Yunus Khan (c. 1416–1487) (Uyghur: يونس خان), was Khan of Moghulistan from 1462 until his death. He is identified by many historians with Ḥājjī `Ali (Chinese: 哈只阿力, Pinyin: Hazhi Ali) (Uyghur: ھاجى علي), of the contemporary Chinese records. He is the maternal grandfather of Babur, founder of the Mughal empire.
Background and family
Yunus Ali was the eldest son of Uwais Khan of Moghulistan. When Vais Khan was killed in 1428 AD, the Moghuls were split as to who should succeed him. Although Yunus Khan was his eldest son, the majority favored Yunus' younger brother, Esen Buqa. As a result, he and his supporters fled to Ulugh Beg, the Timurid ruler of Transoxiana, who however imprisoned the group. He gave Yunus Khan to his father, Shah Rukh, who treated him well, and who sent him to learn under Maulana Sharaf ad-Din Ali Yazdi. Yunus Khan spent several years learning under the Maulana in Yazd, in the process becoming one of the most educated Moghuls. After the Maulana died he wandered for some time before settling on Shiraz as a home.
The following observation was made by a religious dignitary to Muhammad-Haydar Mirza Dughlat:
I had heard that Yunus Khan was a Moghul, and I concluded that he was a beardless man, with the ways and manners of any other 'Turk of the desert. But when I saw him, I found he was a person of elegant de-portment, with a full beard and a Tajik face, and such refined speech and manner, as is seldom to be found even in a Tajik.
In 1456 Abu Sa'id, who had become the ruler of Transoxiana, sent for Yunus Khan. Abu Sa'id had become annoyed with the frequent raids that the Moghuls under Esen Buqa made into his territory. He raised Yunus to the khanship and sent him with an army to Moghulistan to oppose his brother. Yunus Khan quickly gained the support of several amirs and married the daughter one of those amirs, Mir Pir Haji Kunji. Her name was Isan Daulat Begum. But when he moved to take the town of Kashgar he was met by the joined army of Amir Sayyid Ali of Kashgar and Esen Buqa, and in the ensuing battle was defeated. Soon afterwards he retreated from Moghulistan and returned to the court of Abu Sa'id, who gave him territory around Lake Issyk-Kul. After a while Yunus Khan again entered Moghulistan and gained the support of the amirs, but was unable to make any substantial gains in the country against Esen Buqa.
In 1457 dughlat Amir Sayyid Ali of Kashgar had died and his son Saniz Mirza had sought the assistance of Yunus Khan to gain power in Kashgar. When Yunus Khan came to Kashgar he sent one of the most respectful Sayyids of Kashgar, Amir Zia-ud-Din, to Shah Sultan Muhammad Badakhshi, in Badakhshan, to ask one of his six daughters in marriage. Shah Sultan Muhammad Badakhshi or prince Lali was believed to have been the direct descendant of Iskandar Zulkarnain (Alexander the Great), son of Filikus Rumi (Phillip II of Macedon), who according legend left one of his sons in isolated mountain country out of reach of rivals in hope he will continue his affair in the East. Prince Lali gave his fourth daughter Shah Begum to Sayyid Zia-ud-Din who brought her back with him to Kashgar and delivered over to the Yunus Khan. Yunus Khan had two sons and two daughters by Shah Begum. The eldest of all was Sultan Mahmud Khan. He was born in 1462. Next to him came Sultan Ahmad Khan, known later as Alacha (Slayer) Khan for his attempts to usurp absolute power in the Steppe and slaughtering of Kalmaks. The two daughters were Sultan Nigar Khanim and Daulat Sultan Khanim.
In 1462 Esen Buqa died, and the Moghuls were divided over whether to support Yunus or Esen Buqa's son, Dost Muhammad, who took up residence in Aksu, denying thus the nomad style of life and becoming the ruler of all settled lands in Eastern Moghulistan, known at the time as Uyghurstan. The dughlat amir of Kashgar Muhammad Haidar Mirza supported Dost Muhammad, but his brother the amir of Yarkand Saniz Mirza supported Yunus Khan, and expelled the former from Kashgar, but he died after only a few years, in 1464, and Dost Muhammad plundered Kashgar. In 1468 or 1469, however, Dost Muhammad died and Yunus Khan seized Aksu. Dost Muhammad's son, Kebek Sultan, was whisked away to Turpan (Uyghurstan), where he ruled for a few years.
Yunus Khan maintained relations with the Khazak Horde founders (in 1465-1466), Janybek Khan and Karai Khan, and the Timurids. As a consequence of his alliance with the Khazaks, he made an enemy out of the rival Uzbeks. In 1468 the Uzbeks under Shaikh Haidar came into conflict with the Moghuls; they were defeated and Shaikh Haidar was killed, breaking Uzbek power until the rise of Muhammad Shaibani.
