) are mentioned by Kul Tigin in the Orkhon inscription (8th century).[4] The Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII (Konstantinos Porphyrogennetos) noted in his De Administrando Imperio (c. 950) that the name Kangar was used by three groups of Pechenegs. These circumstances may indicate that Kangju was Turkified.

The Kankali, as such, first appear in history as a minor branch of the ancient Oghuz Turks. They formed one of the five sections into which the Oghuz khan divided his subjects. After the fall of the Pecheneg Khanate, in the early 10th century, the role of the Kankali became prominent.

Many Kankali warriors joined the Khwarezmid Empire in the 11th century. They suffered heavy losses during the Mongol invasion of Central Asia, led by Genghis Khan, in 1219-1223. For example, in Bukhara any males "taller than a wheel" were slain by the Mongols. Jochi repressed their relations who still lived in the land of the Kyrghyz and Kipchak steppes in 1225. The remnants of the Khwarezmi Kankali, after a long resistance led by Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu, submitted to the Great Khan Ögedei, his general Chormaqan and governor Chin-temur. After the Mongol conquest, the remaining Kankalis were absorbed into other Turks and Mongols. Some of them who served in the Yuan Dynasty became Kharchins.

There are Kankali clans among the Kazakhs, the Uzbeks, the Bashkirs, the Nogais and the Karakalpaks.



  1. Constantine Porphyrogenitus, ca 950, De Administrando Imperio, http://faculty.washington.edu/dwaugh/rus/texts/constp.html
  2. The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia, Volume 1, Denis Sinor, pg 272
  3. Thomas T. Allsen, "Prelude to the western campaigns: Mongol military operations in the Volga- Ural region, 1217-1237", Architum Eurasiae Medii Aevi, pp. 5-24
  4. The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia, Volume 1, Denis Sinor, pg 272


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