Nogai Horde
Location of the Nogay Horde and main Asian polities c. 1500
Approximate territory of the Nogai Horde at the end of the 15th century
Approximate territory of the Nogai Horde at the end of the 15th century
Official languagesNogai
Common languagesNogai
Sunni Islam
• Established
• Conquered by the Tsardom of Russia
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Golden Horde
Astrakhan Khanate
Tsardom of Russia
Kalmyk Khanate
Astrakhan Khanate

The Nogai Horde was a confederation founded by the Nogais that occupied the Pontic–Caspian steppe from about 1500 until they were pushed west by the Kalmyks and south by the Russians in the 17th century. The Mongol tribe called the Manghuds constituted a core of the Nogai Horde.

In the 13th century, the leader of the Golden Horde, Nogai Khan, a direct descendant of Genghis Khan through Jochi, formed an army of the Manghits joined by numerous Turkic tribes. A century later the Nogays were led by Edigu, a commander of Manghit paternal origin and Jochid maternal origin, who founded the Nogai dynasty.[1]

In 1557, Nogai Nur-al-Din Qazi Mirza quarreled with Ismael Beg and founded the Lesser Nogai Horde on the steppe of the North Caucasus. The Nogais north of the Caspian were thereafter called the Great Nogai Horde. In the early 17th century, the Horde broke down further under the onslaught of the Kalmyks.[2]

The Nogais north of the Black Sea were nominally subject to the Crimean Khanate rather than the Nogai Bey. They were divided into the following groups: Budjak (from the Danube to the Dniester), Yedisan (from the Dniester to the Bug), Jamboyluk (Bug to Crimea), Yedickul (north of Crimea) and Kuban. In particular, the Yedisans are mentioned as a distinct group, and in various locations.[3]


Sigismund von Herberstein places 'Nagayske Tatare' (the "Nogay Tatars") on the lower Volga in his 1549 map.

There were two groups of Nogais: those north of the Caspian Sea under their own Bey (leader), and those north of the Black Sea nominally subject to the Crimean Khan. The first group was broken up circa 1632 by the Kalmyks. The second shared the fate of the Khanate of Crimea.

The Nogai language was a form of Kypchak Turkic, the same language group as that of the neighboring Kazakhs, Bashkirs and Crimean and Volga Tatars. Their religion was Muslim, but religious institutions were weakly developed.[citation needed]

They were pastoral nomads grazing sheep, horses, and camels. Outside goods were obtained by trade (mostly horses and slaves), raiding, and tribute. There were some subject peasants along the Yaik river. One of the main sources of income for the Nogais was raiding for slaves, who were sold in Crimea and Bukhara. Hunting, fishing, caravan taxation, and seasonal agricultural migration also played a role, although this is poorly documented.

The basic social unit was the semi-autonomous ulus or band. Aristocrats were called mirza. The ruler of the Nogais was the Bey. The capital or winter camp was at Saraychik, a caravan town on the lower Yaik. From 1537 the second in rank was the Nur-al-Din, usually the Bey's son or younger brother and expected successor. The Nur-al-Din held the right bank along the Volga. From the 1560s there was a second Nur-al-Din, a sort of a war chief. Third in rank was the Keikuvat, who held the Emba.

Political organization was fluid and much depended on personal prestige since as nomads, the Nogai subjects could simply move away from a leader who was disliked. Ambassadors and merchants were regularly beaten and robbed. Stealing horses, looked down upon in many cultures, was an important part of social and economic life on the steppe. Beys and Mirza's would often declare themselves vassals of some outside power, but such declarations had little meaning.

Slavery and raids

Main article: Crimean–Nogai slave raids in Eastern Europe

The Nogai Horde along with the Crimean Khanate raided settlements in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, and Poland. The slaves were captured in southern Russia, Poland-Lithuania, Moldavia, Wallachia, and Circassia by Tatar horsemen in a trade known as the "harvesting of the steppe". In Podolia alone, about one-third of all the villages were destroyed or abandoned between 1578 and 1583.[4] Some researchers estimate that altogether more than 3 million people were captured and enslaved during the time of the Crimean Khanate.[5]


Decline of the Golden Horde


This data is from the English-language sources below. A long list of Nogai raids on Russia and Poland, from Russian sources, can be found at Crimean-Nogai raids.


During the next 150 years, Black Sea grain ports assist massive southward expansion of Russian agriculture and population.

Partial list of beys and mirzas

See also


  1. ^ Khodarkovsky, Russia's Steppe Frontier p. 9
  2. ^ Khodarkovsky - Russia's Steppe Frontier p. 11
  3. ^ According to Tsutsiev (Atlas of the Ethno-Political History of the Caucasus, 2014, Map 4 for 1774), many of these tribes existed north of the Caucasus. From west to east he lists 'Kipchak', Yedishkul, Jambulak, Navruz, Mansur(sic), and Beshtau Nogay. North of Jambulak-Beshtau were Yedisans and north of these names are omitted. East of the Beshtau Nogay were Turkmen and then the Kara-Nogai in the present Nogai location west of the Caspian.
  4. ^ Orest Subtelny (2000). Ukraine: A History. University of Toronto Press. pp. 106–. ISBN 978-0-8020-8390-6. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  5. ^ Fisher 'Muscovy and the Black Sea Slave Trade', pp. 580—582.
  6. ^ a b Davies, Brian (2007). Warfare, State and Society on the Black Sea Steppe, 1500–1700.
  7. ^ Michael Khodarkovsky, Russia's Steppe Frontier, 2002, page 22
  8. ^ Sunderland, p. 26
  9. ^ Khodarkovsky, Where Two Worlds Meet, p. 149
  10. ^ Khodarkovsky (2004)