Kara Del
c. 1389–1513
Location of Kara Del
Location of Kara Del
Common languagesMongolian, Old Uyghur language
Historical eraPost-classical
• Gunashiri breaks away from Northern Yuan dynasty
c. 1389
• Kara Del accepts Ming supremacy
• Conquered by Esen of the Northern Yuan
• Coup staged by pro-Mongol faction
• Ming restores Gunashiri dynasty
• Mansur Khan from the Chagatai Khanate overthrew the Gunashiri dynasty and the region's conversion to Islam
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Chagatai Khanate
Northern Yuan dynasty
Today part ofChina

Kara Del or Qara Del was a Mongol-led kingdom that existed in Hami in present-day Xinjiang. It was founded by the Yuan prince Gunashiri, a descendant of Chagatai Khan, in the late 14th century (c.1389), and ruled by the Chagatayids thereafter until 1463. From 1380, it began to tribute to Ming dynasty. From 1406, it was governed by Ming under the Kara Del Guard (Chinese: 哈密衛), however sometimes it was still under the influence of the Northern Yuan, and the ruler was called the Obedient King (Chinese: 忠順王) under the Jimi system. It was destroyed as a result of the wars between the Ming dynasty and the Oirats, as well as dynastic succession struggles in 1513. Kara Del means "black chest" in the Mongolian language.


In 1389, the Buddhist Chagataid prince Gunashiri broke away from the Northern Yuan dynasty, which had fallen under the reign of Jorightu Khan Yesüder, an Arig-Bokid prince. He established himself in Hami by 1390 and ruled over a Uyghur population. The next year, the Ming dynasty occupied his territory and forced him to submit, although he remained in control of his territory.[1][2]

In 1404, Gunashiri's successor Engke Temiir accepted the establishment of a Ming guard and became Hami Prefecture.[2] However the Ming did not directly govern Hami or collect taxes. Engke Temiir was granted the title Zhongshunwang (meaning the obedient prince) by the Ming court.[3] During the 1430s, Kara Del submitted to the Oirats. The Uyghurs of Hami came into regular contact with Mongols in southwestern Inner Mongolia. Several Uyghur chiefs became major leaders of the western Mongols, leading to the spread of Uyghurjin as a clan name in the Ordos area.[2]

In 1446, disturbances broke out in Hami. Ming forces under Ren Li occupied the city and deported 1,230 people to the east of Jiayuguan.[4]

In 1463 the khan was overthrown by a pro-Mongol faction and a serious succession crisis ensued. From 1467, the Ming emperors repeatedly reinstalled members of Gunashiri's house but the situation in Hami never stabilized. Hami was conquered by Mansur Khan, the ruler of Moghulistan in 1513.[2] Kara Del officially converted to Islam in 1513.[5]

It was reported that between Khitay and Khotan the Sarigh Uyghur tribes who were "impious" resided, and they were targeted for ghazat (holy war) by Mansur Khan following 1516.[6][7] After the islamization of Kara Del, Uyghur fell into disuse until the 20th century, except as a local term for Muslim Turks in Hami and Turpan. In 1923, Uyghur was revived again as a general designation for Xinjiang's Tarim Basin oasis dwellers.[2]


Buddhism survived in Uyghurstan (Turfan and Qocho) during the Ming dynasty.[8]

List of rulers of Kara Del

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According to Japanese Wikipedia (ja:グナシリ):

Rivalry between Nugandaširi (努溫答失里) (1460–1472) and Baγ Temür (把塔木兒) (1466–1472)

See also


  1. ^ Ed. Reuven Amitai-Preiss, Reuven Amitai, David Morgan-The Mongol empire and its legacy, p.294
  2. ^ a b c d e Atwood 2004, p. 564.
  3. ^ Kim 2008, p. 68. Archived 2016-05-06 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Eighteen Lectures on Dunhuang, 48
  5. ^ Betta, Chiara (2004). The Other Middle Kingdom: A Brief History Of Muslims In China. University of Indianapolis Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-88093-853-2.
  6. ^ Tōyō Bunko (Japan) (1986). Memoirs of the Research Department. p. 3.
  7. ^ Tōyō Bunko (Japan); Tōyō Bunko (Japan). (1983). Memoirs of the Research Department of the Toyo Bunko: (the Oriental Library). Tôyô Bunko. p. 3.
  8. ^ Saintly Brokers: Uyghur Muslims, Trade, and the Making of Qing Central Asia, 1696--1814. 2008. pp. 75–. ISBN 978-1-109-10126-3. Archived from the original on 2017-01-09. Retrieved 2016-10-18.