Astrakhanid Dynasty Is Established Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Turko-Mongol Astrakhanid Dynasty was formed after infighting over succession engulfed the khanate of the Uzbek Shaybānīd Dynasty. The Astrakhanid Dynasty would endure until the end of the eighteenth century.

Summary of Event

In the early sixteenth century, Turko-Mongol Uzbeks Uzbeks , led by members of the Shaybānīd Shaybānīd Dynasty[Shaybanid Dynasty] house, established themselves in Transoxiana, the region in west Asia that includes what are now Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. In doing so, the Uzbeks replaced the region’s last ruling descendants of the Turkic military leader and conqueror Tamerlane (1336-1405). Astrakhan Bāqī Muḥammad Bahādur ՙAbd Allāh II ibn Iskandar Shaybānī Pir Muḥammad II Shaybānī ՙAbd al-Ma՚mūn ibn ՙAbd Allāh Shaybānī ՙAbd Allāh II ibn Iskandar Shaybānī ՙAbbās the Great Ivan the Terrible;expansionism Yār Muḥammad Bāqī Muḥammad Bahādur Iskandar (Uzbek khan) ՙAbd al-Ma՚mūn ibn Abdullah Shaybānī Din Muḥammad Pir Muḥammad II Shaybānī

During the sixteenth century, the Shaybānīds pursued aggressive policies against their neighbors, especially the Ṣafavid Persians to their south. They developed a high level of commercial activity in the area and fostered a vibrant Islamic culture, especially in urban areas such as Samarqand and Bukhara, which served as dual capitals. Khan ՙAbd Allāh II was responsible for much Uzbek success, uniting leadership of the khanate. Ruling from Bukhara, he transformed the city into a religious and commercial center.

His policies against the Ṣafavids backfired in the early 1590’, however, when a Persian army led by Shah ՙAbbās the Great defeated his forces in a major engagement near Herāt. The Persians regained Khorāsān rapidly, and the Uzbeks lost their leader in 1598.

In 1556, the western Uzbek khanate that was centered on Astrakhan was annexed by the Russian czar Ivan the Terrible as part of his policy of expansion southward and eastward. Like the Shaybānīd Uzbeks, the Astrakhanids were descendants of Mongol conqueror and ruler Genghis Khan (r. 1206-1227). Yār Muḥammad, one of the Uzbek princes scattered by the Russian advances, his son Bāqī Muḥammad Bahādur, and their followers migrated to the territory controlled from Samarqand by Iskandar (r. 1561-1583). Iskandar was ՙAbd Allāh II’s father and ruled simultaneously from Bukhara. Iskandar cemented the new alliance with the marriage of his daughter—ՙAbd Allāh’s sister—to Bāqī (also known as Jani). She gave birth to three sons who, under their father’s leadership, assumed important roles in the clan and the khanate in the 1590’. Dynasties are often named for the father of the first ruler, so the Astrakhanid ruling families, the Tuqay-Timurids, are often referred to as Janids.

After ՙAbd Allāh’s death, the Uzbek khanate suffered from a dearth of possible successors. ՙAbd Allāh’s only legitimate son, ՙAbd al-Ma՚mūn ibn ՙAbd Allāh Shaybānī, had been ruling as khan from Balkh. In 1590, ՙAbd Allāh broke with tradition and announced ՙAbd al-Ma՚mūn his successor at an Uzbek assembly of the clan sultans (quriltay). In 1598, ՙAbd al-Ma՚mūn assumed the seat of power in Bukhara quickly. Unfortunately, he began liquidating enemies, family members, and other claimants to his position. After only a few months he was killed, perhaps assassinated by his own shocked followers. This left Jani and his sons in a key position.

One of Jani’s sons, Din Muḥammad, had provided important leadership in ՙAbd Allāh’s campaigns in Khorāsān and already had a powerful following. Just after ՙAbd Allāh’s death he proclaimed a khanate in Khorāsān that would rival the last Shaybānīd khanate. Soon, he lost his life in battle against the Persians near Herāt. ՙAbd al-Ma՚mūn’s place was taken by Pir Muḥammad II, a Shaybānīd whose ancestors had ruled from Samarqand prior to Iskandar’s installation in 1561. At Bukhara, Bāqī challenged and defeated Pir Muḥammad.

In 1599, a quriltay decided that leadership of the khanate should go to Bāqī, who in turn installed his son Bāqī in Bukhara and his son Wali Muḥammad in Balkh. They were deemed acceptable leaders by the Uzbeks because they were, from their mother’s side of the family, Shaybānīds. The two ruled together until Bāqī’s death in 1605, when Wali took control also of Bukhara. Wali died in 1608 and was succeeded by his nephew Sayyid Imām Qulī Bahādur, the son of Din Muḥammad.


Life in the Uzbek khanate of Bukhara continued, for the most part, unaltered by the dynastic change. The Toqay-Timurids Toqay-Timurids[Toqay Timurids] had lived among the Uzbeks and within their cultural universe for four decades before assuming power. Nonetheless, the clan leaders still regarded the Janids as foreigners, and their cooperation was never a certain thing. ՙAbd Allāh had abolished the appanage system of clan territoriality, and the sultans had long chafed under this blow to their power. Now they could exert it even more directly.

Culturally, the Janids were more like the Timurids than the Shaybānīds, and they continued to develop the regional roles of Bukhara and Balkh as centers of Islamic Sufism and long-distance trade. As with the sultans, the newcomers had to rely on the well-established Naqshbandīyah dervishes for their support, and this clerical party gained even more influence over Bukharan leadership.

Bukhara’s fame grew as its Sunni Muslim educational institutions (madrasas) earned it the name Bukhara i-Sharīf (Bukhara the noble). The omnipresent power of Muslim clergy in Bukhara and its urban dependencies would continue into the twentieth century.

In large part because of Din Muḥammad’s failed attempt at establishing his own khanate in Khorāsān, the Janids would remain firmly anchored in Central Asia and out of the shadow of the Ṣafavids.

Further Reading
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Allworth, Edward A. The Modern Uzbeks, from the Fourteenth Century to the Present: A Cultural History. Stanford, Calif.: Hoover Institute, 1990. Covers the background of the dynastic change and especially its implications for Uzbek foreign policy in the region.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Burton, Audrey. The Bukharans: A Dynastic, Diplomatic, and Commercial History, 1550-1702. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997. This massive study traces the period of Uzbek domination of Bukhara under the later Shaybānīds and the early Janids. Focused on politics and commerce rather than culture or ethics, it is a good complement to broad regional and cultural studies.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Grousset, René. The Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia. Translated by Naomi Walford. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1970. Well-organized and comprehensive work that covers the Shaybānīd era and its transition.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Kalter, Johannes, and Margareta Pavaloi. Uzbekistan: Heir to the Silk Road. New York: W. W. Norton, 1997. With text in Russian and English, this elaborately illustrated book links the region of the end of the twentieth century to its Uzbek past, with special attention given to sixteenth and seventeenth century arts, crafts, and architecture.
  • citation-type="booksimple"

    xlink:type="simple">Soucek, Svat. The History of Inner Asia. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Chapter 11, “The Shaybānīds,” provides a useful overview of the dynasty.

c. 1462: Kazak Empire Is Established

1507: End of the Timurid Dynasty

Dec. 2, 1510: Battle of Merv Establishes the Shaybānīd Dynasty

1512-1520: Reign of Selim I

Summer, 1556: Ivan the Terrible Annexes Astrakhan

July 21, 1582: Battle of the Tobol River

1587-1629: Reign of ՙAbbās the Great

Categories: History