Yunus' dealings with the Timurids were more complex. After Abu Sa'id Mirza was killed by the White Sheep Turkmen in 1468, his realm was split between his sons. Sultan Ahmad Mirza ruled over Samarkand & Bukhara, Umar Shaikh Mirza II became the ruler of Ferghana, and Sultan Mahmud Mirza took Balkh & Badakhshan. Sultan Ahmad's governor of Tashkent, Shaikh Jamal Khan, was invited by the Moghul amirs to usurp power. The amirs were apparently upset over Yunus Khan's desire to reside in the towns and abandon the traditional nomad style. Shaikh Jamal imprisoned the khan and for a year the Moghuls submitted to him. He gave Yunus Khan's first wife Isan Daulat Begum (she was the mother of his daughters Mihr Nigar Khanim, born in 1457, Qutlugh Nigar Khanum, born in 1459, and Khub Nigar Khanim, born in 1463) as present to his officer Khoja Kalan, but when the latter came to her house he was trapped inside and killed there by female attendants of Isan Daulat Begum. Soon after this event Shaikh Jamal was killed by Moghul amirs, in 1472, and Yunus Khan was restored, after promising not to live in the towns. Shortly afterwards, he learned that Kebek Sultan had been killed by his followers, allowing him to take control of Eastern Moghulistan (Uyghurstan) in the same 1472.
After Shaikh Jamal was killed, Yunus Khan actively participated in the affairs of the Timurids. He made most prominent of Timurid sultans his sons-in-law, having married off his daughters to Sultan Ahmad Mirza ( Mihr Nigar Khanim ), Umar Shaikh Mirza II in 1475 (Qutlugh Nigar Khanum, their son was Babur, founder of the Great Moghul Empire in India) and Sultan Mahmud Mirza (Sultan Nigar Khanim, their son was Sultan Vais Mirza better known as Mirza Khan, future King of Badakhshan ), and kept on friendly terms with Umar Shaikh Mirza II, who frequently relied on him for assistance against Sultan Ahmad and gave him territory to reside in during the winters. In 1484 Yunus Khan took advantage of the conflict between Sultan Ahmad and Umar Shaikh Mirza II and took Tashkent. His decision to live in the city upset the Moghuls, and many of them left for Moghulistan under Yunus' son Ahmad Alaq. Yunus Khan was also unable to prevent the rise of the Dughlat Mirza Abu Bakr, who had earlier taken Yarkand, Khotan and Kashgar from other members of his family, and defeated Yunus Khan's attempts to quell him.
During the Ming Turpan Border Wars he had taken Hami in 1473, but the Chinese evicted him into Turfan.
Yunus Khan died in Taskhent in 1487 after a long illness. He was succeeded in Tashkent by his eldest son, Sultan Mahmud Khan, while the Moghuls in the east followed Ahmad Alaq.
Genealogy of Chughatai Khanates
In Babr Nama written by Babur, Page 19, Chapter 1; described genealogy of his maternal grandfather Yunas Khan as:
"Yunas Khan descended from Chaghatai Khan, the second son of Chingiz Khan (as follows,) Yunas Khan, son of Wais Khan, son of Sher-'ali Aughlon, son of Muhammad Khan, son of Khizr Khwaja Khan, son of Tughluq-timur Khan, son of Aisan-bugha Khan, son of Dawa Khan, son of Baraq Khan, son of Yesuntawa Khan, son of Muatukan, son of Chaghatai Khan, son of Chingiz Khan"
- Rossabi 1976
- Morris Rossabi (28 November 2014). From Yuan to Modern China and Mongolia: The Writings of Morris Rossabi. BRILL. pp. 48–. ISBN 978-90-04-28529-3.
- W.M. Thackston, Jr. (2002). The Baburnama: Memoirs of Babur, Prince and Emperor.
- The Babur Nama in English, Zahiru'd-din Mubammad Babur Padshah Ghdzt, ANNETTE SUSANNAH BEVERIDGE
- The Tarikh-i-Rashidi: a history of the Moghuls of central Asia by Mirza Muhammad Haidar Dughlat; Editor: N. Elias,Translated by Sir Edward Denison Ross,Publisher:S. Low, Marston and co., 1895
- Mirza Muhammad Haidar. The Tarih-i-Rashidi ( A History of the Moghuls of Central Asia). Translated by Edward Denison Ross, edited by N.Elias. London, 1895
- M.Kutlukov. About emergence of the Yarkand state. Almaty,1990
- Rossabi, Morris (1976), "Ḥājjī `Ali", in Godrich, L. Carrington; Fang, Chaoying, Dictionary of Ming Biography, 1368–1644. Volume I (A-L), Columbia University Press, pp. 479–481, ISBN 0-231-03801-1
Esen Buqa II
| Succeeded by|
Sultan Mahmud and Ahmad Alaq