“92 Uzbek Tribes” in Official Discourses and the Oral Traditions from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries
Authors: Malikov A.
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Research objective: To identify the main variations in the use of the term “92 Uzbek tribes” in various contexts in the official discourses and the oral traditions from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries.
Research materials: The sources mainly used in this study are historical works of Central Asian Persian-language authors from the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries: Muhammad Salikh, Fadhlallah ibn Ruzbikhan Isfahani, Mirza Muhammad Haydar, Hafiz Tanysh Bukhari, Muhammad Yusuf munshi, Abdalazim Sami, Mirzo Salimbek, Sadr-i Ziya, and archival materials of the ethnographer B. Karmysheva. As well, an unpublished version of the epic poem “Alpamish” and archival documents from the Central State Archive of the Republic of Uzbekistan were used.
The publications of Russian, Soviet, and post-Soviet specialists on the history of the 92 tribes – N. Khanykov, C. Valikhanov, A. Khoroshkhin, L. Sobolev, G. Potanin,
V.V. Bartold, Akhmed Zeki Velidi Togan, P. Ivanov, B. Akhmedov, T. Sultanov, Peter Golden, Devin DeWeese, V. Trepavlov, W. Holzwarth, A. Alekseev, and B. Babadzanov – are also analyzed in detail.
The results and the novelty of the research: The term “92 Uzbek tribes”, which appeared in the fifteenth-century Dasht-i Qipchaq, began to be used with a variety of meanings in the following centuries depending on the political and cultural context. The significant role of the members of the tribes from the former Golden Horde in the political life of the Central Asian Khanates from the sixteenth century, through the migration of nomadic tribes from Dasht-i Qipchaq to Mawarannahr during the sixteenth century, and still with the foundation in the Central Asian Khanates of dynasties from the surroundings of these tribes in the eighteenth century, ensured the relevance and the relatively widespread use of the term “92 Uzbek tribes”. For the semi-nomadic tribes of these khanates, belonging to the “92 tribes” meant in certain cases a privileged position and a higher socio-economic status. In certain cases, the expression “92 Uzbek tribes” was used with a political meaning to legitimize the ruling Uzbek dynasties of the Manghits and Mings. Moreover, following a long tradition possibly in relation to pursued political goals, it emphasized long-standing ties between Qazaqs, Noghays, Uzbeks, and Qaraqalpaqs. Along with the number 92, such numbers as the “32” and “96” tribes coexisted. However, distinct meanings were attached to them.